People Are Raving About Using Rosemary Oil to Promote Hair Growth–But Does It Actually Work?

Updated: May 26, 2023

Experts weigh in on the latest natural beauty trend.

From fenugreek seeds to collagen, rumored hair growth solutions run rampant on the internet. And it’s no wonder why—according to haircare brand Philip Kingsley, 75% of women fear losing their hair. Plus, with hair loss as a suspected symptom of COVID-19, now more than ever, women are seeking tips to grow stronger, fuller hair.

So, it’s no surprise that in recent weeks, TikTok videos promising quick, cheap and natural hair loss solutions have spiked in popularity. One particular trend revolves around using rosemary essential oil, and videos on this topic have received millions of views. But is using rosemary oil to promote hair growth effective? Is it safe? How can people try the home hack responsibly? We’re here to answer all your questions.

From READER’S DIGEST: More than 18,000 Shoppers Say This Under-$10 Rosemary Hair Oil Is a Miracle in a Bottle

What is the rosemary oil hair growth trend?

Basically, in the TikTok videos, women explain how they have applied rosemary essential oil—oils extracted from the rosemary plant—to their scalp, resulting in thicker, more lustrous locks. How the users apply the oil varies slightly, with some opting for diluting it in a “carrier oil” or shampoo, while others apply it straight to their scalp using an eyedropper. Then, typically users will perform a little scalp massage and let the oil rest for a while before washing or rinsing their hair normally.

How does rosemary oil supposedly help stimulate hair growth?
A drop of cosmetics gel with rosemary on a green backgroundMariya Borisova/Getty Images

Dr. Sharon Wong, a consultant dermatologist and hair specialist, explains to Refinery29 that rosemary oil “contains compounds which have been shown to have some anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antioxidant activities.” In layman’s terms, these special properties can supposedly reduce irritation of the scalp and protect hair from environmental aggressors, like pollution.

Additionally, trichologist and Viviscal brand ambassador Hannah Gaboardi claims that rosemary oil “can help with nourishment and locking in the hair’s moisture, and it has properties that improve blood circulation to the scalp while getting rid of any bacteria that clog hair follicles.” In performing all of these important tasks, rosemary oil supposedly allows hair to grow better.

OK, but does rosemary oil actually lead to hair growth?

The jury is still out. Zoë Passam, a consultant trichologist at Philip Kingsley, cites a small 2015 study that compared the efficacy of rosemary oil to a topical medication called minoxidil for treating male- and female-pattern hair loss over the course of six months. The study “found a similar increase in hair counts with both treatments.” Another study from 1998 found that rosemary could effectively treat a hair loss condition called alopecia areata.

However, this data is preliminary, small-scale, and relatively old in the world of health advancements. Additionally, the studies focused specifically on genetic hair loss conditions and rosemary essential oils, not on broader hair loss patterns and the more general rosemary oils TikTokers are creating. This is why some dermatologists, such as Dr. Adel, claim that other solutions are more promising than rosemary; she ranks minoxidil as her number one treatment and rosemary oil as number three. Ranking hair growth treatments 💇🏽‍♀️ no1 is the BEST option available periodt #dermatologist #dermatologydoctor #skincareroutine #skintok #skincaretips #skincare #learnontiktok #hairgrowth #hairgrowthtips #rosemaryoil #minoxidil #foryou #fyp #fypシ ♬ original sound – SendAFriend ✨

Is using rosemary oil to promote hair growth safe?

Yes, so long as you use it appropriately. Dr. Wong explains that “[a]lthough natural, as with all plant extracts and botanicals, rosemary oil extracts and the raw material itself can potentially cause skin irritation and allergic contact dermatitis in some people.”

Therefore, the rosemary oil must always be diluted with a carrier oil to ensure it doesn’t irritate the skin. Additionally, Passam warns to never apply rosemary oil to inflamed or broken skin, as it can make the situation worse.

How do I use rosemary oil to promote hair growth?

Follow the below steps to ensure safe usage, or watch the below video from trichologist Taylor Rose for her advice.

  1. Mix four or five drops of rosemary essential oil with a teaspoon of a carrier oil. Gaboardi recommends using coconut oil as your carrier.
  2. Massage the oil mixture “evenly into your scalp” for a couple of minutes.
  3. Wash the oil out with your usual shampoo and conditioner.
@thehealthyhur If you bought rosemary oil to regrow you hair but you have no idea what to do with it 🤷‍♀️, here’s a step-by-step guide to get you started. ⬇ Dilute your rosemary oil with 5 drops of rosemary oil to 1 TBSP of a ‘carrier oil’ of choice. Heat it up in your hands and apply it directly to your scalp. If you want more tips and tricks on how to use rosemary oil for hair regrowth drop me a follow. ♥♥♥ #rosemaryoil #hairregrowthtips #hariregrowthjourney #hairregrowthtreatment #hairregrow #hairgrowthoil #healthyhair #hairtips ♬ original sound – Taylor Rose – Trichologist

Lastly, if you are looking for other hair growth solutions, it is worth speaking to your doctor to discover the root cause of the issue. It could be the result of a nutrient deficiency, such as in biotin or iron, or an underlying sickness. They will be able to help you develop a specialized treatment plan.

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