Rosemary oil is an oil produced from the rosemary plant. Throughout the years, it has been linked to a broad range of benefits. These benefits encompass overall health, skin, and hair care.
In terms of health benefits, rosemary has been known to interact with the central nervous system.
Because of this, many people choose to use the oil to clear their mind or improve their memory.
It has also been linked to helping with various conditions such as arthritis, headaches, and asthma.
History and Extraction
Rosemary is a type of evergreen shrubbery that can grow to a height of 1.5 meters. It is known for its lilac-blue flowers and gray-green needle-shaped leaves.
Historically the plant was only found in Asia; it can now be found in Yugoslavia, Tunisia, and France as well.
Rosemary oil is extracted from the plant’s flowers using the process of steam distillation. After the process is complete, the oil is clear in appearance and is distinguished by its herbal smell.
Using Rosemary Oil for Hair Growth
Two of the many purported benefits that rosemary oil can provide are stimulating hair growth and mitigating hair loss.
These claims are substantiated by Francesc Casado Galcera, who patented a hair lotion where rosemary extract (Rosmarinus officinalis L.) was an essential active ingredient.
In fact, rosemary extract has been used for this purpose for centuries.
There is still some debate about whether rosemary oil can actually stimulate hair growth. Those who support this theory say that the oil does so by dilating the blood vessels and stimulating cell division.
Through this combination of actions, the hair follicles become stimulated and begin to produce new hair growth.
Frankly, based on limited research, it’s still unclear on whether the oil stimulates hair growth.
So, What’s The Best Way to Use Rosemary Oil for Hair Growth?
Hair growth is a common desire for many women, although the thought of hair loss is often a nightmare. Progressive hair loss is also known to cause low self-esteem in men and women.
Interestingly some research shows that rosemary oil can be used to stimulate hair growth or mitigate hair loss. With respect to hair loss, nearly 85% of men and 50% of women will experience some measure of hair loss by age 50.
Since research on rosemary oil and its effects are still in its early stages, there isn’t overwhelming evidence to suggest that rosemary oil works the same way for everyone.
Although, rosemary oil in a natural remedy, unlike most hair care formulated products on the market today, so it could be safer to use than chemically formulated hair growth products. You, however, should patch-test the oil first, just to be sure. This is especially important for individuals with sensitive skin.
According to research by Harvard’s Medical School, androgenetic alopecia is the most common type of hair loss in men and women. Factors leading to hair loss include immune system reactions, infections, hormonal imbalance, age, and genetics are some of the leading causes.
Although rosemary oil may help stimulate hair growth naturally, it seemingly doesn’t have any effect on hair loss caused by chronic hair pulling, chemotherapy, or other drugs that cause hair loss.
Male pattern baldness is caused when the body produces too much DHT (dihydrotestosterone) which attacks hair follicles. DHT is a byproduct of testosterone, one of the essential hormones in men.
Although women produce testosterone too, men produce testosterone in significantly higher concentrations.
Although the research was inconclusive, the researchers were able to theorize that rosemary oil may have an effect in preventing the effects of DHT on hair follicles, thus stimulating hair growth.
The research involved treating one group of patients with DHT-related hair loss with minoxidil and the other group with rosemary oil for six months. After three months neither group showed any significant changes in hair growth, although both groups showed a substantial increase in hair growth after six months.
However, those using rosemary oil for hair growth had more hair as compared to the minoxidil group. While the difference may not have been much, this study is encouraging as it provides some initial evidence that rosemary oil might actually promote hair growth.
Plus the participants in the minoxidil group experienced significant scalp-itch, a side effect related to the drug. However, participants in the rosemary oil group didn’t experience any scalp irritation.
In 2017, another study (source) revealed that rosemary oil contains antibacterial properties capable of killing bacteria and fungi. Using rosemary oil on your scalp can, therefore, help mitigate infections that lead to hair loss.
Successfully Treating Alopecia Areata Through Aromatherapy
Individuals suffering from alopecia areata might also find rosemary oil helpful. Although an autoimmune disorder, rosemary oil seems to mitigate hair loss for those suffering from alopecia areata.
According to a study published 1998 (source), when rosemary oil is used in aromatherapy, rosemary oil can improve “conditions” of those suffering from alopecia areata. Rosemary oil may also improve the effectiveness of other hair loss treatment methods, although scientific evidence doesn’t currently support this theory.
How Effective Is Rosemary Oil for Hair Loss?
If you’re worried about hair loss before it occurs, there is no research that concludes that rosemary oil prevents hair loss before it occurs. Although there’s no concrete scientific evidence on this, if you have a family history of male pattern baldness or female hair loss, it’s worth testing rosemary as means to potentially postpone the hair loss.
In 2016 study (source), where rosemary oil was used on mice, an increased circulation of blood in the scalp provided hair follicles with nutrients and oxygen needed to promote hair growth.
Safe Ways to Use Rosemary Oil for Hair Loss
Our recommendation, especially for newbies, is to find hair products with a high concentration of rosemary oil as the main ingredient.
For those with more of a do-it-yourself orientation, you can also purchase rosemary oil and add the oil to existing hair products. As an example, we like to add twelve drops of rosemary oil to shampoo.
With this approach, you can simply wash your hair as you normally would. Others consider massaging their scalp with rosemary oil using an aromatherapy massage.
You can also make rosemary concentrate at home using dried rosemary leaves. All you need to do is place crushed rosemary leaves in a bowl, then add one cup of distilled boiled water. Let the mixture steep for several hours. You can then use the concentration on your scalp.
While rosemary oil may be an effective remedy for hair loss, some level of patience is required to see the results. It can take months before you can start seeing noticeable results.
Dealing With Flaky Scalp Issues
In addition to promoting hair growth, rosemary oil has also been linked to reducing problems associated with a flaky scalp.
A flaky scalp can be incredibly problematic.
According to limited scientific research, rosemary oil can help resolve both the issue of dry scalp and dry hair.
It does so by detoxifying and disinfecting the scalp and by doing this both the scalp and hair can get the necessary nutrients to stay hydrated.
Rosemary Oil for Gray Hair
According to certain specialists, rosemary oil can even help mitigate the depigmentation of hair as it slowly fades to gray.
That is because the oil is able to promote pigmentation of the hair. This not only prevents particular strands from turning gray but in some cases, it can even help return the hair to its original color.
How to Use Rosemary Oil for Natural Hair Care
As with most essential oils, rosemary oil should always be applied topically to the hair and scalp. The easiest way to do this is to simply add several drops of the oil to your current shampoo or conditioner.
You can also choose to combine the oil with other essential oils including tea tree oil. One of the best choices is to mix two tablespoons of rosemary oil and an ounce of grapeseed oil. Massage this mixture into the hair while it is dry and wait several minutes before washing it out in the shower.
Where Can You Buy Rosemary Oil?
You will likely find rosemary oil at your local grocery store, but it’s also available at several online retailers. Here is a link to Amazon, where rosemary oil can be purchased. Plus if you’re interested in learning more about hair growth, I recommend reading our advanced hair growth guide and learning more about using rice water for hair growth.