Rosemary oil: Delicious on food like pasta and bread, but also surprisingly beneficial for your hair. Thanks to its many uses, the fragrant essential oil is commonly seen in hair products of all types, and it may even help with hair growth. To learn more, we tapped New York City-based board-certified dermatologist Dr. Hadley King and celebrity hairstylist Dominick Pucciarello—plus, we’re sharing the best rosemary oil hair products to try now.
What Are the Benefits of Rosemary Oil?
- It may help thicken hair. Research shows that rosemary oil may be as beneficial as Minoxidil—the active ingredient in Rogaine—for hair growth (but more on that in a minute).
- It’s antimicrobial. According to King, “Rosemary oil has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties” that can soothe the scalp.
- It helps with dandruff. Those antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties “help to keep dandruff and scalp acne at bay,” says King.
- It helps with breakage. Some hair thinning is due to breakage. According to Pucciarello, rosemary oil “helps to prevent thinning from aging or hormonal conditions.”
- It’s safe for all hair types. Most everyone can use rosemary oil, although “If you have any allergic reactions, stop using the product and consult your dermatologist,” says Pucciarello.
Can Rosemary Oil Help Thicken Hair?
Yes—well, probably. “A 2015 study compared rosemary oil to Minoxidil for hair growth and at six months, both groups saw significant increases in hair growth,” explains King. “This effect could be due to rosemary oil’s enhancement of micro-capillary perfusion.” However, King says that Minoxidil is still “the most proven OTC option and works for both men and women.”
To get technical for a second, King explains that Minoxidil “is a potassium channel opener, causing hyperpolarization of cell membranes. Theoretically, by widening blood vessels and opening potassium channels, it allows more oxygen, blood and nutrients to reach the follicles.” If you prefer to try rosemary oil, just know that more research is still needed. “The bottom line is that for oils, we need bigger, better studies in order to evaluate whether or not these ingredients may help with hair growth,” stresses King.
So, how long does it take to work? “Because of the hair growth cycle, any effects on hair growth may take six months to show up,” says King, adding that “The 2015 study with rosemary oil showed results at six months.”
From Harper’s Bazaar US