Beauty

TikTok’s Rosemary Oil Trend, Explained

A beauty miracle to lengthen and thicken your hair, or just an over-hyped myth? Trichologists weigh in.

3,854 Hypes

As the never-ending quest for longer, thicker hair continues to thrive on social media, we’ve seen numerous solutions become popularized for hair loss. But none as notorious as rosemary oil, perhaps. Believed to offer several benefits for hair health, the potential effectiveness of rosemary oil for the prevention or reduction of hair loss is raved about worldwide, and especially on TikTok.

Rosemary oil is made from the aromatic herb rosemary, distilled from its leaves and flowers, and collected after steam is introduced to the plant. While there isn’t much to look at when it comes to scientific studies on how rosemary oil can assist in achieving better, bigger hair for longer, there are a few that point to its positive benefits—but much more research has to be done to assess these findings fully. Still, thousands of videos all over social media say otherwise, with creators screaming its praises.

To dig down to the bottom of this beauty mystery, we spoke to three experts including Celebrity Master Hair Stylist and Beauty Expert Clariss Rubenstein; Philip Kingsley Brand President and Consult Trichologist Anabel Kingsley; and Trichologist Shab Caspara, to learn more about whether or not the rumors about rosemary oil for hair are true. Keep reading below to learn more.

Does rosemary oil actually help with hair growth?

Some studies like this one from the National Library of Medicine have shown that rosemary oil can help promote hair growth even when compared to traditional medicine like minoxidil, where both groups of participants “experienced a significant increase in hair count” over a period of six months. “As a highly inflammatory ingredient, rosemary oil is believed to improve circulation which can then promote cellular turnover and growth,” according to Shab Caspara. “It also is believed to have anti-inflammatory properties,” says Clariss Rubenstein.

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For Anabel Kingsley, there is still a lack of great evidence that points to its potency. If rosemary oil is wanted for hair loss specifically, it’s highly important to “be aware that there are many types and causes of hair loss, so obtaining a correct diagnosis is a key first step in determining which treatment may be right for you.” There are many causes of hair loss, for example, a nutritional deficiency, that can be treated with supplements instead of topical agents that might have a limited effect. Until a product is proven to have a cosmetically significant effect on hair growth, she and other professionals are usually unlikely to recommend them.

How does rosemary oil help hair grow?

When applied to the scalp, rosemary oil is known to encourage healthy hair growth by increasing the circulation of the blood. “Stimulating blood flow towards the scalp brings more nutrients to the hair follicles and results in thicker and stronger hair,” states Caspara. At the same time, because of its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, applying rosemary oil can help with unwanted scalp conditions including soreness and build-up—these can hinder hair growth. “Rosemary oil is a very potent antioxidant which is crucial in fighting oxidative and aging stress on the hair follicles,” according to Caspara.

Is rosemary oil safe to use? Are there any side effects?

Generally, rosemary oil is safe and because it’s usually applied topically for hair growth, any negative side effects should be minimal, says Rubenstein. She recommends that first-time users try a patch test on the inner arm for 24 hours before applying the product to the entire scalp to “ensure you don’t have any irritation or allergic reaction.” Caspara echoes this statement, informing us that “incorrectly applying naturally potent oils to your scalp can irritate, in flame and seriously harm the scalp and eventually the hair follicle itself.” For her, the cap on timing (especially with a homemade rosemary oil concoction) is 20 minutes. Any more could create a hostile environment for hair to thrive in.

Kingsley also warns that if you have particular scalp issues, you “should consult a trichologist for proper investigation and treatment, as applying oils to your scalp, especially if you have a flaky or itchy scalp concern, could in fact make it worse.” Conditions like dandruff and other oily scalp conditions such as seborrheic dermatitis can be made much poorer by “adding more oil to an already oily environment causing the conditions to become worse,” states Kingsley.

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What’s the best method of application for rosemary oil then?

The best method of application according to Caspara is to “mix a few drops of rosemary oil with any carrier oil and massage into your scalp 20 minutes before you jump in the shower to allow for penetration.” Her bonus tip? Mixing the oil into your shampoo bottle to enhance its cleansing and antioxidant power. To prevent over-sensitizing the skin or scalp, she recommends mixing the stronger rosemary oil with a lighter carrier oil like argan or sweet almond oil, instead of being applied directly.

Rubenstein’s favorite method of applying rosemary oil to your hair is to first put it into a plastic applicator bottle with a fine tip to “prevent mess and dripping.” She sections hair, applies the treatment, rubs it into the scalp, and then massages the area. You can leave it in for the recommended 20 minutes or do what Rubenstein does, which is to tie her hair back and sleep in the rosemary oil (with a towel on the pillow, of course), then wash in the morning. She recommends combining it with castor oil to help reduce hair fall-out.

How quickly do you see results with rosemary oil?

“The effects of any hair growth enhancing product requires a few months before you can notice a difference,” says Caspara. This is because the new growth of the hair will show signs of improvement and not the hair that already exists on the head. You will need at least three months before you can see a visible difference in the quality of your hair. Caspara adds, “Any hair growth journey is a long game, but you can truly gain amazing results when you fully commit to the process and aren’t expecting a quick fix.”

The length of treatment time varies and it depends on the individual. Some see results in a matter of weeks, some longer. “Rosemary oil treatments are a great addition to any hair care routine and if you combine it with other factors like a nutritious diet with lots of healthy fats, exercise for good circulation, and hydration you will see hair growth,” says Rubenstein.

Do you have to continue use after treatment to keep seeing results? This is entirely up to you and your desired outcome, but if you want to continue to see great results, the recommendation is to keep using rosemary oil on your hair on a consistent basis. “I would continue rosemary treatments even after I have seen hair growth,” says Rubenstein. “If you’re happy with the amount of growth you have seen you can reduce the frequency of treatments, but it is still great for the scalp so try and do it at least once a month.” Keep scrolling for three products to try if you want to tap into the rosemary oil trend.

Wonder Valley
Rosemary Hair Oil
$50 USD
Wonder ValleyWonder Valley 

For strong and thick hair, look no further than Wonder Valley’s Rosemary Hair Oil. Recommended for use one to two times weekly, this lightweight hair treatment works to hydrate strands and rectify any damage to assist in healthy growth.

Mielle Organics
Rosemary Mint Scalp & Hair Strengthening Oil
$10 USD
Mielle OrganicsMielle Organics 

Cult-favorite Mielle Organics has produced a product so viral that it often sells out. Infused with biotin, this oil contains more than 30 essential oils and extracts that aid in hair growth and nourishment. With natural, organic ingredients, it’s a favorite for repairing damage to hair follicles and smoothing split ends.

It’s a 10
Haircare Scalp Restore Miracle Calming Spray
$26 USD
Ulta BeautyUlta Beauty 

Recommended by Dr. Caspara, this antioxidant-rich spray with stimulating rosemary extract, is nourishing for the hair and the scalp. Containing proprietary ingredients like seascalp and scalposine that rebalance an oily, flaky and itchy scalp, this product is optimal for hair growth.

For more of our favorite beauty products, check out the winners of our 2nd annual Hypebae Beauty Awards.

Valeriya Chupinina is a freelance writer and editor navigating the connection between the internal and the aesthetic. With an educational background in Advertising and Marketing, she’s well-equipped to tackle any form of writing including beauty, wellness, and fashion. You can find her work in outlets like Coveteur, InStyle, Elle, New York Magazine, StyleCaster, and Cosmopolitan. In addition to her editorial work, she consults on social media strategies for several brands.  

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