How To Use Rosemary Oil For Hair Growth

Some of America's most well-known cooks sing rosemary's praises on their cooking shows and websites. There's Ina Garten (the Barefoot Contessa) and her roasted red potatoes recipe, which uses fresh rosemary leaves. Giada De Laurentiis creates an unlikely (but delicious) merger with her grape and rosemary focaccia. (You may feel a flash of guilt for wanting to dip a slice into marinara sauce, but with any luck, the guilt will pass.) And don't forget Martha Stewart, who also knows how to push conventions — this time with a rosemary pound cake.

These cooks know how to make the most out of rosemary in both sweet and savory dishes. But they may have to learn how to make a little more noise to muffle the growing chorus of hair stylists who use the herb to promote hair growth. If you've never used an essential oil, this might be a good time to try rosemary essential oil. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain, especially if you're pining for a head of thicker hair.

Essential oils are extracted from plants, so, therefore, rosemary oil comes from the rosemary plant. The oils are fittingly named; they're meant to capture a plant's "essence" (via Healthline.) Some — like jasmine, lavender, and rose — are thought to provide other health and beauty benefits on par with rosemary essential oil.  Like many people, you may be skeptical. But rosemary oil just could transform your self-image. Then you can say it all started with a recipe.

Realize rosemary's rich past

If you research herbs, you'll find that many of them have rich and often colorful histories that reach back hundreds of years. But they've got nothing on rosemary. People in the 16th century used it for a wide range of medicinal purposes, including treating gout, asthma, and rheumatic diseases (via PlantingSeeds Australia).

Even before then, ironically, someone made the connection between rosemary and hair treatment, for Gardening Know How says the combination of rosemary and wine was used to "cure baldness and dandruff." To Healthline, this makes sense because rosemary essential oil is thought to do three things: improve circulation, stimulate nerve growth, and spread its anti-inflammatory properties.

But what does recent research show? Some surprisingly strong support for rosemary protecting against hair loss and stimulating hair growth. Perhaps most tellingly, two studies showed that "rosemary essential oil was just as effective as minoxidil" (via Healthline).

This is a topical medication, applied to the scalp, that encourages hair growth. It must be used properly — and sometimes for several months — to be effective (via the Mayo Clinic). Physicians often prescribe it for patients who have experienced rapid hair loss, such as after surgery or chemotherapy. No matter how you look at it, it's heady praise for rosemary oil to be mentioned in the same sentence as minoxidil.

Massage it thoroughly

If you feel encouraged enough to use rosemary oil on your hair, you'll need both rosemary essential oil and a carrier oil. This oil dilutes the very potent essential oil and literally "carries" the oil to the skin. It does so without impugning the essential oil's therapeutic benefit (via Healthline).

Mix about five drops of rosemary essential oil with a few drops of any carrier oil. (Try coconut oil for a boost of moisture.) Massage the mixture into your scalp and leave it there for about 20 minutes before you shower. Then, shampoo your hair as usual.

Alternatively, you may wish to empty the mixture in your shampoo bottle. Then, you'll have an all-in-one hair treatment: shampoo and hair growth stimulator. However, the advantage of the previous method is that the mixture will sit in your hair, giving it time to absorb and benefit your scalp. You may wish to try rosemary oil both ways to see which you like better.

Either way, rosemary essential oil offers no money-back guarantees for hair growth. But like many people, you may find success with it -– and relate to why the ancient Greeks and others considered it their "wonder herb" (via Berkeley Horticultural Nursery).