Rosemary Oil Just May Be the Holy Grail Of Essential Oils

Experts break down all the benefits.

CLEAN SLATE: Rosemary oil for hair

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Essential oils are packed with many benefits for our hair, but none is more sought after than rosemary oil. Apart from being found as a mainstay ingredient in countless hair products, it’s also gone viral all over everyone’s favorite source for beauty inspo (aka TikTok). 

According to Marisa Garshick, MD, a board-certified dermatologist at MDCS Dermatology, rosemary oil is an oil derived from a plant most commonly found in the Mediterranean region: the Rosmarinus officinalis plant. Dr. Garshick says that rosemary oil works as an anti-inflammatory antioxidant that has antimicrobial properties.  

So, how exactly does rosemary oil benefit our hair? Are there any downsides? How can we incorporate it into our hair routine? Consider this your complete guide to the popular essential oil. Below, the experts explain why you should consider using this if you want strong and thick hair. 

What are the benefits of using rosemary oil on your hair?

When it comes to hair growth and overall hair health, rosemary oil has some proven benefits. Dr. Garshick says some studies have shown that it can produce similar results to hair growth medication minoxidil after six months. Other benefits of rosemary oil, she says, include reducing hair damage and breakage.

New York City-based board-certified dermatologist Hadley King, MD, agrees and adds that rosemary oil can help reduce dandruff, scalp acne and other types of redness and irritation thanks to it’s antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties. 

It can be used for all hair types, but Dr. Garshick says that it is especially beneficial for those dealing with hair loss, breakage, or shedding.

Are there any potential side effects of using rosemary oil on your hair?

Dr. King says that rosemary oil can be an irritant and allergic contact dermatitis is possible when using. Dr. Garshick adds that it can take time and consistency to show any results, with some studies showing that it can take up to six months to reap any of its visits. Larger studies also still need to be done to show its true efficacy. And while it is suitable for all hair types, she says it can weigh down thin or fine hair. So, just like any new ingredient you’re introducing to your routine, be careful and start off slowly to gauge if your hair and skin can take it. 

How to use rosemary oil on your hair:

Both Dr. Garshick and Dr. King say that pure rosemary oil can be applied directly on hair or scalp for maximum benefits. Dr. King says that you only need a small amount to massage the scalp. If you’re using it on hair, she says you can apply it to the ends. 

Dr. Garshick also recommends mixing rosemary oil with a carrier oil if you’re going to apply it directly on to help support hair growth.  

Rosemary oil can also be incorporated as an ingredient in many hair and scalp products. Garshick’s pick includes the viral Mielle Rosemary Mint Scalp And Hair Strengthening Oil, which she says boosts circulation and helps stimulate hair follicles for hair growth, and the Kiehl’s Magic Elixir Hair Restructuring Concentrate, which uses rosemary and avocado oil to nourish and improve the overall health of the hair and scalp. Dr. King likes Carter+Jane’s ScalpFix, which she says mixes rosemary oil with peppermint oil to remove excess oil and soothe redness and irritation. She also loves it because it has antimicrobial properties and is microbiome friendly. 

From non-toxic makeup and skincare to sustainability practices, Clean Slate is an exploration of all things in the green beauty space. Find out what's really in your products — and what's being left out.

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