Research on rosemary oil for hair growth is still in its infancy, so there is no way of being sure if rosemary oil will work for everyone or not. However, this natural remedy may be safer and less likely to cause side effects than some hair growth medications.
In this article, ways of trying rosemary oil as a home remedy for hair loss are discussed and explained.
- The most common type of hair loss in men and women is called androgenetic alopecia.
- Studies have not shown that rosemary oil works better than conventional treatments.
- Rosemary oil is an alternative for people who cannot use conventional treatments or worry about side effects.
- Rosemary oil’s ability to affect hair loss depends on its cause.
Does rosemary oil work for hair growth?
Rosemary oil has been shown to have some effectiveness in supporting hair growth, although it may not be able to replace medical treatments.
People lose their hair for many reasons, including infections, immune system reactions, age, hormonal shifts, and inherited hair loss conditions.
There is no evidence that rosemary can stop hair loss due to chemotherapy or other drugs or hair loss caused by chronic hair pulling.
Studies do, however, show that the herb can reverse some of the most common forms of hair loss.
Male pattern baldness (MPB) is a form of hair loss that occurs when a byproduct of testosterone called dihydrotestosterone (DHT) attacks the hair follicles.
Both men and women produce testosterone, but men typically produce more testosterone than women, so hair loss in men can occur more often, at an earlier age, and more extensively.
Rosemary oil may help with this type of hair loss. A 2013 study of mice with testosterone-related hair loss found that rosemary oil could regrow their hair. Although the study is not conclusive, its authors theorize that rosemary oil might prevent DHT from binding to hormone receptors that enable it to attack the hair follicles.
A 2015 study compared rosemary oil to minoxidil, a popular hair regrowth treatment. People with DHT-related hair loss received either rosemary oil or minoxidil for 6 months.
At 3 months, neither group had more hair. By 6 months, both groups saw significant increases in hair growth.
The group that was treated with rosemary oil had more hair growth than the minoxidil group, but the difference was not statistically significant. This result suggests that rosemary oil may promote hair growth but only in the long term.
In the same study, scalp-itching was more common in the group that received minoxidil, so rosemary oil could be a better option for people with a history of allergies or skin irritation.
A small body of research suggests that rosemary oil might also reverse other forms of hair loss.
Some studies, including a study published in 2017, have found that rosemary oil may kill some fungi and bacteria. So, when hair loss is due to an infection or unhealthy scalp, rosemary oil might help.
There is no evidence, however, that rosemary oil should replace standard treatments.
Alopecia areata is an autoimmune disorder that can cause hair loss. Research published in 1998 looked at the effect of aromatherapy using rosemary oil on people with the condition. Some 44 percent of participants improved with the use of rosemary over 7 months, compared to just 15 percent who received no treatment.
It is also possible that rosemary oil might enhance the effectiveness of conventional treatments, but no studies have tested the validity of this idea.
Similarly, there has been no analysis of whether rosemary oil is safe to use alongside minoxidil or other hair growth drugs.
Anyone using minoxidil or other hair regrowth treatments should check with their doctor before using rosemary oil shampoo alongside.
Can rosemary oil prevent hair loss?
No studies into rosemary oil have proven its effectiveness in preventing hair loss.
People concerned about hair loss might hope that rosemary oil will prevent their hair loss before it begins. But they should be aware that no research to date has directly tested this idea.
Nevertheless, if rosemary oil can counteract the effects of DHT, it might be a useful hair loss prevention treatment in families with a history of baldness.
A 2016 study found that rosemary affected blood circulation and skin health in rats. If the same were true of humans, then rosemary oil might prevent hair loss by improving hair and scalp health.
How to use rosemary oil
Rosemary oil is a natural remedy, but that does not mean it is safe in all concentrations or for all people. Consequently, there are several things that people should remember before they use rosemary oil.
Rosemary oil safety
Women who are pregnant or breastfeeding should not use rosemary oil unless a doctor advises them otherwise.
People should also avoid getting rosemary oil in their eyes or mouths, and should keep it out of reach of children.
There is no also evidence that rosemary oil works for childhood hair loss or that it is safe to use on children’s scalps.
How to use rosemary oil for hair loss
The easiest way to use rosemary oil is to try a shampoo with a high concentration of rosemary oil.
It is also possible to make rosemary shampoo at home. Simply add 10-12 drops of rosemary oil to a shampoo, and wash the hair daily.
In theory, applying rosemary oil to the scalp, and leaving it on for longer periods, could enhance its effects.
To make a rosemary oil solution, people can try diluting a drop or two of rosemary oil in a carrier oil, then applying it to the scalp overnight.
To make rosemary concentrate at home, a handful or two of dried rosemary leaves can be added to a quart of distilled water that has been boiled. The mixture should then be allowed to steep for at least 5 hours. Longer steeping times will produce higher concentrations.
To use the mixture as a shampoo, it can be mixed with Castile soap at a ratio of 4 parts soap to 1 part rosemary concentrate. It is also safe to apply a few drops directly to the scalp, but only when the mixture has cooled and always after doing a patch test to check for any allergic reactions.
Rosemary oil can take several months to work, so its use requires diligence and repetition. To measure progress, a person can try counting the number of hairs in a small region on the head.
Hair growth is notoriously slow, so finding a way to track it makes it easier to assess whether the oil is working or not.