Rosemary water is the latest natural remedy to go viral for promoting hair growth. With staggering reports of increased hair growth and scalp health, does the scientific evidence support these claims? Learn how to make this simple, low-cost hair tonic at home to see if it works for you.
Rosemary for hair: hair growth's viral ingredient
As more and more people turn to natural alternatives for their beauty needs, one ingredient is making headlines in the world of hair growth: rosemary. This fragrant herb is known for its role in cooking, but its connection with hair growth is not too far-fetched. It has been used in traditional medicine for centuries to treat various conditions, including hair loss.
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Recently, rosemary water, a simple herb preparation, has gone viral for its potential hair-growth benefits. Its growing popularity is due to it being a simple, cost-effective DIY remedy for hair growth.
The hashtag #rosemarywater has accumulated an impressive 695 million views on TikTok, with countless videos showcasing successful results. These users report faster hair growth, new hair regrowth, and even improvements in dandruff control.
Yet with all the hype for rosemary's hair-growth benefits, does science back up these claims?
What is rosemary?
Rosemary, a woody, evergreen herb known scientifically as Salvia rosmarinus (previously Rosmarinus officinalis), belongs to the mint family, Lamiaceae. This perennial plant, native to the Mediterranean region, is characterized by its needle-like leaves and white flowers.
For centuries, its fragrant properties have enhanced our meals and served as a medicinal herb treating various health conditions. It has been used in folk medicine to treat ailments such as kidney stones and menstrual pain, as well as relieve symptoms caused by respiratory disorders and even hair loss.
Today, rosemary is not only used for flavoring food but also for its potential health benefits. People commonly use it believing it improves memory, aids in digestion, boosts the immune system, and stimulates hair growth. It is also widely used in essential oils, beauty products, cleaning supplies, and dietary supplements.
The science behind rosemary's benefits for hair
What contributes to rosemary's numerous benefits? It all comes down to the plant's powerful compounds responsible for its therapeutic abilities, including flavonoids, terpenes such as ursolic acid, oleanolic acid, carnosic acid, and carnosol, as well as phenolic compounds like caffeic acid and rosmarinic acid.
The combination of these compounds has been shown to exhibit anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and antioxidant activities, as well as increase blood flow and stimulate nerve growth. These effects make rosemary a promising therapy for various skin and health conditions.
What is rosemary water?
Rosemary water, sometimes called rosemary tea, is a simple concoction made from steeping rosemary leaves in hot water. The process is similar to making herbal tea. However, rosemary water must steep for longer to extract the beneficial compounds from the leaves fully.
This dark-colored rosemary-infused water can then be used in a variety of ways to support hair and scalp health.
How to make rosemary spray for hair
Rosemary water spray is surprisingly easy to make at home. With just two main ingredients — rosemary leaves and water — creating a unique hair growth concoction is simple.
Rosemary water ingredients
The recipe for rosemary water:
- Fresh or dried organic rosemary leaves (fresh is best; if using dried, opt for whole leaves)
- Distilled or filtered water
- Optional: mint leaves to add a pleasant aroma
The following recipe is only one of many, so feel free to play around and modify it. For example, using more herbs results in a more concentrated and potent mixture.
Rosemary water spray recipe
Once the ingredients are ready, follow these steps to make rosemary water spray:
- Thoroughly rinse a handful of fresh rosemary leaves and stems (about 12–24 sprigs).
- In a saucepan, bring four cups of water to a boil.
- Add the rosemary leaves to the boiling water, reduce the heat to low and simmer for 15–20 minutes. This process allows the beneficial properties of rosemary to infuse the water, turning the liquid darker. Cover the pot while simmering to minimize evaporation.
- Turn off the heat and let the concoction cool to room temperature.
- Strain the liquid into a container, discarding the leaves and stems. Pour the liquid into a clean container for storage. Some users prefer to use a spray bottle or a large mason jar for easier application.
One study on rosemary tea revealed that steeping rosemary leaves for 15 minutes extracts more beneficial properties than just steeping for 5 minutes. However, don't overdo it — steeping longer than the recommended time could diminish some beneficial compounds.
Storing rosemary water
For optimal results, store homemade rosemary water in the fridge and use it within a week. Proper handling helps to prevent bacterial growth.
Can rosemary water treat hair loss?
Two forms of rosemary are used for hair growth benefits: rosemary oil and rosemary water. Although there's limited research on rosemary water and hair growth, studies on the more potent rosemary oil show some promise. Two studies, in particular, suggest rosemary might help with hair growth.
One study found that after six months, rosemary oil was just as effective for treating androgenetic alopecia (male and female pattern baldness) as minoxidil, a common hair growth treatment branded and sold as Rogaine.
In another study, this time with mice, researchers found that rosemary extract may block a hormone known to cause hair loss — dihydrotestosterone (DHT). The results showed promising signs that rosemary may help promote hair growth in these cases.
While these findings are optimistic, more studies are needed to understand rosemary's role in hair growth, especially ones focusing on rosemary water. However, it's important to remember that since hair loss has various causes, rosemary water might not work for everyone.
How rosemary water may boost hair growth
Rosemary's potential to stimulate hair growth may be linked to the plant's numerous beneficial properties. Some key benefits include the following:
- Increased blood flow. Rosemary water may increase blood flow to the scalp, which provides oxygen and vital nutrients to hair follicles. This helps the follicles receive what they need for optimal growth.
- Anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation can inhibit hair growth and cause scalp irritation. Using rosemary water can help reduce inflammation and soothe the scalp.
- Antioxidant properties. Rosemary water may protect the scalp from damage caused by free radicals, such as UV damage and pollution, and help shield the hair follicles from oxidative stress.
- Stimulate nerve growth. Carnosic acid found in rosemary has been shown to promote nerve growth, which may help revitalize the nerves surrounding hair follicles.
Even though more research is needed, numerous users have reported positive results for hair growth with regular use of rosemary water.
Rosemary water for treating dandruff
In addition to potentially stimulating hair growth, some users find rosemary water helpful in treating and preventing dandruff and an itchy scalp. The anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and antifungal properties of rosemary might be the reason for this, especially since one of the causes of dandruff is yeast on the scalp.
Using rosemary water for hair growth
The following are some common ways of applying rosemary water:
|Apply the rosemary water directly to the scalp and gently massage it in.
This treatment can be left in for a few hours or even overnight.
|Leave-in hair rinse
|After shampooing and conditioning hair, soak the scalp with rosemary water as the final step of a hair-washing routine. Make sure to massage it into the scalp — do not rinse it out.
Remember, as with any DIY treatment, results vary. Therefore, monitor how the hair and scalp react to the rosemary water and adjust usage as needed.
Tips for using rosemary water
Here are some tips to help get the most out of rosemary water's potential benefits:
- Conduct a patch test. Although rosemary is natural, it can cause irritation for some. It is advised to do a patch test on a visible part of the scalp to check for any adverse reactions. Apply the rosemary water to the same spot for a couple of days in a row and observe for irritation. If irritation occurs, discontinue use.
- Focus on the scalp. The scalp is where rosemary exerts its hair growth benefits. Make sure to focus on the scalp when applying it and thoroughly massage it into this area. The longer the solution stays in contact with the skin, the better.
- Frequency of use. Given the limited research, it's difficult to recommend an ideal frequency of use. However, many users find applying it 2–4 times a week, or some even daily, works well for them.
- Patience and consistency are key. Hair growth is a slow process, so don't expect immediate results. For example, in the study comparing rosemary oil to minoxidil, noticeable changes appeared after six months.
Precautions and potential side effects
Rosemary is generally safe to use, and adverse reactions are rare. However, it's important to be aware of potential issues.
- Contact dermatitis. If symptoms of contact dermatitis, such as skin redness or irritation, appear, stop using rosemary water immediately and consult a healthcare provider.
- Allergy or hypersensitivity. Do not use with known allergies or hypersensitivity to rosemary or plants in the Lamiaceae or Labiatae family (mint).
- Pregnant or breastfeeding. Rosemary has potential hormone-altering activity and hasn't been extensively tested on pregnant and breastfeeding individuals. Because of this, it is not recommended during pregnancy or breastfeeding.
- Possible hair darkening. Some users have reported their hair darkening or staining due to the color of rosemary water. For lighter-colored hair or those concerned about potential staining, use fewer rosemary leaves to create a less concentrated infusion, or avoid using rosemary water.
Rosemary water is a potentially natural approach to promoting hair growth and improving scalp health. While more specific research is needed, initial studies and numerous anecdotal reports are promising. However, keep in mind that due to the many causes of hair loss, what works for one person may not work for another.
Rosemary water, derived from steeping rosemary leaves in hot water and then applied to the scalp, has been reported to increase hair growth.
Rosemary's compounds have anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and antioxidant properties and can boost circulation and nerve growth.
While research is limited, studies on rosemary oil suggest a possible positive effect on hair growth.
Rosemary water recipes are simple, affordable, and easy to make and apply at home.
Precautions for use: always patch test first; avoid if pregnant, breastfeeding, or allergic to rosemary; rosemary water may darken hair color.
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