Natural oil could ‘prevent hair loss and thinning’ – experts share why and when to use it

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Native to the Mediterranean region, rosemary is a versatile and popular herb used in foods and aromatherapy, as well as medicines. It might not have been the first oil to come to mind when choosing a good treatment for hair, but studies are increasingly uncovering the long list of benefits it can have on your scalp.

Using rosemary oil on hair has rapidly become a trend on Instagram and TikTok, where many claim it is a product which can prevent hair loss and stimulate growth.

However, considered sacred by the ancient Greeks, Egyptians, Hebrews, and Romans, rosemary oil has actually been used for similar purposes for centuries.

As well as using the herb to ward off evil, “improve memory”, and as protection against plagues, folk medicine has used rosemary oil for thousands of years for its ability to heal, strengthen, and relieve symptoms.

Why is rosemary oil good for hair?

Nicole Petty, haircare expert at Milk + Blush told “Due to its high antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and anti-bacterial properties, rosemary is a great natural ingredient to use for growing, cleansing, and conditioning your hair.

“Studies have even found that rosemary essential oil is just as effective as minoxidil – otherwise known as Rogaine – for treating male and female pattern baldness.

“The ursolic acid in the rosemary works by strengthening circulation in the scalp to allow more oxygen and nutrients to the hair follicles.”

Saul Meskin, leading hair expert at Foxy Locks weighed in that while these properties “can help prevent hair loss and thinning”, it has also been known to help “repair tissue and nerve damage in the scalp, which will leave your hair and scalp healthier.”

Mr Meskin continued: “It’s a natural product and you are not putting harsh chemicals into your body which is a bonus.

“Not many hair professionals will recommend trying Rosemary oil as most will opt for the better-known oils such as coconut or argan oil, but due to the list of benefits it has, it is definitely worth a try.”

How can I use rosemary oil on my hair?

Although the thought of a natural oil sounds wondrous and harmless, there are a few steps you should take before applying it to avoid irritation.

Ms Petty said: “Before you start putting rosemary essential oil on your scalp, it first needs to be diluted with a carrier oil such as jojoba, coconut or olive oil to limit potential discomfort or irritation on sensitive skin.

“If you fancy trying your hand at creating your own solution, fill a jar with rosemary sprigs and carrier oil of your choice and leave to rest for a few hours before gently massaging onto the scalp. You can also add a sprig of lavender for extra fragrance.

“Apply approximately five drops of oil to your scalp and leave it to absorb throughout the day.”

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However, if you don’t want to risk a greasy scalp, you can always leave it masking your scalp for 10 minutes before rinsing it out with shampoo.

Ms Petty continued: “Alternatively, apply the oil before bed and leave it overnight as a scalp treatment or add a few drops into your shampoo and use as normal.”

How often can I use rosemary oil on my scalp?

Mr Meskin said: “It is recommended to use it one to two times per week at first, and you can build up to using it daily if no irritation forms – you only need approximately five drops per use.

“This can be used by people with all different hair types and textures as the oil targets the hair follicle rather than the hair strand.

“It’s suitable for coloured hair and will not react with the chemicals in the colour due to the oil being made up of a natural product.

“It can also be used on sensitive skin, but if you are ever unsure it is best to apply a small amount of oil to your skin to test for allergic reactions first before applying it to the scalp.”

For those using rosemary oil more often, Ms Petty advises: “Be sure to use a high-quality clarifying shampoo once a week to remove any build-up of oils and stay consistent to see results.”

TikTok users have also been raving about rosemary water, which you can use in combination with your rosemary oil scalp treatments.

To do this, Ms Petty said: “Simply bring a pot of water to boil with a few sprigs of rosemary and allow it to steep for a minimum of 20 minutes. Once cool, you can use the solution as a post-shampoo rinse or fill a spray bottle and give damp hair a spritz before drying.”

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