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rosemary essential oil

Rosemary oil for hair: Benefits & uses

16 May 2023 • 3 min read

Most of us are used to popping a sprig or two of rosemary in our roast dinner, but aside from the cooking connection, it’s thought to be a very versatile herb with wellness and beauty benefits too.

There’s a lot of buzz online about the alleged benefits of rosemary oil for your hair, with views of the #rosemaryoil hashtag being viewed billions of times on TikTok, online searches for ‘rosemary oil’ increasing 300% compared to last year and even an increase in searches on our own site, as shown in our wellness trends report.1,2

But what does rosemary oil actually do, and how do you use it? We’ll dive into the details in this article.

What is rosemary oil?

Essential oils have been used throughout history for their wide range of anecdotal benefits, like helping you sleep, easing anxiety, pain relief, and adding shine to your hair.3,4,5,6

Rosemary essential oil is made from the rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis) shrub, an evergreen plant characterised by its needle-like leaves and woody fragrance. As with most essential oils, rosemary oil is extracted from the leaves and yellow flowers of rosemary shrubs, with hydrodistillation being one of the best ways to do this. The plant material is completely immersed in water before being heated - the steam carrying the essential oils is then collected, condensed, and separated.8

While these shrubs may be native to the Mediterranean – Tunisia, Morocco, and France - they can be found growing in the UK, Mexico, America, and northern Africa.9

The benefits of rosemary oil for hair

The benefits of rosemary oil for hair

When it comes to rosemary oil for hair and scalp, there are a host of recounted benefits, from encouraging healthy hair growth to soothing properties.10

Here are just four of the top potential rosemary oil benefits for your hair and scalp: 
  1. May support your hair growth journey: Using rosemary oil for hair growth is something that’s been researched, with one study in rats and other experimental animals showing that rosemary oil may be beneficial in treating hair loss.11
  2. May soothe: Is your scalp feeling itchy and driving you mad? It turns out that rosemary oil may be able to help. A study from 2015 found that those who used rosemary oil felt an improvement in their scalp itchiness.12
  3. Dandruff control: One review of literature examined studies involving oils for dandruff management. The authors concluded that there is a lot of potential for oils to help with dandruff control but more research is needed.11,13
Read more: The best essential oils for skin & hair

How to use rosemary oil for your hair

There are so many ways you can use rosemary oil for your hair, from massaging it into your scalp to adding it to your shampoo, but you should always make sure that you follow the instructions on the label before using it.

1. Mix it with a carrier oil

Whether you’re using rosemary oil to help with your hair growth journey or just to maintain healthy-looking hair, one of the most popular ways to use rosemary oil for hair is to massage it into your scalp.

However, you should always mix your rosemary oil designed and formulated for topical use with a carrier oil first. Follow the directions on the label for dilution guidelines. As is the case with most oils, diluting rosemary oil helps to reduce its potency and means it is less likely to irritate your skin, or we recommend buying a rosemary-infused hair oil which is made specifically for this purpose.14

Carrier oils are plant oils like argan, jojoba, and almond oil. Argan oil is a popular choice as it suits many different hair types, but if you have fine hair and are looking for a lighter oil, you could choose grapeseed instead. Some rosemary oil products may already be diluted, so always check the label!

2. Blend it with your shampoo

You can try adding a few drops of topical rosemary oil after diluting it to your shampoo or conditioner before using it as normal. You only need a few drops of rosemary oil in your shampoo, and you should always wash your hair thoroughly to rinse it out well.

3. Make rosemary water

Using rosemary water is an alternative way to introduce rosemary oil to your hair care routine. You can even pop it into a handy spray bottle to make applying it even easier.

If you’re wondering how to make rosemary water, it’s easy! All you need is to mix 10 to 15 drops of topical use rosemary oil with around 750ml of boiling water. Let it cool, and apply it to your hair and scalp.

4. Buy pre-made hair oils with rosemary

You’ll find a lot of hair oils with rosemary on the market, too. So, if mixing your own rosemary oil products isn’t for you, you could try these instead! Some of our favourites include this Weleda Rosemary Revitalising Hair Tonic and this Nature Spell Rosemary Oil for Hair.

Rosemary Oil FAQS

How often can you use rosemary oil on your hair?

Rosemary oil can be used daily, but it is best to build up to using it every day by starting with a small amount once or twice a week. If you find you are experiencing some sensitivity, discontinue use and check in with your medical professional for personalised advice.

Does Rosemary oil have any side effects?

There are always precautions you should take when using any product. Special precautionary information and instructions for use should always be followed. This information can be found on the container and packaging or a leaflet.

If you experience any irritation, you should stop using it immediately and contact a health professional.

If you’re pregnant or breastfeeding, you should get confirmation from your doctor as to whether it is safe for you to use.

How can I make sure to use rosemary oil safely?

  1. Always do a patch test and use an oil specifically designed and formulated for topical use 
  2. Make sure you follow the manufacturer’s guidelines on how to use it.

What are other ways of using rosemary oil?

  1. Apply it: Mix topical use rosemary with other oils such as jojoba oil, and then apply it to the soles of your feet or other parts of your body.
  2. Diffuse it: Put 8 to 10 drops into a diffuser and breathe in the herby, earthy, and slightly citrusy scent. 
  3. Bathe in it: Run a warm bath and add 4 to 6 drops of rosemary oil. Then relax in the bath for at least 10 minutes to allow the aroma to work.


1. Google Trends. Google Trends [Internet]. Google Trends. 2015 [cited 2023 Dec 19]. Available from: https://trends.google.com/trends/explore?date=2022-11-11%202023-11-11,2021-11-11%202022-11-11&geo=GB,GB&q=rosemary%20oil,rosemary%20oil&hl=en-GB
2. TikTok - Make Your Day [Internet]. Tiktok.com. 2023 [cited 2023 Dec 19]. Available from: https://www.tiktok.com/tag/rosemaryoil 3. RN Ezgi Karadag, RN Sevgin Samancioglu, RN Dilek Ozden, Bakir E. Effects of aromatherapy on sleep quality and anxiety of patients. Nursing in Critical Care [Internet]. 2015 Jul 27 [cited 2023 Dec 19];22(2):105–12. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26211735/
4. de P, de P, Luciana Nalone Andrade, Andreatini R. A Systematic Review of the Anxiolytic-Like Effects of Essential Oils in Animal Models. Molecules [Internet]. 2015 Oct 14 [cited 2023 Dec 19];20(10):18620–60. Available from: https://www.mdpi.com/1420-3049/20/10/18620
5. Scuteri D, Hamamura K, Sakurada T, Watanabe C, Sakurada S, Luigi Antonio Morrone, et al. Efficacy of Essential Oils in Pain: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis of Preclinical Evidence. Frontiers in Pharmacology [Internet]. 2021 Mar 1 [cited 2023 Dec 19];12. Available from: https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fphar.2021.640128/full
6. Mysore V, Arpita Arghya. Hair oils: Indigenous knowledge revisited. International Journal of Trichology [Internet]. 2022 Jan 1 [cited 2023 Dec 19];14(3):84–4. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC9231528/
7. Rosemary | Description, Plant, Spice, Uses, History, & Facts | Britannica. In: Encyclopædia Britannica [Internet]. 2024 [cited 2024 Jan 12]. Available from: https://www.britannica.com/plant/rosemary 
8. Han, Gu Z, Yang L, Yang R, Ji Y, Zeng Q, et al. Optimization extraction of rosemary essential oils using hydrodistillation with extraction kinetics analysis. Food Science and Nutrition [Internet]. 2021 Sep 16 [cited 2023 Dec 19];9(11):6069–77. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC8565215/
9. McCormick Science Institute. Rosemary | McCormick Science Institute [Internet]. McCormick Science Institute. 2021 [cited 2023 Dec 19]. Available from: https://www.mccormickscienceinstitute.com/resources/culinary-spices/herbs-spices/rosemary
10. Harries MJ, Sun J, Paus R, King LE. Management of alopecia areata. The BMJ [Internet]. 2010 Jul 23;341. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3230136/
11. Ana Zgonc Škulj, Poljšak N, Nina Kočevar Glavač, Kreft S. Herbal preparations for the treatment of hair loss. Archives of Dermatological Research [Internet]. 2019 Nov 3 [cited 2024 Feb 5];312(6):395–406. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31680216/
12. Panahi. Rosemary oil vs minoxidil 2% for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia: a randomized comparative trial. Skinmed [Internet]. 2015 [cited 2023 Dec 19];13(1). Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/25842469/
13. Jain S, Arora P, Lalit Mohan Nainwal. Essential Oils as Potential Source of Anti-dandruff Agents: A Review. Combinatorial Chemistry & High Throughput Screening [Internet]. 2022 Aug 1 [cited 2023 Dec 19];25(9):1411–26. Available from: https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/34254910/
14. Tisserand R. New Survey Reveals Dangers of Not Diluting Essential Oils - Tisserand Institute [Internet]. Tisserand Institute. 2015 [cited 2024 Jan 12]. Available from: https://tisserandinstitute.org/new-survey-reveals-dangers-of-not-diluting-essential-oils/


Laura Harcourt

Laura Harcourt


SEO Content Executive

Joined Holland & Barrett: March 2022


Laura brings her passion for health and wellness to life by creating engaging and informative content on the H&B Health Hub.

Her writing journey began during her studies at the University of Reading, where she discovered a love for content while writing lifestyle articles for the student newspaper. After graduation, Laura's experience in the health and beauty world further fueled her passion for the health and wellness industry.

Now, Laura tackles diverse health and wellness topics on the Health Hub, ranging from supporting those navigating menopause to exploring the fascinating world of adaptogenic mushrooms.

Outside of writing, you'll likely find her conquering her ever-growing Goodreads list, mastering the art of Pilates, or spending quality time with Winston, her golden cocker spaniel.
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