I Added The TikTok-Famous Rosemary Oil To My Haircare Regimen And Here’s How It’s Going
Alix Earle claimed she saw tremendous hair growth in one month by using rosemary oil, so I’m ready to put it to the test.
If I were to hop on every beauty trend that starts to circulate on social media, not only would I probably go broke, but my body would likely respond quite negatively to all the new, clashing products. That said, when the right one comes along, I absolutely love trying new trends. When I saw TikTok it-girl Alix Earle’s audacious claims that rosemary oil gave her a tremendous amount of hair growth (after only one month at that!), I was intrigued.
Hair has always been a touchy topic for me, as I struggled with trichotillomania growing up (that's the compulsive desire to pull out your hair). I overcompensated for a lack of hair confidence by undergoing dramatic cuts and colors, but in recent years, I’ve been trying to naturally improve my hair quality and maintain timeless styles that suit a more feminine appearance. For these reasons, I decided I’d try this rosemary oil experiment and document my findings. As it turns out, there may be more to this simple herbal treatment than you’d think!
A Simple Herb Can Work Wonders
Recently, holistic plastic surgeon Anthony Youn, MD, made a viral TikTok video where he asserted that rosemary oil could potentially be as effective as minoxidil, the main ingredient in hair-growth products like Rogaine. Many men who have used Rogaine appreciate their hair growth results but share that the product causes an itchy scalp, among other side effects.
Rosemary, a culinary herb that has been used in healing and medicinal practices throughout history, has a peppery and energizing fragrance that lends itself well to aromatherapy. The herb’s aroma has been found to be beneficial for our nervous system, and some research has even suggested that rosemary oil could encourage similar effects as painkillers. It’s delicious, smells refreshing, and has genuinely been shown to support hair growth.
Rosemary oil (made from Rosmarinus officinalis L., the clinical strength medicinal plant) was put to the test in a 2015 trial against minoxidil 2% to see which was a stronger treatment for androgenic alopecia, a.k.a. male or female-pattern hair loss. At the three-month mark, there was no significant change in hair count growth between the patients using rosemary oil and those using minoxidil. However, at the six-month mark, both groups saw significant hair growth, as well as reduced signs of dry hair, greasy hair, and dandruff. The patients using minoxidil experienced more scalp itching than those using rosemary oil.
What’s more, another study performed on mice stated that rosemary leaf extract (not the essential oil) was a “promising crude drug for hair growth,” and two separate clinical reviews acknowledge just how powerful rosemary can be for natural hair growth. Additionally, it's believed that rosemary essential oil can help dry, itchy scalp, prevent dandruff, and even potentially premature graying. This is because rosemary oil is an anti-bacterial, antifungal agent and is high in carnosic acid, which experts say improves scalp health overall.
Here’s How to Use Rosemary for Your Hair
Everyone has a different preferred method for using rosemary oil to treat their hair, but no matter which method you use, it has to be a regular habit. Otherwise, you’ll never see any noticeable results! Technically speaking, you can use rosemary oil daily, but you don’t necessarily need to keep your hair oiled that often.
For my rosemary oil routine, I like to apply it directly to my roots and then work it through to the ends of my hair on wash days. Wash days for me happen every three or four days, so I like to oil my hair in the morning or afternoon, brush it up into a sleek bun, and then leave it until I’m ready to wash my hair later in the day. Some experts suggest rosemary oil should only be left on your head for about four to six hours, but I haven’t personally noticed any problems if I accidentally leave it on longer.
The verdict is undecided whether or not you need a “carrier oil” to use with rosemary oil. If you’d like to dilute the oil or add another one into your routine, mixing rosemary with carrier oils like almond, coconut, or pumpkin seed oil can be good for an added boost of care and to protect your hair and scalp if you feel the oil is too strong alone. Personally, I love spraying on extra coconut oil after rosemary oil for added sleekness (and amazing natural fragrance) to my wash-day bun.
Working from home, I feel quite lucky that I can do beauty treatments during the day, but not everyone is afforded that luxury. If that's the case, there are other ways you can incorporate rosemary oil into your hair care routine if spending extended periods of time with oils in your hair doesn’t quite fit into your lifestyle.
Try adding a few drops of rosemary oil to your shampoo before you wash your hair. There are also rosemary oil shampoos and haircare products that contain the oil, along with other growth-promoting ingredients, but your most effective treatment is the oil itself.
Now, I bet you’re interested in my results. I'm sorry to say, I don’t have enough updates yet to make lofty claims like Earle, who said she saw results after a month. I didn’t know ahead of time that the product could take up to six months for noticeable results, but I’m certainly willing to wait more than the two months I’ve been oiling. That said, my hair has felt smoother and stronger after washing, my scalp seems less dry, and I haven’t had any adverse reactions, so why not continue? I’ll keep my trust in the process and hopefully be happy with thicker, longer, and more luscious locks in the very near future.
These Are Your Top Rosemary Products if You’re Ready to Start
Have a local health food store you already frequent? I bet you’ll find rosemary oil in the beauty aisle there. Additionally, many beauty stores like Ulta or general merchandise retailers like Target and Amazon carry a wide variety of rosemary oil as a product or ingredient in popular hair care lines.
Personally, I like to keep it simple, so I opted to buy the TikTok-famous Mielle Organics Rosemary Mint Scalp and Strengthening Oil. I liked this one because it’s very affordable, doesn’t contain any sneaky ingredients, and can be found in many different retailers. Another inexpensive but well-reviewed find is Gya Labs Rosemary Essential Oil.
Mielle also makes a Rosemary Mint Strengthening Hair Mask, which could be a good product for you to try if you’re interested in the benefits of rosemary but don’t have as much time to spend with oil sitting in your hair.
Already got a signature hair mask you use in your hair care routine? Try a rosemary oil shampoo. Some of the top-rated shampoos that feature rosemary in their ingredient list are Mielle Rosemary Mint Strengthening Shampoo, AVEDA Rosemary Mint Purifying Shampoo, and Bondi Boost HG Shampoo for Thicker, Stronger, Fuller-Looking Hair.
Alas, Hair Oil Isn’t Safe From Gatekeeping
But wait, Andrea – you might find yourself thinking – I thought I heard there was a scandal about the Mielle brand of hair oil. You’d be right: When Alix Earle gave rosemary oil her glowing review, it sold out in many different retail locations. This rubbed some people the wrong way, given the history of Mielle Organics as a brand. Founded in 2014 by Monique Rodriguez, Mielle’s natural products gained a following among ladies with textured hair.
The rosemary oil in particular that Mielle became popular for isn’t meant to be exclusive to one race, but the brand does say that it’s deeply nourishing for 3A to 4C curl pattern hair, is safe to use on chemically-treated hair, and can be used in protective styles like braids and weaves. There’s no evidence that their products don’t work on other hair types, like my own, naturally wavy hair.
Once Alix Earle boasted her love for Mielle’s oil on TikTok, her comments section and many opinion columns flooded with concerns from black and brown women about the product selling out.
"Black women have legitimate reasons to side eye white folks 'discovering' Mielle hair oil," Carnegie Melon University professor Uju Anya shared on Twitter. "When brands BW [black women] single-handedly kept afloat start chasing white money, they raise prices, change formulas, and erase BW from their image."
One user on TikTok named Jianna Ewuresi explained that people felt upset because a top influencer like Earle passively mentioning rosemary oil creates product virality, creating difficulty for the ladies who have had Mielle as a staple in their hair care routine. More concerns were raised once Mielle Organics was acquired by P&G on January 11 out of fear of product reformulation and a black-owned company becoming acquired by a white-owned company.
Here’s the thing, though: No makeup, skin, or haircare product and no technique or tool should be deemed “off-limits” to anyone based on their immutable characteristics. I understand how refreshing it can feel to find something that’s made with your uniqueness in mind, but you shouldn’t feel offended if a product you love starts selling out. After all, gatekeeping a product based on race is a bit racist, isn’t it? I thought that hot girls don’t gatekeep beauty, and I certainly thought we’ve been encouraged to elevate black voices and businesses.
To me, it’s counterproductive if an entire race is discouraged from supporting a black-owned business. In their announcement that Rodriguez sold her company to P&G, Mielle wrote the celebratory statement that there was “another glass ceiling broken.” Maybe I’m crazy, but I was under the impression we’re supposed to celebrate this, not discourage it.
One author in Cosmopolitan who headlined her piece, “I Hate to Say It, but Sometimes #BuyBlack Means We Can’t Keep Black Brands for Ourselves,” expressed frustrations about Mielle being appropriated. She concludes by saying to let the product frenzy happen because “the joke's on them for not making educated decisions.” Again, where’s the proof that Mielle’s products don’t work on straight hair or my own naturally wavy hair?
Understandably, gatekeeping is rife on platforms like TikTok because of how quickly products go viral nowadays. There will always be a segment of people who want to keep their favorite products a secret, no matter if their motivation is to keep the product from selling out or not-so-nobly prevent others from achieving great results. Look, you’ve got your hidden gems, and I’ve got mine, but I’ll continue to be transparent about the products I love when asked because I’d prefer for my tried-and-true brands to thrive financially.
Inspired to start your hair regrowth journey? Having personally dealt with trichotillomania throughout my youth (and still battling the urge often to this day), I’m really happy to have a natural option for promoting hair growth. I’m not balding anywhere nor do I have any sparseness, but I can see this product being really beneficial for women with postpartum hair loss or anyone who is beginning to lose hair with age. Again, it’s no cure-all elixir from the gods, but it’s totally worth trying!
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