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The internet hails this essential oil for its supposed hair growth and anti-dandruff benefits. Image Credit: Shutterstock

In recent years, rosemary has become the choicest hair herb, ousting the more traditional coconut and argan hair oils. The internet hails this essential oil for its supposed hair growth and anti-dandruff benefits, and the trend took off more so because it's an inexpensive natural remedy for anyone on a budget.

People suffering from thinning strands, a receding hairline and hair fall took to TikTok to document their progress. Whether they rubbed in Mielle's fan-favourite rosemary product or their homemade diluted mix, the herb brought some results to the table. But what do the doctors say?

Rosemary is all the things we love - it's anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antifungal - and our expert confirms this. It's a great addition to your hair care routine, but not a one-stop solution to hair loss. You can find out more about what to expect below, since we spoke to Dr Zaheer Abbas, an aesthetic dermatologist at Skin111 Medical and Aesthetic Clinic in Dubai, home to various hair loss treatments like transplants and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) therapy.

Browse our list of rosemary oil products that can improve your scalp and hair health in the long run. Shop with an Amazon Prime membership for free, fast delivery.

1. Best Overall: Mielle Rosemary Mint Organics Set (5 Pieces)

Let's begin with the very item that kickstarted the rosemary hair trend on TikTok. Dr Abbas, too, highlights Mielle's Rosemary Mint hair oil, and our pick includes most of the products from the range so that you can try the hair-strengthening shampoo, hair masque, styling creme and edge gel, as well. This line-up is infused with biotin and targets weak, brittle strands for a healthier scalp and stronger hair. The hair oil comes diluted with over 30 essential oils, such as castor seed, jojoba and coconut, so it can be applied directly, whether as a leave-in or before shampooing. Reviewers report back faster hair growth and less of itching and hair fall. The bundle is especially great for people with coarse, curly hair.

2. Best Undiluted Oil: Edens Garden Rosemary Around The World Essential Oil

If you plan on mixing your own concoction, then Dr Abbas says the Edens Garden pure rosemary oil is a well-known product to start with. Sourced from five different farms across the world and hand-poured, this essential oil harnesses the best rosemary oils to create the perfect blend. Reviewers attest to adding a few drops to their regular shampoo to combat thinning hair and get noticeable results. Others love the natural scent of the oil, using it in diffusers to keep pests away and leave the air smelling fresh. For more on how to safely dilute the oil, check out tips from our expert below.

3. Best Shampoo and Conditioner: Aromatica Rosemary Scalp Scaling Shampoo and Conditioner

The fastest way to incorporate rosemary into your hair routine is by swapping your shampoo and conditioner. Besides Mielle, Aromatica offers both bottles infused with rosemary essential oil, featuring a 32.7 per cent extract of the herb. The scalp scaling shampoo eliminates build-up around the hair follicles, reducing flaking and itching, so that your scalp can continue to grow thick, healthy hair. It also features another active, salicylic acid, for breaking down skin cells and exfoliating any clogged pores. Five-star reviewers come back to shop for more, saying how clean their scalp feels without taking away moisture. Some suggest keeping the duo in your rotation once a week because of the shampoo's exfoliating nature.

4. Best Leave-In: Carol's Daughter Black Vanilla Moisturising Leave-In Conditioner Spray

A hydrating leave-in conditioner will moisturise your locks, lay down flyaways and refresh curls. The added rosemary extract is simply the cherry on top. Carol's Daughter Black Vanilla spray is made with this hair-strengthening ingredient plus castor oil, soy protein, vitamin B5 and aloe. It's formulated for curly hair types 2 to 4, which tend to be naturally dry and benefit greatly from a hydrating routine post-shower. Some get even better results with a regular hair oil mixed into their application, before styling or blow-drying.

5. Best Diluted Oil: Kiehl's Magic Elixir Hair Conditioning Concentrate

Another pre-diluted oil is the Magic Elixir concentrate by Kiehl's. A blend of rosemary leaf extract, avocado oil, safflower oil and many more natural properties, this lightweight hair oil nourishes the scalp and the strands before shampooing. The formula contains naturally sourced amino acids, omega essential fatty acids and vitamin E to improve manageability, soften hair and promote a healthy scalp environment. According to the brand instructions, you need only wait 10 minutes before shampooing it off. Those with dry scalp in the reviews say that it's done wonders for them. Others leave it on overnight to get the most out of the product.

6. Best Mask: Camille Rose Rosemary Oil 5-Minute Deep Strengthening Mask

Use a hair mask once a week to deep-condition and strengthen your strands, especially with a product that contains rosemary oil. The Camille Rose mask is meant to go on freshly washed hair for five minutes and then rinsed off. Other beneficial ingredients include peppermint oil to control oil production, horsetail leaf extract to improve cell turnover and yucca leaf extract to fight oxidative stress. According to buyers, a little product goes a long way, otherwise, it becomes challenging to rinse off.

7. Best Treatment: Weleda Revitalising Hair Tonic  

For a more treatment-based approach, try Weleda's 1921 hair tonic. Formulated for thinning hair and hair loss, the hair tonic stimulates blood circulation with rosemary oil, while stonecrop and horseradish extracts reduce inflammation and microbial growth on the scalp. You can massage the tonic into the scalp twice a day. Impressed reviewers say they've noticed regrowth in spots that were prone to hair fall, and others see fewer strands in their brush. Some users also find it a good way to maintain their regrowth after a hair transplant.

Does rosemary hair oil actually help with hair growth?

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From soothing inflammation of the scalp to protecting cells and improving blood circulation, the herbal oil is effective in theory. Image Credit: Pexels/Ogo

Rosemary's well-touted properties aid in hair growth in some way or the other. From soothing inflammation of the scalp to protecting cells and improving blood circulation, the herbal oil is effective in theory. As of yet, we don't have enough studies to guarantee its efficacy in hair loss, says Dr Abbas.

The only FDA (US Food and Drug Administration) approved treatments for hair loss are minoxidil and finasteride. The former increases blood flow while the latter inhibits the hormone that's the root cause of androgenetic alopecia.

"When testosterone reaches the scalp area and converts into DHT (dihydrotestosterone), it causes male-pattern hair loss. If we can stop this process, then we've stopped androgenetic alopecia. Rosemary has a similar ability to inhibit testosterone according to a 2015 study conducted in Iran, but we don't have any other study that could make more comparisons between clinical treatments," explained Dr Abbas.

The DHT-blocking effects from rosemary are milder and can't replace hair treatments in the doctor's office. The herb does cause "vasodilation of the capillaries", meaning it boosts blood circulation in the scalp to promote hair growth. If you've tried rosemary hair oil and had great results in the past, then there's no harm in continuing.

"It's a cheap, simple product to add to your hair routine, but always consult with a dermatologist before using. There are more than 10 types of hair diseases, not just alopecia, and using home treatments can delay the actual treatment," cautioned Dr Abbas.

That said, rosemary oil is antifungal as well, which means it can counteract the yeast malessezia on the scalp to reduce dandruff. The essential oil, like tea tree, can also be used in between medicated products to maintain your results.

What is the best way to use rosemary oil for the hair?

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The easiest way to incorporate the herb into your hair routine is to look for pre-mixed hair oils, shampoos and masks by reputable beauty brands. Image Credit: Shutterstock

If you have a bottle of pure, unadulterated rosemary oil, then you need to dilute it before using it as a hair oil. Dr Abbas said: "We should never use 100 per cent rosemary oil directly, as it's very drying and astringent. Instead, we can add two to three drops of the oil to every 10ml of carrier oil like argan, coconut or jojoba."

It can be spot-applied to affected areas on the scalp or all over in case of dandruff. "Apply two to three times per week for a maximum of 30 minutes initially to avoid inflammation, and if you feel like your skin is getting used to it, you can increase application to every night even for overnight use," he added.

Rosemary's natural properties will take time to show results, which is why it can be up to six months before you notice any difference. The easiest way to incorporate the herb into your hair routine is to look for pre-mixed hair oils, shampoos and masks by reputable beauty brands.

Our recommendations are independently chosen by Gulf News editors. If you decide to shop through links on our website, we may earn an affiliate commission, as we are part of Amazon Services LLC Associates Program.