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TikTokers love this ingredient for hair growth — and it’s expert-approved

A dermatologist shares how to use rosemary oil for hair growth.
Woman combing her hair with her fingers, in her bedroom
Vivian Le/ TODAY

If you've noticed that your hair hasn't been looking quite as full and voluminous as it once was, you're not alone. According to the Cleveland Clinic, it's estimated that more than 50% of women will experience noticeable hair loss — and there are so many reasons why it can happen. Everything from hormones to diet and stress can affect the appearance and quantity of your hair.

While there are plenty of great hair care products on the market that can help you get thicker and healthier locks, some come with a high price tag and a risk of skin irritation. But, there is a more natural and affordable option that may do the trick that many are thanking for restoring their locks.

One plastic surgeon previously went viral on TikTok after he posted a video saying that rosemary oil could be as effective as minoxidil (the star ingredient in Rogaine products). As evidence, he cited a 2015 study that showed that the essential oil had the same effect on growth as minoxidil and it was less likely to cause scalp itching or irritation. Since then, many other users have posted their own success stories on the app — and videos featuring the #rosemaryoil tag have garnered over 2.5 billion views.

So we tapped Dr. Michelle Henry, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City, to get all the details.

Does rosemary oil help with hair loss?

While there are a few essential oils that can help to stimulate hair growth, Henry said that rosemary oil tends to be a top choice. "Rosemary oil is equivalent to 2.5% minoxidil, which is pretty impressive," she said. "It's something that we can use during pregnancy or for patients who just don't want to use minoxidil or are intolerant to it," she said. Because it's non-toxic and tends to be well-tolerated with minimal side effects, so almost anyone could incorporate it into their routine. "It's safe to use as long as you appreciate the scent — which many do," she added.

While experts still aren't entirely sure how it works, the belief is that it improves circulation in the area, and that increased blood flow can lead to cellular turnover and growth, Henry said. As an added bonus, it's also anti-inflammatory, and because inflammation plays a big role in a lot of hair loss conditions, like central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia (CCCA) or alopecia areata, it can be a helpful tool in managing and treating those issues.

Gya Labs Rosemary Essential Oil

How to use rosemary oil for hair loss

To use it, Henry suggests mixing pure rosemary oil with a carrier oil (like grapeseed or coconut oil), which will help your skin better tolerate the ingredient.

How often to use rosemary oil for hair growth

Henry says you should massage the treatment onto your scalp twice per day.

Rosemary oil products for hair

Another option is to use products that feature the oil as an active ingredient, Henry said.

In case you are curious to try the trend, we're sharing 11 top-rated and editor-approved hair products with rosemary oil that you can add to your hair care routine to help give your locks a boost.

Aveeno Fresh Greens Blend Sulfate-Free Shampoo

Made with oats, rosemary oil, peppermint and cucumber, this shampoo promises to soothe your scalp and add moisture and volume to your hair. It has nearly 6,000 five-star reviews from shoppers who say that the formula has made their hair look and feel thicker and smoother.

L'Oréal Paris EverPure Moisture Sulfate Free Shampoo and Conditioner

Both the shampoo and conditioner in this set are said to be made with rosemary oil. Made to be used on color-treated hair, they're said to add moisture, softness and "luminous shine" to dry strands.

Weleda Rosemary Conditioning Hair Oil

According to reviewers, this hair oil is great for adding volume and moisture to your mane. "Totally transformed my hair," one reviewer wrote. To use, simply add a few drops to wet or dry hair and comb through. You only need to use a little at a time, so reviewers add that one bottle will last for a while

Kitsch Rosemary Oil for Hair & Scalp

SEO associate editor Fran Sales is a fan of this antioxidant-rich hair and scalp treatment, which features ingredients like rosemary, jojoba, castor and argan oils. Sales says that it helps keep her keep thin hair full-looking and healthy, and her scalp balanced, without irritating her skin. "I only need to leave it on for 10 minutes before I shower, so I usually put it on first thing in the morning, then make my coffee and a piece of toast, and then off to the shower I go. No residue left behind afterward!" Even better, she says that it smells good, too!

Aveda Rosemary Mint Purifying Shampoo

Along with rosemary, this shampoo features ingredients like micelles and white vinegar which help to remove product buildup without stripping your strands for healthy hair. "I have been using this shampoo for two years and absolutely love it," wrote one verified Amazon reviewer. "I have super fine/thin hair. Typical volume adding shampoos tend to make my hair dull and waxy. This rosemary mint shampoo cleans my hair really well and leaves it soft, shiny and full without the waxy feeling and dull look."

BosleyMD BosRevive Volumizing Shampoo

BosleyMD is well-known for creating effective hair loss solutions for both men and women. And this BosRevive Volumizing Shampoo is designed for people with non-color-treated hair who have noticeable thinning. In addition to rosemary, the cleansing shampoo also contains pumpkin seed extract and saw palmetto, two ingredients that the brand says can further help strengthen the hair follicles and inhibit hair shedding and encourage growth.

Kiehl's Magic Elixir Scalp & Hair Oil Treatment

The brand says this "magical mix" of serum is meant to be left on a dry scalp for 10 minutes before shampooing. It's infused with rosemary oil and avocado oil to keep the skin nourished and alleviate it from dryness and flaking. "I decided to get this after having 2 babies in 2 years, my hair was absolutely wretched after all of the hormone changes. I’ve used 3 times and I’ve already seen major improvements in my hair. It’s thicker, softer, shinier and my scalp doesn’t itch," wrote one Nordstrom reviewer.

JVN Complete Pre-Wash Scalp & Hair Strengthening Oil Treatment

According to JVN, this prewash scalp treatment can be used on all types of hair and will target dandruff, buildup and an itchy scalp. The star ingredient of Rosemary extract works with hemisqualane and turmeric to stimulate hair growth while keeping your skin and hair healthy and strong.

Pura D'Or Original Gold Label Anti-Thinning Biotin Shampoo

Not only is this shampoo an Amazon bestseller with nearly 16,000 five-star ratings, but it's also a TODAY shopper favorite. The formula, which promises to help reduce the appearance of hair thinning and breakage and increase volume of hair, is made with a blend of beneficial ingredients, including biotin and pumpkin seed, black cumin seed, argan and rosemary oils.

Bondi Boost Hair Growth Shampoo

Celebrity hairstylist Cheryl Bergamy previously recommended this rosemary oil-infused shampoo for people with thinning hair. It's said to be packed with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and amino acids that she says revitalize the hair shaft, as well plus gentle cleansers to help whisk away scalp buildup.

What is the Mielle Rosemary Oil controversy?

Mielle Organics Rosemary Mint Scalp & Hair Strengthening Oil

One popular rosemary oil product on the market is the Mielle Organics Rosemary Mint Scalp & Hair Strengthening Oil. Mielle Organics is a Black-owned beauty brand founded by Monique Rodriguez in 2014. According to the company, it creates products designed to promote the health and maintenance of natural hair. This rosemary hair oil is one of the brand's bestsellers, and is designed to "deeply nourish" 3A to 4C, chemically-treated hair, braids, weaves and both low and high porosity level hair, the brand says. It feature ingredients like jojoba oil, rosemary oil and castor oil.

Recently, the product gained a new following on TikTok after one popular influencer listed it as one of her top Amazon purchases of 2022. And as a result, many Black and brown women took to the comments section of the post to voice their concerns about the product selling out, changing or increasing in price as a result, and therefore becoming harder to obtain by its target audience. "The natural hair product section is so small, y’all have hundreds of brands catered to your hair and we have about 10 that actually work," one user wrote.

"Black women have legitimate reasons to side eye white folks 'discovering' Mielle hair oil," Uju Anya, a professor in the department of modern languages at Carnegie Mellon University 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."

Following the internet discussion, Rodriguez released a statement saying that saying that the company would not be making any changes to the formula. "My journey with Mielle started from a place of creating the product I wasn't finding in the marketplace," she shared. "We remain forever committed to developing quality, efficacious products that address the need states for our customers' hair types!"