Using rosemary and other essential oils as a hair-health trick, a current TikTok craze says that massaging the plant extracts into your scalp and hair strands would promote growth, luster, and other positive hair-related effects. Influencers on the video-sharing platform are now promoting rosemary water, a homemade plant-based remedy for hair growth.
Videos using the hashtag #rosemarywater have received millions of views each, totaling 609.8 million. In several of the videos, influencers are shown flaunting their glossy, lustrous, and long locks while claiming that boiling water and rosemary leaves are the secrets to their hair’s good health.
In a 10-second video, while drenching her hair in a homemade mixture, @audreyvictoria (2.3M followers) declares that “rosemary water is the new rice water.” In a video with 2.2 million views, @beautybypriscila (21.5K followers) claims that her hair grew “half an inch” in a week after using rosemary water on it for seven days.
Hair influencer @jonathankmonroe (2.3M followers) says in one video that massaging rosemary water “particles” (rosemary water put into a silicone massage-bar mold and frozen) into your hair “can reduce hair loss and boost hair growth” and increase shine. The video has received a stunning 17 million views. “Make sure you hit your scalp to improve follicle circulation for maximum growth,” he continues.
Even scientific data, according to another user, @katyaniomi (195.8K followers), supports the usage of rosemary water for hair growth. In the video that has been seen over three million times, she claims, “A study has shown that this is comparable to 2 percent minoxidil.” One of the few substances that has been scientifically shown to promote hair growth and reduce hair loss is minoxidil.
However, just because rosemary water is popular on TikTok doesn’t imply it’s a foolproof method for enhancing hair growth and luster. We’ve seen similar hair-care fads spread quickly on social media over the years without solid scientific backing or extensive research demonstrating their effectiveness for all hair types or hair loss issues. As a result, it is not recommended to use TikTok for hair care recommendations instead of speaking with a board-certified dermatologist.
Read on to discover more about rosemary water, the science behind the claims, and whether or not you should include it in your hair-care regimen with this warning in mind.
Rosemary Water: What Is It?
According to Michelle F. Henry, MD, a board-certified dermatologist in New York City and clinical teacher of dermatology at Weill Cornell Medical College, rosemary water is made by steeping rosemary leaves in water, producing an infused beverage.
Niomi outlines the steps to produce rosemary water in her video: She says to begin by placing a pot over medium-high heat and adding 5 cups of water and 5 rosemary buds (1 bud for each cup of water). Once the water has boiled, leave it alone for 15 minutes. After 25 minutes, turn off the heat and let the mixture remain in the pot until it gets a “pinkish-reddish hue.” To remove the rosemary twigs, pour the completed beverage into a bottle. If properly maintained, the solution may be kept in the refrigerator and utilized for one to two weeks.
Some TikTokers advise pouring it over the head to completely cover the roots and scalp, while others advise spraying it. Niomi advises using a rinse as the final step in your shower hair-care routine.
What Professionals Have to Say About Rosemary Water for Healthy Hair
Is the wonder elixir that TikTokers are claiming rosemary water to be? What the experts said is as follows.
Possible Hair Growth Benefits of Rosemary Water
There is some evidence that the plant may have the ability to stimulate hair growth. In addition to the 2015 study Niomi mentioned, which found that after six months of use, rosemary oil was just as effective as 2 percent minoxidil, a smaller study from 2013 also supported the ability of rosemary leaf extract to encourage hair growth in people with androgenetic alopecia.
However, the strength of the essential oil or extract used in the research and DIY water varied significantly, according to Michelle Ornstein, an esthetician and the creator of Enessa Skincare in Los Angeles.
“The process of making an essential oil is to use professional, sterile equipment at controlled temperatures to achieve effective results, as opposed to boiling a plant that has had the nutrients cooked out of it with high temperatures and evaporation under conditions that are not uniform,” says Ornstein.
With essential oils, steam distillation is used to remove the highly concentrated oil from the plant without scorching it or turning it into “burned” oil. Hydrosol or hydrolat, a byproduct of the essential oil, is a water-based substance that, although being less concentrated than the essential oil and having many of the same advantages.
Ornstein continues by saying that the quality of the components also affects the efficacy of rosemary water or oil. In other words, they ought to come from trustworthy sources and be organic or wildcrafted, she explains.
Dr. Henry insists that additional study is required to show a direct connection, especially when considering the advantages of the stronger rosemary essential oil. The research that is now available is limited and in its early stages, therefore it cannot conclusively point to any long-term advantages. Furthermore, there are no studies in existence that particularly assess rosemary water’s efficacy for hair care.
It’s also vital to remember that the American Food and Drug Administration does not regulate essential oils. Before using any new essential oil or extract-based product, especially one that is handmade, directly to your hair and body, make sure to speak with a licensed aromatherapist or integrative practitioner.
Rosemary Water Could Benefit Your Scalp
The key to having healthy hair typically lies in having a healthy scalp, which rosemary oil may help with.
In the 2015 research noted above, rosemary oil users were less likely to report scalp itching than minoxidil users. According to Ornstein, rosemary oil is well-recognized for having strong antifungal and antibacterial characteristics and may be helpful in treating dandruff and other scalp issues.
Henry draws attention to the fact that there are few studies particularly examining the effects of rosemary oil on scalp health and those that do again concentrate on rosemary oil rather than rosemary water. To learn more about the possible connection between rosemary water and healthy scalps, research is required.
The Hair May Be Hydrated by Rosemary Water
Henry believes that the assertion that rosemary water moisturizes hair has little merit. “Rosemary itself doesn’t have inherent hydrating properties,” she claims. It may, however, help to moisturize hair and scalp generally “when used in conjunction with carrier oils or hair products.”
Again, there is no study on rosemary water specifically, but it is required to back up what TikTokers says.
Rosemary Water Shines Hair
While rosemary oil may temporarily boost hair shine when applied, Henry is skeptical that rosemary water may improve hair shine in the long run, and no study exists. “It may improve the appearance of the hair by adding a lustrous sheen, but the effect is temporary and may vary depending on individual hair characteristics,” she explains.
Who Should Try (and Avoid) the Rosemary Water Trend?
Most people with healthy hair and no scalp issues might benefit from including rosemary water in their hair care routine. In terms of negative effects, rosemary oil is usually regarded as safe for topical use.
However, Henry points out that some people may be allergic or sensitive to it. Some people may experience irritation and inflammation after applying rosemary oil to their scalp. Before doing anything new, it is important to get the advice of a professional aromatherapist, integrative doctor, or dermatologist. “A patch test is recommended before applying rosemary oil or water to the entire scalp or hair,” Henry adds.
Furthermore, overuse or high quantities of essential oils, such as rosemary oil, may cause skin irritation or allergic responses.
Individuals with specific hair or scalp issues should exercise caution. “It’s always recommended to consult with a healthcare professional or a dermatologist before trying any new product or treatment, particularly if there are underlying scalp conditions or sensitivities,” Henry notes.
Furthermore, anyone who is presently taking hair loss supplements or being treated for hair loss with drugs should avoid using rosemary oil or rosemary water, since some contraindications may emerge.
The Verdict on Rosemary Water for Hair Health
To summarize, while rosemary oil has been linked to a variety of hair-related advantages, scientific data supporting its efficacy is limited — and there is no scientific proof of rosemary water’s effects on hair health.
According to Henry, rosemary water may have some anecdotal benefits for scalp health, hair development, and hair look. “However, individual results may vary, and it’s important to consider personal hair characteristics, and potential allergies, and seek professional advice before trying any new hair-care trend,” she cautions.