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Rosemary Water For Hair Growth: DIY Recipes & How-To's

Hannah Frye
Author:
June 05, 2023
Hannah Frye
Assistant Beauty & Health Editor
By Hannah Frye
Assistant Beauty & Health Editor
Hannah Frye is the Assistant Beauty Editor at mindbodygreen. She has a B.S. in journalism and a minor in women’s, gender, and queer studies from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. Hannah has written across lifestyle sections including health, wellness, sustainability, personal development, and more.
June 05, 2023
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Hair growth is always a hot topic in the beauty space, especially with the many DIY options available. Rosemary, in particular, has exploded in popularity lately, thanks to recent research that points to its benefit. 

However, most DIY recipes call for a rich oil blend to distribute the botanical, which isn't for everyone. However, there are more options out there, including rosemary water. To come, how it compares and how to make it, from experts. 

Rosemary and hair growth

First, let's review the science behind the benefit. Most notably, a 2015 randomized comparative trial found that rosemary essential oil was just as effective1 as minoxidil (the active ingredient in many commercial hair-growth products) for reversing hair loss caused by androgens—also known as male- or female-pattern baldness—after six months. 

What's more, the minoxidil had a higher rate of itching and discomfort on the skin (think itch, irritation, sensitivity, etc.)—rosemary, however, did not. 

Perhaps that's why holistic plastic surgeon Anthony Youn, M.D., deemed the blend "a very reasonable option for people who want to stay natural and have some thinning hair issues" on the mindbodygreen podcast

DIY rosemary water recipe

Now let's get right into logistics. Below, what you'll need and how to make rosemary water for hair growth in your very own kitchen. First, we'll cover how to do this with the rosemary plant and then an option for those who prefer to use essential oil instead. 

What you'll need: Fresh rosemary water

  • Fresh rosemary sprigs 
  • A cooking pot
  • Reusable spray bottle (perhaps an old one repurposed)
  • Optional: A funnel

How to: Fresh rosemary water

  1. Measure your water: Fill your spray bottle with filtered water, and dump that into your pot. Then, fill up the bottle ¼ of the way with filtered water again and pour it in—this way, your bottle will be completely full at the end, even if a little bit cooks off. 
  2. Boil: Once you have your water in the pot, let it heat up until it begins to boil. 
  3. Take it off & add your sprigs: Once your water boils, take it off the heat and pop in your sprigs of rosemary. Start with five rosemary sprigs and work your way up if your container is larger than about 2 cups. 
  4. Strain: Next, pour your water into the spray bottle you'll be using. This will probably be easiest if you use a funnel, but that depends on the size of your bottle.

What you'll need: Essential oil rosemary water

  • Rosemary essential oil
  • Reusable spray bottle (perhaps an old one repurposed)

How to: Essential oil rosemary water

  • Make your mix: This is the easiest recipe ever—just put your rosemary essential oil in your spray bottle and dilute it with water. "I always recommend a 1 to 2% dilution of essential oil. This equates to six to 12 drops of essential oil for every fluid ounce," says certified trichologist and founder of alodia Isfahan Chambers-Harris, Ph.D.

How to use rosemary water

Once you have your rosemary water made, it's time to put it to good use. Below, a few ideas to consider:

1.

A cold hair refresher

"For the summer months, I suggest storing the bottle in the refrigerator for an extra cool boost," says trichologist and founder of Colour Collective Kerry Yates. This will ensure your scalp gets the proper cool-down it needs post-sun exposure.

2.

Before bed

For the best hair growth results, consistency is key. Keep your rosemary water spray by the rest of your hair or skin care products, and spritz it on the scalp nightly. You don't need to soak your scalp, but be sure to spread out the product so no area of concern goes untouched. 

3.

After you wash your hair

For some folks, getting their scalp wet in between washes just isn't ideal—which is fair. If this is the case, just apply your rosemary water to the scalp after you wash your hair and let it dry. Since it's not an oil-based formula, it shouldn't make your locks greasy. 

Rosemary oil vs. rosemary water

Whether you opt for rosemary water or rosemary oil, you'll get the growth benefits. The difference is simply what base the rosemary is in—oil or water. Those with a dry scalp will benefit more from rosemary oil, while those prone to greasy roots may like rosemary water more. 

If you want a leave-in treatment, rosemary water is more practical. For those who want to treat their scalp and wash it out a few hours later, choose the oil route.

Anyone planning to massage their scalp may want to pick rosemary oil, as the slippery consistency is a better fit for a massage.

You can even incorporate both into your routine—using rosemary oil as a rinse-out treatment and rosemary water as a leave-in treatment. 

DIY rosemary oil

If rosemary oil sounds more alluring to you, then opt for the following recipe: 

  • Find a carrier oil: First, find a carrier oil you like. It could be argan oil, grapeseed oil, jojoba oil, etc. Fill up your dropper bottle or any container you prefer to store your oil in with this carrier oil ¾ of the way to the top—here's a list of some A+ options for hair growth if you're unsure which to choose
  • Add rosemary oil: Now, add your rosemary essential oil. "For a safe ratio, assume 5 drops per every 1 ounce of your chosen carrier oil," says Yates. This will ensure the rosemary oil is not too concentrated but you still get enough to reap the benefits.
  • Use it as a treatment: Apply your blend to the scalp, massage it in, and leave it in. If you can leave it overnight, do that. Otherwise, leave it in your hair for a few hours before cleansing your hair. It may help to style your hair in a slicked ponytail or bun while it sets. 

FAQ

Is rosemary water good for your hair?

Yes, rosemary water is good for your hair—specifically hair growth. Most notably, a 2015 randomized comparative trial found that rosemary essential oil was just as effective as minoxidil (the active ingredient in many commercial hair-growth products) for reversing hair loss caused by androgens—also known as male- or female-pattern baldness—after six months.

How do you mix rosemary water for hair growth?

To make rosemary water for hair growth, you have to choose between a fresh blend and an essential oil blend. If you opt for fresh rosemary, then boil your container's volume of water in a pot, turn off the heat, pop in 5+ sprigs of rosemary, and let it sit for at least an hour. If you're using an essential oil, mix the oil into filtered water. "I always recommend a 1 to 2% dilution of essential oil. This equates to six to 12 drops of essential oil for every fluid ounce," says certified trichologist and founder of alodia Isfahan Chambers-Harris, Ph.D.

Is rosemary water better than rosemary oil?

Rosemary water and rosemary oil are both beneficial for hair growth, but they come with different additional benefits. Rosemary water is easier to use and therefore may be able to be applied more frequently. However, rosemary oil is more hydrating, which can be beneficial for anyone prone to a dry scalp. Which one is the best depends on your scalp and hair needs.

The takeaway 

Rosemary is a popular natural ingredient for hair growth. To use it in a water form, steep fresh rosemary sprigs or add rosemary essential oil to water. If your scalp is on the dry side, opt for rosemary oil instead. Not interested in the DIY route? Pick up one of these hair growth products instead

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