Is Rosemary Water For Hair Growth Really as Effective as People Say?

Let's face it, it's impossible to keep up with the constant stream of beauty experiments and trends that fill every social media platform. We've seen the upside-down hair-washing trick, the "overlip"-lining hack, and the "sandwich" method to cover pimples. Recently, an influx of beauty fanatics has claimed that the secret to long, luscious hair is rosemary water.

Rosemary water has been a staple in many Mediterranean culture's beauty rituals for centuries, and is purported to promote hair growth. You can brew the elixir at home by steeping rosemary leaves in water (like a tea), or you can choose from any number of rosemary-water products from your fave beauty store. You'll find that the store-bought kind is often combined with other hair and scalp nourishing ingredients like rice water and biotin.

A simple DIY solution that claims to work as well as pricey over-the-counter treatments sounds almost too good to be true. So, we tapped a dermatologist and a trichologist to see if rosemary water for hair growth really works.

Does Rosemary Water Help With Hair Growth?

"Rosemary water has some key benefits that support a healthy scalp and hair follicles, which promote growth," board-certified dermatologist Deanne Mraz, MD, FAAD, tells POPSUGAR. "It has anti-inflammatory properties and anti-microbial properties, which can help to reduce conditions like dandruff and scalp psoriasis."

According to William Gaunitz, a certified trichologist and founder of the hair-growth brand Advanced Trichology, rosemary may help with hair growth as a cleanser and an antiseptic for the scalp. "When individuals are dealing with inflammation related to higher levels of oil and microorganisms, such as parasites, fungus, and bacteria, rosemary water may help clean the scalp and kill off some low levels of inflammatory microorganisms," he says.

Research also supports the idea that rosemary water may promote hair growth. In a 2015 randomized controlled trial, rosemary oil was shown to be as effective as minoxidil (the active ingredient in Rogaine) in increasing hair growth after six months of use.

How to Use Rosemary Water For Hair Growth

"To impact hair growth, you have to focus on scalp care – applying actives directly to the scalp where they can be absorbed and work to improve skin and follicle health on the scalp itself," Dr. Mraz says.

With rosemary water, you can do this by pouring the solution over your roots and scalp or by spritzing it onto your scalp with a spray bottle.

Making your own rosemary water is a pretty easy process. First, boil about three cups of water. Then, you'll add two fresh rosemary sprigs to the water. Next, remove the pot from the heat and cover it. You'll want to let the sprigs steep for about an hour so it cools down. If you'll be using the rosemary water in a spray bottle, transfer it to that bottle. Between each use, you should keep the bottle in the fridge to help extend its shelf life.

The experts believe the best time to apply rosemary water is after you've washed your hair and while it's still wet and before you've brushed it. Then, you'll want to brush your hair to help work the water from your roots to your ends.

You can even use rosemary water as a mask — just apply a larger dose of it to your hair and let it soak into your hair. You can leave it in for a few minutes before rinsing it out and drying your hair.

How Often Should You Use Rosemary Water on Your Hair?

How often you use rosemary water on your hair depends on a few things. First, you should take into consideration how frequently you wash your hair. This is because rosemary water works best post-hair wash and when your hair is wet. So if you wash your hair three times a week, you can use rosemary water on your hair up to three times a week.

Gaunitz says that it's safe to use rosemary water daily — as a post-shower rinse or as an addition to other topical serums — but that you should keep an eye out for signs of overuse.

When using rosemary water on your hair, especially if your hair is on the more sensitive side, you should also keep in mind the condition of your hair and your scalp to avoid irritation and dryness. If you're noticing a dry scalp or brittle hair, Dr. Mraz says you could be using rosemary water too frequently. She says that an average of twice a week seems to be the sweet spot for many people.

What Are the Benefits of Using Rosemary Water on Your Hair?

"Rosemary water stimulates blood to flow to the scalp, delivering nutrients, reducing inflammation, and creating an optimal environment for growth," Dr. Mraz says.

This improved circulation to the scalp and hair follicles has benefits that go beyond hair growth: when oxygenated blood and nutrients are delivered to this part of the body, it can potentially promote nerve growth as well, which can lead to hair growth.

Are There Side Effects to Using Rosemary Water on Your Hair?

"As with any topical ingredient, there is a risk of skin irritation," Dr. Mraz says. She suggests testing your skin's reaction to rosemary water by applying it to a small area of your inner forearm a few days in a row to see if your skin reacts negatively.

Depending upon how you use rosemary water on your hair, it could lead to dryness of your scalp. If this occurs, Gaunitz recommends decreasing your usage to help restore the moisture of your scalp. If you don't experience any negative side effects, you can use it as much as you'd like to reap its benefits.