I really started taking care of my hair a few years ago when I was going through a particularly bad hair year. It seemed like my locks suddenly lost what little moisture they had and turned into a giant tumbleweed overnight. So I did what any natural beauty lover would do and ran straight to my kitchen.
With a little research and a lot of experimentation, I gradually learned what works and what doesn’t when it comes to nourishing dry hair and replenishing lost moisture. I’ve tried just about every trendy ingredient, and I can happily say that this hair tea recipe has made my hair softer and shinier than ever.
The secret hair ingredient: Rosemary!
Rosemary for Hair Growth
Rosemary has been known since ancient times as a medicinal and culinary herb due to its therapeutic properties. It was most commonly used for healing and purification, but because it boosts blood flow, it supports the delivery of nutrients to the follicle, promoting hair growth and thickness. Not only that, but it helps get rid of product buildup, leaving you with thick, bouncy, shiny hair.
Scalp inflammation can contribute to hair loss, so maintaining a healthy scalp environment is key to enabling hair growth. Rosemary “helps boost blood circulation to the scalp,” explains Meerika Khanna, Ayurvedic hair wellness expert and founder of Rthvi. “The improved blood circulation helps follicles get the nutrients required for healthy growth.”
In fact, rosemary is an effective natural alternative to 2% minoxidil. A study comparing the use of minoxidil and rosemary oil for hair loss found that individuals in both groups had an increase in hair count after 6 months, with no significant difference between the two groups [source].
Ready to give rosemary a try? Read on for ways to add it to your hair routine.
1. Spark new growth with rosemary growth oil.
The best way to use rosemary is as a scalp oil to keep on overnight. When applied directly to the scalp, it helps fortify and rejuvenate the hair follicles. It also improves hair texture when mixed with a carrier oil, smoothing the cuticle to look thicker and resist frizz.
Nourishing jojoba oil won’t clog hair follicles and is an excellent conditioner for dry hair. Argan oil is rich in fatty acids but is still light and absorbs quickly. Combine jojoba and argan with two of our favorite essential oils for hair growth.
— 1 tablespoon jojoba oil
— 1 tablespoon argan oil
— 9 drops rosemary essential oil
— 9 drops lavender essential oil
A little oil goes a long way, so use a bottle with a dropper cap to make dispensing easy. Apply a few drops of oil into the scalp and massage gently with your fingers. Repeat three times a week. Do this before bed so your hair can soak in the benefits overnight. Then shampoo it out in the morning.
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2. Stimulate the scalp with rosemary shampoo.
Using a shampoo with a high concentration of rosemary oil or rosemary leaf extract is another way to add this herb to your hair care routine. Rosemary delivers antioxidants to the scalp, providing essential nutrients to the follicles to keep hair looking healthy and shiny.
Plus, “it helps remove product buildup when used as a rinse or shampoo,” says Khanna. She recommends a shampoo with rosemary along with other scalp-stimulating and nourishing herbs, including peppermint, ginger, and stinging nettle. Or you can also add rosemary essential oil to your current shampoo. Just add 10 drops for each ounce of shampoo and mix well.
3. Revitalize hair with a rosemary tea spray.
This anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial herbal tonic that’s everywhere on social media is a perfect spritz-and-go solution for thinning hair. Although not as potent as essential oils, it is an easy and cost-effective way to add rosemary to your hair routine.
Add ¾ cup of rosemary leaves to 1 cup of boiling water; steep for 1 hour. Strain, cool, and pour the liquid into a spray bottle. After shampooing, spritz the rosemary water onto your towel-dried hair, and massage it into the scalp and strands. Dry your hair and style it as usual.
You can also spray it onto your hair before bed to leave on overnight. Repeat twice a week.
4. Nourish hair with a rosemary yogurt mask.
While rosemary is amazing on its own, it’s even better when combined with a few hair superfoods you already have lying around in your kitchen. My favorite hair mask combines yogurt and honey to soften your locks, plus a little jojoba oil to replenish minerals and seal in moisture.
Not only will it do wonders for dry, damaged hair, but (and I think this is the best part) it can also double as a face and body mask. Yep!
— 1 cup plain yogurt
— 1 tablespoon raw honey
— 5–10 drops rosemary essential oil
— 1 teaspoon jojoba oil
Mix the yogurt, honey, rosemary essential oil, and jojoba oil in a small bowl. Coat your hair with the mixture, beginning with the ends and working your way to the scalp.
Once everything is covered, pop on a shower cap, and let it soak in for about 30 minutes. After the 30 minutes is up, hop in the shower to rinse everything off, shampoo, and condition as normal.
5. Add volume with rosemary powder.
A fun tip is to actually apply the volumizing powder right before bed. When you wake up, you’ll have extra height to your hair that also smells divine.
— 2 tablespoons cornstarch
— 3–4 drops rosemary essential oil
— A clean, empty spice shaker bottle
In a mixing bowl, combine the cornstarch and rice or potato flour and add the 3–4 drops of rosemary essential oil. Add the mixture to an empty spice shaker, and sprinkle it onto your roots for extra volume.
To really ensure that it’s getting in there and absorbing the oil, use your fingertips to rub it in until the powder disappears. Then, brush out your hair—you should have some crazy volume, plus hair that smells super fresh.
6. Restore damaged hair with rosemary coconut oil spray.
Here’s a hair spray that actually hydrates and strengthens your hair! Spritz your strands to see the frizz fade away with this natural alternative.
— 2 tablespoons fractionated coconut oil
— 12 drops rosemary essential oil
— 2 cups distilled water
Add the coconut oil to a spray bottle along with the distilled water and essential oil. Be sure to shake well before each use; separation is normal. Spritz on damp or dry hair.
Then, either using your hands or a wide-toothed comb, comb the product through from root to tip for smooth hair. Doing it this way is healthier for hair, resulting in fewer tangles and less frizz than using a brush. Coconut oil is one of the few oils that can penetrate the hair follicle [source], so it helps to moisturize and strengthen hair alongside rosemary oil.
Every so often, this can be sprayed straight onto the scalp, near the roots, as a treatment. Hair is really only as healthy as its roots, and rosemary oil can stimulate follicle growth when applied to the roots. This is best done as a pre-shampoo treatment as most hair types will find the spray is a touch too heavy for use on their roots every day.
Panahi Y, et al. Rosemary oil vs minoxidil 2% for the treatment of androgenetic alopecia: a randomized comparative trial. Skinmed. 2015.
Ruetsch SB, et al. Secondary ion mass spectrometric investigation of penetration of coconut and mineral oils into human hair fibers: relevance to hair damage. J Cosmet Sci. 2001.52