Rosemary is the secret to long and healthy hair. Here’s how to use it to grow luscious locks.

Rosemary is the secret to long and healthy hair. Here’s how to use it to grow luscious locks.

The internet is obsessed with growing long, healthy, full heads of hair. Hair slugging tutorials on TikTok are only the most recent iteration of this phenomenon, which goes back to heatless curls, scalp massages, and caffeine treatments, to name a few. 

But lately, hair growth influencers have tried to keep it simple by focusing on one basic ingredient: rosemary. Jumping on this trend will only require you to make your own rosemary water spray. It’s simple, inexpensive, and there’s potentially a lot of hair to gain.  

How rosemary can help with hair growth

Mediterranean cultures have been obtaining hair benefits from rosemary for hundreds of years, says Michele Green, a board-certified dermatologist based in New York City. 

And science backs them up. In a study published in 2015 in the journal Skinmed, researchers compared the hair growth effects of rosemary and minoxidil (the active ingredient in Rogaine) over a six-month period. They found remarkably similar results, with both treatments showing a significant increase in hair count over untreated groups.

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Green explains that rosemary owes its hair-growing benefits to its anti-inflammatory properties: The plant is capable of promoting circulation, allowing hair follicles to receive an adequate amount of blood. 

“This delivers oxygen and nutrients and prevents damaged hair follicles that lead to hair loss,” she says. As a bonus, she adds, rosemary also has antioxidant properties that help protect the hair and scalp from environmental stressors like pollution and UV radiation.

How to make rosemary water

rosemary-bush
This fragrant herb has multiple properties. Helen Bradshaw

You don’t have to splurge on a serum for your locks to benefit from this herb: You can make your own rosemary hair water at home. Although most studies have focused on rosemary oil, as have a lot of popular TikTok videos, Green says rosemary water also works, as it has the same main ingredient as the oil.

This format can also be especially helpful if you tend to have an oily scalp. Because this infusion is less concentrated than the oil, you can use it multiple times throughout the day, which also means you get to refresh the glorious scent in your hair for an all-day aroma.

Stats

  • Time: One hour
  • Material cost: $7 to $30
  • Difficulty: Easy

Ingredients

Instructions

1. Cut or buy some rosemary. If you have access to rosemary at home, cut about five sprigs from your plant—mine were each about six inches long. But if you’re not a rosemary grower, this is your sign to start, as this herb smells amazing and will always be useful in the kitchen. In the meantime, go buy some rosemary from your local market or grocery store.

You can use more or less rosemary, depending on how potent you want your water to be.

2. Put the sprigs in the pot along with the water and bring to a boil. Lightly rinse your rosemary to remove any debris, and put it in a pot with water. If the water doesn’t cover the sprigs, add more until it does. 

Bring your mix to a boil and let it simmer for 15 to 20 minutes. You’ll probably notice the water will turn yellowy green—this is normal. If you desire a stronger formula, you can let it simmer for one to two hours. If you do, keep an eye on the pot and add more water if too much of it boils off. 

pot with boiling water and sprig of rosemary boiling over a kitchen stove
Added bonus: your kitchen will smell amazing as a result.  Helen Bradshaw

3. Remove your concoction from the fire and let it steep. After simmering, remove the pot from the burner and let the rosemary continue to steep for 30 minutes. Over time, the water will become darker and rosier. 

Like with the simmering, if you want more potency, you can let the rosemary continue to steep until it fully cools down. After you’ve made this recipe a few times, you’ll be able to adjust the steeping and simmering times to whatever feels best for you.

4. Strain the mix and pour it into the spray bottle. Grab a sieve and an extra bowl, ideally with a spout for later, and strain out the rosemary and any residue that might have emerged during boiling. If you need to, repeat the process until you’re only left with infused water.

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Finally, pour the liquid into your spray bottle, screw the nozzle back on, and you’re good to go. 

You can add a bow around the bottleneck and some additional sprigs of rosemary if you want to turn your fragrant brew into a cute homemade gift for the haircare lover in your life. 

How to use rosemary water for hair growth

Part your hair with a comb and spray the rosemary water on your scalp a couple of times throughout the day. Massage it into the skin for a minute or so. (Even without rosemary water, regular scalp massages might help with hair thickness on their own.) 

When you’re done, store your water in the fridge to prolong its shelf life. The mixture should last one to two weeks if stored properly. If you don’t see results right away, don’t fret. You probably shouldn’t. 

“Everyone’s rate of hair growth is different,” says Michelle Henry, a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Skin and Aesthetic Surgery of Manhattan. “Early responders can see some improvement in three months, but the timeframe I give almost all of my patients is six months.”

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