Question & Answer

Can rosemary oil make a difference to hair loss or thinning?

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  • Claims have been made that rosemary oil can help reduce hair loss or hair thinning and some products are marketed with this claim.
  • We found no high-quality evidence that rosemary oil reduces hair loss or hair thinning when compared to no treatment.
  • We found one small randomised trial with 100 people that suggested that rosemary oil was as effective as minoxidil 2% (Regaine; registered trade mark of Johnson & Johnson Limited). This study found a significant increase in hair count at 6-month in both the group of people who had been allocated to use rosemary oil and those who had been allocated to use minoxidil 2%. This difference in hair count was not present at the 3-month check.
  • We found no national (Health Service Executive) or international (World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) guidelines on using rosemary oil for hair loss or hair thinning.
  • We need further high-quality research before we can be certain about the effectiveness of rosemary oil on hair loss or thinning.

Things to Remember


  • Lead Researcher: Dr. Petek Eylül Taneri, Post-Doctoral Researcher, University of Galway
  • Reviewed by: Prof. Declan Devane, School of Nursing and Midwifery, HRB-Trials Methodology Research Network, Evidence Synthesis Ireland & Cochrane Ireland, University of Galway
  • Topic advisor: Dr. Darren Dahly, Principal Statistician, HRB Clinical Research Facility, Cork, Ireland, and Senior Lecturer in Research Methods in the UCC School of Public Health.
  • Public and Patient advisor: Deirdre Mac Loughlin, Public and Patient Involvement in research (PPI) advisor, PPI Ignite, University of Galway.
  • Journalist Advisor: Dr Claire O’Connell, Science communicator and contributor to The Irish Times.

Conflict of Interest Statement: The authors have no financial or other conflicts of interest for this health claim summary.