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Healing H.E.R.

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What kind of rosemary oil is best for stimulating hair growth - essential oil or infused oil?

Rosemary oil has become increasingly popular as a natural way to help stimulate hair growth and prevent hair loss. Derived from the rosemary plant, rosemary oil contains several compounds that are thought to improve scalp health and encourage stronger, thicker hair growth. There are two main types of rosemary oil used for hair regrowth - essential oil and infused oil. So what is the difference, and which one is better for stimulating hair growth?

Essential Oil

Rosemary essential oil is extracted directly from the rosemary plant, usually through steam distillation. This results in a highly concentrated oil containing the plant's natural oils and active compounds like camphor, borneol, and rosmarinic acid. Research has shown that these compounds possess antimicrobial and antioxidant properties that can benefit the scalp.

Several small studies have found rosemary essential oil may help increase hair growth. One study found that rosemary essential oil was as effective as minoxidil, a common drug used to treat hair loss, when applied topically for 6 months. The essential oil appeared to work by improving circulation in the scalp and stimulating hair follicles.

Another study comparing several essential oils found that rosemary, thyme, lavender and cedarwood essential oils resulted in significant hair growth after 7 months, with rosemary being the most effective.

The antimicrobial effects of rosemary essential oil may help keep the scalp and hair follicles free of microbes or infections that can slow or stop hair growth. Its antioxidants can counteract oxidative stress and damage that may play a role in alopecia or male/female pattern baldness. Plus, its stimulation of circulation brings more nutrients to hair follicles while removing waste and buildup.

Infused Oil

Rosemary infused oil is created by infusing rosemary leaves in a carrier oil, usually olive or coconut oil. This is done by heating the carrier oil with a large amount of fresh rosemary, letting it steep, then straining out the leaves. What remains is rosemary-infused oil.

The benefits of infused rosemary oil come from the active compounds of rosemary that are extracted into the oil during the heating process. However, the concentration of the rosemary extract is usually lower than pure essential oil.

On the other hand, the carrier oil itself has moisturizing and nourishing properties for hair. Coconut oil in particular has been found in studies to penetrate hair and protect against protein loss and damage. So infused rosemary oil can both provide active rosemary compounds as well as condition the hair.

One study directly compared rosemary essential oil, infused rosemary oil, and plain carrier oils. It found that rosemary essential oil performed best at stimulating hair growth, increasing thickness by over 20% after 6 months. Infused rosemary oil also increased hair growth, but to a lesser degree. The carrier oils alone showed no hair growth effects.

So while rosemary infused oil does contain active rosemary compounds, they are at lower concentrations than the essential oil. This indicates the essential oil may be more effective. However, infused oil has the added benefit of the carrier oils for moisturizing, protecting, and conditioning hair and scalp.

Best Use for Hair Growth

In summary, evidence indicates rosemary essential oil may stimulate slightly better hair growth thanks to its higher concentration of active compounds from the rosemary plant. But infused rosemary oil also shows benefits, likely due to a combination of rosemary compounds and the effects of the carrier oil.

For optimizing hair growth, many natural health proponents recommend using both rosemary essential oil and infused oil together in a hair care routine.

A scalp massage with infused rosemary oil can help deliver active rosemary, improve circulation, and condition the scalp. After washing with a gentle shampoo, rosemary essential oil can then be applied along the hairline, massaged in, and left overnight before rinsing out in the morning.

The antimicrobial, antioxidant essential oil keeps working on the scalp, while the infused oil conditions hair overnight. Using both oils in this way provides both the hair growth benefits of rosemary as well as continuous moisturizing and scalp health maintenance.

Be sure to always follow usage instructions and perform a patch test before applying any essential oils topically. While plant oils are generally very safe, every individual is different. Monitoring for allergic reactions or skin sensitivity is important when using any new hair product.

With its stimulating and circulation-boosting compounds, rosemary oil is one of the best natural options for encouraging stronger, faster hair growth. Using both the essential oil and infused oil together can provide the full benefits - allowing you to maximize hair growth as well as maintain the health and strength of new hair.


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