“A bad haircut is only three weeks away from a good one.”
Anyone wronged by a pair of shears is familiar with this adage. Whether you’re parting ways with a short ‘do or you suddenly seem to be thinning in places you weren’t before, getting hair to grow seems more dependent on genetics than beauty regimens. So what’s a gal or guy to do?
There are endless remedies out there for hair growth––vitamins, supplements, diets, moisturizing treatments. Then there is this one, which has been used for centuries to speed hair growth, and stimulate hair follicles for those with thinning hair: Rosmarinus Officinalis Leaf Extract, more commonly known as rosemary oil.
“Rosemary extract has antioxidant properties, along with other skin benefits such as anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antiseptic action,” advises Dr. Trevor Cates, aka The Spa Doctor. “It appears to increase blood flow to the [applied] area, and may help stimulate hair growth.”
In order to apply it, Dr. Cates says to be sure to dilute the oil in a carrier, like shampoo. It’s also advisable not to use on children or pregnant women.
Hairstylist Lizzy Weinberg, who works at Pas De Deux Salon in New York City, says this natural approach will most likely help stimulate hair follicles on the scalp, which may help with hair loss or slow-growing locks. However, if length is your goal: Don’t neglect the ends. She suggests pairing the rosemary oil tactic with regular trims and plenty of moisture. This conditioner by Avalon Organics has a special biotin complex to maintain healthier, stronger hair. This stem cell leave-in conditioner is also a great way to keep hair moisturized, which will help prevent breakage and split ends.
“If your hair stops growing, it’s most likely because your ends are splitting. The breakage will move its way up the hair shaft, preventing you from getting any length,” says Weinberg, who advises getting trimmed every 8-10 weeks so ends stay fresh.
Other valuable tidbits: stop washing your hair so much (it dries it out), don’t use hot tools everyday, and if you do use hot tools—always use a heat protector like this one by Desert Essence.
“As a naturopathic physician, I never use natural substances as a band-aid approach,” says Dr. Cates, “I always look first to find the underlying cause of any health issue... Rosemary extract may work, [but] if you don’t address the cause (such as hormone imbalances or nutritional deficiencies), then you will not likely see results.”
Eating diets rich in omega-3 fatty acids (like fish, oils, nuts, and avocado), is another way to ensure you’re getting the proper nutrients for healthy hair. And of course, the last ingredient you’ll need: patience.
Photo credit: Alicia Cho