Battling hair loss: Do TikTok hair growth remedies really work?

ByEva Pilgrim ABCNews logo
Monday, November 6, 2023
Battling hair loss: Do TikTok hair growth remedies really work?
From thinning to winning. A look at ways people are battling balding.

NEW YORK -- From thinning to winning. Some TikTokers are sharing their natural remedies as people look at ways to battle balding.

From Korean spa hair to rice water, #HairGrowth has 14 billion views on TikTok, as influencers unveil the hottest natural hair growth trends.

TikTok star Zeph started losing his hair in his early 20s.

"At first, I didn't really mind. Like, I embraced it. Like, it's not a big deal," the now 27-year-old said. "And as the time went on, I realized that I haven't taken off a hat for three years."

For the past 11 months, he's been sharing his use of natural remedies on social media. While he has tried everything under the sun, there is not a lot of science behind them.

"I cannot promise you that a natural remedy will grow hair," said Dr. Ronda Farah, a University of Minnesota dermatologist.

Still, one of Zeph's posts is going viral, featuring the ingredient everyone is talking about -- rosemary oil.

"I used rosemary oil for the first two months of my hair growth journey and saw little baby hairs pop up. And it quickly turned into like, 'Hey, try minoxidil,'" he said.

While minoxidil -- or Rogaine -- is a U.S. Food and Drug Administration-approved medication that gave him great results, he continues to try natural remedies for a boost. He added castor oil to the rosemary oil, which he said helps hydrate his scalp.

"Essential oils can damage and burn the scalp. So, I usually mix those two together," Zeph said.

Finally, Zeph swears by microneedling, which may help with the absorption of the other topical products he is using. However, it can also worsen some conditions, so not everyone is a candidate.

While there is some evidence that rosemary oil may help grow hair, Dr. Farah said to be careful.

"Whenever you pick something that contains rosemary in it, you're also picking that vehicle. You're picking that lotion -- those things can be irritants to the scalp," she said.

As for Zeph, he's happy with his TikTok fame and his new hair.

"I don't think I'd ever get this much hair back. So even to see the minimalist amount of progression has been really cool for me," Zeph said.