When we think winter aromatics, our minds tend to go towards either pine or mint, right? Well, that leaves out a leafy herb that’s antiseptic, bug repelling, and great all over—rosemary. Although it looks like it could be a tiny cousin of spruce, this evergreen herb is actually a relation of peppermint. Scent-wise, it’s right at that line between herbal and floral, which is where you’d think the name came from. Apparently it’s actually “dew of the sea” — in Latin, “ros marinus”. Wild. Rosemary has been known as an insect repellant, a preserver of omega 3-rich carrier oils, and a flavorful addition to most meals, but that last part’s besides the point. How can we use this hardy little shrub to help our hair?

1. Alikay Naturals Caribbean Coconut Milk Shampoo

As we all know, I’m a serial co-washer, meaning I wash my hair with conditioner, rather than shampoo. At least, that’s my normal routine. If my hair is dirty with actual dirt, dust, seawater and what have you, I do reach for an actual cleanser first, and this one’s at the top of my list. It’s bubbly, cleans without stripping, and the softness of the coconut milk counters the more astringent ingredients. Rosemary shines in its antiseptic capacities in shampoos, and I’m all for it.

2. Hairnamics Healthy Hair Royale Hair & Scalp Butter

If you have a naturally dry scalp like I do, it’s never a bad time for a scalp butter. This lighter blend of oils and herbs is perfect for keeping my new growth healthy in the warmer months, and on the off chance I’m running around outside fountaining sweat as I normally do, the smell of my hair makes up for the rest until I can hose off somewhere. I will say this—there’s one thing I dislike about it. The rosemary is infused directly with dried leaves throughout the butter. So scooping up any amount of this stuff means it’s a guarantee you’re going to get poked with these little evergreens, and they’re actually pretty sharp. Still though, given the benefits and scent of the plant, I’ll still take it rather than leave it. Just be advised, you want to be good and awake before you grab this stuff...trust me.

3. Fairy Tales Rosemary Repel Line

I love children. Other people’s children. And because I love them, I can say that they’re amazing little blessings that just get absolutely covered in germs and parasites, and you’ll know I’m saying this from a place of concern, not disdain. Enter the Rosemary Repel products. This brand uses a high concentration of anti-bug plant ingredients, including rosemary, to help reduce the chance of lice being passed head-to-head. While none of the brand’s offerings of conditioner, shampoo, and styling gel claim to be cures for lice, if you know there’s an outbreak going around, wouldn’t you rather Junior and Juniorette have that famous “ounce of prevention”? Exactly.

4. Taliah Waajid Black Earth Products Tight Hold for Natural Hair

Hi, we’re all aware that locs in natural black hair require grooming and maintenance, right? Right. To keep your new growth in order, mature locs tidy, and everything evenly rolled (if you’re not into freeform), washing, trimming, and products with hold are musts! And if a little rosemary can keep things smelling nice, then get with it, I say. This is the product that future April is going to use on her salt n’ pepper locs. Guess I should start stocking up now...

5. Obia Naturals Babassu Detangling Conditioner

I always promise myself that I’m going to start using shower combs when I cowash, but that promise gets broken often. I’m blessed with the use of all my fingers, so that counts, surely. Conditioners with slip are where it’s at in that case—less need to pre-detangle, fewer knots. Rosemary keeps the oils that provide that slip fresh and ready for your curls to glide against—you might say it keeps conditioner conditioned!

Rosemary tends to be underrated as far as herbs go, but I hope this rundown can start changing that. People love it, bloodsucking bugs hate it, and it grows so quickly that everyone wins!

Is rosemary in your routine? Tell us about it in the comments below!