Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract


Plant extracts

Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract at a glance

  • Potent source of natural antioxidants for skin
  • The leaf extract is typically “de-oiled”, removing the volatile component
  • Can have a soothing effect on skin
  • Aids the preservative system of some cosmetic formulas

Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract description

_Rosmarinus officinalis_ (rosemary) leaf extract is from a perennial herbaceous plant native to the Mediterranean region. It can have antioxidant benefit for skin, but its aromatic components can cause sensitivity. However, in most skin care products the amount of rosemary extract is unlikely to be a risk, and rosemary extract is much less of a problem for skin than rosemary oil because the extract usually doesn’t contain much, if any, of rosemary oil’s volatile fragrance components. Research has shown that rosmarinic acid, one of the components in rosemary extract, has a calming effect on skin, giving it utility in products for chronically sensitive or temporarily sensitized skin. It also helps improve how skin handles the UV filter oxybenzone, allowing greater tolerability. Along with rosmarinic acid, other primary antioxidants in rosemary leaf include caffeic acid, carnosol, and carnosic acid. All of these help neutralize damaging oxidative molecules before they can cause deeper damage to skin. Even better, they have efficacy in both water- and oil-based formulas. Note: The concentration and composition of the different bioactive compounds found in rosemary extracts are dependent on the geographical zones the leaves were harvested, as well as the method of extraction, thus leading to differences in the efficacy of rosemary extracts from different suppliers. Rosemary leaf extract can also aid a cosmetic formula’s preservative system, allowing a lower use of conventional preservatives which helps make certain products more tolerable for those with sensitive skin. It’s been paired with preservatives sodium benzoate, potassium sorbate, and phenoxyethanol. Usage levels of _Rosmarinus officinalis_ (rosemary) leaf extract range from 0.2-5%, depending on formulary goals and whether the plant extract is used on its own or in a blend with ingredients such as glycerin and butylene glycol.

Rosmarinus Officinalis (Rosemary) Leaf Extract references

  • International Journal of Molecular Sciences, October 2021, pages 1–20
  • Antioxidants, April 2019, pages 1–16
  • Medicines, June 2018, pages 1-13
  • Plant Physiology, November 2017, pages 1,381–1,394
  • International Journal of Molecular Sciences, November 2014, pages 20,585-20,606
  • Pharmacognosy Review, January-June 2014, pages 52-60
  • Journal of Medicinal Food, April 2013, pages 324-333
  • Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, January 1996, pages

Peer-reviewed, substantiated scientific research is used to assess ingredients in this dictionary. Regulations regarding constraints, permitted concentration levels and availability vary by country and region.

Ingredient ratings


Proven and supported by independent studies. Outstanding active ingredient for most skin types or concerns.


Necessary to improve a formula's texture, stability, or penetration.


Generally non-irritating but may have aesthetic, stability, or other issues that limit its usefulness.


There is a likelihood of irritation. Risk increases when combined with other problematic ingredients.


May cause irritation, inflammation, dryness, etc. May offer benefit in some capability but overall, proven to do more harm than good.


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Not rated

We have not yet rated this ingredient because we have not had a chance to review the research on it.