Rosehip oil is having a skincare moment. It’s touted as having a ton of uses: as an oil cleanser, a moisturizer, and a brightening treatment. In its natural form, the oil derived from rosehips can be gentle on skin. It’s non-comedogenic, which means it doesn’t tend to cause breakouts (or make them worse). Between its fairytale name and good online reputation, rosehip oil seems almost mythical. But what’s the science behind rosehip oil, and how does it actually work?
The red rose is an iconic symbol of romance, so it’s not surprising that many people are drawn to the idea of skincare derived from roses. There are 3 forms of rose oils most often used in skincare:
Rose oil: made from the petals of rose flowers.
Rosehip oil: made from a fruit that grows on certain rose shrubs.
Evening primrose oil: made from the seeds of a specific variety of flower.
Herbalists are big fans of rosehips for their nutritional value. They contain vitamin C, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin E, and more. Tea, syrups, and essential oils made from dried rosehips have been around for millennia. Though rosehips have a history in traditional medicine, there is still limited research to support their skin benefits.
Because of the high content of vitamin C in fresh rosehips, rosehip oil might have some antioxidant effects on the skin. Vitamin C, when applied directly to the skin, can help improve dark spots and reduce certain signs of aging (like fine lines). That said, these benefits aren’t a given for rosehip oil. Rosehip oil loses its potency as it’s refined, so how much vitamin C is actually in your rosehip oil depends on how it was made. It may also depend on product freshness since vitamin C can lose its potency over time.
What’s more certain are the hydrating benefits of rosehip oil. Like other non-comedogenic oils, rosehip oil is moisturizing. A well-hydrated face can often look brighter, plumper, and more full of life. So if this is what you’re hoping for, then rosehip oil can help!
Head’s up! You may want to do a patch test before applying rosehip oil all over your face, in case you’re sensitive or allergic to it. Apply a small amount of product to your inner arm and wait to see if there’s a reaction. If there’s no reaction, apply a small amount of product to one part of your face and see if there’s a reaction. If not, then you should be good to go!
If you want to start using rosehip oil, you can reach for 100% pure rosehip oil, including the ones by The Ordinary, The Inkey List, and Acure. Pure rosehip oil can be used for both cleansing and moisturizing.
Your instinct might be to reach for cleansers labeled oil-free, but it doesn’t have to be that way. With the oil cleansing method (OCM), oils and balms are the first step of your skincare routine. Non-comedogenic oils (like rosehip oil) are used to help remove makeup and excess sebum (that’s the oil on your skin that your body naturally produces). Some people like to double cleanse, which is when you start off your skincare routine with an oil cleanse and follow it up with a gentle hydrating cleanser.
Rosehip oil can start off your skincare routine as a cleanser and top of your routine as a moisturizer. In fact, the most popular use of rosehip oil is as a hydrating serum. Adding a drop or two of rosehip oil to your regular moisturizer is a great way to pack in hydration, especially during winter months. Some people like using rosehip oil as a serum, applying a drop or two and then massaging it into the skin.
Some people find that rosehip oil feels too heavy by itself. After all, it is a pure oil. If that’s the case, you might prefer to use a product that has rosehip oil as a key ingredient (rather than the sole ingredient). If that’s the case, it’s worth checking to see if a product’s full ingredient list is non-comedogenic. This is especially important if you’re prone to acne or have sensitive skin since certain ingredients can clog pores or cause irritation. Here are some good rosehip oil products, based on their ingredients:
The right over-the-counter skincare products can make a huge difference in our skin, but it can take a lot of work.
Curology is here for you, wherever you are in your skincare journey. If you want extra support in treating skin concerns like acne, you can sign up for a free trial of Curology. Curology members are paired with one of our in-house medical providers who will prescribe you a custom cream with a mix of 3 active ingredients for your unique skin concerns. It’s kind of like having your own personal skincare expert in your corner. Your free trial costs $4.95 (plus tax)* to cover shipping/handling, and you can add in any of our other skincare products at no extra cost.
We’re here to tell you what we know. That’s why our information is evidence-based and fact-checked by medical experts. Still, everyone’s skin is unique—the best way to get advice is to talk to your healthcare provider.
Empowering you with knowledge is our top priority. Our reviews of other brands’ products in this post are not paid endorsements—but they do meet our medically fact-checked standards for ingredients (at the time of publication).
*Cancel anytime. Subject to consultation. Subscription is required. Trial is 30 days + $4.95 shipping and handling.
Nicole Hangsterfer, PA-C