Rosehip Oil: Spotlight on the Best Face Oils
Rosehip oil is one of the best carrier oils to start with if you're new to using face oils. Rosehip oil benefits are numerous, and you can use it on your face, body, and even hair. It is my favourite oil for so many reasons. It got me started down the face oil pathway (spoiler alert: face oils are amazing).
The rose plant has been around for eons. The oldest known evidence of the existence of roses dates to the Eocene epoch ~50 million years ago! It's a woody perennial plant with over 300 species, global distribution, and a near-infinite number of ornamental varieties. Because of their beauty, fragrance, and their very sharp prickly thorns, roses have gained significance in many cultures from the standpoints of mysticism, folklore, art, romanticism, and symbology. In addition, roses have gained commercial relevance in the perfume and cosmetics industries and the food industry, i.e., rosehip tea, rose water, and rose syrup.
The rosehip is the fruit of the rose plant and resembles a berry. Most rosehips are red, though some can be dark purple or even black. They are fleshy and contain multiple seeds held together by many fine, stiff hairs. From a nutritional and medicinal standpoint, the rosehip is very high in Vitamin C.
If you're new to the idea of using oils on your face, check out our beginner's guide to face oils for more information about them.
What is Rosehip Oil, and How is it Made?
The terms rosehip oil and rosehip seed oil are synonymous. It is usually produced from the Rosa Canina bush variety from Chile. Rosehip oil is best extracted using the cold pressing process for facial use. Cold-pressed rosehip oil means that only pressure is used to expel the oil from the seeds. The absence of chemicals and heat during the extraction process ensures that the delicate phytochemicals are preserved.
In contrast to rosehip seed oil, rose water and rose oil are created using the petals/flowers. Dried rosehip fruit can be used directly in teas and ground up as an extract powder. Other extraction methods exist, i.e., in the production of essential oils.
What Does Rosehip Oil Contain?
Rosehip seed oil is a powerhouse of phytochemicals and phytonutrients. What does this mean? It means that many substances have been isolated in measurable quantities and subsequently linked to potential benefits. The benefits of these chemicals are sometimes widely understood (i.e. Vitamin C), but many are anti-inflammatory and antioxidant chemicals. More testing and research is needed to determine the exact applications for use.
The fatty acid composition is mostly polyunsaturated. Rosehip seeds are very high in linoleic (54%) and linolenic (19%) acids. In addition, there was a very high measured level of beta-sitosterol and other sterols, which are most valuable from a nutritional standpoint. These types of phytochemicals are of interest in cancer research.
In one analysis, rosehip seeds had more polyphenols than pomegranate seeds and more ascorbic acid than citrus fruits. The antioxidant capacity of rosehip seed oil was higher than grapeseed oil and vegetable oils corn, olive, and sunflower. Levels of other oil soluble antioxidants like carotenoids (Pro-Vitamin A) and tocopherols (Vitamin E) are also very high.
Does Rosehip Oil Have Benefits For Skin?
The benefits of using face oils are clear. When it comes to carrier oils, the chemical composition of each oil varies, but there is a lot of overlap. They each have functional biologic activity, but they aren't active in the same sense as an active ingredient. For example, even though Vitamin C levels in rosehip oil are very high, they are not as high as you would find in a Vitamin C serum. That's why the addition of more concentrated, purified botanicals are needed if the goal is to create a highly active product.
If you're going to use rosehip oil for your face, the combination of fatty acids, phospholipids, sterols, polyphenols, Vitamin C, and carotenoids/Vitamin A should all influence improvements in:
Does Rosehip Oil Clog Pores? Is it Good For Acne?
Rosehip seed oil is very unlikely to clog pores or make acne worse. It is considered a dry oil and scores a one on the comedogenicity scale. This means rosehip oil is non-comedogenic and won't clog pores. The main reason is due to the high levels of linoleic acid. In addition to the vitamin A and anti-inflammatory effects, those who use rosehip oil on their face may actually see improvements in their acne breakouts as their sebum levels become more regulated. Users are also likely to see improvements in the appearance of superficial acne scarring and post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation.
Is Rosehip Seed Oil Safe?
Rosehip seed oil is safe for most users. However, allergies and sensitization can occur. Patch testing over several days is recommended if you have sensitive skin. It is unscented and unlikely to be a skin irritant as a carrier oil. Use caution with the essential oil. It carries a much higher percentage of aromatic volatiles, which are more likely to irritate if used at high concentrations. There is no reason to believe topical rosehip oil use would have any risk in pregnancy; talk to your doctor if you're worried.
What Is The Environmental Impact of Rosehip Oil Production?
Little is published about the environmental and humanitarian considerations for the rosehip agroindustry. It is not linked to problematic deforestation or reduction in biodiversity. The predominant source for commercial rosehip oil production is in Chile. There is a risk of exploitation of local farmworkers. The rosehip carrier oil we use in our products is certified organic by the NOP.
DIY Face Oil Recipe
I started in the DIY world and want everyone to know it's easy. Buying organic, cold-pressed, 100% Rosehip Seed Oil is all you need to get started. You may find a pre-made/pre-portioned product sold by your favourite natural beauty brand; however, please do not spend a fortune. Some ultra-luxury brands farm, harvest and extract their oils. This 'farm to face' approach is admirable. Their product is likely exceptional. However, carrier oils are not highly active substances. So, although beneficial for your skin, you probably won't see noticeably different results if you try different versions of the same oil.
For DIY products, I recommend a four-oil approach. This allows you to fine-tune it easily, so it's tailored to your skin and your preferences. Then, if you make 100ml at a time, the math is easy.
Here is a great face oil recipe to get you started if you want to try DIY at home:
Watch the bareLUXE Blog, Elevated Simplicity, for more Best Face Oil Spotlight articles coming soon!
Huri Ilyasoğlu (2014) Characterization of Rosehip (Rosa canina L.) Seed and Seed Oil, International Journal of Food Properties, 17:7, 1591-1598, DOI: 10.1080/10942912.2013.777075
Mármol I, Sánchez-de-Diego C, Jiménez-Moreno N, Ancín-Azpilicueta C, Rodríguez-Yoldi MJ. Therapeutic Applications of Rose Hips from Different Rosa Species. Int J Mol Sci. 2017;18(6):1137. Published 2017 May 25. doi:10.3390/ijms18061137
Lin TK, Zhong L, Santiago JL. Anti-Inflammatory and Skin Barrier Repair Effects of Topical Application of Some Plant Oils. Int J Mol Sci. 2017;19(1):70. Published 2017 Dec 27. doi:10.3390/ijms19010070
Chrubasik C, Roufogalis BD, Müller-Ladner U, Chrubasik S. A systematic review on the Rosa canina effect and efficacy profiles. Phytother Res. 2008 Jun;22(6):725-33. doi: 10.1002/ptr.2400. PMID: 18384191.