Rosehip Oil For Hair: 4 Benefits For Healthy Strands & The Best Way To Use It
Navigating the world of hair oils can be, well, a bit overwhelming. There are dozens of oils that are chock-full of hair benefits from boosting hydration to minimizing breakage and everything in between. But there's a lesser-known oil that is beloved for its super moisturizing properties and health benefits for the scalp. Enter, rosehip oil.
It's perhaps not as notorious as the almighty almond or jojoba, but this lightweight oil is certainly worth a try. We tapped two celebrity hairstylists to get the scoop on what rosehip oil is, why it's great for the hair, and how to use it. Make some room in your hair care collection: This nourishing oil is worth a spot.
What is rosehip oil?
According to celebrity hairstylist Andrew Fitzsimons, rosehip oil is derived from a cold-pressing method that removes oil from the rosehip. What is a rosehip, you ask? Well, it's the fruit of an actual rose. But don't get it confused with rose oil: The latter is extracted from the petals of the flower, while rosehip oil comes from the seeds and fruit of the rose.
Rosehip oil has a centuries-long history of use: It comes from the rosa canina bush grown in Chile and has been beloved by Native American and ancient Egyptian populations for its healing properties (more on that below).
Is rosehip oil good for hair?
Now that we know what rosehip seed oil actually is, let's talk about its benefits for the hair:
It's rich in fatty acids.
Thanks to the abundance of essential fatty acids found in rosehip oil (like gamma-linolenic acid1), Fitzsimons says this oil can double as a natural conditioner. Not only can these fatty acids help to nourish and soften the hair strand: They can help keep your scalp healthy and balanced2, too.
"The gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) is an omega fatty acid that's excellent for maintaining a healthy skin barrier," board-certified dermatologist Cybele Fishman, M.D., once shared with mbg. By strengthening your skin barrier function, you can keep your scalp flake-free and happily moisturized.
It's super moisturizing.
Like all oils, rosehip is great for locking in moisture. "Rosehip oil is great for [moisturizing] the hair, especially for the ends," Fitzsimons says. "The ends of the hair tend to dry out the fastest, so applying oil to this part of the hair can add instant hydration." (It's a dry oil, which means it will sink into the strands quickly.) Keeping the ends of the hair properly moisturized can prevent split ends and breakage, too.
It may be helpful for hair growth.
We still need more research on this front, but many have anecdotally found rosehip oil helpful for hair growth. Given its antioxidant and moisturizing properties, this makes sense: Healthy hair tends to grow stronger, healthier, and faster, after all.
Rosehip oil contains vitamins C and A3, which can help support collagen production (vitamin C, in particular, is an essential part of the collagen synthesis process). When you apply it topically on the scalp, it can aid your skin cells' fibroblasts (or what creates collagen) and stabilize the collagen you already have for one healthy head of hair.
Not to mention, these antioxidants can also protect your hair and scalp from free radical damage and oxidative stress, which can keep your tresses strong, shiny, and vibrant.
It can help reduce inflammation in the scalp.
As we alluded to above: "Rosehip oil is great for maintaining skin barrier health, which is essential for the scalp, as well," says celebrity hairstylist Sophia Porter. Not only is the oil super nourishing on the skin, but it also contains carotenoids with anti-inflammatory properties—these can come in handy when you're dealing with a red, inflamed, or itchy scalp.
As for inflammatory scalp conditions, more research is needed before we can deem it a viable treatment option; talking to a derm is your best bet.
What hair types is rosehip oil best for?
Both Porter and Fitzsimons agree: Given its ability to lock in moisture, rosehip oil is ideal for someone dealing with dry hair. However, you don't have to worry about this weighing down your hair or creating a greasy film on top of the strand. "Rosehip oil absorbs quickly, and it's super lightweight," Porter says. (It's a dry oil, remember?)
It's particularly a good option for those with curly or coily hair, Fitzsimons notes, since this hair type tends to be naturally drier. It can not only help balance out moisture levels but also help keep frizz at bay by sealing the cuticle shut.
Who shouldn't use rosehip oil — and what should they use instead?
Even though rosehip oil is lightweight—making it top-notch for thin and thick hair types—Fitzsimons warns that those with super fine hair should avoid using this oil. "The molecular weight of the oil can weigh super fine hair down and make it appear greasy and flat," he says. Instead, you may want to opt for argan or jojoba oil, as these are practically weightless on the strand.
Finer hair types should be super careful with oils in general to avoid buildup: Apply to a small area of the hair first, preferably from the mid-shaft to ends, and wash out thoroughly during your next shampoo session.
So, how do you use rosehip oil for your hair?
There are tons of ways you can use rosehip oil; it truly depends on what your hair and scalp needs. If you're dealing with a dry or imbalanced scalp (or you're simply in the market for a tension-relieving scalp massage), apply rosehip oil to your fingertips and massage throughout the scalp.
For coating split ends, apply a quarter-size amount to the ends of the hair and massage into the strands. If you have finer hair, you may want to use this as a deep treatment and rinse out after a few minutes; those with denser hair can apply and style as usual.
Porter also recommends using rosehip oil as an overnight mask to deeply condition and moisturize the hair. Apply the oil from root to tip, "leave it on with a plastic cap, and wash out in the morning," she says.
If you're looking for a new hair oil to add to your arsenal, rosehip oil is worth a try. It's full of fatty acids and vitamins that help to nourish both the hair and the scalp, and it's especially beneficial for those with thick or naturally textured hair.
Andrea Jordan is a beauty and lifestyle freelance writer covering topics from hair and skincare to family and home. She received her bachelor's in Magazine Journalism from Temple University and you can find her work at top publications like InStyle, PopSugar, StyleCaster, Business Insider, PureWow and OprahMag. When she's not writing, you can find Andrea tackling new recipes in the kitchen or babysitting one of her many nieces and nephews. She currently resides in New Jersey with her husband and cat, Silas.