Take it from Shakira – (Rose) “Hips Don’t Lie.” She may have memorably teamed with Jennifer Lopez to sing at the halftime show for Super Bowl XLIV, but song reference aside, it’s J-Lo who uses rosehip oil (i.e., rosehip seed oil) in her hair care regimen.
So what’s behind using rosehip oil for hair growth and scalp care?
Are its hair care promises to be believed?
In this article, we’ll discuss the benefits of using rosehip oil for hair growth, scalp nourishment, as an anti-inflammatory, and much more.
Table of Contents
- Where Does Rosehip Seed Oil Come From?
- What Are the Benefits of Rosehip Essential Oil?
- Does Rosehip Oil Help Hair Growth? What Are Other Rosehip Oil Benefits for Hair?
- Does Rosehip Oil Have Side Effects?
- How to Use Rosehip Oil for Hair Care
Where Does Rosehip Seed Oil Come From?
The history of rosehips (Rosa canina) is as long as it is varied, with the ancient Chinese, Greeks, Persians, and Romans using it in different ways. Sappho lauded rosehips as “the Queen of Flowers.”
It was a medical staple during ancient times, with Pliny the Elder writing more than 30 conditions that could be “cured” by using rosehips.
Early Christians found rosehips to be sacred, and some of the earliest rosaries are thought to have been made or inspired by rosehips, with that likeness maintained today.
Rosehips were also mentioned in Norse mythology, with rosehip mead thought to have been drunk by Vikings during the age.
It continued to be used as a medicinal treatment throughout the Middle Ages, with the great luminary of the age Hildegard von Bingen recognizing that it could ease arthritis and gout and were also used as sweetmeats.
Its reach extends to North America, where it is a part of Plains Indians’ diets. During WWII, British children were paid to collect rosehips since the war effort meant that citrus supplies were low and the fruit could be used to make syrup.
Rosehips are an example of what is known as an “accessory fruit,” which is a fruit that doesn’t grow in the floral ovary of the plant but rather tissues adjacent to the carpel.
Rosehip fruit is propagated by removing achenes that contain seeds from the outer coating (aka the hypanthium), which can then germinate over the course of several months.
Most types of rosehip fruits require some degree of chilling to bring out the best in them.
Rosehips are incredibly popular in the culinary world, being harvested for everything from jams and jellies to herbal teas and soups.
You can find it baked into pies and bread or mixed in with wine, and some enjoy eating them like a berry (though, if you do, you’ll want to take care to avoid the hairs that are located inside the fruit).
Some rosehip fruits are so beautiful that the plant is grown as much for their sake as the roses themselves, if not more so, with an example being the elegant Rosa moyesii with its large bottle-shaped accessory fruits.
When brewed in a tea, it is often combined with hibiscus and oils extracted from the plant and fruit’s seeds.
Popular examples are “nyponsoppa,” a type of soup in Sweden; “palinka,” a fruit brandy made in nations comprising the former Austro-Hungarian Empire; and “cockta,” a fruit-tastic soft drink popular in Slovenia.
While you should take care to remove the hairs found inside the fruit, they aren’t useless either, as they can be ground down to make an itching powder.
When dried out, rosehips can also be used as a fragrance for your home.
The plant itself produces leaves that typically measure approximately 6 to 7 cm long, with five petals and sepals and the whole flower measuring about 5 to 6 cm in diameter. Some variants, such as R. rugosa, are a bit longer, measuring 8 to 9 cm.
What Are the Benefits of Rosehip Essential Oil?
Rosehips are rich in a variety of vitamins that, as demonstrated below, can be hugely beneficial to your health, skin, and hair care.
The Association for the Advancement of Restorative Medicine cites rosehips as being effective in helping to treat arthritis, back pain, constipation, diabetes, gallstones, gastrointestinal distress (including diarrhea), gout, menstrual pain, ulcers, and urinary tract infections.
They also note that it’s an antioxidant, the consumption of which can be hugely beneficial for your health in a variety of ways.
A 2005 study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Rheumatology noted that a five-gram dose of rosehip extract effectively treated osteoarthritis.
However, another study in 2013 published in Osteoarthritis and Cartilage was less glowing in its view of rosehips’ efficacy in treating osteoarthritis in general and in the knee in particular.
A 2010 study in Phytomedicine likewise showed something of a middle ground in evaluating the claims of rosehips’ healing powers, finding them somewhat helpful in improving functionality for those who have rheumatoid arthritis but not in relieving pain.
Rosehips have also been examined in terms of their effectiveness in helping with heart conditions.
A 2011 study published in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that when given ground rosehip for six weeks, markers for heart disease such as systolic blood pressure and cholesterol levels went down, but vascular inflammation went up.
It has also been reviewed in terms of its efficacy in treating diabetes, with a study in the American Journal of Physiology examining the effects of powdered rosehips when administered over the course of a 20-week treatment program for mice.
The results showed a reduction in fat cells around the liver along with normalized blood sugar levels.
On the gastrointestinal front, a 2017 study conducted at the University of Zaragoza found that rosehip can help slow the contractions of muscles in your gastrointestinal tract, doing so nearly as effectively as Lomotil, which is used to treat diarrhea.
That same study also found that they may help prevent ulcers by altering the pH level in your stomach, making it inhospitable to some bacteria.
Does Rosehip Oil Help Hair Growth? What Are Other Rosehip Oil Benefits for Hair?
The benefits of rosehip oil include hair growth, treating certain scalp conditions, skin conditions, and more. It’s important to note that it’s always best to conduct a patch test when using new hair products, especially if you have sensitive skin, a history of allergic reactions, or acne-prone skin.
This section discusses the primary benefits of using rosehip oil for hair care, including how to use rosehip oil as an add-on ingredient in your favorite hair products.
1. Hair Growth and Scalp Nourishment
One of the first things people often look for in hair care supplements is if it can help them grow longer hair, and there is evidence rosehips can help do just that.
It starts with vitamin A and C, both of which can stimulate hair growth in their own way.
Vitamin A is good for stimulating cell production, while vitamin C and E can help prevent free radicals, which, as described below, can be extremely problematic for the long-term health of your hair strands.
Rosehip oil is a natural oil that contains omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids (e.g., linoleic acid, linolenic acid), which can moisturize the scalp and optimize the conditions for growth to occur.
Even more than that, however, these essential fatty acids can also improve a hair’s elasticity, which itself is a byproduct of hair not just growing in but doing so in a healthy manner.
You don’t want to go through all the trouble of growing your hair only for it to fall limp, and the fatty acids in rosehip oil can help prevent that.
Rosehip oil also contains beta carotene, which manages hair oil production, which, in turn, can help keep your hair follicles and hair shaft flexible and strong.
2. Moisturizing and Skin-Smoothing Properties
Rosehip can be used to hydrate and smooth out your skin, reducing fine lines and wrinkles in the process. That’s a big win on the cosmetic front, but it could prove a vital game-changer for your scalp as well.
A dry scalp (a common skin condition) is a scalp that isn’t amenable to healthy hair, let alone hair growth. Hair grows from the root up, just like a plant, and like plants, hair relies on the site on which it is rooted for nutrients.
When your scalp is dried out, your hair doesn’t get the nutrients it needs, and when it’s cracked, the hair and scalp can become looser and start to flake, hence dandruff.
Rosehip oil does a fantastic job of moisturizing your scalp and smoothing it out, thus treating “the root” of the problem.
It is non-greasy, so you don’t have to worry about it making your scalp feel oily while still being able to seep deep into your scalp, moisturizing your skin and hair from the root up. Rosehip oil is also ideal for treating irritation and repairing scars and damaged hair.
3. Conditioning Properties
Those moisturizing properties also make rosehip oil a natural choice for an all-natural moisturizer. It can be applied directly or mixed in with traditional shampoos and conditioners.
Rosehip oil is beneficial to moisturize the scalp while removing product build-up when added to your favorite shampoo and conditioner.
4. Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Vitamin E is a natural anti-inflammatory, which can help improve your scalp’s health. As mentioned above, it can combat free radicals, helping to keep your hair looking fresher longer.
These factors combined make vitamin E essential for any modern hair care routine, so the fact that rosehip oil has this essential vitamin makes its use clearer.
5. Its Many Vitamins
In fact, rosehip oil has a ton of different critical vitamins, including vitamins A, B, C, E, and K, all of which can have huge impacts on your skin and hair.
The value of vitamins A, C, and E to your hair has already been established. Vitamin B is commonly cited as being able to help with hair loss and strengthen your hair, and vitamin K does so as well. Simply put, few hair care products are as loaded with vitamins as rosehip oil.
6. Antioxidant Properties
There are countless diets out there that extol the virtues of powerful antioxidants and their regenerative properties. They can likewise be helpful in a skin and hair care context when applied topically.
This is because antioxidant-rich materials such as rosehips are also often rich in vitamin C, which, as mentioned above, can prevent free radicals. These are unstable molecules that can cause hair and skin to wrinkle, wither, and age more quickly.
This is known as oxidative stress. The vitamin C in rosehips and other antioxidant-rich essential oils and hair care products do a good job of combating it, helping your hair and skin stay younger longer.
Does Rosehip Oil Have Side Effects?
While rosehip oil is considered safe, it is not without side effects. Negative reactions can result in constipation, stomach cramps, diarrhea, nausea, fatigue, and headaches.
It has been known to have negative reactions when combined with estrogen-based contraceptives or antipsychotic drugs such as Prolixin.
It also has some mild diuretic properties, can reduce the lithium concentration in your blood (which can destabilize your mood), and contains Rugosin E, which aids in clot formation.
How to Use Rosehip Oil for Hair Care
Rosehip oil is typically used topically. You want to make sure you keep it away from light, which means storing it in a dark bottle and/or in a cabinet or similar space. As an oil extract, it is quite delicate and needs to be carefully refrigerated.
To make a rosehip oil hair mask, you’ll want to mix a teaspoon of rosehip oil with three drops of peppermint oil and two tablespoons of jojoba oil (a popular carrier oil). Mix everything, wet your hair, then apply the mixture.
Leave it in for at least half an hour before rinsing it out with shampoo. Warm water will keep your cuticles open, which will allow moisture to escape, so make sure to lock it in by using lukewarm water instead.
By contrast, hot oil massages with rosehip oil are much less substantiated in terms of their claims and can lead to accidental scalp burns, so they are not recommended.
Instead, you might want to try mixing rosehip oil with coconut oil to give you a potent hair care combo.
It doesn’t have any objective scientific research to its credit. Still, both oils have independently been evaluated as effective in their own ways, so if you’re in the mood to get experimental with your hair care treatments, this may be one to try.
Mix both oils equally, heat them ever so slightly, apply them to your roots, and let them sit there for 20 to 30 minutes before rinsing them out again.
Note: Some women use argan oil, castor oil, tea tree oil, almond oil, amla oil, and rosehip oil together to make DIY hair products, so there are several essential oil recipes that you can try with rosehip oil. You can even be fancy and incorporate rose petals into your DIY hair products. You can also add drops of rosehip oil to your favorite shampoo or hair conditioner.
Rosehip oil is a versatile, vitamin-packed natural product that can be used as a haircare supplement. It can be used on all hair types and works best as a topical application. As long as you use it safely, rosehip oil can provide a huge boost to your hair care regimen.