how to use rosehip oil in skincare

How the heck do you use rosehip oil?

I kid you not, this is the #1 question in my inbox right now. It’s my bad. I’ve been raving about rosehip oil for months.

It’s my go-to for every skin woe. Whether a pimple has reared its ugly head on my chin, my retinol serum has dried my cheeks a little too much or my complexion just needs a pick-me-up, I can count on rosehip oil to kick my skin back into shape, pronto.

But I’ve never told you how to use rosehip oil. Like, what’s its place in your skincare routine? How do you layer it with other actives? And can anyone use it?

Here are the answers to these – and more – questions about how to make the most of rosehip oil:

1. What Makes Rosehip Oil So Awesome For Your Skin?

Rosehip oil is loaded with goodies your skin can’t live without:

All this sciencey jargon means that rosehip oil helps you fight premature wrinkles, fade away dark spots and kick acne in the butt. 

Related: Why Rosehip Oil Is My-Go For Every Skincare Woe

use rosehip oil

2. Is Rosehip Oil A Strong Retinoid?

If you’re new to skincare jargon, retinoid is the family name for all forms of vitamin A (retinol, retinaldehyde, retinoic acid & co). Vitamin A is the only thing proven to really reduce wrinkles but it can irritate your skin pretty bad. That’s why retinoids come in different forms and strengths.

Rosehip oil has its fair share of vitamin A so it qualifies as a retinoid in my book. But is it a strong one?

That’s a hard question to answer. When it comes to a synthetic form of vitamin A, like retinol, you know exactly how much of it is in the formula.

With natural ingredients like rosehip oil, things aren’t so clear cut. The amount of vitamin A (and anything else, for that matter) in rosehip oil depends on several factors, like soil conditions, climate, distillation and refining process (FYI, the unrefined type usually has more vitamin A & antioxidants but it’s also more irritating), etc…

Two batches of rosehip oil can contain different amounts of vitamin A (even if they’re from the same brand!).

But I can tell you this: rosehip oil is NOT as strong as prescription retinoids, like tretinoin. It’s also gentler than most OTC retinoids, like retinol (thank its moisturising fatty acids, like linoleic acid, for that).

So if you’re starting out on your retinoid journey or have sensitive skin, rosehip oil is a good choice for you.

Related: Which Form Of Vitamin A Is Right For You?

3. Is Rosehip Oil Suitable For A First-Time Retinoid User?

If you’re in your mid-20s and want to up your anti aging game, rosehip oil is the perfect way to start on your retinoid journey.

While most OTC retinoid serums can be drying, the fatty acids in rosehip oil soothe and moisturise your skin, minimising the peeling and irritation.

Related: What Strength Of Retinol Do You Need?

rosehip oil skincare benefits

4. Can You Use Rosehip Oil Together With Another Retinoid?

In theory, you can. I know women who use rosehip oil with tretinoin to lessen the peeling and irritation they get from it. It works for them.

I’d say most people can pair rosehip oil with another retinoid. But if you have sensitive or dry skin that’s easily irritated, this combo may be too much for you.

If you want to use both, try this combo on a small patch of facial skin first and see how your skin reacts to it. Your skin will tell you if it likes it or not.

Related: How To Do A Patch Test

5. Can You Use Rosehip Oil After Vitamin C & AHAs?

Vitamin C and AHAs are two anti aging superstars. Vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that fights free radicals, brightens skin and boosts collagen. AHAs are a family of exfoliants that get rid of dead skin cells, helping to fade away fine lines and dark spots.

They have one thing in common: high concentrations can be irritating. So, can you use rosehip oil – a natural source of vitamin A – with them?

Again, it depends. Most people will be able to use them together without problems. But if your skin is sensitive, there’s the small chance all these strong actives may make it act out and irritate it.

P.S. If you have sensitive skin, I recommend you stick to lactic acid (the gentlest member of the AHAs family) and vitamin C derivatives. Anything stronger than that can wreak havoc on your delicate skin.

Related: Can You Use Vitamin C If You Have Sensitive Skin?

6. Where Does Rosehip Oil Fit Into Your Skincare Routine?

Oils are the last step of your skincare routine.

Here’s the deal: oils are occlusive. They form a barrier on the skin that keeps moisture in. But this barrier also keeps stuff out.

If you were to apply a serum after rosehip oil, most of its active ingredients wouldn’t make it through this barrier. Don’t waste your precious skincare products like that. Use the oil last.

Related: What Is The Right Order To Apply Skincare Products?

rosehip oil for oily skin

7. Can You Use Rosehip Oil With Moisturiser?

It depends. If you have dry skin that needs the extra moisture, using oil rosehip after your moisturiser is a good idea.

For all other skin types, rosehip oil can take the place of your moisturiser. Unless, your moisturiser contains some actives (for example, niacinamide) you don’t want to give up.

I like to keep my skincare routine as short as possible, so I use rosehip oil as moisturiser.

Related: Does Everyone Need A Moisturiser?

8. Can You Use Rosehip Oil Every Day (Morning And Night)?

I like to use rosehip every now and then, when my skin is pimply, dry or not looking its best. But you can use it every night, if you wish.

I don’t like using oils in the morning. They don’t always play well with your sunscreen and makeup. If you find one that does, go ahead. Just don’t forget to pile on your sunscreen afterwards!

9. Can You Use Rosehip Oil If You Have Oily Skin And/Or Acne?

It depends on what type of acne you have. If it’s the fungal kind, stay away. The fatty acids composition of rosehip oil can feed malassezia, the fungus that’s making your life hell. Boo!

Got bacterial acne or just annoyingly oily skin? Rosehip oil is your new BFF. Studies show rosehip oil can treat mini pimples.

Here’s how it works: acne patients usually lack linoleic acid in their skin. Rosehip oil has a TON of it. By putting it back in, you help your skin heal faster.

Plus, rosehip oil is lightweight and fast-absorbing. It won’t leave a greasy mess all over your skin. Phew!

Related: How To Fight Acne With Oils (And Which Ones To Choose)

a'kin rosehip oil with vitamin C 01

10. Can Pregnant Women And Nursing Mums Use Rosehip Oil?

Prescription retinoids are strictly forbidden during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Studies show they cause birth defects in mice. 

But rosehip oil isn’t a prescription retinoid. Pregnant women have been using it for centuries to prevent stretch marks and moisturize skin. Studies seem to confirm it’s safe during pregnancy, too.

But I totally get it if you prefer to give it a pass – just to be on the super safe side.

Related: What Ingredients Should You Avoid During Pregnancy?

11. What’s The Best Type Of Rosehip Oil?

I can’t answer this for you. Disappointing, I know. But hear me out…

Remember when I told you that every batch of rosehip oil has a slightly different composition? That makes it impossible to compare different products – unless you try them all yourself.

The best you can do is to opt for the cold-pressed, unrefined kind whenever possible. The more the oil is processed, the more vitamins and antioxidants it loses.

But I won’t leave you with nothing. I’ve tried my fair share of rosehip oils in the past, so here are my personal top 3 picks:


I hope this post answers all your questions about how to use rosehip oil. If not, ask away in the comments below.