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Is Using Grapeseed Oil for Skin Everything It's Cracked Up to Be?

Grapeseed oil gets constant praise from celebrities and skin pros alike. Read up on the skin-care benefits that've contributed to its reputation.
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In a 2014 Huffington Post interview, Megan Fox divulged one of the key players in her skin-care routine: grapeseed oil from Whole Foods. "It's a great moisturizer and lighter than olive oil," she put it succinctly. In the years since, Emma Stone has also revealed that she moisturizes with grapeseed oil from the grocery store; Nicole Richie has called it out as one of her favorite oils for skin care; and Sofia Richie has shared that grapeseed oil is her secret to keeping her skin healthy on planes.

If you're used to seeing celebrities work with skin-care brands, the thought of being able to choose a generic oil from the grocery store at the recommendation of a star may pique your interest. But before you snag a bottle (or two) from your local market's shelves, you probably want to know a little bit more about the easily accessible ingredient. Good news: You're in the right place. Read on to learn all about using grapeseed oil for your skin, according to experts.

What Are the Top Grapeseed Oil Benefits for Skin?

If you're unfamiliar, grapeseed oil is an oil extracted from the seeds of grapes, which are a byproduct of wine production. It's often used in cooking for recipes that warrant a neutral cooking oil.

As for grapeseed oil's popularity in skin care, that's well warranted. It has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties, and as with other oils, it also delivers moisturizing benefits, according to Hadley King, M.D., a New York-based dermatologist. "Its high content of linoleic acid helps it to support the skin barrier, increasing skin's moisture and increasing elasticity and softness," says Dr. King. ICYDK, "linoleic acid is an essential fatty acid, meaning the body needs it for proper functioning but cannot produce it so must be ingested," explains Brendan Camp, M.D., a dermatologist at MDCS Dermatology. It's vital to get essential fatty acids through your diet, and using them topically for skin care can be worthwhile, especially if you have dry skin.

But wait, there's more. Grapeseed oil is high in vitamin E, which has antioxidant properties, meaning it can combat free radical damage, notes New York City-based esthetician Taylor Worden. Quick refresher: Free radicals are potentially harmful molecules that your skin is exposed to throughout the day via UV radiation, air pollution, and other factors (e.g. poor diet). Antioxidants can help neutralize free radicals, stopping them from damaging collagen and sparking hyperpigmentation. Additionally, "one of the antioxidant ingredients in grapeseed oil is proanthocyanidin, which may help to even out skin tone when used consistently," says Dr. King. In fact, a 2015 study found that the oil — thanks to those proanthocyanidins — can actually speed up the healing process and decrease the formation of keloid scars (and the dark spots that they often cause).

Finally, as Megan Fox pointed out, grapeseed oil is lighter than some of the other skin-care oils you may come across. "Grapeseed oil is non-comedogenic," says Dr. King. (An ingredient's comedogenicity refers to how likely it is to clog pores, and clogged pores can contribute to acne.) "Some believe that its antimicrobial properties may make it helpful for treating acne, but more data is needed to establish this benefit." Rounding out grapeseed oil's list of benefits? The fact that although possible, allergies to the oil are uncommon, adds Dr. King. (Related: Reviewers Say Megan Fox's Favorite $12 Moisturizer Makes You Look Like a 'Glowing, Healthy Goddess')

The Best Grapeseed Oil Uses for Your Face

The best way to use grapeseed oil for skin is to use a moisturizer that contains the ingredient, says Dr. King. "Grapeseed oil is primarily an emollient and will function best when combined with humectants and occlusives," she says. (Refresher: Humectants are ingredients that draw in moisture, emollients help seal in that moisture, and occlusives prevent moisture from escaping by forming a coating on the surface of the skin.) Often, a moisturizer formula will contain a combination of the three types of ingredients.

That said, you can absolutely experiment with applying a face oil and even straight-up grapeseed oil if you want to. Although it's always a good idea to chat with your dermatologist before adding anything new to your skin-care routine. "Some people advocate for applying products in the order [of] thinnest to thickest," says Dr. Camp. "Grapeseed oil can be layered towards the end of your routine as a moisturizer. You can even add a few drops of it to a moisturizer and apply it that way if the idea of layering oil on your skin seems too unusual." If using a face oil, you only ever want to apply a few drops. "Even though [grapeseed oil] is less comedogenic than other oils, when used in heavy amounts it still has potential to block pores and promote acne formation," notes Dr. Camp. With any new product, ideally you'll test the product for a few days on your inner arm to make sure you can tolerate it before using it on your face, he says. (Related: Retinol Oils That Actually Hydrate Your Skin)

The Best Grapeseed Oil Products

So you've read up on grapeseed oil uses and benefits and feel ready to incorporate the ingredient in your routine. There are a few things to keep in mind in order to find the best option.

If you go the pure grapeseed oil route, look for the phrase "cold-pressed" on the bottle. "In the pure form, cold-pressed forms are preferred because they retain the nutrients within the oil better than refined forms, in which heat can alter the lipids and the antioxidant content of the oil," says Dr. Camp. (Related: Estheticians Say This CBD Face Oil Gave Them Smooth and Glowing Skin In Just 2 Weeks)

"When selecting a product containing grapeseed oil, people with dry skin may choose a moisturizer or oil to help provide moisture, while those with oily skin may prefer a serum, which is typically a lighter product," says Dr. Camp. Keep scrolling for a few standout options.

Related Items

Sky Organics Grapeseed Oil
Credit: Amazon

Sky Organics USDA-Certified Organic Grapeseed Oil

Buy It, $13

If you want to try pure grapeseed oil, look no further than this option, which has won the approval of thousands of Amazon customers. It's USDA-certified organic (meaning the ingredients were grown and processed according to federal guidelines pertaining to soil quality, use of additives, etc.) and super affordable. Plus, since it's cold-pressed, you're more likely to reap those antioxidant benefits. 

Schaf Moisturizer
Credit: Schaf

Schaf Skincare Moisturizer

Buy It, $45

Dr. King considers this one of the best products containing grapeseed oil. In addition to the allstar ingredient, "It [also] contains olive squalane for its emollient and anti-inflammatory properties, CoQ10 [an antioxidant] for its antioxidant properties, hyaluronic acid to hydrate and plump the skin, anti-aging peptides to lift and firm, and niacinamide to help with tone and texture and improve the natural production of ceramides," she notes. (Related: Why Ceramides Are a Skin-Care MVP)

Freck Lil Prick
Credit: Freck

Freck Lil Prick

Buy It, $40

Made for dry skin, this face oil combines grapeseed oil with a slew of other all-star oils. You'll find prickly pear oil, which is high in linoleic acid, marula oil, which is known for its standout antioxidant properties, and more.

Vintner's Daughter Active Botanical Serum
Credit: Vintner's Daughter

Vintner's Daughter Active Botanical Serum

Buy It, $195

Worden loves this serum, which has also won over Gwyneth Paltrow, Hailey Bieber, Tracee Ellis Ross, and countless skin-care afficianados. The brand uses a time-consuming extraction process in hopes of keeping nutrients intact when creating the serum. Over the course of three weeks, whole plants are infused into a mix of "foundation oils," including grapeseed.

Dermalogica Barrier Defense Booster
Credit: Nordstrom

Dermalogica Barrier Defense Booster

Buy It, $75

This oil is intended to bring relief to irritated, sensitive skin by reinforcing your skin barrier (your skin's outermost layer) to prevent future irritation. You can apply it directly to your face or add a few drops to your favorite moisturizer. Along with grapeseed oil it contains squalane and soothing oat oil.

Korres Santorini Grape Velvet Skin Drink
Credit: Sephora

Korres Santorini Grape Velvet Skin Drink

Buy It, $48

Another one of Worden's favorites, this product harnesses the skin-care benefits of grapes, specifically the Assýrtiko grape, a white grape grown for wine throughout Greece. The brand uses the grapes to extract resveratrol, a potent antioxidant with research to back its anti-aging benefits. (Related: How to Find the Perfect Face Oil for Your Skin)

Tata Harper Superkind Fortifying Moisturizer
Credit: Sephora

Tata Harper Superkind Fragrance-Free Fortifying Moisturizer

Buy It, $120

This moisturizer is part of Tata Harper's Superkind line, which is intended for sensitized skin. Along with the other Superkind products, this luxurious find is free of common irritants. That means you won't find fragrance, essential oils, or harsh exfoliants in this lightweight moisturizer.

Caudalie Vinosource Overnight Recovery Facial Oil
Credit: Amazon

Caudalie Vinosource Overnight Recovery Facial Oil

Buy It, $50

Caudalie was created after its founders heard that grape seeds contain notably powerful antioxidants. Naturally, you can find grapeseed oil in many of the brand's products, including this oil that comes at the rec of Worden. The brand categorizes it as a "dry oil," meaning it soaks in easily rather than leaving oily residue sitting on your skin.