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Rose vs Rosehip: What's The Real Deal With These Oils?

Ah, the second week of February. Hearts, teddy bears, chocolates, roses at every turn! Love is in the frigid air! While most people take the hearts, teddy bears, chocolates and roses at face value, I am not most people. I see roses and I think to myself, “Hm, I should really break out my Fresh Rose Mask later.” But then standing in front of my mirror, post-mask, I look at the rosehip seed oil I’m about to slather on and wonder, “What’s the difference between rose and rosehip?” I told you I’m not most people.


Rose comes in various forms as a skincare ingredient. Most products simply say “rose extract” on the bottle, but what that usually means is rose essential oil. The oil is made when rose petals from Rosa Damascena variety are distilled in steam, a process that requires a lot of roses for not that much yield. It apparently takes 60,000 roses to make just an ounce of essential oil! You can probably take a wild guess and say that rose essential oil is bananas expensive. You’re right – pure rose oil can run you upwards of $100 for a tenth of an ounce. Most rose oils on the market are diluted with another oil called a “carrier” oil or with water (you love your rose mist right?) – it’s much more affordable, and carrier oils, for example, jojoba oil, can provide another set of skincare benefits.

It’s no wonder rose oil has been a skincare ingredient for centuries because its effects really can’t be denied. It’s calming, antibacterial, prevents pollution, and can be used on all skin types. Do I even need to mention the smell?


Arguably a little less alluring than rose essential oil, but just as effective. Rosehip seed oil is made from the seeds of wild rose varieties like Rosa canina, Rosa moschata or Rosa rubiginosa, and not the Damascan rose petals like the essential oil. Because these varieties of rose are common, they yield more of that sweet, sweet elixir, so you don’t have to pay out the nose for great skin. It’s made by cold-pressing (yeah, like green juice) rosehips and seeds, which results in the rich, earthy-smelling oil.

Rosehip oil is a carrier oil, which means that it will more effectively sink into the skin than its essential oil counterpart due to the fatty nutrients. It’s rich in vitamins A and C, so it brightens and evens skin tone. It is also extremely hydrating and even safe for those of us who suffer from eczema. I know what you’re thinking, “If it’s so rich and hydrating, can I use it on acne-prone skin?” You sure can! Rosehip has a comedogenic rating of 1 (0 being completely non-comedogenic aka non-pore-clogging) so there’s only a small change it will clog your pores, but its anti-inflammatory properties mean it will help heal and fade any pesky spots.

So to recap the differences (or for those of you who live the TL;DR life):

Made from Damascan rose
Essential Oil 
Floral fragrance 

Made from wild rose varieties
Carrier Oil
Earthy fragrance
Cold Pressed

Our rose extract picks:

Fresh Rose Face Mask
It smells incredible, but it’s cooling, calming and hydrating. (Hot tip: keep it in the fridge during the summer! It’s cheaper than AC and feels like a million bucks)

Kopari Coconut Rose Toner
Rose extract, coconut extract, and witch hazel come together to form a seriously hydrating and refreshing trio. It’s soothing and prevents redness

Herbivore Quartz Illuminating Body Oil
Guess what? Your body skin is skin, too! Treat her well with a hydrating mix of rose oil and jasmine. Also, it has some shimmer to it, so you’ll definitely look like Beyonce.

Our rosehip picks:

Herbivore Phoenix Oil
I used this at a time in my life when my skin randomly decided to have an adult acne moment, and I have to say that this cleared my skin better than any targeted acne treatment. It has antioxidants, fatty acids, and leaves your skin looking really juicy.

Indie Lee Rosehip Cleanser
This is amazing for sensitive skin! It won’t strip you dry and it has really amazing ingredients like aloe and seaweed to calm.

Dr. Roebuck’s No Worries Hydrating Moisturizer
A great no-frills moisturizer that’s super nourishing with vitamin E and hyaluronic acid. It’s clean so you never have to worry about sulfates and parabens!

Learn more about rose extract and rosehip here and here! Want to see if these ingredients are a match for your skin type? Head to RateYourRoutine.com!

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