Roses have been an essential part of beauty routines across the globe for many centuries. They are mentioned in ancient Chinese and Sanskrit texts and can even be found in fossils dating from about 40 million years ago. From their pleasant aroma to their vitamin-rich composition, its easy to see why this one flower has remained a beauty staple. Many are familiar with the use of rose water for both skin and hair, but there are other rose byproducts that can be incorporated into your self-care regimen.
Wild rose oil (sometimes just referred to as rose oil) is oil distilled from the petals of the rosa damascena, or hybrid rose flower. It has been used in numerous beauty treatments for both the skin and hair due to its many valuable attributes, including antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and emollient properties. When it comes to hair, wild rose oil's ability to fortify the scalp and follicles has led some to believe it can help with hair growth and overall hair health.
Roses are the quintessential flower for romance. They're often described as the perfect way to say "I love you" to that special someone in your life. But could they also be an excellent way to show some love to your locks as well? We turned to the hair experts for their take on using wild rose oil for hair.
Meet the Expert
- Dendy Engelman, MD, FACMS, FAAD, is a board-certified dermatologic surgeon in New York and a member of the Byrdie Beauty & Wellness Review Board.
- Gretchen Friese is a BosleyMD-certified trichologist.
- Zenovia Gabriel, MD, FAAD, is a board-certified dermatologist in Newport Beach, CA, and the founder of Dr. Zenovia Skin Care.
Wild Rose Oil for Hair
Type of ingredient: Antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and emollient properties
Main benefits: Eliminates dirt and bacteria, strengthens the hair follicles, provides moisture, and soothes the scalp
Who should use it: In general, all hair types and textures can benefit from wild rose oil. Those with dry or damaged hair, or an unhealthy scalp, will benefit most from its emollient and healing properties. As with other oils, people with fine hair or an oily scalp may want to use it sparingly.
How often can you use it: Wild rose oil can be incorporated into your hair routine twice a week in the form of a treatment or mask. If adding wild rose oil to your shampoo, it can be used daily if it does not cause irritation.
Works well with: Carrier oils like argan, grapeseed, jojoba, coconut, or almond oils
Don’t use with: Some medicines and topical products should not be used concurrently with wild rose oil, so it's best to consult a doctor before beginning use.
Benefits of Wild Rose Oil for Hair
Wild rose oil has been used for centuries in the treatment and prevention of various diseases and disorders in folk medicine. It is believed to have antidepressant, antioxidant, antimicrobial, antifungal, probiotic, smooth muscle relaxation, lipid-lowering, and antiulcerogenic effects. A 2018 study found that wild rose oil (in combination with two other oils) improved the frequency, duration, and severity of headache attacks without any serious side effects in patients with migraines. Others simply enjoy the scent of wild rose oil and feel it provides relaxing aromatherapy. In many cases, the oil is applied topically, inhaled, or even ingested to take advantage of its benefits.
When it comes to the hair and scalp, wild rose oil has the greatest impact at the roots. Wild rose oil is valued in skincare and haircare for its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory, and emollient properties, in addition to being rich in antioxidants like vitamin C, vitamin A, and linoleic acid, which Engelman explains are all superstars for skin and hair health. "It nourishes, brightens, tones, and protects the skin," Engelman shares. Friese adds that the antiseptic properties of the oil help rid the follicles of bacteria and dirt, which supports a healthy scalp environment.
- Eliminates dirt and bacteria: Wild rose oil has antiseptic properties that can eliminate dirt and bacteria, cleaning the hair follicles as it moisturizes them, Engelman explains. This may be helpful for those experiencing fungal issues like dandruff.
- Strengthens the hair follicles: According to Friese, massaging the oil into the scalp can make hair follicles stronger, and the hair may hold more firmly to the roots. Gabriel agrees, saying that with regular use, wild rose oil can make the hair follicles stronger over time. All three of our experts say the strengthening provided by wild rose oil is essential to preventing hair breakage and fallout, which can prevent future hair loss.
- Provides moisture to the scalp and hair: Wild rose oil hydrates the skin and hair follicles, which is good for both the scalp and hair, says Engelman. Further, she shares that it has emollient properties, which work to lock in the moisture that is provided.
- Soothes the scalp: Due to its anti-microbial properties, wild rose oil is excellent for adding moisture to a dry, irritated, inflamed scalp, explains Gabriel. Engelman agrees, adding that it can also help heal flaky skin, whether that be on the face or the scalp.
- Supports new hair growth: While it doesn’t actively help hair grow, wild rose oil supports existing hair and new growth in staying healthy and avoiding fallout or breakage, says Engelman. Instead of directly influencing growth, wild rose oil works to create a healthy environment for hair to grow, Friese explains.
Hair Type Considerations
Our experts agree that all hair types and textures can benefit from wild rose oil, but those with dry or damaged hair, or an unhealthy scalp, will benefit most from its emollient and healing properties. The antimicrobial properties rid the follicles of bacteria and dirt, shares Friese, which may make it effective relief for conditions like dandruff. The strengthening benefits may help to prevent hair loss, making wild rose oil a great at-home remedy for those dealing with hair loss, according to Gabriel. As with other oils, people with fine hair or an oily scalp may want to use it sparingly, as it may cause hair to appear greasy.
How to Use Wild Rose Oil for Hair
Wild rose oil's benefits can be harnessed through a variety of methods, but it's important to use caution due to the strength of this oil. While there are no known side effects of wild rose oil, our experts warn that it is a potent oil, so allergic reactions are possible. Before applying any new product to your hair and scalp, our experts recommend conducting a patch test to determine if there is sensitivity. To reduce the potential for reactions, wild rose oil should never be applied directly to the skin without being diluted with a carrier oil or shampoo.
- Upgrade your existing shampoo: Our experts agree that one of the safest and easiest ways to incorporate wild rose oil into your haircare is to simply add a few drops to your shampoo in your hand before you wash your hair. This allows even distribution of the oil throughout the hair while providing necessary dilution, explains Engelman. You may also consider investing in a rose oil–infused shampoo and conditioner if you intend to use it every day.
- Develop a personalized pre-shampoo treatment: Those with curly hair benefit from pre-shampoo detangling treatments. Gabriel recommends using wild rose oil in conjunction with a dense hydrating oil, such as argan or coconut oil, as a pre-shampoo treatment. Simply combine a few drops of wild rose oil with a few tablespoons of a hydrating oil and work it through the hair with your fingers to remove any tangles.
- Create a scalp massage oil: Massaging the scalp increases blood flow and promotes growth. Mixing a few drops of wild rose oil with a carrier oil can create a quick and easy massage oil that brings added hair growth factors. Gabriel recommends carrier oils like argan, grapeseed, jojoba, and almond oils.
- Use an infused hair mask or treatment: Many hair masks and treatments designed to strengthen hair contain wild rose oil. These are deeply hydrating and may contain other follicle-fortifying ingredients. Gabriel says that Briogeo Don’t Despair, Repair! Strengthening Treatment Hair Oil contains rose flower oil and extract, which helps keep hair soft and shiny.