Clear rosehip seed oil vs. red rosehip seed oil

three sorts of oil image by Tomo Jesenicnik from

Rosehip seed oil is a very popular herbal medicine. Taken from the seeds of a wild rose bush that grows in the Andes, it is used as a wound aid, to regenerate skin and to treat scars, wrinkles and stretch marks. The differences between clear and red rosehip seed oil are remarkable, as each are products from the same plant but processed in very different ways.

Rosehip Seed Oil Origins

Much like olive oil, rosehip seed oil is a cold-pressed oil, pressed out of the seeds by a commercial high-pressure compress machine. Like olive oil, it is ranked by its "virginity." It comes from a wild rosebush that grows in the Southern Andes in the southern tip of Chile.


Rosehip seed oil is high in retinol. Retinol is an animal form of Vitamin A and is known for its regenerative properties for skin. Rosehip oil has been shown to prevent the formation of thick keloid scar tissue (the thick skin that develops over a scar) and is helpful in healing burns. It has a very high natural concentration of Vitamin C and is absorbed quickly into the skin. Because it is naturally high in fatty acids, it is an effective moisturiser. It has been safely used on humans and pets for decades.

Clear Rosehip Seed Oil

Clear rosehip seed oil is processed rosehip seed oil. When it is refined, the natural red colour of the rosehip seed is removed. The refinement process calls for evaporation and recondensation which concentrates the aromatic qualities of the oil, but in the process breaks down the oily molecules in the steam thus negating its more effective properties of moisturising and regneration in the process. Also, clear oil is usually not pure seed oil. Since the oil is being refined for its aromatic qualities, generally the entire flower is included along with the seeds, producing a fantastic fragrance but eliminating the medicinal quality of the oil. This is known as an "essential" oil.

Red Rosehip Seed Oil

Cold pressed rosehip seed oil, like the seed itself, is coloured and contains the most beneficial elements of the naturally occurring oil. It comes out as a thick amber liquid (often called "red") and has not been processed. It is the rawest form of the oil and is effective in both a balm or liquid form. Its high fatty acid content (rich with Vitamin C and A) penetrates the skin quickly and the retinol speeds up skin formation at the sight of application.


Since clear rosehip seed oil is sold as an essential or processed aromatic oil, its cost is significantly higher. However, you can find cold pressed pure rosehip seed oil for about £2 an ounce at various retailers, as of 2010.

Clear or essential rosehip seed oil can usually be found in the aromatics section of your local health food store.

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