Grapeseed Oil Is the Secret for Banishing Flyaways and Nourishing the Scalp


Whether you’re deep into culinary or you’re a hair care obsessive, surely you’ve heard of grapeseed oil. Believe it or not, it’s likely lurking in your skincare collection right now. After all, the inflammation-taming ingredient is popping up in everything, from face oils to serums these days. Even Brad Pitt founded a skincare empire centered on Le grape. However, allow us to delve into the benefits of grapeseed oil for hair. While the ingredient’s glow-boosting properties are well known for the complexion, they’re equally beneficial to the scalp and strands. We tapped two dermatologists, a trichologist, an oil expert, and a cosmetic chemist to explain the powers of grapeseed oil for hair—what it does, how to use it, and if there are any gnarly side effects.

What is grapeseed oil?

Not only is it a great cooking oil alternative, but it works wonders for your strands. “Grapeseed oil is a lightweight, fast-absorbing oil derived from the seeds of grapes, typically after wine production,” says cosmetic chemist Manuela Marcheggiani. “It’s renowned for its high concentration of polyunsaturated fatty acids, particularly linoleic acid, as well as vitamin E, phenolic compounds, and other antioxidants.”

According to Marcheggiani, linoleic acid “aids in maintaining the skin’s barrier function, thus supporting hydration, and promoting a smoother complexion,” while vitamin E “acts as a potent antioxidant, shielding the skin and hair from environmental stressors and oxidative damage. Phenolic compounds contribute to grapeseed oil’s anti-inflammatory properties, making it effective in soothing irritated skin and scalp,” she explains.

Why is grapeseed oil good for the hair?

Ready for a bit more chemistry? According to Gretchen Friese, BoselyMD trichologist, “Grapeseed extract contains proanthocyanidins which are chemical compounds that can reduce inflammation—inflammation can lead to hair loss—reduce the breakdown of collagen, which is important for skin elasticity and hair growth, and increase blood circulation, which is great for hair follicle health.”

UMA Oils founder Shrankhla Holecek says grapeseed oil is also a clarifying agent for the scalp. “People often don’t realize how scalp build-up can lead not only to dandruff but also to significant hair fall. As a lightweight emollient for the hair, it can also smoothen the hair shaft without adding too much weight.”

It doesn’t hurt that it can tame flyaways like a champ. Grapeseed oil has moisturizing properties “without a heavy consistency, so it can be used even on fine hair to help give it shine and reduce frizz,” says board-certified dermatologist Alicia Zalka, MD. “Also, it can be used on the ends of the hair to help reduce the severity and appearance of split ends and to tame flyaways.”

Which hair type is grapeseed oil best for?

According to Friese, grapeseed oil can be used on any hair type. “Especially if it’s being used as a scalp treatment, where the focus is more on the skin,” she notes. Marcheggiani notes that grapeseed oil is “particularly beneficial for fine or thin hair, as it moisturizes without weighing hair down.”

Holecek vows that grapeseed oil is a wonder ingredient for thick hair, and for oily scalps. “Even those with oily facial skin should consider adding grapeseed oil to their hair and scalp regimen for its overall balancing properties,” she says.

What’s the best way to use grapeseed oil in a haircare regime?

“Grapeseed oil is really versatile and can be used as a pre-shampoo treatment to condition the scalp, a deep conditioner or hair mask, a leave-in product to help add moisture and shine to the ends—or it can even be used to massage the scalp to help improve circulation and nutrient delivery,” says Dr. Ashley Magovern, board-certified dermatologist and medical advisor for Dermstore. Friese notes that it’s also a good carrier for rosemary extract, a buzzy ingredient for stimulating blood flow to the scalp.

“I highly recommend a pre-wash scalp oiling and hair massage regimen to all,” says Holocek. “ I realize that people in the West are wary of oiling their hair or scalp prior to washing—a staple ritual in India—and grapeseed would be an excellent choice to start integrating the practice. It washes off so easily due to its lightweight nature. It leaves no risk of residue in even a single wash! Try to squeeze a quick hair oil session in before gym or an exercise class, and bonus points for spending some time in the steam room with hair oil on.”

Does grapeseed oil pose any risks?

“Thankfully, the use of grapeseed oil is considered safe unless there is an allergy to its ingredients,” says Zalka. Friese adds that for people who are allergic to grapes, “the Ssde effects [of using grapeseed oil] may include headache, itchy scalp, dizziness, and nausea.” Otherwise, she says, “it is generally considered safe.”

How is grapeseed oil extracted?

Not all grapeseed oils are created equal, and extraction matters. “Of note, like in producing olive oil, the quality of the grapeseed oil depends on the process by which the oil is extracted from the grape seed,” adds Zalka “Cold pressing grape seeds may be the best way to retain nutrients.”

That’s good news, since most haircare products that contain grapeseed oil have the cold-pressed variation. “In a narrow number of cases, CO2 extraction is used to extract specific subcomponents from grapeseed oil, but a vast majority of grapeseed oil you’ll find is cold-pressed,” says Holecek. “It’s a relatively cost-effective carrier oil.”

Meet the Experts

  • Manuela Marcheggiani is a cosmetic chemist and the co-founder and CEO of Isomers Skincare.
  • Alicia Zalka, MD, is a board-certified dermatologist and founder of Surface Deep. She’s also an assistant clinical professor of dermatology at Yale University.
  • Shrankhla Holecek is the founder of UMA Oils, a luxury beauty and wellness collection formulated with rare, precious botanicals from India.
  • Gretchen Friese is BoselyMD’s certified trichologist and an authority on hair loss and hair thinning.
  • Dr. Ashley Magovern is a board-certified dermatologist and medical advisor for Dermstore.

Why Trust ELLE Beauty?

As a leading publisher of fashion, lifestyle, and beauty content, is committed to highlighting the best products in various categories by personally testing the latest and most innovative products, interviewing countless experts, and vetting customer-loved items. For this piece, contributor Jenny Berg interviewed a cosmetic chemist, an oils expert, a trichologist, and two dermatologists to learn what makes grapeseed oil a beneficial ingredient for skin and hair.

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