Medically reviewed by Kristin Hall, FNP
Written by Our Editorial Team
Last updated 2/14/2023
Grapes: delicious when eaten, arguably more delicious when fermented and consumed with cheese. But what about when pulverized into an oil and smeared into your scalp? Is grapeseed oil for hair the ultimate way to consume grapes?
There are some pretty weird beauty trends out there, to be sure, but if you think the idea of working grapes into your hair and skin routine is silly, you’d have to argue with a lot of people, some of them scientists.
After all, natural hair oils have beneficial effects substantiated by science. And there are entire spas where people bathe in wine for its alleged benefits for keeping you looking useful.
But alleged benefits aren’t what we’re about here at Hers. In fact, our job is entirely about cutting through the rumors to give you an accurate picture. So what gives with grapes? Is grapeseed oil a natural remedy to promote better hair growth, repair damaged hair and make all of your dreams come true?
Honestly, it’s not that easy. Grapeseed oil still has a lot to prove if it’s going to become your go-to hair health tool. But there are some nice things science can already say about it, even as research is ongoing.
Before we jump into the nice things, though, let’s look at the hard facts about this byproduct of winemaking.
Let’s really dig into grapeseed solutions for a moment. Grape seeds are most commonly found in wine grapes, in part because many types of grape that we eat have been bred to be seedless.
Grapeseed oil is used as a carrier oil in which an extract can be suspended for topical application to your hair, skin or wherever else you think it might provide benefits. What those benefits are, however, is somewhat up to debate.
Studies have looked at grapeseed oil as part of aromatherapy in some studies of different types of alopecia, but it has also been looked at for its own properties.
To further complicate things, there are also the potential effects of grape seed extract to consider.
Let’s work through these versions of grapeseed one at a time.
According to the National Institutes of Health, grapeseed extract is promoted for its anti-inflammatory properties, but that’s not all. It can supposedly benefit in the healing process, stimulate better blood circulation and reduce inflammation.
It’s important to note that these are the claims made by supplement manufacturers, not any official body like the Food and Drug Administration. These manufacturers don’t have to go through an approval process to claim that something like grapeseed extract can definitely do what they say it does. And yet, there are some studies that support these claims.
Grapeseed extract, for example, has shown some promise for improving your circulatory system, lowering cholesterol and reducing the effects of stress on the body and mind.
As for grapeseed oil itself, its primary value is in the nutraceuticals it contains. Nutraceuticals are compounds that occur naturally, like nutritional components, but can be refined to the level of pharmaceuticals to provide extra benefits.
The beneficial properties of grapeseed oil include a smattering of whole-body value. When consumed, research shows that grapeseed oil can offer:
Reduced risk of tumors
Moisture for dry skin
You may notice that we didn’t mention hair on this list. Unfortunately, there’s a reason for that.
So what about the benefits of grapeseed oils for hair? Do those leftover grape seeds from winemaking support shiny locks or strengthen hair? Not that we can confirm from research.
A 2020 paper on the many potential benefits of grapeseed oil spelled out all of the ways that this product could offer health benefits. While it did mention certain benefits that might apply to hair, it did not include any studies where hair was actually the subject of research.
We were only able to find one independently. This 1998 study looked at the hair cells of mice, and found that a particular element of grape seeds — proanthocyanidins—could promote proliferation of these cells, indicating that they may be useful in stimulating hair growth. But that study was limited to the cells of mice, not humans.
Now, there are plenty of reasons to believe that grapeseed oil could indeed help with hair growth. Its healing and anti-inflammatory properties suggest there could be overlapping opportunities to use grapeseed oil for both skin care and hair health issues.
Clinical studies may even be underway examining those exact relationships. They’re just not published yet.
Companies using grapeseed oil and other grapeseed extracts may simply be ahead of the game, but they may also be leaning into some very modest (and kind of old) results from a study of mice.
If you’re looking for a way to promote or preserve healthy hair growth, relying on wine byproducts isn’t a guaranteed win the way that other, FDA-approved options are. In the big picture, medications for hair loss and vitamins for hair health have been studied dozens of times over in comparison with relatively new grape oils.
One of the best options for women is oral minoxidil. You probably know this medication by its brand name Rogaine, but in the hair world, minoxidil is a proven giant, especially when it comes to alopecia types that have a genetic component, like female pattern hair loss.
Minoxidil works as a vasodilator, which means it increases blood flow to hair follicles, and in doing so, brings them more oxygen and nutrients. Like watering and fertilizing a garden, you’re going to see better growth when you incorporate minoxidil into your hair care routine.
One study even suggested that minoxidil can boost hair count by more than 17 percent over a period of 48 weeks.
Aside from medications, you might want to consider vitamin and mineral supplements for hair health.
Especially if you’re deficient in a specific vitamin, multivitamins and vitamin-containing shampoos and other hair care products can balance out your needs and help make your hair healthier. We make vitamins, by the way, with biotin for naturally healthy hair.
Because deficiencies can cause hair loss, your nutrition and lifestyle choices and your health in general can all affect your hair growth, so consider taking care of the rest of your body an investment in your hair, too.
There are countless ways to treat your hair better. The question is which one is right for you. The only way to find that out, however, is to talk with a healthcare professional.
Grapeseed oil may be an excellent choice, with no known potential side effects, for your hair health, but it’s not going to be the first thing we’d recommend — and it likely won’t be the first thing a healthcare professional would recommend either.
If you’re seeing signs of early (or progressing) hair loss, you’re going to want to stick with proven treatments. Tailoring those treatments to your needs — and diagnosing what exactly your needs are in the first place — is essential to your success in maintaining your mane.
We can help with all of this, by the way. Check out our hair health resources to get in touch with a healthcare professional today and ask these questions.
The sooner you get help, the sooner your worst problem is deciding how best to incorporate grapeseed oil into your beauty routine for your thick, healthy hair.