Marula Oil vs Rosehip Oil: A Comparison

Moisturizing your skin can make a big difference not only in how your skin feels but also in its appearance. Dry skin tends to be flaky, and every fine line and wrinkle stands out. Apply a facial oil and it’s amazing how you can’t see the wrinkles so much anymore.

In this article, I’ll compare two popular facial moisturizers, rosehip oil and marula oil. We’ll cover which is the better option for different skin types, how to use them, and if they are likely to clog your pores. By the end of the article, you’ll know everything you need to pick the best one for your skin.

Which Is Better For Your Skin: Marula Oil vs Rosehip Oil?

Both Rosehip and Marula oils are great natural moisturizers that build up your natural skin barrier with lipids and essential fatty acids. Rosehip Oil is the better choice for acne-prone skin, as it won’t clog pores. Marula oil is a great choice for mature skin, as it has numerous antioxidants and is anti-inflammatory.

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marula and rosehip oils

Rosehip Oil Benefits

Rosehip oil is the first facial oil I tried and remains one of my favorites. It has a slight yellow color (will disappear into the skin when applied) and smells a little herbal. Just a few drops are enough for your entire face but I also love to use it on dry skin on my knees, elbows, and hands. Honestly, in winter, I’ll use it pretty much everywhere.

There are different varieties of rosehip oil, such as rosa canina and rosa rubiginosa, but they are very similar. They all come from the seeds of wild rose bushes and most products will not specify which type they come from, many are probably a blend, which is fine for cosmetic purposes.

Rosehip oil is considered a dry oil, meaning it’s absorbed by the skin easily and leaves no greasy finish. It’s great for any skin type, including acne-prone or oily skin.

Applying oil to skin that is oily or acne-prone may seem counterintuitive, but it’s actually very helpful since facial oils assist in regulating sebum production. Sebum is what causes skin to look oily and shiny.

By moisturizing with oils you keep your skin hydrated, which means it produces less sebum. Plus, even oily skin needs essential fatty acids to keep your natural skin barrier strong.

Everyone’s skin can benefit from essential fatty acids, but they are particularly great for dry skin because they not only keep up our skin’s moisture levels but they help prevent the water loss that occurs naturally day and night as moisture evaporates. This is called Trans Epidermal Water Loss (TEWL) and it becomes a bigger concern for those of us over 40.

Marula Oil Benefits

Marula oil, also known as Sclerocarya Birrea Seed Oil, is made from marula fruit and seeds. It’s native to southern Africa and is a natural plant oil that is a little heavier than rosehip oil.  It also has a light yellow color that disappears into the skin. Its absorbed quickly and is relatively lightweight.

✅ Bonus Tip: Marula oil is great for using on hair.  Use just a few drops so it won’t weigh it down. It leaves your hair silky and shiny and the flyaways are tamed.

Marula oil is a great all-around facial oil that works for all skin types other than acne-prone.  It has a good amount of amino acids and fatty acids to moisturize the skin as well as antioxidants (including Vitamin C and Vitamin E) to fight damage from the sun and pollution.

Marula oil, just like rosehip oil, is also packed with essential fatty acids, such as oleic acid,  to help prevent TEWL and keep your skin’s natural barrier strong and healthy.

One downside of marula oil is that it can clog pores more than rosehip oil, so if you suffer from acne, I’d recommend rosehip oil.

Best Rosehip Oil Products

The Ordinary 100% Organic Cold Pressed Rosehip Seed Oil

This oil is cheap, works great, and has a very light texture. It was the first facial oil I used and I still repurchase it. Besides Amazon or The Ordinary website, you can usually find it in Ulta stores.

Best Marula Oil Products

The Ordinary 100% Cold-Pressed Virgin Marula Oil

This comes in a tinted dropper bottle, is cold-pressed, and contains nothing but pure marula oil. The Ordinary oils are all a great option if you’re on a budget.

If you’re interested in learning more about oils from The Ordinary, check out my review of all their oils here.

Naturium Virgin Marula Oil 100%

I’m a big fan of Naturium products (the azelaic acid and tranexamic acid serums are great) because they are a great value for skincare products with proven, research-backed ingredients.  This oil is also cold-pressed, comes in an opaque bottle, and is reasonably priced.

Frequently Asked Questions About Rosehip and Marula Oils

Let’s take a look at some of the most common questions about these oils.

Which oil is best for acne-prone skin?

Because marula oil can clog pores, I’d recommend rosehip oil if you have acne-prone skin. Rosehip oil is rated as a 1-2 on the comedogenic scale, meaning it’s highly unlikely to clog pores. Marula oil has a rating of 3-4 which means if you’re prone to acne, it may clog pores.

3-4 isn’t a terrible rating, coconut oil is higher at 4-5. But it’s still more of a risk than rosehip oil. If you’re very prone to getting clogged pores, check out argan oil, its rating is 0.

Note that the comedogenic scale goes from 0 to 5, and oils usually have a range, as opposed to just one number. This is because oils can be made from different parts of plans, like seeds or fruit,, so depending on the particular batch an oil could be a 1 or a 2.  While it’s not an exact science it’s still a really helpful rating system to let you know which ingredients are more likely to cause breakouts.

Which oil is best for dry skin?

Rosehip and marula oil are both moisturizing and will help dry skin, however, I’d say marula oil may be the better choice if you have moderate to very dry skin. 

 It’s a thicker oil that feels a little heavier than rosehip. This is because it has a much higher percentage of oleic acid, which is more nourishing to the skin. Rosehip oil has a higher percentage of linoleic acid, which is also hydrating but is lighter weight.

Which oil is best for sensitive skin?

Both rosehip and marula oil are suitable for sensitive skin. They are both very gentle and unlikely to cause irritation. In fact, they should soothe irritated skin and calm it down. Choose whichever ones suit your skin type the best.

Just make sure you buy pure oils without dyes or fragrances added. They may smell wonderful but they aren’t a good thing when it comes to sensitive skin.

Is marula oil good for aging skin?

Marula oil is great for aging skin. It’s not only going to moisturize but it has a ton of other benefits as well. It has anti-inflammatory properties as well antioxidant protection.

Antioxidants neutralize free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that have an unpaired electron. They are caused by a variety of causes, but the sun and smoking are two of the most common. 

In an attempt to stabilize themselves, the free radicals try to ‘steal’ an electron from a healthy molecule.

The healthy molecule then becomes unstable itself and tries to ‘steal’ an electron from another healthy molecule. It starts a chain of unstable molecules that cause damage and stress to our skin.

Fortunately, antioxidants have spare electrons that they are able to ‘donate’ to free radicals and stabilize them without becoming unstable themselves. This stops the free radicals from causing damage like dark spots, collagen loss, and wrinkles in our skin.

One thing to note is rosehip oil also has antioxidants, so you aren’t missing out on them if you decide on rosehip over marula.

Anti-Aging Tip: Antioxidants are one of the best weapons against aging skin. Check out my article here about green tea, one of the most powerful antioxidants in skincare.

Is rosehip oil good for wrinkles?

Rosehip Oil and Marula oil are both good for wrinkles. By keeping skin hydrated they will reduce the appearance of wrinkles and antioxidants help protect from damage that can cause more wrinkling and sagging (see question above for more on antioxidants).

it’s important to note that neither will be as effective on wrinkles as a retinoid (derivative of Vitamin A) product. So if fighting wrinkles is your main skin concern I’d definitely use retinol or prescription tretinoin and use a facial oil as a moisturizer on top.

Can I mix marula oil with rosehip oil?

You can mix Marula Oil and rosehip oil together if you want to. There are many good products out there that are blends of different oils, Mad Hippie Antioxidant Facial Oil is a blend of oils and I’ve gone through many bottles of it. So if you want to buy both and blend them together feel free.

Where should I use oil in my skincare routine?

A good rule of thumb in skincare is to use your products from thinnest to thickest consistency. Generally, your facial oil will usually be the last step in your routine.

One exception is that sunscreen should always be the last step in the morning. So if you use oil in the morning, apply a few drops right before your sunscreen. Don’t mix the oil into your sunscreen as this will make your sunscreen less effective and you could end up sunburned and with sun damage. Apply makeup after the sunscreen has absorbed into your skin.

At night, it’s best to use facial oil after your moisturizer. By layering the oil on top of your other products, it will help prevent your moisturizer and treatments from evaporating while you sleep.

Rosehip Oil vs Marula Oil chart

What should I look for when buying facial oil?

When shopping for any facial oil look for it to have no added fragrance or coloring, be cold-pressed, and in air-tight packaging.

  • Fragrance Free – There is no need to add any artificial fragrance (or color) to a facial oil.  Artificial fragrances and colors are potential irritants and add nothing of value to the product. Natural oils so often have an herbal scent, if you don’t care for that, try Borage Seed oil, as it has a minimal scent.
  • Cold-Pressed – Look for an oil that was cold pressed in production. This means collecting and refining the oil using processes that don’t generate heat. Heat can destroy important antioxidants and also alter the texture of the oil. 
  • Packaging – Light and air destroy the antioxidants that protect and help repair your skin from damage. Look for dark tinted bottles that close tightly. Droppers or airless pumps are best.

Final Thoughts on Rosehip Oil Vs Marula Oil

We’ve covered a lot in this article and I hope you’ve found everything you need to pick out which oil is the best choice for you. When you try your new oil, always remember to patch test first. While they are very gentle, allergic reactions can still occur with skincare products, even natural ones.

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