A.K.A. Vitis vinifera
Derived from: A byproduct of the wine and grape juice industry, grape seed oil is harvested by pressing grape seeds. The process results in two different (and oft confused) derivatives: Grape seed polyphenols come from the outside of the seed, while grape seed oil comes from the inside. Both have serious skincare superpowers.
History: Grape seed oil gets a shout-out in the Old Testament (as part of a dish called “pulse”) for its health benefits, and is mentioned by French historian Jules Michelet in his writings on Napoleonic France as a source of oil for lamps. It was first manufactured on an industrial scale in Italy in 1909 and the country remains one of the world’s largest producers. It was around this time that scientists began testing the effects of grape seed oil on hair and skin. In the last few years, it has become increasingly prevalent in skincare products.
Characteristics: Clear to yellowish green in color, grape seed oil is virtually odorless and feels light on the skin.
Useful Traits: High in polyunsaturated fats and in Vitamin E, this easily absorbed oil slips past the skin barrier to prevent water loss, restore elasticity, and diminish the appearance of wrinkles and scars. Recent research has also shown grape seed oil to have antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties, meaning it protects skin against free radical damage, evens skin tone, and fights acne-causing bacteria.
Other Applications: Grape seed oil has recently seen renewed interest in cooking for its mild flavor, high smoke point, and high percentage of polyunsaturated fats (thought to increase “good” cholesterol and lower “bad” cholesterol).
Found in: One of our favorite grape-obsessed skincare brands, Caudalie, has a rich history of using grape seed oil—theirs come from France, primarily Bordeaux and Burgundy. The basis for the company’s Divine line, grape seed oil works its moisturizing magic in an exfoliating sugar scrub, body bronzer, and an all-in-one oil, in which it teams up with antioxidant-rich polyphenols to soften and moisturize your complexion, hair, and cuticles. It’s also a star ingredient in Caudalie’s Polyphenol C15 Overnight Detox Oil, a 100% plant-based oil that stimulates cell turnover while you sleep.