Experts explain everything there is to know about sea buckthorn oil.

Merissa Principe
Apr 21, 2021 @ 5:53 pm
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We know you've heard of the healthy benefits of coconut, jojoba, and argan oil, but if you're looking for the next big thing in skincare—look no further than sea buckthorn oil. It's the latest up-and-coming oil in the clean beauty industry thanks to celebrities, such as Gwyneth Paltrow and Kourtney Kardashian, singing its praises. It's packed with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, which help keep skin hydrated, bright, and supple. To better understand this skincare ingredient, we tapped three experts to learn everything we need to know about sea buckthorn oil.

What is sea buckthorn oil?

"Sea buckthorn oil is an oil extracted from the berries, leaves, and seeds of the sea buckthorn plant, a small shrub that grows in the Himalayan region," explains Rachel E. Maiman, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist. What makes this oil unique is that it contains all four types of essential omega fatty acids (omegas 3, 6, 7, and 9) and has a high concentration of linoleic acid as well as antioxidants—meaning it packs a serious hydrating punch.

While this plant boasts a laundry list of healthy vitamins, what makes it especially great for skin and hair health is that it's especially high in vitamins C and E, according to Dr. Maiman. "The berries contain ten times more vitamin C than an orange and are the third-highest source of vitamin E in the plant world," she says. So, it not only hydrates your skin, but it's a powerful tone-evening, skin-smoothing, and anti-aging tool, too.

What are the benefits of using sea buckthorn oil?

Sea buckthorn oil is revered for the incredible benefits it offers for the skin. "It's rich in antioxidants and nutrients that promote skin hydration, elasticity, cell regeneration, and even help treat and prevent acne," explains Michele Green, M.D., a Manhattan-based board-certified dermatologist. "Sea buckthorn oil has anti-inflammatory properties that help reduce swelling and redness associated with many skin conditions, including eczema, psoriasis, and rosacea."

Additionally, recent studies have found that this nourishing oil, "strengthens the lipid barrier of the epidermis in dry skin and protects against transepidermal water loss to improve the skin's hydration levels." A healthy skin barrier helps lock in moisture and prevent water loss so that your skin stays hydrated for longer, a feature that tends to decrease as we age.

What's the best way to incorporate sea buckthorn oil into your skincare routine?

"Everyone can benefit from using sea buckthorn oil, and currently, it's having a big moment in K-beauty," says Charlotte Cho, co-founder of Soko Glam, a company that specializes in Korean beauty products. It's most commonly used in its pure form as a facial oil, however, "this oil pairs wonderfully with other antioxidant-packed oils, like grapeseed, rosehip, and pomegranate oil," she says. "If your skin is dehydrated, pairing this ingredient with hyaluronic acid is a great idea as both ingredients work to nourish and deliver moisture."

For optimal results, apply sea buckthorn oil after your moisturizer to seal in hydration, or use it as an oil cleanser to remove makeup and other impurities from your face for glowing skin. While we love that this oil has a high percentage of vitamin C, Cho suggests following up with sunscreen after applying as sea buckthorn oil can make skin sensitive to the sun.

The best skincare products with sea buckthorn oil:

1. Best sea buckthorn oil:

Living Libations Best Skin Ever Seabuckthorn Facial Cleansing Oil
$58
SHOP IT
Amazon

Sold out on Goop, this cleansing oil and moisturizer not only gets the celebrity stamp of approval but is also hailed for its effortless ability to absorb into the skin as well as additional benefits from other beneficial botanicals (like Jojoba and Tamanu oil)—making it ideal for multitasking. For best results, apply this Poosh Pick by using one to two pumps, gently massage the face and rinse, or leave it on for an extra layer of moisture. You can even apply it as a body oil to hydrate dry, flaky skin, or rub a dime-sized amount through the ends of your hair for a boost of moisture.

2. Best budget sea buckthorn oil:

The Ordinary 100% Organic Virgin Sea-Buckthorn Fruit Oil
$15.40
SHOP IT
SkinStore

This is an affordable, pure version of sea buckthorn oil that's deeply nourishing and won't break the bank. "This powerfully effective oil can be used daily to provide the best benefits and is safe for all skin types," says Dr. Green. It's also great for combining with other oils since it's in its pure form.

3. Best sea buckthorn oil for sensitive skin:

100% Pure Calendula Flower Cleansing Milk
$28
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Dermstore

Calendula flower cleansing milk is a good option for those who want to incorporate sea buckthorn oil into their skincare routine but aren't ready to start with using it in its pure form. This foaming cleanser combines sea buckthorn oil, aloe, and chamomile for an ultra hydrating effect that leaves the skin feeling silky smooth without any sensitivity.

4. Best sea buckthorn oil for dry skin:

Farmacy Honey Grail Ultra-Hydrating Facial Oil
$48
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Sephora

"This oil is a good choice for acne-prone skin as it's non-comedogenic," says Dr. Maiman. "It not only contains sea buckthorn oil but also soothing buckwheat honey, which makes it soothing for irritated skin. Its texture is lightweight and fast-absorbing, so it doesn't feel greasy when applied."

5. Best sea buckthorn oil for acne-prone skin:

Kat Burki Dual Exfoliating Clay
$98
SHOP IT
Nordstrom

Say goodbye to breakouts as this exfoliating clay smoothes uneven texture, removes dead skin cells, and cleans out clogged pores. Perfect for acne-prone skin, this clay exfoliates physically, with both cranberry fibers and hibiscus petals, and the glycolic acid in it chemically exfoliates your skin to ensure that you're left with a smoother and brighter complexion.

6. Best sea buckthorn oil for reducing redness:

Grown Alchemist Antioxidant Facial Oil
$41.25
($55 save 25%)

"This oil is composed of several antioxidant-rich oils, one of which is sea buckthorn," says Dr. Maiman. "The oils are of good quality, found in high concentration and the dark, glass packaging and dropper dispenser prevent light and air from breaking down the oils and rendering them less effective over time."

7. Best hydrating sea buckthorn oil:

Swanicoco Multi Solution Vitamin Toner
$29
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Soko Glam

Toning preps the skin for the following skincare products, helping the barrier to absorb rich ingredients. This toner's perfect for prepping and nourishing the skin as it's lightweight and hydrating, and yes, it's formulated with sea buckthorn oil.

8. Best sea buckthorn body oil:

Weleda Sea Buckthorn Hydrating Body and Beauty Oil
$23.72
($26.00 save 9%)
SHOP IT
Amazon

If you're wary of experimenting with new oils on your face, try this hydrating body oil first. The best part about this oil is that it absorbs quickly into the skin so you won't have to worry about any greasy residue. The sea buckthorn combined with sesame oil easily penetrates the top layer of your skin so you're left with silky, smooth, and soft skin that's anything but ashy. With over 8,000 glowing reviews on Amazon, we can see why people can't stop raving about the nourishing benefits of this body oil.

9. Best sea buckthorn oil hair mask:

amika Soulfood Nourishing Hair Mask
$28
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Sephora

Amika's entire collection of hair products use sea buckthorn oil, however, their Soulfood Nourishing Hair Mask is a fan favorite and a best-seller at Sephora. This mask nourishes dry and damaged hair for long-lasting softness, shine, and hydrated hair. Use it daily or once a week for hair that looks and feels amazing.

10. Best sea buckthorn oil supplements:

OLLY Glowing Skin Gummies
$12.42
($14.99 save 17%)
SHOP IT
Amazon

Sea buckthorn oil isn't just mean to be applied topically—this nutrient-packed fruit is beneficial for your skin both inside and out. Additionally, these gummies are infused with skin and hair-enhancing collagen and hydrating hyaluronic acid—an all-star winning combo, if you ask us. 

11. Best sea buckthorn oil for removing makeup:

Then I Met You Living Cleansing Balm
$38
SHOP IT
Soko Glam

"Double cleansing is an absolute must to cleanly remove oil-based impurities, such as sunscreen, makeup, and natural oils," says Cho. "I created my perfect complementary double cleansing duo set at Then I Met You with the Cleansing Duo—it includes the award-winning Living Cleansing Balm, which is formulated with sea buckthorn oil, persimmon extract, vitamin E, and olive oil to promote clean, healthy skin."