Meadowfoam Seed Oil Is the New Rosehip Oil. Here’s How to Use It for Your Best Skin Ever

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There are a few staple oils that will always have a special place in our hearts skincare routines (think: coconut oil, rosehip oil and argan oil). But there’s an up-and-comer we’re about to see everywhere that might just give our faves a run for their money. Meet meadowfoam seed oil. We asked Dr. Camille Howard, a New York-based dermatologist, to share everything she knows about meadowfoam seed oil. Plus, we found a few picks to add to your routine.

Meet the Expert:

What Is Meadowfoam Seed Oil?

Meadowfoam seed oil is derived from the meadowfoam flower (limanthes alba) and contains about 95 percent fatty acids. The oil is odor-free and lightweight on the skin. In a skincare context, the ingredient can be found in bodycare, haircare and facial care products.

What Are the Benefits of Meadowfoam Seed Oil?

Meadowfoam seed oil has a host of benefits that make it an ingredient everyone is trying these days. There haven’t been a ton of studies into the efficacy of meadowfoam seed oil, but preliminary research—and Dr. Howard’s professional opinion—have convinced us it’s definitely worth a shot. 

  • It has anti-inflammatory properties. One 2020 study out of Poland found that, alongside other oils, including grapeseed oil and evening primrose oil, meadowfoam seed oil provides anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and anticancer properties. 
  • It hydrates without feeling greasy. Dr. Howard tells us meadowfoam seed oil is an emollient, meaning it softens and soothes the skin without feeling too oily. “As an emollient, it prevents the loss of water from your skin and keeps the surface hydrated and soft without feeling greasy.” Instead, it leaves your skin smooth, soft and glowy.
  • It treats stretch marks. According to a 2015 study, when meadowfoam seed oil is mixed with other oils and butters (shea butter, coconut oil and olive oil), it might increase collagen production and reduce the appearance of stretch marks. 
  • It prevents sun damage. In a 2018 study, researchers found that two chemicals in meadowfoam seed oil (3-methoxyphenyl acetonitrile and 3-methoxyphenyl isothiocyanate) are adept at protecting your skin against UV/UVB rays. The ingredient also includes vitamin E which can prevent sun damage and reduce hyperpigmentation. On that note, Dr. Howard tells us you shouldn’t use this in place of your sunscreen. 
  • It hydrates your hair. Similar to your skin, meadowfoam seed oil promises to hydrate your dry, dull locks. If you’re dealing with frizz, tangles or brittleness, a few drops of the ingredient can lock in that much needed moisture. Plus, people with color-treated hair can minimize their color from fading and improve shine. 
  • It has a long shelf life. The high percentage of fatty acids in meadowfoam seed oil means that it will rarely spoil or lose its quality for up to three years. 

Is Meadowfoam Seed Oil Safe for the Skin? 

Yes. In fact, Dr. Howard tells us it’s one of the few oils that work for all skin types, especially for sensitive skin. “Meadowfoam seed oil acts similar to the sebum that our skin naturally produces,” she explains. “[It] can help balance our skin’s natural oil production to help foster a more even complexion.” 

Plus, people with oily and/or acne-prone skin (who might try to avoid oils in their skincare) will find that meadowfoam seed oil absorbs quickly without feeling heavy on the skin. Its non-comedogenic properties also help control oil production (and it doesn’t clog pores), so it’s a win-win for everyone.

What Are the Downsides of Meadowfoam Seed Oil? 

Meadowfoam seed oil is genuinely safe to use on the skin. However, Dr. Howard recommends a patch test when trying out new ingredients and products for the first time. She suggests applying a pea-size amount to the fold of your elbow twice a day for a week. If you experience any reaction to the ingredient, stop using it immediately and consult with a medical professional.

How to Use Meadowfoam Seed Oil

Whether you use meadowfoam seed oil alone or blend it with other ingredients, there are so many ways you can use it. From skincare to haircare, here are a few to get you started. 

  • Add it to your conditioner. You can buy a conditioner that already contains meadowfoam seed oil or you can add a teaspoon to your favorite one. 
  • Do a scalp treatment. Just apply a few drops directly to the scalp before starting your wash routine. Give yourself a nice head massage, then let it sit for ten to 15 minutes before rinsing and applying shampoo as usual. A helpful tip: Leave it overnight for softer and shiner locks in the morning. 
  • Add it to your moisturizer. Apply a few drops to your daily moisturizer and work the mixture on dry areas. Dr. Howard recommends using meadowfoam seed oil as a final step in your skincare routine to really seal in all the products. 
  • Add it to your bodycare. Whether that’s a lotion, body scrub or massage oil, meadowfoam seed oil is a great addition for soft, supple skin. 
  • Try some lipcare. Chapped lips? Use meadowfoam seed oil on your lips (or mix it with another emollient like coconut oil, shea butter or beeswax) to keep them moisturized throughout the day. 

Bottom Line

Meadowfoam seed oil can be a great addition to your beauty routine. Regardless of your skin type, if you’re looking to hydrate (which…aren’t we all), it’s worth a go, whether you mix it in with your products or apply it directly to your face, body or hair.

A Few of Our Meadowfoam Seed Oil Picks: 

This spot treatment focuses on reducing the appearance of dark spots and hyperpigmentation. Its key ingredient—vitamin C—brightens, evens and nourishes the skin. Plus, the sunflower oil, macadamia seed oil and meadowfoam seed oil blend absorbs quickly into the skin without clogging pores. “Paired with clean ingredients and a uniquely stable dose of vitamin C, this spot treatment nourishes skin while visibly reducing discoloration,” adds Dr. Howard. 

This body butter promises to soothe and nourish super dry or irritated skin. With moisturizing ingredients (like marula butter, meadowfoam seed oil, cupuacu and shea butter), expect smoother and firmer skin for the rest of the day. Whether it’s your heels or lips, just dap a small amount and you’re good to go. 

You’ll find meadowfoam seed oil and goat milk work together to brighten, plump and hydrate your skin. But the key feature of this product is targeting fine lines and wrinkles and reducing their appearance in the long run. Use as an overnight mask or a daily moisturizer to keep your skin nourished. 

Why settle for one oil when you can have three to replenish your skin? This facial oil features cloudberry, cottonseed and meadowfoam oils to hydrate and soften the skin without feeling greasy or heavy. It offers a high concentration of each (ten percent), so you’ll reap all the benefits for a bright, dewy glow. 

This balm is ready to cleanse while adding moisture back to your skin. The gentle formula removes makeup, oil and dirt to leave a plump, clean surface behind. Plus, the nourishing blend of jojoba and meadowfoam seed oils hydrates and softens the skin way before you apply your moisturizer. 

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Associate Editor, Ultimate Fangirl, Aspiring Beauty Guru

Chelsea Candelario is an Associate Editor at PureWow. She has been covering beauty, culture, fashion and entertainment for over a decade. You'll find her searching the internet...