There's something else to love about your favorite pinot or malbec: the healthy, awesome oil created from its leftovers. Grape-seed oil is the byproduct of the winemaking process—after winemakers press grapes into wine, the remaining grape seeds are turned into a multi-use elixir that packs a powerful punch and offers health and beauty benefits.
In fact, a 2016 study from the National Institutes of Health confirmed some of the reasons grape-seed oil fans love it for eating, cooking, and for healthy, beautiful skin and hair. The study found that grape-seed oil has antioxidant capacity, meaning it can help protect against free radicals, which can "reduce the inflammatory process related to some diseases." And since it has anti-inflammatory benefits, grape-seed oil (along with other similar nutrients) could aid in controlling and treating some chronic diseases.
One pro tip to remember: To use grape-seed oil in the kitchen, make sure it's cold-pressed. When processed at high heat, the oil can be combined with chemicals that are potentially dangerous.
How can you get grape-seed oil into your life? Here are 10 ideas.
In the Kitchen
Grape-seed oil is high in vitamin E and omega-6 fatty acids. Whisk it up with some balsamic vinegar and lemon juice, throw in your favorite herbs and spices, and you've got a healthy and delicious alternative to bottled dressing.
Zucchini, onions, tofu, mushrooms, peppers, meet your new bestie. Grape-seed oil has a high smoke point, which means it stands up to high heat, making it great for stir-frying and sauteing. Throw in your favorite spices and protein and say hello to a fast, healthy, delicious dinner.
On Your Skin
Patricia Farris, MD, a dermatologist who serves as clinical faculty at Tulane University, points to the components of grape-seed oil that make it a skincare go-to: "Grape-seed oil contains linoleic acid, which is important for skin moisturization; it's also an antioxidant. Antioxidants protect your skin from aging and provide an extra layer of protection, and they're anti-inflammatory. Inflammation plays a role in aging skin," she says.
Farris recommends buying either pure grape-seed oil and using a few drops on the skin like a serum, or looking for products that incorporate it.
You thought you could say, "See ya later, zits," to acne on your 20th birthday, right? Now it's years (or decades) later and those pesky pimples are still a problem. You aren't alone. Try grape-seed oil to moisturize without clogging pores.
A 2016 study looked at the wound-healing properties of grape-seed, sesame, and fenugreek oils, and researchers found that the properties in grape-seed oil (vitamin E, antioxidants, fatty acids, and more) can help with the healing wounds and scars. They won't go away completely, but rubbing grape-seed oil on scars can help make them less noticeable.
Free radicals can damage skin, which leads to aging. The vitamin E and antioxidants in grape-seed oil help protect skin from that damage.
The linoleic acid in grape-seed oil helps strengthen skin's barrier function, which Farris says, is important to protect the skin against aging.
For Healthy Hair
Grape-seed oil is a light, odor-free moisturizer. Mix it with your favorite essential oil and use it as a weekly hot oil treatment before you shampoo.
Keep some in a spray bottle diluted with water. A spritz or two will instantly tame frizz and flyaways.
We all recognize the importance of self-care. No time and/or funds to get to a spa? No worries. Grape-seed oil makes an at-home massage feel like the real deal.
Use grape-seed oil mixed with your favorite fragrance to give yourself a hand massage or foot rub. Better yet, try it for a night in with friends or your partner. Call it pampering and prosecco, or massages and mojitos. No matter the name, grape-seed oil will make it super relaxing.