Your Guide to Vegan Skin Care

Today it’s easier than ever to choose a lifestyle that aligns with your health goals and ethical choices. If you’re a vegetarian, you avoid meat and fish and opt instead for plant-based foods, dairy, and eggs. A vegan diet takes things a step further, eschewing all products associated with animals, including animal-derived ingredients like milk, eggs, and honey.

For homemade natural beauty recipes, which often use dairy as a base for creams and lotions, finding a non-animal option may seem tricky But we actually have quite a few plant-derived substances from which to choose, whether it’s agave, natural plant oils like olive or grape seed, or nut milk. These types of ingredients can help you maintain beautiful skin and healthy, shiny hair – without having to compromise your values. Here are a few all-natural, all- vegan recipes to get you started.

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Shea Butter Body Lotion

From the African shea tree {Vitellaria paradoxa, formerly Butyrospermum parkii}, shea butter is an ivory-colored natural fat used much like cocoa butter, with a mild, almost musty fragrance. In cosmetics, it acts as a moisturizer and emollient and also contains anti-inflammatory properties. It can treat all types of skin conditions, from scars to chapped lips, and it’s helpful in treating acne because it’s easily absorbed by the skin and leaves no sticky residue. It also provides mild UV protection from the sun {but should never serve as a replacement for your sunscreen}. You can find it in natural food stores in the skincare section.

1/2 cup distilled water

1/8 tsp borax powder

1/4 cup shea butter

1/2 cup almond oil

Bring water to a boil. Place borax powder in a clean, heat-proof bowl, and pour in the boiling water, stirring well. Set aside. In a microwave-safe bowl or saucepan, combine oil and shea butter and gently heat the mixture until melted, stirring to mix. Transfer this mixture into a blender or food processor and blend on low, slowly adding the hot water solution in a slow, steady stream. Then blend on high until well-mixed. You should have a milky-white lotion. Pour the mixture into a clean container to cool.

To Use Massage into skin. Yields: 6 ounces.

Plant-Based Lip Balm

Several plant oils and waxes work great as substitutes for beeswax or lanolin to soothe dry, cracked lips. The shea butter, cocoa butter, coconut oil, and castor oil in this recipe provides lips with natural shine and protection against the element.

1/2 tsp castor oil

1 tsp coconut oil

1 tsp shea butter

1/2 tsp cocoa butter

1-2 drops peppermint essential oil for flavor {optional}

In a heat-resistant bowl or small saucepan, combine all ingredients and gently heat until melted. {This may be done in the microwave, but be careful not to boil the mixture.} Stir well and pour into a small container. Let cool completely.

To Use Spread on your lips with a clean fingertip. Yield: .75 ounce.

Coconut Oil Body Polish

This scrub is perfect for skin that needs some exfoliation, but also a bit of TLC. The raw sugar exfoliates the skin while the coconut oil helps deeply condition it. After using this treatment, your skin should feel softer and smoother.

1 cup of raw sugar

1/2 cup coconut oil

1/2 tsp vitamin E oil

2-3 drops essential oil {lavender, rosemary, peppermint} optional

In a small bowl, mix together all ingredients and stir well. Spoon into a clean container.

To Use: Standing in the tub or shower, massage the mixture into your skin. {Be careful: the oil can make the tub slippery.} Rinse with warm water and pat your skin dry. Yield: 8 ounces.

Easy Dry Shampoo

Dry shampoos have become a popular alternative to regular “wet” shampoos, proving especially helpful after a workout during the day or when traveling. But spray-on dry shampoos can contain a wealth of questionable ingredients, when, in fact, all you really need is one tablespoon of either baking soda, cornstarch, or rice powder. That’s it…

To Use: Simply massage the powder directly onto your scalp and through your hair. You may want to lean over a sink as you apply the powder. Leave it on for at least 10 minutes, and then, using a clean, dry brush, vigorously brush your hair, using long strokes, to remove all of the powder.

Reading the Labels

Our skin is our largest organ, and what you use on it does affect your overall health. One advantage of making your own cosmetic products and treatments is that it puts you in control of the ingredients you use and apply to your skin. Of course, you don’t always have time to make all of your skincare products from scratch. So, knowing how to accurately read the labels of store-bought products becomes important.

To start, the term “natural” on the label is meaningless – there’s no authority that monitors this claim. Therefore, you really need to take an eagle eye to the back of the product. Ingredients are listed in order of percentage: if the first ingredient is water, that means water is the most prominent ingredient. You may see a product that boasts a desirable ingredient on the front label, only to find that it’s the last ingredient listed.

Some ingredients such as “sodium chloride” may sound scary {at least to those who’ve long forgotten their chemistry lessons}, but are, in fact, completely natural {sodium chloride is table salt}. Manufacturers often use scientific or Latin names for basic ingredients, but a quick search online can reveal the common name and whether it’s an ingredient you want to put on your skin.

Vegans may not realize that some of their favorite products actually contain ingredients they wish to avoid. Here’s a quick list of animal-derived substances.

  • Aspic: an industry alternative to gelatin; made from clarified meat or fish
  • Casein: a protein derived from milk
  • Cod liver oil: found in lubricating creams and lotions
  • Collagen: taken from the bones and connective tissues of animals; used in cosmetics to help skin retain water and keep it supple
  • Elastin: similar use as collagen; derived from the neck ligaments and aorta of cows
  • Gelatin/Gelatine: for smooth skin and to add gloss to hair; obtained by boiling skin, tendons, ligaments, and/or bones from cows and pigs
  • Keratin: used for hair and as an anti-aging skin care ingredient; obtained from sheep wool or from the skin, hooves, and horns of animals
  • Lactose: a sugar derived from milk
  • Propolis: used for its antiviral and antimicrobial properties to treat breakouts and protect skin; created by bees in the construction of their hives
  • Royal Jelly: an anti-aging ingredient; comes from secretions of the throat gland of the honeybee
  • Shellac: found in hair lacquer; obtained from the bodies of the female scale insect, Tachardia lacca
  • Vitamin D3: found in creams, lotions, and other cosmetics; made from fish-liver oil
  • Whey: a byproduct of cheese making
  • Cochineal dye or carminic acid: adds red color; comes from the cochineal insect
  • Ambergris: adds scent and/or color; derived from whales

Garden Fresh Vegan Cologne

This fragrance uses fresh vegetable and herb leaves to create a light, summer-garden scent. Try it as an after-bath or after-shave splash – or anytime you need an aromatic boost.

4 Tbls fresh tomato leaves, chopped

1 Tbls fresh lemon zest

1 tsp fresh basil leaves

1 tsp fresh mint leaves

1 cup witch hazel

Place all of the fresh leaves and lemon zest inside a clean jar or bottle. Pour the witch hazel over; shake gently. Cover the bottle top and let it sit in a cool, dark spot for two weeks. Strain the liquid and discard any solids. Pour the liquid through a fine strainer or coffee filter into a clean bottle.

To Use: Apply as you would any cologne product. It’s especially refreshing on a hot summer day if kept in the refrigerator. Yield: 8 ounces.

Avocado Facial Mask

Fresh avocados are a classic facial mask ingredient full of natural fats and protein to help stimulate your skin’s own natural production of oil, helping to smooth out rough, dry skin. All skin types can benefit from an avocado facial. Make sure to save the pit; you can grind it up and use it in body scrub recipes, and if you live somewhere warm, you can plant it to have your own little avocado tree.

1/2 fresh avocado, mashed

1 Tbls fresh parsley leaves, finely chopped

1 tsp fresh lemon juice

Combine all of the ingredients in a small bowl and stir well until you have a smooth, creamy mixture.

To Use: Spread the mask on a clean face and neck and let sit for 15 minutes. {Take this moment to relax!} Rinse with warm water and gently pat your skin dry. Yield: 3 ounces, enough for one treatment.

Vegan Substitutions

Need to find a substitute for an ingredient in one of your beauty recipes? Several plant substances serve as effective replacements for some common ingredients derived from animals.

  • Beeswax: Heavy plant waxes, such as candelilla and carnauba, and oils like coconut can stand in for beeswax, which is used to thicken creams, lotions, and lip balms and help protect your skin. Cocoa and shea butters also work well.
  • Dairy: Today, you can find a wide variety of plant and nut milks to replace animal dairy called for in beauty recipes.
  • Egg white: This part of the egg provides astringent and cleansing qualities for oily skin types, but cucumber, chamomile tea, and aloe vera gel will work similarly.
  • Egg yolks: Full of lecithin, egg yolks help with dry skin conditions, but you can replace them with soy lecithin or use a rich oil such as coconut and olive instead.
  • Honey: In place of honey to cleanse and moisturize your skin look to molasses, maple syrup, or agave syrup.
  • Lanolin: Found in sheep’s wool, lanolin can be replaced with rich plant oils such as soy, almond, and avocado.

 

The Fragrant Way to Beauty: Skin Care Oils

Skincare oils are one of the best ways to take care of your skin and can easily be adapted to take into account changes in circumstances, such as stress levels, health, lifestyle, and general well-being. These factors often change from month to month, and by blending your own skin care oils you can accommodate your ever-changing skin care needs, which reflect physical, environmental, and emotional factors.

The first step in deciding which particular skincare regime to choose is to establish which basic skin type you have.

Many people believe their skin is a combination of skin types. Combination skin is a patchwork of normal, oily, and dry skin, with the oil patches usually occurring on the forehead, nose, and chin. This type of skin can develop at any time from changes in health, lifestyle, working conditions, and, of course, stress levels. Treat combination skin as you would normal skin, and if the oily patches become a problem use the face oils for oily skin on those areas. As the skin starts to balance you can adjust the treatment accordingly. Our skins can change quite rapidly, so do take notice of the changes and be ready to switch oils as and when needed.

Spa scene with natural cosmetics

Evenly Balanced – Normal Skin

Really, there’s no such thing as normal skin. Or, more correctly, children have normal skin, and the rest of us aspire to it. The perfect skin of prepuberty is plump, in that the cells are firm and solid, neither dry nor oily, finely textured with no visible pores, spots, or blemishes, soft and velvety to the touch, and unwrinkled. Adults can only yearn for this perfection, and we call skin “normal” if it reaches somewhere near it – about halfway is close enough. The term normal is so inappropriate in this context that I prefer to call this type of skin evenly balanced.

Balanced Normal Skin: Carrier Oils

Almond, sweet {Prunus Amygdalus var. dulcis}

Apricot kernel {Prunus armeniaca}

Hazelnut {Corylus avellana}

Jojoba {Simmondsia chinensis}

Argan {Argania spinosa}

Camellia seed {Camellia japonica}

Specialist Plant Oil Additions for Balanced Normal Skin

Evening primrose seed {Oenothera biennis}

Rosehip seed {Rosa rubiginosa}

Borage seed {Borago officinalis}

Carrot, macerated {Daucus carota}

Cucumber seed {Cucumis sativus}

Pomegranate seed {Punica granatum}

Sea buckthorn {Hippophae rhamnoides}

Passionflower seed {Passifloria incarnata}

Kiwi seed {Actinidia chinensis}

Essential Oils for Balanced Normal Skin

Chamomile German {Matricaria recutita}

Lemon {Citrus limon}

Palmarosa {Cymbopogon martinii}

Neroli {Citrus aurantium}

Geranium {Pelargonium graveolens}

Jasmine {Jasminum grandiflorum/officinale}

Lavender {Lavandula angustifolia}

Rose otto {Rosa damascena}

Frankincense {Boswellia carterii}

Chamomile Roman {Anthemis nobilis}

Day Care Oil for Balanced Normal Skin

Rose Otto – 14 drops

Geranium – 3 drops

Chamomile Roman – 2 drops

Lavender – 3 drops

Lemon – 3 drops

Optional additions to 1 fl. oz. {30 mL} of carrier oil:

Rosehip seed oil – 20 drops

Carrot macerated oil – 10 drops

First, blend the essential oils together, then dilute 2 – 3 drops in each teaspoon {5 mL} of hazelnut or sweet almond carrier oil. Apply a small amount to damp skin, massage into the face and neck, avoiding the eye area, and then dab the face with a tissue to remove excess oil.

Night Care Oil for Balanced Normal Skin

Geranium – 9 drops

Palmarosa – 5 drops

Rosewood – 5 drops

Orange, sweet – 3 drops

Lavender – 5 drops

Optional additions to 1 fl. oz. {30 mL} of carrier oil:

Rosehip seed oil – 20 drops

Sea buckthorn – 10 drops

First, blend the essential oils together, then dilute 2 -3 drops in each teaspoon {5 mL} of camellia seed oil to which you’ve added 5 drops of evening primrose seed oil. Apply a small amount to damp skin, massage into the face and neck, avoiding the eye area, and then dab the face with a tissue to remove excess oil.

skin care solutions

Normal to Dry Skin

The cells on the outer surface of the skin are essentially at the last stage of the shedding process, known as desquamation, and are held together by the hydrolipidic film. This consists of amino acids and lactic acid from sweat, fatty acids from sebum, and moisturizing by-products of keratinization – which is the process by which skin cells are shed from the top layer and replaced by those underneath. When the hydrolipidic layer is disturbed for some reason, the skin feels dry. This may be because the normal pH balance is disturbed, not enough sebum is being produced, the skin is being dried out by central heating, there are hormonal changes, medications have upset the normal balance of the skin protection system, or for many other reasons.

When the skin becomes dry it’s less supple and more prone to wrinkles, and it can even become flaky. In time it can become sensitive, prone to inflammation, and easily dehydrated by wind and sun. This type of skin is prone to peeling and itching during periods of stress. It generally feels taut after washing. Sometimes dry skin is caused by hormonal changes and menopause.

Normal to Dry Skin: Carrier Oils

Almond, sweet {Prunus Amygdalus var. dulcis}

Avocado {Persea americana}

Apricot kernel {Prunus armeniaca}

Argan {Argaania spinosa}

Hemp seed {Cannabis sativa}

Meadowfoam {Limnanthes alba}

Rice bran {Oryza sativa}

Macadamia {Macadamia ternifolia}

Camellia seed {Camellia japonica}

Specialist Plant Oil Additions for Normal to Dry Skin

Evening primrose seed {Oenothera biennis}

Borage seed {Borago officinalis}

Red raspberry seed {Rubus idaeus}

Acai berry {Euterpe oleracea}

Olive squalane {Olea europaea}

Rosehip seed {Rosa rubiginosa}

Sea buckthorn {Hippophae rhamnoides}

Cranberry seed {Vaccinium macrocarpon}

Carrot, macerated {Daucus carota}

Essential Oils for Normal to Dry Skin

Chamomile German {Matricaria recutita}

Chamomile Roman {Anthemis nobilis}

Lavender {Lavandula angustifolia}

Sandalwood {Santalum album}

Geranium {Pelargonium graveolens}

Rose Otto {Rosa damascena}

Palmarosa {Cymbopogon martinii}

Carrot seed {Daucus carota}

Ho wood {Cinnamomum camphora ct. linalool}

Neroli {Citrus aurantium}

Clary sage {Salvia sclarea}

Frankincense {Boswellia carterii}

Day Care Oil for Normal to Dry Skin

Chamomile German – 3 drops

Sandalwood – 15 drops

Mandarin – 3 drops

Ho wood – 4 drops

Optional additions to 1 fl. oz. {30 mL} of carrier oil:

Olive squalane oil – 20 drops

Raspberry seed oil – 10 drops

First, blend the essential oils together, then dilute 2 – 3 drops in each teaspoon {5 mL} of camellia seed oil, to which you’ve added 2 drops of evening primrose seed oil. Apply a small amount to damp skin, massage into face and neck, avoiding the eye area, and then dab the face with a tissue to remove excess oil.

Night Care Oil for Normal to Dry Skin

Carrot seed – 5drops

Sandalwood – 8 drops

Lavender – 3 drops

Clary sage – 3 drops

Palmarosa – 4 drops

Optional additions to 1 fl. oz. {30 mL} of apricot kernel or sweet almond carrier oil:

Olive squalane oil – 20 drops

Rosehip seed oil – 30 drops

skin care oils3

Normal to Oily Skin

Oily skin is caused by overactive sebaceous glands. These are subject to hormonal changes, which is why oily skin can be a problem during puberty. Overactive sebaceous glands can lead to seborrhea, but more often the problem presents as oily patches that leave the skin shiny. Ironically, an oily skin can result from over cleanliness – from scrubbing the face with harsh cleansers and soaps or using astringents that contain alcohol. Many commercial lotions designed to degrease the skin actually stimulate the sebaceous glands to produce more sebum. Thankfully, essential oils have the capacity to balance the skin without prompting the glands to produce more sebum and can provide the perfect solution to this seemingly intractable problem.

Normal to Oily Skin: Carrier Oils

Hazelnut {Corylus avellana}

Grapeseed {Vitis vinifera}

Safflower {Carthamus tinctorius}

Hemp seed {Cannabis sativa}

Sunflower {Helianthus annuus}

Jojoba {Simmondsia chinensis}

Argan {Argania spinosa}

Specialist Plant Oil Additions for Normal to Oily Skin

Borage seed {Borago officinalis}

Carrot, macerated {Daucus carota}

Rosehip seed {Rosa rubiginosa}

Kiwi seed {Actinidia chinensis}

Sea buckthorn {Hippophae rhamnoides}

Blueberry seed {Vaccinium corymbosum}

Echium seed {Echium plantaginoum}

Strawberry seed {Fragaria ananassa}

Essential Oils for Normal to Oily Skin

Chamomile German {Matricaria recutita}

Lavender {Lavandula angustifolia}

Geranium {Pelargonium graveolens}

Frankincense {Boswellia carterii}

Juniper berry {Juniperus communis}

Cypress {Cupressus sempervirens}

Palmarosa {Cymbopogon martinii}

Petitgrain {Citrus aurantium}

Bergamot {Citrus bergamia}

Patchouli {Pogostemon cablin}

Niaouli {Melaleuca quinquenervia}

Orange, sweet {Citrus sinensis}

Lemon {Citrus limon}

Marjoram, sweet {Origanum majorana}

Lime {Citrus aurantifolia}

Rosemary {Rosmarinus officinalis}

Jasmine {Jasminum grandiflorum/officinale}

Ylang ylang {Cananga odorata}

Day Care Oil for Normal to Oily Skin

Juniper berry – 8 drops

Geranium – 10 drops

Petitgrain – 10 drops

Rosemary – 2 drops

Optional additions to 1 fl. oz. {30 mL} of carrier oil:

Kiwi seed oil – 10 drops

Borage seed oil – 10 drops

First, blend the essential oils together, then dilute 2 -3 drops in each teaspoon {5 mL} of jojoba or sunflower oil, to which you’ve added 10 drops of carrot macerated oil. Apply a small amount to damp skin, massage into the face and neck, avoiding the eye area, and then dab the face with a tissue to remove excess oil.

Night Care Oil for Normal to Oily Skin

Juniper berry – 10 drops

Petitgrain – 15 drops

Frankincense – 5 drops

Marjoram, sweet – 5 drops

Orange, sweet – 10 drops

Optional additions to 1 fl. oz. {30 mL} of carrier oil:

Rosehip seed oil – 10 drops

Blueberry seed oil – 10 drops

Evening primrose seed oil – 5 drops

First, blend the essential oils together, then dilute 2 – 3 drops in each teaspoon {5 mL} of hazelnut oil. Apply a small amount to damp skin, massage into the face and neck, avoiding the eye area, and then dab the face with a tissue to remove excess oil.

Moisturizing cosmetic oil on the flowers and water background

Sensitive Skin

Anyone’s skin can become sensitive at any time. Even skin previously considered normal can become prone to sensitivity after contracting a virus, eating certain foods, coming in contact with synthetic perfumes or synthetic cosmetic ingredients, including preservatives, and so on. Some skins become sensitive only during extremes of weather – when it’s too cold, hot, or windy. Sometimes skin changes can be linked to an emotional situation, such as the loss of a loved one, moving or changing jobs, stress, or even just a change in lifestyle. It could be too that the skin can no longer deal with environmental pressures such as overheating at the workplace, too much electrosmog, or pollution. Sensitive skin can also be inherited. Allergies can develop suddenly, and for clues, as to what’s causing the trouble it may be useful to have patch testing carried out.

If you’ve become sensitive to skin care products in general, it could be that you’ll be sensitive to certain plant oils or essential oils too. This is why it’s important for you to carry out a skin test before using anything on the face. Apply a small amount of oil, or diluted essential oil, in the crook of an elbow or behind the ear, and leave it for 24 hours. If there’s no reaction such as itchiness, redness, soreness, or swelling, then that oil might suit you.

The best choices for highly sensitive skins are water-based products such as hydrolats, hydrosols, plant distillates, floral waters, and the like. Only use essential oils in very low dosages, increasing the amount used as you become confident there’s no skin reaction, and use carrier oils that are known to be gentle on the skin. As this is such an individual situation – everyone is different in terms of their sensitivities and reactions – not all the suggestions below might be appropriate for you. Always choose organic products.

Hydrolats for Sensitive Skin

Chamomile Roman {Anthemis nobilis}

Chamomile German {Matricaria recutita}

Lavender {Lavandula angustifolia}

Rose {Rosa damascena/centifolia}

Essential Oils for Sensitive Skin

Lavender {Lavandula angustifolia}

Chamomile German {Matricaria recutita}

Chamomile Roman {Anthemis nobilis}

Geranium {Pelargonium graveolens}

Sandalwood {Santalum album}

Neroli {Citrus aurantium}

Carrier Oils for Sesitive Skin

Almond, sweet {Prunus amygdalus var. dulcis}

Rice bran {Oryza sativa}

Jojoba {Simmondsia chinensis}

Calendula, macerated {Calendula officinalis}

Grapeseed {Vitis vinifera}

Camellia seed {Camellia japonica}

 

Benefits and Uses of Coconut Oil

HISTORY OF COCONUT OIL

Cocos nucifera, better known as the Coconut, sets itself apart from other fruits by virtue of its higher than average water content, also referred to as its juice, for which it is commonly known to be harvested; however, as illustrated by its historical uses, the various parts of this versatile nut, as well as the tree from which it comes, have countless other benefits aside from offering drinkable water.

The Coconut tree belongs to the Palm family and is the only species belonging to the Cocos genus. For centuries, the oil produced from coconuts has been a staple ingredient in beauty products that were made and used by communities all around the world. Due to its ability to moisturize and condition the hair, boost its growth, and leave it looking lustrous, Coconut Oil continues to be used cosmetically – typically as a moisturizer, and in soaps – to enhance the look and feel of hair and skin.

Despite its name, the Coconut is not a nut – it is a drupe, which is a fleshy, thin-skinned fruit with a stone at its center that contains the seed. Throughout history and even today, mature coconuts are processed so that oil can be obtained from the kernel, charcoal can be obtained from the hard shell, and the fibrous outer husk can be used to create rope and matting.

The use of Coconut Oil has been a prolific and fundamental aspect in the lives of many societies all around the world, especially in tropical and coastal regions such as South and Central America, Africa, the Indian subcontinent, Micro-, Mele- and Polynesia, and most of Asia. The uses for this oil were so respected that as early as 1500 BC they were recorded in Sanskrit for Ayurvedic medicine as a remedy for illnesses of the mind, body, and spirit.

Over the centuries, coconuts have been mentioned in both fictional and historical accounts, being mentioned in both 9th-century reports about the Chinese using it to make fibers as well as in the 1,001 Arabian Nights story about Sinbad the Sailor. The first coconut sighting was possibly from a 5th century A.D. Egyptian traveler known as Costas, who recorded a finding of an “Indian Nut” that scholars believe to be the Coconut.

In South Asia, Coconut Oil was frequently used in hair products to keep it lustrous, moisturized, thick, and dark. It was used on the skin to facilitate the speedy healing of burns, bruises, cuts, and wounds as well as to soothe aching muscles and joint pain. In Zanzibar and India, Coconut Oil was used in the candle making process and to provide light. Even the British explorer Captain Cook wrote favorably about the attractiveness of communities that surrounded the Pacific Ocean and that used Coconut Oil extensively.

For native Samoan healers as well as for Central and South American healers and Ayurvedic medicine practitioners, Coconut Oil was used as a remedy for treating illnesses and healing wounds. Many mothers on the island used Coconut Oil to massage their children in order to promote the growth of strong bones, to protect their skin against blemishes, and to prevent illness and infection.

Coconuts finally got their name from the Portuguese in the 1700s after receiving countless other names, including the name “Nux indica,” which Marco Polo dubbed them in the year 1280 and the name “Nargils,” which Sir Francis Drake gave them in the 1600s. The name is derived from the 16th-century Portuguese and the Spanish word “coco,” meaning “head” or “skull,” because of the three indents that resemble the placement of the eyes and nose on a human head.

In the countries to which coconuts are native, people used them to make baskets, utensils, and musical instruments. They found a greater number of uses when they learned that the flesh could be used for more than just food and drink, at which time they began extracting the oil of the coconut by boiling the milk. They applied this oil as a natural sunscreen, a moisturizing conditioner for dry and damaged skin and hair, and as a treatment for head lice, among other uses.

BENEFITS OF USING COCONUT OIL

The main chemical constituents of Coconut Carrier Oils are Lauric Acid, Capric Acid and Caprylic Acid, Linoleic Acid (Polyunsaturated Fats), Oleic Acid (Monounsaturated Fats), Polyphenols (Virgin Coconut Oil only), and Medium-Chain Triglycerides.

LAURIC ACID is believed to:

  • Assimilate quickly and completely into the body, as it is a Medium-Chain Triglyceride (Saturated Fat)
  • Eliminate and prevent various viruses
  • Exhibit smoothing properties and textures when used in body butter, soaps and salves

CAPRIC ACID AND CAPRYLIC ACID are believed to:

  • Assimilate quickly and completely into our bodies, as they are Medium-Chain Triglycerides (Saturated Fats)
  • Contribute antimicrobial and antifungal properties
  • Stimulate hair follicles with natural proteins
  • Repair and strengthen damaged hair while adding shine
  • Prevent the spread of harmful bacteria, making it effective for use on acne-prone skin

LINOLEIC ACIDS are believed to:

  • Moisturize hair and promote its growth
  • Facilitate wound healing
  • Be effective emulsifiers in the formulation of soaps and quick-drying oils
  • Exhibit anti-inflammatory properties
  • Soothe acne and reduce chances of future outbreaks
  • Promote moisture retention in skin and hair
  • Make oils feel thinner in consistency, thus being beneficial for use on acne-prone skin

OLEIC ACIDS are believed to:

  • Maintain the softness, suppleness, and radiance of skin and hair
  • Stimulate the growth of thicker, longer, and stronger hair
  • Reduce the appearance of aging, such as premature wrinkles and fine lines
  • Eliminate dandruff and thereby support hair growth
  • Boost immunity
  • Exhibit antioxidant properties
  • Prevent joint inflammation, stiffness, and pain

POLYPHENOLS are believed to:

  • Contribute scent and antioxidant properties to Coconut Oil
  • Soothe inflammation
  • Repair dry, damaged skin
  • Improve skin elasticity, especially for prematurely aging skin
  • Enhance moisture levels in skin
  • Protect skin against UV rays
  • Enhance skin cell growth
  • Boost circulation to the skin
  • Increase hair growth

MEDIUM-CHAIN TRIGLYCERIDES are known to:

  • Eliminate harmful bacteria, viruses, and fungi
  • Offer intense moisture
  • Condition the hair and eliminate dandruff
  • Boost hair growth

Used cosmetically or topically in general, Coconut Oil can penetrate the skin easily, due to the small size of its molecules, which are almost as small as essential oil molecules and which allows essential oils to be readily absorbed into the skin when combined with Coconut Oil. Without clogging pores, Coconut Oil offers excellent emollience to dry, itchy skin and hair, remaining suitable for sensitive, inflamed and irritated skin. In providing hydration, it creates a protective barrier on the skin’s surface, locking in moisture to soften, lubricate, and cool skin and hair while preventing future dryness as well as fungus. Used in a topical cream, Coconut Oil soothes and cools irritated areas of skin such as those affected by the discomforts of conditions like Athlete’s Foot, Psoriasis, and warts. It effectively soothes sunburns and blisters, removes dead skin, and promotes the growth of newer, healthier skin for a glowing complexion.

Used therapeutically, Coconut Carrier Oil is reputed to be effective for boosting metabolism and promoting the burning of more energy. It is believed to be able to control blood pressure and cholesterol while soothing discomfort caused by liver and kidney problems. It is often used to improve digestion and insulin secretion and to control blood sugar. It can also promote stress relief when used in a relaxing massage.

 Coconut Carrier Oil is reputed to have many therapeutic properties. The following highlights its many benefits and the kinds of activity it is believed to show:

  • COSMETIC: non-comedogenic, emollient, protectively hydrating, lubricating, cooling, soothing
  • MEDICINAL: regulating, balancing, stress relieving, digestive, anti-fungal, detoxicant

CULTIVATING AND HARVESTING QUALITY COCONUT OIL

The origin of Coconut Palm Trees is still unclear; however, the generally accepted belief is that they originated in the region between India and Indonesia and that coconuts dispersed themselves throughout the world when they fell into the Indian Ocean and floated around to other countries on the ocean’s currents. This belief comes from the fact that the name for the Coconut in the region of Malaysia and Indonesia – “nyiur/nyior” – is similar to the name given to it in Polynesia and Melanesia – “niu” – and to its Philippino and Guamanian name – “niyog.” Both of these names are based on the Malay term. Coconut Palms grow in dozens of other countries around the world and produce approximately 61 million tons per year, mostly in the tropical regions of Asia. 73% of total world production is from Indonesia, the Philippines, and India, collectively. There are two modern-day species of Coconut: the Pacific and the Atlantic.

Coconuts are derived from the Cocos nucifera botanical, which is a large palm tree that can grow up to 30 m (98 ft.) tall. Its long leaves are pinnate and its trunk is smooth. Coconuts can be further classified into Tall and Dwarf types. The Coconut is not a true nut; rather, like other fleshy fruits that have thin skin and a seed-filled inner stone in their centers, it is a drupe much like an almond, cherry, olive, or plum. It is made up of 3 layers: the exocarp, the mesocarp, and the endocarp. The first two layers are the outermost and are commonly referred to as the Coconut’s husk. The mesocarp has a fibrous texture and is called “coir.”

coconut_parts_01

 

 

When the husk is removed, there are 3 visible holes on the innermost layer, the endocarp. These holes are commonly referred to as “eyes,” which tend to make the Coconut look like a bowling ball. These holes are germination pores. Two of the pores remain plugged and non-functional, leaving only one pore to be functioning, and it is through this one pore that a shoot will sprout once growing conditions are favorable. The pores each represent a coconut flower’s carpel. A full-sized coconut weighs approximately 1.44 kg (3.2 lbs.).

For optimum growth, the Coconut Palm requires sandy soils, the absence of overhead canopies of trees, generous amounts of direct sunlight, high humidity, and consistent rainfall. They are able to thrive in regions with low precipitation, as long as they remain warm and humid. They are highly receptive to salinity, which makes it easy for them to grow along tropical shorelines. They can continue to thrive in brief temperature drops to 0 °C (32 °F) and cannot withstand severe frost, but they have sometimes been able to recover from temperatures of −4 °C (25 °F). In some colder areas, although they might grow, they will not yield fruits.

Aside from coastal sandy terrains, Coconut trees can also grow in soils that are alluvial, loamy, laterite, and in soils of marshy low lands that have received reclamation treatment. They require the absence of rock or any hard, underlying rock layer within 2m of the surface; the presence of water within 3m; good water-holding capacity; and adequate drainage. In dry climates without proper irrigation, Coconut trees will not unfurl their leaves. Older leaves will become dehydrated and shrivel, and their fruits will naturally fall off.

With proper care and in ideal growing conditions, a Coconut Palm produces its first fruits within 6-10 years of growth and reaches peak production after 15-20 years. From the inflorescence stage (better known as the flowering stage) to the stage of the full-grown nut, a coconut takes 12 months to mature. Typically, there is a period of 45 days between each time the coconuts are cut down. It is believed that the best oil yield is produced by the nuts that naturally fall to the ground when they are mature. These are also the coconuts with the highest amount of Lauric Acid. A Coconut Palm produces coconuts all year long, growing approximately 100-120 Coconuts per year, as Coconuts can be found growing in bunches of 5-12 fruits with a new bunch growing and maturing each month. Some growers will pick coconuts much earlier than they reach maturity and will use chemicals to extract their oils with the intention of increasing oil production.

HOW IS COCONUT OIL EXTRACTED?

Coconuts are first collected and the ones used for “copra,” that is the dried inner flesh or the “meat,” are split open in the field with an ax. The Coconut’s meat is scooped out, amassed, and taken to a drier, which can be as simple as solar drying or a rack over a fire. It can also be as sophisticated as a kiln. The drying process can take up to 4 days. To produce 1 ton of copra, approximately 6,000 fully mature coconuts are required. The copra is bagged and taken to a large-scale industrial oil-seed mill by which time the copra will have gone rancid, especially if the mill is overseas. At this point, the extraction process begins.

Coconut Oil can be extracted by one of the following methods

THE DRY PROCESS (COLD / EXPELLER PRESS) involves extracting the coconut meat and drying it by either fire, sunlight, or in kilns to create copra. The duration of the drying is approximately 2.5 hours and takes place at a controlled temperature. This copra is then either Cold Pressed, Expeller Pressed, or dissolved using solvents, which results in the Coconut Oil as well as a soft, spongy mass referred to as “copra meal.” This byproduct is high in protein and fiber, yet it is not of high enough quality for humans to consume. As there is no further process for extracting the protein from this mass, it is fed to ruminant animals. Copra derived from coconuts that are not fully mature is more difficult to work with, as it yields a lower amount of oil and produces an inferior product. The oil passes through a filter press to remove any sediment and the result is a clear, raw Coconut Oil. Historically, this processing method produced Coconut Oil that was known as “Poor Man’s Oil” or “Dirty Oil.”

THE WET PROCESS involves the use of raw coconut instead of the dried copra. The Coconut’s protein content produces an oil and water emulsion, which leads to a process of separating the emulsion to collect only the oil. This process uses techniques such as centrifuges or pre-treatments that apply cold, heat, acids, salts, enzymes, electrolysis, shock waves, or steam distillation. Sometimes there is a combination of these processes.

SOLVENT EXTRACTION is a method that extracts up to 10% more oil than the amount produced using only rotary mills and expellers. It achieves this through the use of a solvent such as Hexane. The resulting oil undergoes refinement to remove certain free fatty acids, to reduce the oil’s susceptibility to rancidity, and to increase its shelf life.

VIRGIN COCONUT OIL can be produced out of fresh coconut milk, the coconut meat, or the residue. If it is produced from the meat, it can be extracted by grating the fresh meat, drying it to reduce its moisture content to 10–12%, and then manually applying a screw press to the dried residue to extract the oil. When the oil is produced from the Coconut’s milk, the meat is first grated then mixed with water and squeezed to obtain the oil. To use another technique, the milk can also be fermented for up to 2 days, the oil can be collected, and then the “cream” can be heated to remove any lingering oil. The third method of extraction involves the use of centrifugal force to separate Coconut Oil from the other liquids. The dry residue that remains after the production of Coconut Milk can also be used to extract the oil. Virgin Coconut Oil retains its natural aroma. The entire process of producing Virgin Coconut Oil takes place within one hour of the coconut being cracked.

COPRA COCONUT OIL – REFINED, BLEACHED, AND DEODORIZED (RDB) OIL is a variety of Coconut Carrier Oil that is derived from the copra with the use of a heated hydraulic press. The pressing process yields essentially all the oil present in the copra but remains in a crude state that is brown in color and that contains contaminants, thus it requires further heating and filtering to refine, bleach, and deodorize it.

Refining the oil produced from the copra requires chemicals and heat in order to result in a product that is suitable for commercial sale and use. It involves the use of a weak corrosive soda solution to remove the 3+% of Free Fatty Acids (FFA).

Deodorizing the oil involves passing steam through the oil at a temperature of 230 C (446 ᵒF).

Bleaching the Coconut Oil involves lightening its brown color to make it whiter.

Because the refinement process removes the fragrance and therapeutic benefits of the Coconut Oil, Copra Coconut Oil is vastly different from the quality of Virgin Coconut Oil. RBD Coconut Oil does not retain its natural aroma but is ideal for cosmetic and pharmaceutical purposes.

FRACTIONATED COCONUT OIL is also referred to as Liquid Coconut Oil. There are 3 basic types of fatty acids: short-chain, medium-chain, and long-chain. The long-chain fatty acids have more carbon atoms and this means they require higher temperatures to melt and are thus solid at room temperature. In this variety of Coconut Oil, hydrolysis and steam distillation remove the long-chain fatty acids, such as the healthy saturated fat known as Lauric Acid, while the medium-chain triglycerides such as Caprylic Acid and Capric Acid remain. These are beneficial for medicinal and therapeutic applications, cosmetics, and as a carrier oil for essential oils. Despite the moisturizing and cleansing benefits that long-chain fatty acids have on skin, removing them allows the Coconut Oil to remain liquid at room temperature and extends its shelf life. The medium chain fatty acids still retain their moisturizing properties, while the protective and rejuvenating natural antioxidants and nutrients like vitamins A, C, and E continue to exhibit their valuable properties.

coconutfractionation

 

 

USES OF COCONUT OIL

The uses of Coconut Carrier Oil are abundant, ranging from medicinal to cosmetic. Its many forms include oils, gels, lotions, soaps, shampoos, sprays, and candle making.

Used topically, Coconut Oil cleanses and nourishes skin, leaving it soft and silky. While healing and relaxing the body in a massage, it quickly and deeply hydrates the skin, locking in moisture. To cleanse the skin while moisturizing and reducing the appearance of aging, a small amount of Coconut Oil can be gently massaged into the face. This method works as a lotion that simultaneously removes makeup while nourishing the skin. For a massage to reduce the appearance of cellulite, Coconut Oil can be mixed with essential oils before being massaged into the affected areas. Its high fatty acid content makes Coconut Oil deeply moisturizing and, by massaging a generous amount into feet, damaged heels will enjoy intense hydration.

Coconut Oil can substitute commercial cosmetic highlighting products by simply being massaged into the cheekbones, eyelids, and the arches of the eyebrows for a healthy glow. This method has the added benefit of reducing the amount of makeup used. To hydrate chapped lips naturally, Coconut Oil can be melted and blended with moisturizing essential oils to make a nourishing lip balm. To eliminate and prevent ingrown hairs from forming and leading to dull areas of skin, a body scrub can be made with Coconut Carrier Oil, an exfoliant, and essential oils. The disinfectant properties of Coconut Oil make it effective in eliminating bodily odors, thus it makes an excellent deodorant when combined with anti-bacterial essential oil blends.

Used in hair, Coconut Oil can protect the scalp against the discomfort of dryness and the formation of dandruff. Lustrous hair and a healthier scalp can be achieved by mixing Coconut Oil with essential oils that are known to have hair benefits. When shaving, Coconut Oil can be used to prevent skin irritation. Whether on its own or mixed with essential oils, it can be used as a shaving cream or as a soothing aftershave that protects skin against itchiness and dehydration while preventing the need for additional moisturizing products.

Used medicinally, this anti-oxidant is known to also exhibit anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties. It is known to help balance blood pressure as well as blood-sugar levels, cholesterol, and hormone levels. Coconut Oil has traditionally been used to soothe wounds, rashes, and burns. It can treat fungal infections such as Athlete’s Foot and can repel bugs and insects such as bees, flies, and mosquitoes. The high level of Lauric Acid content in this anti-fungal oil helps eliminate the harmful bacteria inside cold sores. Applying it directly to a sore will relieve itching and pain while promoting faster healing. By hydrating skin and promoting the growth of newer, healthier skin that is more elastic, Coconut Oil helps reduce the appearance of discoloration caused by stretch marks and dark blemishes. Massaging Coconut Carrier Oil into the hands and cheeks can help prevent the appearance of age spots. It is gentle enough to be used on baby skin, making it suitable for relieving diaper rashes and other skin irritations. For a cold remedy, Coconut Oil can be mixed with Peppermint or Spearmint Essential Oil and rubbed into the chest to relieve congestion and boost circulation.

A GUIDE TO COCONUT OIL VARIETIES & THEIR BENEFITS

COCONUT OIL VARIETY & BOTANICAL NAME COUNTRY OF ORIGIN BENEFITS OF OIL
Coconut (Virgin) Carrier Oil

Cocos nucifera

Found in:

  • Philippines
Believed to:

  • fight inflammation
  • maintain bone structure
  • cleanse and moisturize skin and hair
  • remove dead skin cells and promote the growth of newer, healthier skin
  • facilitate healing of wounds
  • soothe infection while promoting faster healing
  • control and relieve skin discomfort caused by eczema, psoriasis and other skin problems
  • strengthen hair
  • boost immunity
  • demonstrate antibacterial and antifungal activities
  • reduce the appearance of stretch marks
Coconut Carrier Oil (RBD)

Cocos nucifera

Found in:

  • Malaysia
Known for:

  • being odorless/having a neutral scent
  • retaining the benefits of Coconut Oil’s fatty acids
  • being free of impurities
  • having a longer shelf life than Unrefined Coconut Oil
Coconut Fractionated Carrier Oil Medium-Chain Triglyceride 60/40 

(MCT 60/40)

Found in:

  • Malaysia
Known for:

  • being odorless
  • penetrating quickly and deeply into the skin, making it feel silky and moisturized without leaving a greasy residue
  • having a high essential fatty acid content
  • having a long shelf life
  • being refined, clarified, and deodorized
  • remaining liquid regardless of temperature
  • retaining the same emollient and moisturizing properties as Virgin Coconut Oil
Coconut Organic Carrier Oil (Refined)

Cocos nucifera

Found in:

  • Philippines
Known for:

  • being odorless/having a neutral scent
  • retaining the benefits of Coconut Oil’s fatty acids
  • being free of impurities
  • having a longer shelf life than Unrefined Coconut Oil
Coconut Virgin Organic Carrier Oil

Cocos nucifera

Found in:

  • Philippines
Believed to:

  • repair damaged skin and hair
  • prevent wrinkles and strengthen hair while making it lustrous
  • penetrate quickly and deeply into the skin, making it feel silky and moisturized without leaving a greasy residue

CONTRAINDICATIONS FOR COCONUT OIL

Carrier oils are for external use only. Individuals who use Coconut Oil to soothe acne on skin that is not very oily to begin with will likely enjoy the anti-bacterial properties of the Lauric Acid content; however, individuals with excessively oily skin are likely to experience what might appear to be aggravated skin. This reaction will likely occur due to the detoxifying properties of Virgin Coconut Oil that are powerful enough to purge layers of toxins from deep beneath the skin’s surface. This reaction will make skin appear as though the condition has worsened, but the irritation and inflammation will be temporary and will eventually decline in a matter of a few weeks – depending on the amount of toxin build-up – as the skin heals, improves, and clears up. To prevent the skin from flaring up in this manner, another possible option for acne-prone skin is to use Coconut Oil as a carrier for skin-soothing essential oils that are known to relieve acne.

Although it is a rare occurrence, Coconut Oil may potentially cause an allergic reaction that could involve anaphylaxis, eczema, facial swelling, hives, lightheadedness, nausea, rapid heart rate, rashes, or vomiting. Children with peanut or tree nut allergies are less likely to experience an allergic reaction to Coconut Oil, as coconuts are considered to be fruits rather than nuts; however, it is highly recommended that a doctor is consulted before these individuals use Coconut Oil. Children with hypothyroidism should refrain from using Coconut Oil or any related products without first consulting a medical practitioner, as it might aggravate the condition.

IN ESSENCE…

    • The Coconut sets itself apart from other fruits by virtue of its higher than average water content.
    • The oil produced from Coconuts has been a staple ingredient in beauty products made and used by communities all around the world, especially in tropical and coastal regions.
    • The name “Coconut” is derived from the 16th-century Portuguese and Spanish word that means “head” or “skull,” because of the three indents that resemble the features of a human head.
    • Coconut oil is beneficial for use in cosmetics, typically as a moisturizer, and in soaps.
  • Historically, Coconut Oil was used as a remedy for treating illnesses and infection, healing wounds, promoting the growth of strong bones, and protecting skin against blemishes.

Skin Health: Benefits of Black Cumin Seed Oil

Black Cumin Seed Carrier Oil is derived from the seeds of the Nigella sativa botanical, better known as the Fennel Flower. It is also commonly known by various other names, including Black Oil, Baraka, Fitch Oil, Kalajira Oil, Kalonji Oil, and Love in a Mist, to name only a few.

For more than 3000 years, Cumin seeds and the oil that they yield have both been used in cosmetic, medicinal, and culinary applications. They were applied as herbal remedies, condiments, and treatments for aches and topical irritations, including bites, sores, inflammation, and rashes. According to historical sources, it is believed that Black Cumin Seed Oil was first used by the Assyrians of ancient Egypt, where it came to be used by renowned royal figures, such as Cleopatra and Nefertiti, who used it in their skincare routines, beautifying baths, and medicinal applications.

In India and the Middle East, Black Cumin seeds – which have a bitter and pungent flavor that can be likened to a blend of black pepper, onions, and oregano – have been dry-roasted and used as a spice and flavor agent in vegetables, pulses, bread, curries, and string cheese. In Ayurveda, Black Cumin Seed Oil has been used in a wide range of applications, mainly for its stimulating, warming, and tonic properties as well as for its uplifting effect on the mood. Traditionally, it was used to address health conditions such as anorexia, sexually-transmitted diseases, and gynecological ailments. It was also believed to be beneficial for stimulating the appetite and metabolism, easing neurological disorders, positively enhancing negative temperaments, and promoting harmony within the body and mind.

According to historical records of Greek physicians in the 1st century, they used Black Cumin Seeds to address toothaches, headaches, nasal congestion, and intestinal worms. Due to the strengthening property of Black Cumin Seed Oil, physicians like Hippocrates prescribed it to patients who experienced general illness and feebleness. Other ancient Greeks used it to stimulate the onset of menstruation and to increase milk production in women. In ‘The Book of Healing,’ author and physician Ibn Sina, also known as Avicenna, accredited Black Cumin Seed with healing abilities, commending it for its invigorating, stimulating, and preventative properties. The book speaks of the seeds as agents for boosting energy and alleviating weakness, exhaustion, sadness, and feelings of discouragement. Furthermore, he endorsed the therapeutic application of Black Cumin seeds for addressing and soothing symptoms of common colds, fever, headaches, topical irritations, wounds, skin disorders, toothaches, and intestinal worms and parasites.

BLACK CUMIN SEED OIL BENEFITS

The main chemical constituents of Black Cumin Seed Carrier Oil are Palmitic Acid, Stearic Acid, Oleic Acid, and Linoleic Acid.

PALMITIC ACID is known to:

  • Have emollient properties
  • Soften hair without leaving a greasy or sticky residue
  • Be the most common saturated fatty acid

STEARIC ACID is known to:

  • Have cleansing properties that eliminate dirt, sweat, and excess sebum from hair and skin
  • Be an ideal emulsifying agent that binds water and oil
  • Help products remain potent when stored for long periods of time
  • Condition and protect hair from damage without diminishing luster or making it feel heavy
  • Have exceptional cleansing properties
  • Soften skin

OLEIC ACIDS (OMEGA-9) are known to:

  • Maintain the softness, suppleness, and radiance of skin and hair
  • Stimulate the growth of thicker, longer, and stronger hair
  • Reduce the appearance of aging, such as premature wrinkles and fine lines
  • Eliminate dandruff and support hair growth
  • Boost immunity
  • Exhibit antioxidant properties
  • Prevent joint inflammation, stiffness, and pain

LINOLEIC ACIDS (OMEGA-6) are known to:

  • Moisturize hair and promote its growth
  • Facilitate wound healing
  • Be an effective emulsifier in the formulation of soaps and quick-drying oils
  • Exhibit anti-inflammatory properties
  • Soothe acne and reduce chances of future outbreaks
  • Promote moisture retention in skin and hair
  • Make oils feel thinner in consistency when used in an oil blend, thus being beneficial for use on acne-prone skin
  • Help slow the look of aging by sustaining skin elasticity and softness

Blackcuminseed_co_captionimage

Used cosmetically or topically in general, Black Cumin Seed Oil is reputed to effectively address fungal infections, yeast, and mold with its anti-fungal properties. Its antioxidant activity is known to promote the skin’s elimination of harmful free radicals, thus diminishing the appearance of wrinkles, fine lines, dark spots, and other blemishes, thereby exhibiting a rejuvenating and revitalizing effect.

Rich in vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids, Black Cumin Seed Oil delivers gentle yet profoundly nourishing moisture that is easily absorbed into the skin, leaving it feeling smooth, hydrated, and nourished with a radiant look. Its softening quality makes it beneficial for even the most sensitive skin and its firming and regenerative properties are known to lessen the chance of scars developing from wounds. When applied to hair, Black Cumin Seed Oil is known to exhibit the same supportive effects, thus promoting the growth of stronger and smoother strands.

Used medicinally, Black Cumin Seed Oil works as an antiseptic and anti-bacterial agent that eliminates harmful topical bacteria while preventing their future growth, thus proving to stimulate a strong immune response. With anti-inflammatory and soothing properties, it soothes skin and facilitates its healing process to effectively address conditions such as eczema and psoriasis. Its analgesic properties make it ideal for reducing the discomforts of rheumatism.

Black Cumin Seed Oil can also be diffused in a vaporizer and, when diffused, it is reputed to enhance and support the health of the respiratory system. It is believed to have the potency to alleviate symptoms of asthma and bronchitis. Due to its carminative property, which enhances digestion and reduces discomforts such as stomach pain, bloating, and gas, it is believed to ease gastrointestinal disorders.

 Black Cumin Seed Carrier Oil is reputed to have many therapeutic properties. The following highlights its many benefits and the kinds of activity it is believed to show:

  • COSMETIC: Anti-Oxidant, Hydrating, Aromatic, Deodorant, Stimulant.
  • MEDICINAL: Analgesic, Anti-bacterial, Anti-Inflammatory, Anti-Fungal, Diuretic, Anti-spasmodic, Anti-viral, Bronchodilator, Hepato-Protective, Hypotensive, Galactagogue, Emmenagogue, Reno-Protective, Immune-Enhancer, Metabolism-Booster, Anti-Histamine, Anti-Coagulant, Thermogenic, Carminative, Appetizing, Digestive, Sudorific, Febrifuge, Stimulant, Expectorant.

BLACK CUMIN SEED OIL USES

Used in cosmetic and topical applications, Black Cumin Seed Oil can be applied directly to the preferred areas of skin to hydrate, to soothe acne, burns, and other unwanted blemishes, and to reduce the appearance of the signs of aging, such as fine lines. Alternatively, 2 drops of Black Cumin Seed Carrier Oil can be added to a regular, pre-made face cream of personal preference. Applying a moisturizer infused with this oil is also known to address fungus and skin infections.

For a moisturizer that offers the added benefits of several other nutrient-rich oils, combine the following ingredients in a dark, clean 105 ml (3.5 oz.) dropper bottle: 30 ml (1 oz.) Jojoba Carrier Oil, 30 ml (1 oz.) Sweet Almond Carrier Oil, 20 ml (0.7 oz.) Borage Carrier Oil, 15 ml (0.5 oz.) Rosehip Carrier Oil, 9 ml (0.3 oz.) Black Cumin Seed Carrier Oil, and 6 ml (0.02 oz.) Vitamin E Liquid. Cap the bottle and shake it gently to ensure that all the oils have mixed together thoroughly. Before applying this blend, cleanse the face and pat it dry, leaving it slightly damp to the touch. Next, warm up 6-8 drops of this elixir by rubbing this amount between the palms, then gently massage it into the face and neck using light strokes in an upward motion. Avoid applying the blend around the eye area. Due to the absence of preservatives in this formulation, it should be used within 6 months of the day it is made.

For a nourishing, protective Black Cumin Seed Oil face mask that functions as an exfoliating scrub to buff away dead skin, begin by cleansing the face with a gentle face wash and ensure that all traces of makeup have been removed. Next, mix 1 Tbsp. Black Cumin Seed Carrier Oil, 3 Tbsp. Raw Organic Honey, and 3 Tbsp. Finely-ground Apricot Shell exfoliant in a small dish or bowl. Use the fingertips to apply the mask, gently smoothing 1 Tbsp. of the blend (this recipe yields approximately 7 Tbsp.) into the face and neck in a circular motion. After the mask has soaked into the skin for 10 minutes, massage it deeper into the skin while rinsing it off with warm water. Pat the skin dry, then moisturize with 1-2 drops of Black Cumin Seed Carrier Oil. This mask is known to purify the skin, reduce the appearance of blemishes, and smooth the look of wrinkles to promote an even complexion with a healthy glow.

For a stimulating and conditioning hair mask that is reputed to nourish hair and enhance its growth while soothing the scalp, first pour 2 Tbsp. of Black Cumin Seed Carrier Oil onto the palms of the hands and rub them together to warm the oil. Next, massage the entire scalp with this amount of oil, focusing particularly on the areas that are experiencing the most hair loss. Once the oil has been massaged into the entire scalp, smooth the oil down over the strands all the way to the tips. Leave the hair mask in for 30-60 minutes, after which time it can be rinsed out with a regular shampoo. This mask is known to strengthen and support scalp health, reduce hair loss, eliminate dandruff, prevent dryness, balance the scalp’s oil production, reduce frizz, protect the strands against damage, and prevent hair from losing its pigmentation, thereby slowing the graying process. This regimen can be repeated 2-3 times a week.

Used in medicinal applications, Black Cumin Seed Oil is reputed to be beneficial for a wide range of ailments and conditions, but it is best known for its ability to ease joint pain, muscle aches, bruises, and symptoms of rheumatism. For a simple yet effectively restorative massage that works to repair skin damage and reduce skin discoloration caused by bruises, gently massage 60 ml (2 oz.) of Black Cumin Seed Carrier Oil into affected areas, focusing particularly on bruising and uneven skin tone. This can be repeated 2-3 times a day until the soreness and inflammation have been eliminated and the color returns to normal. This is also reputed to be beneficial for eczema and acne. Furthermore, it energizes tired muscles, strengthens immunity, reduces stiffness, eases digestive complaints, promotes the expulsion of bodily toxins, and regulates menstruation as well as related complaints.

For a diffuser recipe that is known to provide relief from nasal congestion, sore throat, headache, and other cold symptoms diffuse 2 drops of Black Cumin Seed Carrier Oil. Its comforting scent is known to ease nervous tension and lethargy. To enhance the effects of this steam inhalation regimen, 2 drops of the oil can also be massaged onto the affected areas, such as the neck and chest, to relieve aches, clear the respiratory tract, and soothe irritation.

A GUIDE TO BLACK CUMIN SEED OIL VARIETIES & THEIR BENEFITS

BLACK CUMIN SEED CARRIER OIL – VIRGIN

Botanical Name: Nigella sativa

Method of Extraction and Plant Part: Cold pressed from seeds

Country of Origin: Israel

Believed to:

  • Be light Amber in color
  • Exude an aroma that is characterized as slightly nutty, musty, mildly spicy, and woody
  • Be rich in Copper, Potassium, Selenium, Zinc, and vitamins A, B, and C
  • Have medium viscosity
  • Penetrate into the skin at an average speed, leaving a slightly oily residue on the skin’s surface
  • Exhibit protective, strengthening, soothing, and anti-oxidant properties
  • Hydrate parched skin
  • Soothe irritated skin to keep it calm
  • Address hair fall by strengthening the strands
  • Blend well with citrus and herbaceous scents, especially when mixed into massage formulations

BLACK CUMIN SEED CARRIER OIL – REFINED

Botanical Name: Nigella sativa

Method of Extraction and Plant Part: Cold pressed from seeds

Country of Origin: India

Believed to:

  • Be dark Amber in appearance
  • Exude a mild aroma that is woody, earthy, sweet, and slightly spicy
  • Be rich in Copper, Potassium, Selenium, Zinc, and vitamins A, B, and C
  • Have medium viscosity
  • Penetrate into the skin at an average speed, leaving a slightly oily residue on the skin’s surface
  • Exhibit protective, strengthening, soothing, and anti-oxidant properties
  • Hydrate parched skin
  • Soothe irritated skin to keep it calm
  • Address hair fall by strengthening the strands
  • Be best suited for use in formulations that enhance skin and hair health

BLACK CUMIN SEED ORGANIC CARRIER OIL

Botanical Name: Nigella sativa L.

Method of Extraction and Plant Part: Cold pressed from seeds

Country of Origin: Israel

Believed to:

  • Range in color from pale Amber with a faintly greenish tinge to dark Amber
  • Exude a characteristic musty aroma with a mildly spicy nuance
  • Have medium viscosity
  • Penetrate into the skin at an average speed, leaving a slightly oily residue on the skin’s surface
  • Exhibit protective, strengthening, soothing, and anti-oxidant properties
  • Hydrate parched skin
  • Soothe irritated skin to keep it calm
  • Address hair fall by strengthening the strands
  • Be best suited for use in formulations requiring organic ingredients

CONTRAINDICATIONS FOR BLACK CUMIN SEED OIL

Black Cumin Seed Oil is for external use only. It is imperative to consult a medical practitioner before using this oil for therapeutic purposes. Pregnant and nursing women are especially advised not to use Black Cumin Seed Carrier Oil without the medical advice of a physician, as it may have an effect on certain hormone secretions and it is unclear whether these effects are transferable to babies at these stages of development. The oil should always be stored in an area that is inaccessible to children, especially those under the age of 7.

Those with the following health conditions are recommended to be advised by a physician: cancer, heart-related ailments, skin disorders, diabetes, bleeding disorders, low blood pressure, or hormone-related ailments. Individuals that are taking prescription drugs, undergoing major surgery, or who are at a greater risk of experiencing strokes, heart attacks, or atherosclerosis are also advised to seek medical consultation prior to use.

Prior to using Black Cumin Seed Oil, a skin test is recommended. This can be done by applying a dime-size amount of this oil to a small area of skin that is not sensitive. No more than 10% of Black Cumin Seed Oil should be used in any blend, and it must never be used near the eyes, inner nose, ears, or on any other particularly sensitive areas of skin. Potential side effects of Black Cumin Seed Oil include contact dermatitis, irritation, itching, drowsiness, and fatigue.

Those seeking medical care to manage moods, behaviors, or disorders should treat this Carrier Oil as a complementary remedy rather than a replacement for any medicinal treatments or prescriptions. In the event of an allergic reaction, discontinue use of the product and see a doctor, pharmacist, or allergist immediately for a health assessment and appropriate remedial action. To prevent side effects, consult with a medical professional prior to use.

IN ESSENCE…

    • Black Cumin Seed Carrier Oil is cold pressed from the seeds of the Fennel Flower.
    • Traditionally, Black Cumin Seed Oil has been used for its stimulating, warming, and tonic properties as well as for its harmonizing effect on the mood.
    • Used topically, Black Cumin Seed Carrier Oil is reputed to hydrate, soothe, smooth, and nourish the skin, to address fungal infections and blemishes, and to promote the skin’s reparation and regeneration, thus facilitating a smoother, clearer, and brighter complexion. It is known to exhibit the same effects when applied to hair.
    • Used medicinally, Black Cumin Seed Carrier Oil eliminates harmful topical bacteria, stimulates a strong immune response, facilitates skin’s healing process, and eases muscular aches and joint pain.
  • When diffused, Black Cumin Seed Carrier Oil enhances and supports the health of the respiratory and digestive systems.

Benefits and Uses of Castor Oil

HISTORY OF CASTOR OIL

Although many people initially considered the Castor plant to be an overrun and unwanted weed, the fine oil produced from its seeds contained benefits that would soon become known all around the world. The advantages of Castor Oil were made popular by Edgar Casey, a man who was considered to be “the Father of Holistic Medicine.” He taught the public about its healing properties for a vast range of health issues and the potent Castor Oil remedy became known as “Palma Christi,” or “Hand of Christ.”

Ricinus communis, better known as the Castor plant, is native to the Mediterranean region as well as the tropical regions of Africa and India, but it also grows in other tropical regions. Oil-rich Castor seeds, or the “beans,” were traditionally used without their hulls as a method of controlling not only pregnancy but also leprosy and syphilis. In medicinal applications, Castor beans were made into a paste and applied as a poultice to treat skin inflammation and to ease headaches.

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These versatile beans were used to produce paints, industrial lubricating oils, varnishes, as well as the popular cosmetic oil. Historically, Castor Oil was reputed to be a laxative for those suffering from constipation, and it was used by pregnant women to induce labor as well as to prompt the flow of breast milk. Some used it to dissolve cysts, warts, and other growths. Some used Castor Oil in the eyes to soothe irritation caused by dust or other particles; however, it is not advisable to use Castor Carrier Oil for any of these purposes. In Ancient Egypt, Castor Oil was used in wicks to light lamps, and the beans were discovered in tombs that date back to 4000 B.C.

Around the world, Castor Oil continues to be used both cosmetically and medicinally to repair and darken hair while promoting its growth. It is used to soften and soothe irritated or infected skin and to ease muscle aches and joint pains. Castor Carrier Oil and its derivatives are also used in the production of soaps, pharmaceuticals, cosmetics, perfumes. It is ideal for use in or as a massage oil for its moisturizing properties.

BENEFITS OF USING CASTOR OIL

The main chemical constituents of Castor Carrier Oil are Ricinoleic Acid, Oleic Acid, Linoleic Acid (Omega-6 Fatty Acid), α-Linolenic Acid (Alpha-Linolenic Acid – Omega-3 Fatty Acid), Stearic Acid, and Palmitic Acid.

RICINOLEIC ACID is known to:

  • Relieve pain caused by muscle aches and joint pain
  • Soothe itching, swelling, inflammation, cuts, and fungal infections
  • Fight acne-causing bacteria and relieve acne-prone skin
  • Exhibit antimicrobial activity
  • Clear congestion
  • Boost circulation
  • Boost hair growth
  • Soften and hydrate both hair and skin with deep moisture while repairing breakage
  • Balance hormones
  • Eliminate bodily toxins by supporting the lymphatic system
  • Makes up almost 90% of Castor Oil

OLEIC ACID is known to:

  • Maintain the softness, suppleness, and radiance of skin and hair
  • Stimulate the growth of thicker, longer and stronger hair
  • Reduce the appearance of aging, such as premature wrinkles and fine lines
  • Eliminate dandruff and thereby support hair growth
  • Boost immunity
  • Exhibit antioxidant properties
  • Prevent joint inflammation, stiffness, and pain

LINOLEIC ACID is known to:

  • Moisturize hair and promote its growth
  • Facilitate wound healing
  • Be effective emulsifiers in the formulation of soaps and quick-drying oils
  • Exhibit anti-inflammatory properties
  • Soothe acne and reduce chances of future outbreaks
  • Promote moisture retention in skin and hair
  • Make oils feel thinner in consistency, thus being beneficial for use on acne-prone skin

α-LINOLENIC ACID is believed to:

  • Lessen inflammation
  • Control blood clotting
  • Soothe joint pain and ease stiffness to improve flexibility
  • Be an essential Omega-3 Fatty Acid

STEARIC ACID is believed to:

  • Have cleansing properties that purge dirt, sweat and excess sebum from hair and skin
  • Be an ideal emulsifying agent that binds water and oil
  • Help products remain potent when stored for long periods of time
  • Condition and protect hair from damage without diminishing luster or making it feel heavy
  • Have exceptional cleansing properties
  • Soften skin

PALMITIC ACID is known for:

  • Having emollient properties
  • Softening hair without leaving a greasy or sticky residue
  • Being the most common saturated fatty acid

Castor Oil can positively impact hair by stimulating circulation to boost its growth and by locking in moisture with its humectant properties. With its anti-fungal properties, Castor Oil can treat scalp infections by eliminating the bacteria and microorganisms that can cause hair loss, dandruff, and infection. To slow the appearance of graying hairs, Castor Oil can be applied to the scalp to prevent hair from the further loss of pigment. With humectant properties that lock in moisture, Castor Oil can treat dry and damaged hair, making it thicker, shinier, softer, and smoother.

When applied topically, the high fatty acid content in Castor Oil delays signs of aging by deeply moisturizing, softening and soothing the skin, boosting elasticity, and stimulating collagen production. By exhibiting these activities and slowing the look of wrinkles, it promotes the appearance of skin that is more supple and youthful. Its anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties make Castor Oil beneficial for reducing acne, as it penetrates the skin easily without clogging pores or aggravating the skin condition. As Castor Oil’s fatty acids restore skin’s hydration and eliminate the effects of dryness, they also help reduce the appearance of unwanted blemishes and scars when applied regularly. They achieve this by deeply penetrating scar tissue to fill it out and make it plump while stimulating the growth of healthier surrounding tissue. This facilitates the fading of blemishes such as stretch marks, dark spots, uneven skin tone, and marks. Its emulsifying properties allow it to be a protective agent that remains as a barrier on the skin and protects it against harsh environmental conditions.

Used medicinally, Castor Carrier Oil soothes skin inflammation caused by dry skin, acne, sunburns. It relieves the discomfort of sore muscles and joint pain, especially for those who suffer from arthritis and those who experience aches caused by forceful exercise. Its antimicrobial properties make it work effectively as a disinfectant for wounds, minor cuts, and scrapes. Due to its warming abilities, Castor Oil boosts circulation, making it an ideal choice for use in massages. Castor Oil strengthens immunity by relieving congestion that leads to the accumulation of bodily toxins and that can cause arthritis. Its excretory properties make Castor Oil effective in reducing the appearance of cellulite by boosting circulation, increasing the production of collagen to firm skin, and by balancing hormones, the imbalance of which is known to lead to the development of dimpled skin. It has also been used to treat warts, skin tags, moles, ringworm, eczema, psoriasis, and Athlete’s Foot.

Castor Carrier Oil is reputed to have many therapeutic properties. The following highlights its many benefits and the kinds of activity it is believed to show:

    • COSMETIC: Antioxidant, Moisturizing, Softening, Soothing, Strengthening, Stimulating, Anti-Inflammatory, Antibacterial
  • MEDICINAL: Soothing, Strengthening, Stimulating, Anti-Inflammatory, Analgesic, Carminative, Decongestant, Detoxicant, Laxative, Regulating, Sedative, Tonic

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CULTIVATING AND HARVESTING QUALITY CASTOR OIL

The Castor plant can grow on a vast range of soil types, as long as they are deep and have adequate water drainage. The ideal soil is a well-drained, deep, loamy sand with a pH of approximately 6 that is moderately fertile, free of weeds and has somewhat acidic conditions.

In India, the beans are sown either at the beginning of the rainy season between late May and early June or they are planted at the end of the rainy season between late September and early October. Planting the beans at one of these two times helps ensure that the second half of the crop’s life can avoid wet weather. In tropical regions, the harvest begins before the rainy season (November in India), while in dry regions, the beans are harvested when they have all reached maturity. Harvesting is done largely by hand in tropical areas.

During the harvesting process, the spikes of the pods are first broken off, then the capsules are stripped off into a wagon, sled, or into containers worn by the harvesters. If the capsules are not already dry when they are picked, they must be spread out and dried. In India, they are spread out to dry under the sun until they become black. The beans are removed from the capsules – usually being beaten out with sticks in India – then they are winnowed and screened to remove the beans’ outer coverings or “hulls” along with any unwanted particles. A regular thresher, which is a machine that separates the outer coating of the bean from the plants by beating, is not usually a suitable tool for de-hulling the seed, as the soft seeds would be broken by the thresher’s beater bar or peg drums. Instead, the seeds may be decorticated by being rubbed against a rubbing board.

HOW IS CASTOR OIL EXTRACTED?

Castor Oil is derived from the ripe beans of the Castor plant by either the cold or expeller pressing method or through solvent extraction; neither grinding nor tempering can be applied to Castor seeds the way it is applied to Flax Seeds or Soy Beans.

In the industrial process of extraction, the cleaned beans are first passed through machines that remove their outer coats. The more thorough this part of the process, the lighter the resulting oil. The Castor beans are then placed in a cage press through which the crude oil is obtained. This oil is refined and bleached. The final Castor Oil is colorless or pale-yellow in color. The final oil can be stored for up to 4 years.

A press-cake develops throughout the pressing process, and any remaining oil in the cake is extracted through the use of solvent extraction. This oil is called “Number III Oil.” It is not pure, and it cannot be successfully refined.

USES OF CASTOR OIL

The uses of Castor Carrier Oil are abundant, ranging from medicinal to cosmetic. Its many forms include oils, gels, lotions, soaps, shampoos, conditioners, and candle making.

Used cosmetically, Castor Oil can make an excellent ingredient in a moisturizer, as it reduces the appearance of the signs of aging such as wrinkles and fine lines. It can be simply applied directly to the skin to relieve dryness, to stimulate the production of collagen, and to boost elasticity. For an economical bedtime serum, Castor Oil can be massaged into the face and left on overnight, then washed off in the morning. The appearance of blemishes will gradually diminish over time, as Castor Oil will promote the growth of more radiant skin over time. This simple, direct application to the skin works effectively for reducing the appearance of stretch marks as well.

Used in hair, Castor Oil acts as a conditioning agent that leaves hair hydrated, shiny, and free from the itchiness and bald patches associated with scalp infections and dryness. It can be applied either before or after shampooing to moisturize the hair and scalp or it can be used as an overnight hair treatment mask that can be washed off in the morning. Castor Oil strengthens hair to reduce the amount of breakage that occurs and repairs split ends while promoting and maintaining the growth of hair that appears to be healthier and smoother. It leaves hair looking thicker and richer in color by locking moisture in the hair strands.

Used medicinally, Castor Oil promotes faster healing by penetrating deeply into skin tissue to boost circulation and eliminate bodily toxins. It can function as a first aid for the treatment of sunburns, minor cuts, and scratches by simply dipping a cotton ball into the oil and applying it directly to the affected area. For smaller affected areas, a bandage can also be soaked in Castor Oil and applied to the affected spot for treatment.

A GUIDE TO CASTOR OIL VARIETIES & THEIR BENEFITS

 

CASTOR VARIETY / DERIVATIVE & BOTANICAL NAME COUNTRY OF ORIGIN BENEFITS OF OIL
Castor Organic Carrier Oil

Ricinus communis

Found in:

  • India
Known for:

  • being slightly viscous
  • being clear and colorless
  • being odorless/having a light oily scent
  • smoothing calluses
  • adding volume to hair while treating breakage
  • increasing lather in cold-processed soap
Castor USP Carrier Oil

Ricinus communis

Found in:

  • India
Known for:

  • being an ideal emulsifying agent
  • remaining on the skin’s surface as a protective barrier on the skin and guarding against harsh environmental conditions
  • being pale yellow to golden yellow in color
  • being almost odorless
  • conditioning hair and skin
PEG 40 (Hydrogenated Castor Oil) Raw Material

PEG 40 Hydrogenated Castor Oil

Known for:

  • being either a semi-solid or a liquid raw material
  • being a surfactant and cleanser in natural cosmetics
  • being an excellent emulsifier in formulations with large water phases
  • being yellow in color
  • having a mild odor
  • having strong solubilizing qualities
  • being recommended for use as the main, if not the only, emulsifier in cosmetics such as lotions, serums, sprays, and oil-free creams
Hydrogenated Castor Oil

Castor Wax Flakes

Known for:

  • being solid white flakes with little to no odor
  • being heavily used in the cosmetic industry when a waxy component is needed in a formulation
  • acting as a thickening and moisturizing agent (eyeliner pencils, anti-antiperspirant sticks, body washes, creams, lotions, and lipsticks)
  • being used to make liquid soaps

The beans/seeds of the Castor plant contain a toxic byproduct called Ricin. Although the heat of the oil extraction process deactivates it and deprives it of its natural properties, this inactive ingredient can still cause an allergic reaction. Attempts are being made to discover alternative hydroxy fatty acid sources and to modify the Castor plant in order to prevent Ricin from synthesizing with the oil.

Potential allergic reactions that could be caused by the topical application of Castor Oil include itching, rashes, redness, and a stinging sensation. More severe side effects can include difficulty breathing, dizziness, and swelling of the face and throat. It is highly advised that a small skin patch test is conducted 24 hours before Castor Oil is applied topically in larger amounts. Slight itching or redness on any user will indicate that Castor Oil is not suitable for use on that individual, as there is a risk of experiencing an allergic reaction.

Carrier oils are for external use only. 

IN ESSENCE…

    • The potency of Castor Oil as a remedy earned it the moniker “Palma Christi” or “Hand of Christ.”
    • Historically, the oil-rich Castor seeds, or the “beans,” were traditionally used without their hulls as a method of birth control as well as a treatment for leprosy and syphilis.
    • Around the world, Castor Oil continues to be used both cosmetically and medicinally to repair hair, to soften and soothe skin, and to ease aches and pains.
  • Castor Carrier Oil and its derivatives are used not only in pharmaceuticals and perfumes but also in the production of soaps, cosmetics, and massage oils due to its moisturizing properties.

‘The Elixir of Youth’ Marula Oil

HISTORY OF MARULA OIL USAGE

Marula Oil is derived from the nuts of the Sclerocarya birrea botanical – better known as the Marula Tree – which is a member of the same botanical family as Cashew, Mango, and Pistachio trees. Found growing naturally in the woodland areas of the southern parts of Africa, the useful and versatile Marula Tree is highly respected and carefully safeguarded, as each part of this tree yields benefits, including its nut kernels, roots, leaves, bark, wood, flowers, and fruits.

Over the centuries, the Marula Tree has also earned several nicknames, including Morula, Dania, Cat Thorn, Jelly Plum, Canhoeiro, Mushomo, Mutsomo, Umganu, The Cider Tree, and The Elephant Tree. It was believed that the Marula Tree was bestowed upon the people of Africa by a significant spiritual power or entity, thus it was perceived to be consecrated. The sanctity of the tree was evident in its nicknames, such as The Marriage Tree, and in its symbolism, which was believed to represent fertility and purity, hence the reason behind its use in purifying rituals before marriages took place.

According to historical sources of evidence, the entire Marula Tree has had a vital role in African civilization for nearly 10,000 years, its various parts having been used to create insecticides, dyes, medicine, food, fodder for livestock, materials for construction, treatments for leather, protective agents for skin and hair to shield them against the effects of harsh weather, and for various other applications.

Many African communities applied this softening, revitalizing, and wholesome oil to the skin in diverse cosmetic applications such as body lotions and cleansers while other communities made it a staple food in their daily diets. In traditional culinary applications, Marula Oil was used to preserve meat for up to one year.

The Marula nut was fondly referred to as “The Food of Kings,” and it is from this nut that the revered “Miracle Oil” continues to be cold pressed. With potent and protective properties as well as an aroma that is both floral and pleasantly nutty, Marula Carrier Oil is characterized as a tonic with healthful effects that have earned it nicknames like “The Elixir of Youth” and “The African Beauty Secret.”

Marula Carrier Oil abounds in antioxidants and vitamins C and E, and it is considered to be the richest plant source of Omega-9 fatty acids. This article highlights the properties, therapeutic benefits, and safe uses of Marula Oil, a gentle yet effective and fast-absorbing oil that contributes long-lasting moisture, among several other advantages.

MARULA OIL BENEFITS

The main chemical constituents of Marula Carrier Oil are Oleic Acid, Palmitic Acid, Stearic Acid, Linoleic Acid, and Arachidonic Acid.

Used cosmetically or topically in general, Marula Oil is known for its antioxidant activity, which supports skin health, repairs damage caused by pollutants, and delays the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and discoloration. Being a light and non-comedogenic oil that exhibits anti-microbial properties, Marula Oil is reputed to calm acne-prone skin and to reduce other blemishes as well as scarring. Its deeply hydrating qualities are known to prevent skin from losing moisture, thereby softening, nourishing, and protecting the skin, which ultimately revitalizes and rejuvenates the complexion. Marula Carrier Oil is reputed to enhance elasticity and firmness by boosting collagen production, and it is also reputed to facilitate the healing of irritation, inflammation, redness, and chapping, especially in association with sunburned skin and conditions such as dermatitis, eczema, and psoriasis.

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Used in hair, Marula Oil exhibits the same protective qualities as it does on the skin. It balances the scalp’s natural oils, thus reducing and preventing dandruff.

By sealing the strands with its smooth but thin gloss, it prevents hair from experiencing frizz. It strengthens the strands against damage caused by environmental stressors, such as harsh weather, UV radiation, as well as heat and residue from hair styling products, thus leaving it lustrous and resilient.

Used medicinally, Marula Oil works to diminish the appearance of scars, stretch marks, dryness, and cracking. The consistency of Marula Oil resembles that of the natural oil found in human skin, and its fast-absorbing action moisturizes without leaving an oily residue, making it suitable for all skin types. By effortlessly penetrating the skin’s surface, it nourishes to help address dryness and flaking and, by shielding the skin with fortifying vitamins, minerals, flavonoids, and essential amino acids, Marula Carrier Oil promotes healthy cell renewal for the regeneration of skin.

Marula Carrier Oil is reputed to have many therapeutic properties. The following highlights its many benefits and the kinds of activity it is believed to show:

  • COSMETIC: Antioxidant, Anti-Inflammatory, Tonic, Collagen-Enhancing, Protective, Conditioning, Revitalizing, Moisturizing, Strengthening.
  • MEDICINAL: Antioxidant, Anti-Inflammatory, Anti-microbial, Tonic, Collagen-Enhancing, Protective, Skin, and Hair-Enhancing, Strengthening.

MARULA OIL USES

Used in cosmetic and topical applications, Marula Oil can soothe redness and inflammation while hydrating the skin to smooth the appearance of wrinkles. To apply it directly, simply massage 3-4 drops of Marula Carrier Oil twice daily into the preferred area of skin. Regular application of this oil is reputed to protect skin against environmental toxins and pollutants. If applied before bed, this oil is known to strengthen and condition the skin overnight with enriching and reparative nutrients that facilitate the growth of newer, healthier skin. Alternatively, 1-2 drops of Marula Carrier Oil can be added to a regular cleanser to enhance its potency and increase the skin’s absorption of moisture.

Marula Carrier Oil can be applied to the face, neck, and décolletage as a makeup primer 10-15 minutes before makeup application. This regimen will boost skin’s collagen production to replenish suppleness and promote the appearance of smooth, firm, soft, blemish-free skin. Marula Oil promotes a silkier, radiant, and more evenly toned complexion with improved clarity and brightness without causing the skin to look greasy or the pores to become congested.

For an oil cleanser that is ideal for acne-prone skin, combine ½ Tsp. Jojoba Carrier Oil into a small mixing bowl or into the palm of the hand, then add in 6 drops of Marula Carrier Oil. This blend of two lightweight oils can be massaged into the face and neck for several minutes to allow it to disintegrate any congestion-causing oils that may be trapped inside the pores. The massaging motion will also enhance circulation. Next, soak a small, clean towel in warm water, wring it out, and lay it flat on the face for a few minutes. When the towel has cooled, use it to gently wipe the oil off. The rest can be washed off with lukewarm water or it can be left on the skin to absorb over time.

For a body oil that is known to firm skin and reduce the appearance of stretch marks as well as cellulite, apply 3-4 drops two to three times per day to areas of skin affected by stretch marks, bumpiness, and discoloration. This is known to contribute moisture that improves skin elasticity, especially for users that are pregnant. It is also believed to help reduce the chances of tearing and scarring.

Used in hair, Marula Carrier Oil conditions, shields against sun damage, and prevents frizz by sealing the cuticles. To easily and naturally smooth down hair, apply 2-6 drops of Marula Oil to the ends of the hair and slowly move upward to work the oil into the rest of the hair and scalp.

A deep-conditioning Marula Oil hair mask can be made by mixing 10 Tbsp. Marula Carrier Oil with 5 Tbsp. Argan Carrier Oil. In a separate small bowl, thoroughly whisk a small amount of a preferred hair conditioner. Next, gently heat the oil blend in the microwave at 30-second intervals until it is warm to the touch, ensuring that it is not so hot as could potentially cause the skin to burn. Combine all the ingredients from the separate bowls and whip them together. After shampooing the hair, apply the blend to the hair, paying special attention to the tips. Cover the hair with a shower cap and let the conditioner soak in for 45-60 minutes, then rinse it out in the shower or the sink. After this, hair can be styled as usual.

Used in medicinal applications, Marula Oil is known to facilitate the healing process with its anti-bacterial properties that prevent infections and promote tissue regeneration. For faster healing, Marula Oil can be applied as a spot treatment to areas of skin affected by scratches, scrapes, cuts, and wounds. It is known to soothe inflammation and to reestablish tissue strength and to restore their ability to function. Used in a massage, Marula Carrier Oil not only relaxes and rejuvenates the body but it also works to enhance the beauty of the skin. It facilitates the expulsion of bodily toxins while soothing aching muscles and regenerating healthier skin in the area of application.

A GUIDE TO MARULA OIL & ITS BENEFITS

MARULA CARRIER OIL

Botanical Name: Sclerocarya birrea

Method of Extraction and Plant Part: Cold pressed from seeds

Country of Origin: South Africa

Believed to:

  • Range in color from Pale Yellow to Golden Yellow
  • Contain stratified semi-solids
  • Exude a slightly oily aroma, depending on the growing season and time of year during which the fruit was harvested (Spring vs. Fall)
  • Be rich in antioxidants and essential fatty acids, which greatly enhance skin suppleness, smoothness, and softness
  • Penetrate into the skin rapidly and thoroughly, leaving it feeling velvety and looking polished
  • Be an ideal massage oil, both on its own and in an oil blend
  • Have exceptional oxidative stability, making it an ideal ingredient for use in cosmetic formulas, such as formulas for lotions, body butters, scalp conditioners, hair lotions, leave-in hair treatments, lip treatments, and even eyeshadows.

CONTRAINDICATIONS FOR MARULA OIL

Marula Carrier Oil is for external use only. It is imperative to consult a medical practitioner before using this oil for therapeutic purposes. Pregnant and nursing women are especially advised not to use Marula Carrier Oil without the medical advice of a physician, as it may have an effect on certain hormone secretions and it is unclear whether these effects are transferable to babies at these stages of development. The oil should always be stored in an area that is inaccessible to children, especially those under the age of 7.

Those with the following health conditions are recommended to be advised by a physician: cancer, heart-related ailments, skin disorders, or hormone-related ailments. Individuals that are taking prescription drugs, undergoing major surgery, or who are at a greater risk of experiencing strokes, heart attacks, or atherosclerosis are also advised to seek medical consultation prior to use.

Prior to using Marula Oil, a skin test is recommended. This can be done by applying a dime-size amount of this oil to a small area of skin that is not sensitive. Marula Carrier Oil must never be used near the eyes, inner nose, and ears, or on any other particularly sensitive areas of skin. Potential side effects of Marula Oil include hypotension, irritation of the skin, inflammation, and gastrointestinal problems such as upset stomach, nausea, indigestion, and vomiting.

Those seeking medical care to manage moods, behaviors, or disorders should treat this Carrier Oil as a complementary remedy rather than a replacement for any medicinal treatments or prescriptions. In the event of an allergic reaction, discontinue use of the product and see a doctor, pharmacist, or allergist immediately for a health assessment and appropriate remedial action. To prevent side effects, consult with a medical professional prior to use.

IN ESSENCE…

    • Marula Oil is derived from the Sclerocarya birrea botanical, better known as the Marula Tree.
    • The Marula nut was fondly referred to as “The Food of Kings,” and it is from this nut that the revered “Miracle Oil” Marula Carrier Oil continues to be cold pressed.
    • Used cosmetically or topically in general, Marula Oil is known to support skin health, repair damage caused by pollutants, reduce the appearance of maturing skin, calm acne-prone skin, reduce the chances of further blemishes, and prevent skin from losing moisture. It is reputed to enhance elasticity and firmness, facilitate the healing of irritation, inflammation, redness, and chapping, and ultimately revitalize and rejuvenate the complexion.
    • Used in hair, Marula Oil works to protect the scalp against harmful bacteria and inflammation, to balance the scalp’s natural oils, to clean and freshen without leaving it feeling dry or irritated, and to strengthen the strands against damage caused by environmental stressors. Marula Oil is also known to prevent hair from experiencing frizz.
  • Used medicinally, Marula Oil works to diminish the appearance of scars, stretch marks, dryness, and cracking. It helps to eliminate harmful bacteria, prevent the onset of acne breakouts, address flaking, facilitate wound healing, and promote skin regeneration.

Mixing Your Own Herbal Blends

Use these herbal and essential oil blends for relief, from stress relief to physical headache relief. You can personalize any of these blends to your own preferences.

You can make your very own blends of essential oils for topical use or for roll-on bottles. This is one of the most efficient ways to take advantage of multiple oils that have similar uses. Simply add drops of the oils to a roll-on bottle or new essential oil bottle, then fill the remaining portion of the bottle with a carrier oil. I typically only use 1-ounce bottles to make blends, as they begin to lose their potency once blended with a carrier oil. Use up these blends within six months.

Headache Blend: Use this blend to help reduce stress and tension headaches.

• Peppermint
• Frankincense
• Lavender

Respiratory Blend: The perfect blend for allergy season, respiratory infections, and colds, or when you need open airways.

• Peppermint
• Eucalyptus (E. radiata)
• Tea Tree (Melaleuca alternifolia)
• Clove

Women’s Blend: This blend saves me every month. It’s perfect for hormonal balance, thyroid function, and overall monthly “time of the month” comfort.

• Clary Sage
• Bergamot
• Ylang Ylang
• Geranium
• Tangerine
• Cinnamon Bark

Digestive Blend: When you’ve eaten too much at Thanksgiving, or when your body needs extra digestive aid, this is the blend to rub on your tummy or ingest by capsule.

*Ginger
• Peppermint
• Fennel, Lavender

“I’ve Got Joy” Blend: I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart. Where? I remember singing that joyful song when I was a kid, and now it gets to spill over into this joyful blend! Use this blend when you need emotional support or you’re just feeling down and tired.

• Lavender
• Tangerine
• Lemongrass
• Lemon Balm (Melissa)
• Ylang Ylang
• Hawaiian Sandalwood

Immune-Boosting Blend: This blend is best put on the bottoms of the feet in the evenings before going to bed. Use this blend to boost immunity and help your body fight colds and general sickness.

• Clove
• Cinnamon Bark
• Eucalyptus (E. radiata)
• Rosemary
• Oregano
• Tea Tree

Wound Healing Blend: This blend has taken the place of peroxide or rubbing alcohol in our house when it comes to cleaning out wounds. Use this blend to clean and heal wounds more quickly—for humans and animals!

• Tea Tree
• Oregano
• Lavender
• Helichrysum

Sleepytime Blend: When the little ones need some extra comfort and encouragement to fall asleep or when you just need to promote a sense of rest—use this. Just do it. Use topically or aromatically.

• Lavender
• Roman Chamomile
• Vetiver
• Cedarwood
• Ylang Ylang
• Marjoram

Purifying Blend: Toss this blend into soiled clothing in the wash. Diffuse it in the air during times of sickness. Whatever you do, this blend helps cleanse and purify.

• Lemon
• Lime
• Tea Tree
• Cilantro
• White Fir

Bug-Repelling Blend: I’m not sure where we would be without this blend. It saves our legs from mass attacks by mosquitoes in the summer months—the perfect bug-repelling blend! Put into a spray bottle with witch hazel or simply make a blend to use directly on the skin with a carrier oil.

• Ylang Ylang
• Cedarwood
• Citronella
• Lemongrass
• Eucalyptus
• Arborvitae
• Catnip

 

 

DIY Moisturizing Skin Serum

Growing up, I was fed the beauty myth that oily skin is bad. The cosmetics industry pushes the use of harsh, drying soaps and products that strip natural oils to help you get rid of shine. However, those natural oils actually help moisturize your skin. Washing them away can result in overly dry skin, rather than soft and supple skin. Really what you want is skin-loving oils like the serum recipe below paired with a nice, gentle astringent for a balanced regimen.

Using natural plant oils is a wonderful way to help nourish and refresh dry skin. Some of my favorites are organic rosehip seed oil, pomegranate seed oil, and tamanu oil. I love how quickly they absorb into the skin, leaving my face soft, but not greasy. Organic plant oils like these are used in the base of most homemade lotion recipes. Lotions often include butters or waxes to help smooth the skin and seal in the moisture. Using oil neat will allow it to absorb into the skin very quickly, and I prefer using this preparation first for daily facial moisturizing. However, you can use this serum as an oil base in a cream recipe if you like. This serum is wonderful for softening the skin on arms and legs as well.

For high-quality skin oils, you want to make sure that they are certified organic and minimally processed. I like to use cold-pressed or expeller-pressed oils that are unrefined. It’s also important to keep them in a cool, dark place. I store mine in the refrigerator and buy often. Because they are minimally processed, high-quality oils can turn rancid if not properly stored. Keep in mind,  a little oil goes a long way.

Okay, it’s time to feed your skin some luscious serum! I use this recipe first thing after showering in the morning and again before bed. I find it especially helpful for dry or sensitive skin, but feel free to play with other carrier oils and essential oils to craft a serum that is perfect for you.

MOISTURIZING SKIN SERUM RECIPE

Ingredients

Carrier Oil Base
  • 2 oz. organic jojoba oil or organic sunflower oil
  • 1 oz. organic tamanu oil
  • 1 oz. organic rosehip seed oil
  • ½ oz. organic pomegranate seed oil
  • ½ tsp vitamin E oil
Essential Oils

Directions

Pour all carrier oils together into a glass bottle and roll between your palms to mix. Carefully drip each essential oil into the carrier base and roll again to distribute. Use less essential oils if you have skin or fragrance sensitivities. Invert the bottle several times and roll again. Use a coin-sized amount as a facial serum or allover body oil each day.

Make Your Own Green Tea Skin Serum

There is no point in stretching the truth…I am 60 years old and while I have tried to take good care of my skin over the years, my skin-care strategy is evolving as my body ages.As a teenager and young adult, it was all about absorbing extra oil and striving for blemish-free skin. Throughout my thirties and early forties, I used a water-based moisturizing cream with sunscreen daily, and that worked well to help combat the rigors of a busy life.

Recently, I’m finding my skin needs a bit more nourishment and moisture and I’ve been working on creating face and skin treatments that have more of the good oils and concentrated botanicals to meet the requirements of my ever-aging skin. I never would have dreamt of putting oils directly on my face when I was 21, but now my skin seems to soak it all in—leaving my face feeling soft and nourished.

I’ve been reading a great deal lately about the benefits of green tea antioxidants as one of Nature’s many gifts, especially in skin care applications. I thought I might give it a try and use it as a base for a skin serum created specifically for more “seasoned” skin…

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Green Sencha Skin Serum

This recipe makes approximately 1 cup of skin serum, which is quite a bit! You can use this as a whole body oil or divide it up and share. The recipe is also easy to half or quarter if you’d like to make a smaller amount.

The first step is to create an infused oil. I used about 1 cup of organic Green Sencha Leaf Tea and covered it completely with organic olive oil in a 1-pint mason-type jar. Allow this to infuse for 4-6 weeks, shaking regularly and making sure the tea stays completely covered with oil. After infusing, strain. Compost the tea.

Ingredients

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients in a glass jar and shake well to combine.
  2. Pour into a dark amber or cobalt blue bottle or jar to protect from light and store in a cool, dark place. This does not need to be refrigerated.
  3. Apply by pouring a small amount in the palm of your hand and gently spread on your face using non-dominant fingers (avoid using your pointer finger or thumb as they put more pressure on your skin.)
  4. You can also use a dropper to collect the oil for application.