The comedogenic rating is found often in texts dealing with natural oils and cosmetics. The abstract of comedogenic rating is unknown to many, even it is a familiar word. I wanted to clarify the basics of comedogenic rating and what it really means. Is there a scientific proof backing up the comedogenic rating and its scale? Can a single number define an oil as good or bad? Sometimes it’s just good to research things thoroughly. Read on to find out almost everything essential about the comedogenic rating.
What is the comedogenic rating?
Comedo is the scientific name for blackheads on the skin, hence the word comedogenic. Comedogenic rating refers to the classification of cosmetic ingredients that clog pores of the skin according to their clogging properties.
Comedogenic classification scale
The comedogenic rating is determined for oils and other cosmetic ingredients according to the scale below.
- 0 = does not support pores at all
- 1 = very low clogging
- 2 = moderately low clogging
- 3 = moderate occlusion
- 4 = fairly high clogging
- 5 = high clogging
Comedogenic rating is an old concept
The comedogenic rating started in the 1950s, when scientists started to study the risks posed to workers by certain industrial chemicals. Scientists took the job seriously and scientific research was launched.
Test animals were, of course, used for scientific research. For some unknown reasons, innocent rabbits were chosen. The name of the study was “The Rabbit Ear Model”. You can google that study. You will find a lot of information on the subject.
The skin of the rabbits’ ears was shaved and various chemical preparations were applied to the bare skin. The Rabbit Ear Model research was not originally intended to be used in the cosmetics industry. However, it found its way there in the 1970s. In 1979, the very famous dermatologist Albert Kligman published the first comedogenic rating of cosmetics, the “Comedogenic Scale”. In it, cosmetic oils and other ingredients were scored on a 0-5 scale according to clogging feature (0 = good, 5 = bad). Kligman based his classification on the above-mentioned study of rabbit ears published in the 1950s.
Real life experience did not support the study
Very soon after Kligman published his list of comedogenic cosmetic ingredients, the truth began to be revealed. Skilled beauticians introduced the scale in their work. They found that the scale was not true at all. The oils that should have clogged the pores did not do that, and vice versa. People react to different oils very individually. The famous dermatologist Kligman suffered a serious loss of prestige and reputation. The much-promoted scale didn’t work in practice.
The studies were performed in rabbits, not humans
The research work had not been done properly. How a rabbit ear reacts to a vegetable oil was supposed to tell us how the same vegetable oil works on our own skin! We have all certainly noticed how we all are different, unique human beings having big differences on our individual skins. How rabbit skin could reliably serve as an experimental platform for comedogenic classification for humans.
It should also be remembered that rabbits are also individuals. That study gave an idea of how a particular batch of oil affected the skin of a particular rabbit’s ear. If a particular oil has caused a blackhead in the ear of a particular rabbit, it cannot be assumed that the same would happen to a human. So, there are a lot of parameters. The number of parameters makes the experiment particularly unreliable.
There are differences in natural oils
Another problem in the study concerns the oils themselves. The composition of natural oils can vary very much. Natural oils consist of several different fatty acids as well as glycerol. Different oils have their own fatty acid composition, which depends not only on genetics but also on many other things such as
- Growing location
- The time of harvest
- The weather
- Is the oil hydrogenated.
- Organic oils and cold pressed oils behave completely differently on the skin than refined and heated oils.
This means that you cannot just trust that a particular oil is right for your skin. You must first know the fatty acid content of that particular batch of oil. The quality of the oil must also be known well.
Of course, an indicative oleic acid profile can be defined for oils. For example, coconut oil has a completely different fatty acid profile than sunflower oil or olive oil.
I have published a fatty acid index of natural oils on my website. There you will find most of the known vegetable oils and their average fatty acid profiles. The comedogenic value of each oil is also mentioned there.
Use oils moderately
One fairly simple thing can be the cause of clogged skin. There is simply too much oil on the skin. The skin does not always need the oil at all, especially if the skin feels soft and smooth already. Do not unnecessarily clog the pores with oil. Allow skin to breathe freely.
When applying the oil on the skin, always apply it to moisturized skin. When applied to dry skin, the oil easily clogs the pores. While washing your face with water, dry lightly and immediately add a few drops of oil or moisturizer. You can also use effective moisturizing toners before applying oils to your face.
Cosmetic products can be surprising
Even if the cosmetic product contains substances that are not individually comedogenic, the combination can still clog the skin. This may surprise many cosmetic manufacturers and users. Often, finished products may contain a preservative or emulsifier that causes problems.
There are also many positive surprises. If you use highly comedogenic oil in rinse-off products, there will usually be no problems. Also in body products, many oils that clog the skin are not a problem.
The comedogenic scale does not indicate the suitability of the cosmetic product
The purpose of this article was to tell you that comedogenic scale of oils for skin care is not the key to happiness. It can give some information about oils but that is not the whole truth.
It is very unfortunate that comedogenic scale has spread widely and is very popular. On my website, a comedogenic value of oils is marked as well. I state the value only because it seems to interest quite many readers. However, I wanted to write this article to tell what can be found behind the comedogenic scale. Now you can decide for yourself whether you believe the scale or not.
Using Animals for testing is unethical
I am not in favour of using animals when testing cosmetics. Therefore, I would not like to emphasize the comedogenic rating of oils in my texts either. The cosmetics industry has also not really wanted to use animal testing itself. In cosmetics, animal testing has largely been done to meet the requirements of the authorities, not for the manufacturers’ own needs. This rabbit ear study was also conducted on the initiative of the scientific world.
The use of rabbit ears to determine comedogenicity has been scientific at the time. At present, that study is no more science.
Focus on fatty acids
If you really want to find the right products for your skin, focus on the fatty acids in the oils. The different fatty acids in the oils affect the skin in different ways. By researching oils and comparing their fatty acid contents, you can find truly great oils for different purposes. There is such a huge variety of vegetable oils. No one will ever be able to try them all. Only by understanding the importance of different fatty acids will guide you through the oil jungle.
Consult a professional dermal therapist
If you really have acne or particularly impure skin, I highly recommend that you consult a qualified dermal therapist. Severe acne may also require a visit to a dermatologist. In any case, a qualified dermal therapist will be able to recommend a doctor’s consultation if necessary. Choose your dermal therapist with special care. Ask your friends for recommendations and read comments online and in magazines. A good dermal therapist is a must in skin care.
Acne and other skin problems are never treated with external treatment alone. Diet and indoor humidity as well as outdoor temperature are very important.
You can still follow the comedogenic scale of the oils if you wish. Now you know more about oils and know how to find the best one for you.
Do you monitor the comedogenic values of oils?
Kukui nut oil is the next one to be presented in my rainforest cosmetics series. The products of the rainforest do feel quite exotic to us. However, indigenous people in rainforests have always exploited kukuinut and the oil from it. At the same time, by using the natural products of the rainforests we will be able to reduce the world’s deforestation. Local people do not cut down very productive kukui trees. This is how the rainforests remain thriving and vibrant. Kukui Nut oil is an excellent ingredient in cosmetics. This story is quite interesting and It was a real pleasure to write it. Read more about the history and benefits of kukui oil in skin care.
A Kukui Nut tree
The Kukui Nut tree (Aleurites moluccanus) is a tropical rainforest tree. The Kukui Nut tree has many names. One of the most popular names is Candlenut. Indian kukui nut is also the name used.
The origin of the kukui nut tree is not fully known because the human has taken it with him everywhere he has ever moved. The first kukui nut tree was found in the tropical islands of Southeast Asia. The kukui nut tree has always been a valued plant in India as well as Hawaii. The name Kukui comes specifically from the Hawaiian language.
Kukui nut are mildly toxic. Indigenous people did not care about this and made food by roasting and steaming the nuts.
In Borneo, Malaysia, Kukui nuts, or godou in their language, have been used to make traditional tattoos.
In Hawaii, kukui nut and the oil made from them were an important product
According to tradition, kukui nut has come to Hawaii from Asia. The tree has always had a very profound and religious significance in Hawaii. In Hawaii, the kukui nut are highly valued.
Hawaiians use kukui nut to make lei (Hawaii’s famous flower wreath). Once upon a time, only masters and kings were allowed to use leis made from kukui. The chief was called Ali’l. Each island had its own Ali’l. They were respected autocrats and decided about everything. Ali’l ruled using divine power, Mana, which in other cultures is called chi or prana. Mana was a cosmic life force. The magic was originated in Mana. Mana lived in all living things. Ali’l used kukui lei to prove his position. Today, kukui nut lei is used by everyone and they are also offered to visitors when arriving to Hawaii.
In Hawaii, oil was also made from kukui nut. Kukui nut oil was used to oiling traditional boats and canoes. Kukui nut oil was also used as lamp oil. Hawaii sought to make life simple. Why squeeze oil if you can ignite the oily kukui nut yourself. The natives of Hawaii placed five kukui nut side by side and set them on fire one at a time. The flaming kukui nut were like tealights. For this reason, kukui nut oil is commonly referred to as candle oil.
There is a famous dish called poke in Hawaii that is always made from kukui nut and fish.
Kukui nut oil has always been used in natural medicine
Kukui nuts have an excellent fatty acid composition. The oil is well absorbed into the skin but still moisturizes it thoroughly. Therefore, Kukui nut oil has been used in Hawaii to moisturize the skin. The climate in Hawaii is ruthless to the skin. The sun, wind and salty seawater afflict the skin. Kukui nut oil soothes irritated skin and promotes natural skin healing.
Kukui nut oil is also used in Hawaii for eczema, acne and sunburn. The oil is also said to promote hair growth.
Fatty acid profile of Kukui nut oil (Hawaiian KukuI nut oil)
- Linoleic acid 40%
- Alpha-linolenic acid 27%
- Oleic acid 15%
- Palmitic acid 6%
- Stearic acid 2-3%
- Comedogenic value 2
Kukui nut oil from India and Southeast Asia contains slightly less linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid. Accordingly, there is a little more oleic acid in these oils.
The benefits of Kukui nut oil in skin care
Kukui nut oil is a natural vegetable oil. The difference between kukui nut oil and other nut oils is that it does not feel greasy. It is a light and well-absorbed oil. The secret of kukui nut oil lies in its fatty acids and high content of vitamins E and A.
The fatty acids in kukui nut oil are ideal for the well-being of the skin. It is rich in linoleic and alpha-linolenic acid and low in fatty oleic acid. Therefore, kukui nut oil is classified as a non-greasy oil, meaning it does not leave a greasy feel on the skin. Kukui nut oil leaves the skin soft, moisturized and silky feeling. This is, of course, a great thing for the cosmetic user and manufacturer. There are very few easily absorbed oils.
Kukui nut oil is well suited for many needs
Kukuinut oil is an excellent base oil. It is an almost odourless and tasteless oil. Its colour is bright light, slightly yellowish. You can use Kukui nut oil as such or mix it with other oils or essential oils.
Acne skin treatment
The comedogenic value of kukui nut oil is 2. It does not clog pores very easily. For very sensitive, easily clogged skin, kukui nut oil can cause problems. The alpha-linolenic acid in kukui nut oil may dry out skin already too dry. Linoleic acid, on the other hand, is well absorbed and treats the skin deeply. The antioxidants in kukui nut oil also help prevent and treat acne scars.
Treatment of eczema skin
As a light and well-absorbed oil, kukuinut oil is well suited for treating eczema. Eczema skin benefits from the linoleic and alpha-linolenic acids contained in kukui nut oil. Often dry eczema skin is unable to receive very oleic oils.
For eye products
The skin around the eyes is very thin. Therefore, as light oils as possible are recommended near the eyes. Kukui nut oil is just such an oil. It is well absorbed and does not leave a greasy layer on the skin. Kukui nut oil contains also suitable amount of palmitic acid, which protects the skin from dryness.
Traditionally in Hawaii, kukui nut oil has been used for hair care. And who has the most amazing hair in the world, if not Hawaiians. Sure, genome greatly affects hair quality, but natural hair care products also play a role.
Kukui nut oil is known to increase hair growth. The oil is rubbed into the scalp and left to act for about an hour. Some keep oil in their hair even overnight. There are so many different ways to do oil treatments on your hair. It is worth thinking about what would suit your own scalp. Perhaps you can try?
Kukui nut oil has traditionally been used for massaging. The oil’s oleic acid and linoleic acid ratio is perfect for massage oil. After the oil massage, the skin stays silky soft. The skin feels dry and not oily at all. If you wish, you can mix other oils as well as essential oils into the Kukui nut oil.
Storage of Kukui nut oil
Freshly pressed kukui nut oil lasts for about a year. However, you should always keep it in the refrigerator. Kukui nut oil is very rich in polyunsaturated fatty acids, which decompose very quickly under the influence of heat, light and oxygen.
When making products from kukui nut oil, add vitamin E to the product. Vitamin E is an antioxidant that prevents oils from oxidizing too quickly.
Only obtain small amounts of oxidizable oils at a time. This will ensure that you always have access to first-class fresh cosmetics.
From where can I get Kukui nut oil?
Kukui nut oil is not yet very widely available. As the kukui nut tree grows in tropical rainforests, its availability in Europe is still poor. You can find authentic, fresh kukui nut oil in the US or India. I myself have ordered Hawaiian kukui nut oil from the Amazon online store.
There is also a vegetable butter available which is made of Kukui nut oil. It is made by hydrogenating process (so-called pseudo butter). Kukui nut butter is more easily found in shops selling cosmetics. Hydration substantially improves the shelf life of sensitive oils. Hydrogenation, of course, also changes the structure of fatty acids in a more refined direction. Hydrated oil is not the same thing on the skin as a natural, fresh oil. If you accept refined oils, you can also try hydrogenated Kukui nut butter.
Because kukui nut oil contains a large amount of polyunsaturated fatty acids, it is quite perishable. This is why manufacturers often add vitamin E and ascorbyl palmitate to the oil to improve the shelf life. Ascorbyl palmitate is called fat-soluble vitamin C. However, it is not vitamin C (ascorbic acid) but its own compound. Ascorbyl palmitate is not harmful to the skin and is in no way toxic. It is very often added to foods and skin care products to improve the shelf life of fatty products.
Vaseline is a very traditional ingredient in cosmetics that has become a baddie in recent years. The popularity of Vaseline is based on its versatility and cheap price. A jar of Vaseline was found in every home few years back. Vaseline was considered a miracle cure for almost all skin problems. Squeaky hinges, bicycle chains, and the machinery of cars and other equipment were all treated by Vaseline. The properties of Vaseline made it a miracle thing that no one could survive without. Why has the original multi-purpose product become a baddie of cosmetics?
What is Vaseline?
Vaseline, or petroleum jelly, was invented as early as the late 19th century. An American chemist, Robert Chesebrough patented a method of making Vaseline in 1872. Chesebrough started Vaseline production for all possible skin problems. Today, the Vaseline brand is owned by Unilever.
Vaseline is made from crude oil, the same substance as gasoline and diesel fuels. It is refined gasoline. Vaseline is not a natural cosmetic ingredient but a completely synthetic product. Unrefined crude oil is toxic and harmful when applied to the skin. Vaseline to be intended as a skin care product is rectified carefully. This is to ensure that no harmful chemicals remain in the product. Unfortunately, there are huge differences in the quality of Vaseline. All the products are not refined.
Vaseline is not environmentally friendly due to its fossil origin.
Why is Vaseline harmful to the skin?
Vaseline is made from crude oil by refining. The crude oil is very dark brown in colour. The crude oil must be purified very well before it will become pure white, translucent Vaseline. Very often PAH residues from crude oil can be found in the final product. PAHs, polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, are toxic compounds. Many PAHs cause cancer and mutations. PAHs are not biodegradable. They are really hard to remove from the soil.
Because vaseline requires a very intensive purification process, it becomes very contaminated. Vaseline classified as pure may contain residues of chemicals harmful to humans.
Vaseline clogs the pores and prevents the skin from breathing. It is not absorbed into the skin but remains as a film on the surface of the skin. Vaseline does not belong to the skin’s natural lipids or fats. It is a completely foreign compound to the skin.
Vaseline is used to protect the skin from drying out. Vaseline is said to lock moisture into the skin by forming a thin film on the surface of the skin. Unfortunately, Vaseline also prevents the skin from getting moisture from the air. The skin dries under the fatty Vaseline layer. Vaseline prevents the skin from functioning normally.
Vaseline may help dry skin the first time you apply it. After a few times of using it, you will find that your skin gets used to Vaseline and needs more of it. This is really easy to notice for lip balms.
Did you know that Vaseline is highly flammable? It ignites as easily as gasoline. this product is not ideal for skin care. In addition, you cannot remove Vaseline from towels or bedclothes in a 30-degree Celsius wash. If your towels become contaminated with Vaseline and paraffin residue, they are highly flammable.
Why is Vaseline so famous?
First of all, Vaseline is very cheap. Price is often the only reason why Vaseline is included in the product.
The Vaseline trademark is owned by Unilever. Unilever is a global multi-billion-dollar company that wants to protect its production efficiently. If you search for information about Vaseline, you will find a great many articles praising Vaseline. The text criticizing Vaseline is really hard to find. In this way, Unilever secures the market for its products.
Vaseline is very stable. It is not oxidized or rancid like vegetable oils. Vaseline lasts long enough in the product without spoiling. This raw material is a cosmetics manufacturer’s dream.
Refined Vaseline is a very neutral product. Many people with allergies prefer Vaseline because they cannot use vegetable oils. This is why Vaseline is also used in eczema and other medicated creams. Vaseline is also used in products designed for babies precisely because of its nature.
In which products is Vaseline used?
Vaseline is still a very common ingredient in all cosmetics. Unfortunately, the most popular Vaseline is in baby creams. If you want to find Vaseline, you should look at creams specifically designed for babies.
Pharmasy emulsion creams contains often Vaseline and Sodium Lauryl Sulphate, SLS. Vaseline and SLS makes a white, creamy and permanent emulsion. The product looks attractive and creamy but the truth is different. The combination of SLS and Vaseline is lousy when treating dry skin. Cream like this, just unnecessarily dries the skin more. In addition, SLS has been found to thin the skin, especially in long-term use.
Vaseline is also found in lipstick. Up to 15% of all lipsticks contain Vaseline or paraffin. Lip balms also often contain mineral oils. Think about why you can always add lip balm and your lips just seem to dry out more.
Candles are often paraffin-based. When the candle burns, you inhale toxic fumes. Choose a soy wax candle or a beeswax candle. For example, the Candel Light Story sells authentic soy wax candles.
Vaseline is found in products under a wide variety of names such as
- Mineral oil
- Petroleum Jelly
- White soft paraffin
- Mineral oil
- Liquidum Paraffinum
Look for better alternatives to Vaseline
No one needs to use Vaseline. You will very easily find so many natural alternatives to crude oil-based cosmetics.
There are really many options for natural skin care and moisturizing. All natural waxes and vegetable butter are very safe and nourishing the skin. At the same time, they retain moisture in the skin but do not prevent the skin from absorbing more moisture from the air.
For example, try the following ingredients in your own cosmetics
- Candelilla wax
- Rice bran wax
- Carnauba wax
- Jojoba oil (liquid wax)
- Castor oil
- Coconut oil
- Apricot kernel oil
- Baobab oil
Vaseline should be avoided in all cosmetics
Vaseline feels like a very harmless product. After all, it has always been available in Grandma’s chest. However, the disadvantages of Vaseline have been noticed quite recently. The German consumer organization Siftung Warentest, which has studied cosmetics containing mineral oil, has already found that it contains the most MOAH substances, the toxic hydrocarbons that cause cancer. Based on the results, Siftung Warentest warns using lip products specifically containing mineral oils. Vaseline has not yet been banned by EU food authorities, but MOAH substances are acknowledged to be carcinogenic.
My own view of Vaseline is that it is not a very good product for skin care. Natural herbal butter and waxes are much more effective skin moisturizers.
Do you use mineral oil in cosmetics?
When choosing cosmetic raw materials, not much attention is paid to the ethical side of the ingredients. It is true that the needs of your own skin are always a priority number one. It is not worth applying just anything on your skin, no matter how ethical it would be.
Many natural cosmetic certificates also pay attention to production methods and other ethical issues. This is a really great thing and a good reason to use natural cosmetics. The ethics of raw materials can also be viewed differently, ethics is not a very self-clear thing. An uncertified product can also be very ethical. In this story, I will tell you how to choose the most ethical oils. Let’s get acquainted with the world of zero waste oils.
The range of cosmetic oils is very wide
For me, the most beloved group of ingredients in cosmetics are oils and fats. I research and test new oils all the time. The wholesalers have a huge selection of oils available. You can easily find a selection of hundreds, even over a thousand oils. New oils are constantly entering the market.
The range of oils in cosmetics has grown not only due to demand but also due to the supply of raw materials.
The best cosmetic oils are made from waste from the food industry
Have you ever wondered the origin of strawberry seed oil, raspberry seed oil or blueberry seed oil? Why make oil from these tiny little seeds. The reason for this is the food industry. Because the raw material for the oil is inexpensive and so abundant, it is also economically profitable to press the oils.
The food industry produces a great deal of waste. As the industry revolves around money, everything is looked at to find utilization. Nothing is wasted. The pulp left over from the production of berry and fruit juices contains a lot of seeds, which contain valuable oils. This pulp is used to make cosmetic oils. The food industry and the cosmetics industry have found each other and we are enjoying a rich supply of oil.
Next, I will introduce you to a few oils made from waste materials from the food industry. It has not been necessary to plant any plants separately for the production of these cosmetic oils.
Grape seed oil
Grape seed oil is really an old base oil for cosmetics. It was used in skin care by the ancient Etruscans thousands of years ago. Apparently, they too made their oil from the grape seeds left over from winemaking.
The popularity of wine has grown exponentially around the world. That is why grape seed oil is also available everywhere.
Read more about grape seed oil: Grape seed oil
Rice bran oil
Base oil made from rice bran has been popular, especially among Japanese children. Rice is really abundant in the world. Therefore, rice bran is also available for oil production. Rice oil is found specifically in bran. Rice bran can also be used to make rice wax, which is popular in cosmetics.
Read more about rice bran oil: Rice Bran Oil is one of the Most Useful Skincare Oils
Raspberry seed oil
Raspberry seed oil is a special oil with a high antioxidant content. About 822 tons of raspberries are produced annually for the needs of the jam and juice industry. The largest producer countries are Russia, Mexico and Serbia. The food industry wants to utilize best possible way this precious berry. Therefore, the pulp left over from the production of raspberry juices is used to make oil.
Similar oils are made from blueberry, lingonberry, cranberry, cloudberry and strawberry.
Apricot kernel oil
Apricot is a very popular fruit in Central Europe. When we eat fresh strawberries, the French and Germans are enjoying the taste of apricots. Apricots are usually used to make jams and marmalades. They are also preserved by drying. In all these cases, the stone is removed from the fruit. Apricot stone is pressed into oil, which is very popular in cosmetics. Apricot kernel oil is used because of its high antioxidant content.
Not all oils are ethical
However, there are plenty of oils available which production consumes a huge amount of natural resources. If a plant is grown only for cosmetic purposes, it is not always sustainable. Growing plants for cosmetics alone occupies land area from food production.
It is also uncertain whether all the plants used in the production of oils can be fully utilized. Especially plants that are not suitable for food or fibre are a problem. Once the oil is pressed, the rest of the plant is thrown away. The use of toxic or otherwise inedible plants in oil production is questionable.
Many plants consume water excessively. If a water-intensive plant is grown in a dry area, there may be a water problem ahead.
Even if the plant used for oil production is unfit for human consumption, it can be beneficial to bees and other pollinators. An example of them is sunflowers. They bloom for a long time and provide food for insects.
Consideration of biodiversity is also important
It is not the same whether the plant is grown in monoculture or in a small family farm. Monoculture means that only one and the same plant can be found in thousands from an area of hectares. Monoculture reduces biodiversity and destroys pollinators.
There is also a socio-economic aspect of the production of cosmetic raw materials. Production is a vital condition for a particular group of people. Such an oil is, for example, argan oil. Nuts harvested from Brazil’s rainforests are also an important source of income for the indigenous people. The rainforest will be saved from logging if people learn to take advantage of the fruits/harvest of the trees.
The ethical side of raw materials is a very complex matter. It is impossible to draw a clear line between an ethical and an unethical product. I think I will come back to this topic again. It is impossible for the consumer to know the growing conditions of all the plants used for the production of oils. It would therefore be great if the cosmetics industry paid more attention to this important issue.
Are you interested in ethical cosmetics?
Almond oil is one of the most widely used oils in cosmetics. Its popularity has been stable for centuries. Almond oil is thought to be a very mild carrier oil. It is widely used in products for babies and children. Due to the growing popularity of almond oil, I want now to expose the secrets of this traditional beauty substance.
The history of the almond
Almonds (Prunus amygdalus) are native to the Middle East. There are two different varieties of almonds; sweet, edible almonds and bitter almonds. In this article, I will only deal with sweet almond oil. Bitter almonds and products made from them are a completely different thing.
The origins of almond cultivation is located in the valleys of the Euphrates and Tigris rivers, inhabited by ancient Sumerians. From there, almond cultivation has spread throughout the shores of the Mediterranean Sea. Also in India, almond is a particularly popular crop. The northernmost place where attempts have been made to grow almonds is Germany.
Almonds have always been used for baking and desserts. As an oily plant, almond oil has also been an important product. Almond oil has been used for thousands of years in all Mediterranean cultures. It has been a highly prized oil. Almond oil has always been also a cosmetic product used to treat skin and hair.
The magical properties of the almond
The element of the almond is air and sex masculine. The almond is associated with money, wealth and prosperity. It is said that climbing an almond tree brings good luck in business.
The almond belongs to the genus Prunus
The almond is not a nut but a drupe. It belongs to the genus Prunus, which includes, for example, cherry, peach, plum and apricot. The Latin name for the almond, amygdalus, refers to the amygdala in the temporal lobes of man. The shape and size of the amygdalas are very similar to almonds.
Almond oil is made by pressing almond mass . The oil content of almonds is about 50%. Due to their high oil content, almonds are especially popular for oil pressing.
One may also be hypersensitive or allergic to almond oil. To make sure the oil is suitable for you, first gently try almond oil on your skin in a not so visible area.
The cultivation of almonds causes ecological problems
California is a particularly good place to grow almonds. Cultivation is mostly done in the Central Valley. There, the almond plantations are enormous. The almond is Insect-pollinated and needs bees to produce fruit. As with so many plants, monoculture has become a major problem. The almond only blooms for a very short time, maybe a couple of weeks. Thi is the time when bees have plenty of food available. Once the almonds have blossomed, the bees have no nutrition source. Attempts have been made to solve the problem by bringing beehives next to the blooming almond tree fields. However, the problems do not end there. Bees have got virus infection on large almond plantations.
Another ecological problem is the need for water of almonds. Almonds need a moderate amount of water. One almond needs about four liters of water to grow up. This is a huge amount of water in drought-stricken California.
Indeed, almond farmers have taken real steps to get intensive almond cultivation back on track. Irrigation instructions have been distributed to farmers, attention has been paid to bee health and biomass has increasingly been used as an aid in farming. The California sun is also used extensively in almond production processes. Organic cultivation of almonds has become more common. Organically produced almonds are much healthier and more ecological than intensive farmed ones.
Properties of almond oil in cosmetics
Almond oil is one of the carrier oils in cosmetics. Almond oil is very rich in oleic acid. Therefore, it is not suitable for everyone’s skin. Almond oil clogs pores easily. Its comedogenic value is 2. You will get almond oil absorbed into your skin much more easily if you first warm it up to 40 degrees Celsius.
Almond oil does not have any superior properties. Almond oil is very neutral, slightly thick and oily oil. Its color is a beautiful, light yellow. Almond oil does not smell at all. Almond oil would be much more popular in cosmetics if it were cheaper.
Almond oil contains really large amounts of vitamin E, tocopherol. Keep in mind, however, that this only applies to cold-pressed almond oil. There is little tocopherol in the heated oil. Tocopherol is a highly effective antioxidant. The high tocopherol content makes almond oil an ideal product for aging skin. Tocopherol also helps almond oil to survive, although it is not an actual preservative.
What should almond oil be used for?
- Almond oil is a good base for creams and oil serums.
- Such a rich in oleic acid -oil should be used for body care products, hair care and aging and dry skin.
- Try almond oil for facial oil cleansing
- Almond oil is especially good carrier oil. To use for a bath, blend 5 to 10 drops of essential oil with a tablespoon of almond oil.
- Almond oil is a fairly expensive oil for oil extractions. As a well-preserved oil, almond oil would be a very suitable choice. If you wish, you can also prepare small amounts of oil extracts into almond oil.
- Almond oil is one of the most popular oils for hair care products. Almond oil is used in many treatments for the scalp in India. For best results, heat almond oil slightly. This makes it easier for the oil ingredients to be absorbed into the scalp.
Fatty acid profile of almond oil
Fatty acids from almond oil are very typical fatty acids of vegetable oil. Similar fatty acid compositions can also be found in other oils of the genus Prunus such as peach oil or apricot kernel oil.
Depending on the almond variety, growing location and weather conditions, the fatty acid contents of the oil may vary somewhat. However, oleic acid content is always highest in almond oils. If necessary, ask your oil supplier for the exact fatty acid profile for each batch.
- Oleic acid 62-86%
- Linoleic acid 14-30%
- Palmitic acid 5-9%
- Stearic acid 3%
- Comedogenic value 2
- Almond oil also contains vitamins A, D, and E as well as small amounts of potassium and zinc
How do I choose good quality almond oil?
The same thing applies to almond oil as it does to most other grades of cosmetic oil; the best oil is cold pressed and if possible organic quality oil. Unfortunately, organic almond oil is much more expensive than regular. In the case of almond oil, organic quality is particularly important. Organic almonds are grown with respect for the environment. Pesticides that are harmful to the environment are not used in organic production.
Almond oil is also available in most shops selling natural/organic products and pharmacies. Almond oil is also available in some supermarkets. By buying oils from stores that sell cosmetic raw materials, you can ask the seller for the exact fatty acid profile of the oil. I think this is a big advantage for the maker of DIY cosmetics.
You can read more about oils here
Grape seed oil is the next topic in our oil introduction series. Grape seed oil is used in both cosmetics and cooking. That’s why it’s easy to find it in larger supermarkets as well. The popularity of grape seed oil in cosmetics has been solid for several years. It has plenty of good features. Personally, I like the versatility of grape seed oil. Grape seed oil is one of the cornerstones of cosmetics and I now want us to have a deeper look at it.
Grape seed oil is a by-product of the food industry
If you want to fight food waste, you can participate in the fight by using grape seed oil. The grapes are used to make juice and wine. However, seeds are never used in these products. Grape seeds are a waste that has little other use. Fortunately, grape seeds contain valuable and especially good quality oil. Now the entire crop can be used.
The oil is extracted from the seeds in many different ways. When choosing oil for cosmetic products, you should choose the cold pressed quality. It contains all the vitamins and other beneficial substances of the oil. The anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antimicrobial properties of cold-pressed oil remain unchanged.
Grape seed oil is a very light oil
Light oil means oil that is well absorbed and does not feel greasy on the skin. However, grape seed oil is not a so-called dry oil. Dry oils are rich in alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Grape seed oil doesn’t contain it.
The fatty acid composition of grape seed oil is one of the most ideal. It contains the right proportions of fatty acids that are important for the skin. The variation of the fatty acid profile of grape seed oil is really small. The oil is made from the most popular grape types that grow under about the same conditions.
- Oleic acid 25, 84%
- Linoleic acid 55.25%
- Stearic acid 5.75%
- Palmitic acid 11.85%
- Comedogenic value (value describing pore clogging) 1
Grape seed oil is also rich in vitamin E, tocopherol, resveratrol, quercetin, procyanidin, carotenoids and plant sterols. Due to its abundance of phytochemicals, grape seed oil is indeed a popular ingredient in cosmetic industry serums and other skincare products. Grape seed oil is a great oil to use for skin care. It has a huge amount of active, natural ingredients.
How does grape seed oil affect the skin?
Grape seed oil has several positive effects on the skin. Here are a few of them;
- Soothing effect on the skin
- Brightening of the skin and whitening of pigment changes (hyperpigmentation, dark spots)
- Effect of antioxidants on skin aging
- Moisturizing effect; the oil retains skin moisture if you apply it on slightly moist skin
Store grape seed oil carefully
Grape seed oil contains a lot of linoleic acid, which makes the oil very easily oxidized. when buying grape seed oil, make sure the oil is as fresh as possible. Always ask the best before -date when buying it.
Always store grape seed oil out of the light. Light spoils many products incredibly quickly.
The oil storage place should also be as cool as possible, always keep the opened bottle in the refrigerator. And products containing grape seed oil should be stored in the refrigerator. This ensures the freshness and highest possible quality of your products.
How can we use grape seed oil in homemade cosmetics?
Grape seed oil is a versatile oil. It is very suitable for many different skin types. Grape seed oil is one of the few carrier oils. The carrier oil is required to have a neutral odour and colour. Very fragrant and intensely coloured oils are not suitable as carrier oils.
You can mix a few drops of the special oil(s) you want with grape seed oil. This allows you to enhance the effect of the oil and complete the fatty acid composition.
Grape seed oil is excellent for many different uses
- For oil extractions
- As a carrier oil for oil-based products
- For bath oil
- Oil serums; well-absorbed oils should be used in serums
- Eye products; light, well absorbable
- Aging skin products; rich in antioxidants
- For sensitive skin products; Grape seed oil is a very mild and well tolerated oil
- For easily clogged skin; comedogenic value 1
- As one of the ingredients in the cleansing oil
Grape seed oil is a cosmetic oil worth trying
There are not so many good carrier oils available. Each of them is suitable for skin care as such.
Because the best carrier oils are perishable, it is better to buy them in smaller bottles and one oil at a time. You can vary the different oils according to your skin. Grape seed oil is easy to obtain. Like most cosmetic carrier oils, grape seed oil is suitable for human consumption. Extra oil you do not need for cosmetics is easy to use in kitchen.
I recommend to get familiar with grape seed oil. It is easy to add more power to your products with it. It is good to change the carrier oil from time to time and grape seed oil is one really good option for you. Try how your skin will like it.
What is your favorite carrier oil?
Avocado oil has been a long time a favourite of cosmetic manufacturers. Avocado (Persea Americana) is a familiar fruit to many and is praised in many ways as a healthy nutrition. Many health experts recommend avocados as well as avocado oil to keep up good health. Avocado oil also has a pleasant taste and beautiful colour. Therefore, it is preferred oil in many recipes. How do the precious oils of avocado work on the skin?
Avocado oil is easy to find in major supermarkets
The popularity of avocado oil is indicated by the fact that it is now quite easy to find in ordinary supermarkets. It is usually fresh and of good quality because it is also used a lot. There are also cold-pressed quality avocado oils available. All the valuable antioxidants and vitamins are still intact in cold-pressed avocado oil. You can buy a big bottle of avocado oil at once. It is not perishable and can be used as well in cooking.
Avocado oil is produced all over the globe.
The avocado is native plant of Central America. Avocados are now grown wherever the climate is smooth enough. Avocado cannot tolerate frost and requires a subtropical or tropical climate to thrive. The major avocado producing countries are Mexico, Dominican Republic, Peru, Indonesia, Colombia and Brazil. These countries sell raw avocados to ripening plants all around the world. Thus, the actual avocado oil can be produced anywhere in the world.
Avocados need a huge amount of water to grow. It has been calculated that the amount of groundwater consumed by one avocado is about 70 litres, depending on the place of growth. In addition to this, of course, the avocado also needs rainwater. In Chile, however, the amount of groundwater needed by one avocado is a staggering 320 litres. Such water consumption is a heavy toll to the local water economy. When choosing avocados or avocado oil, also pay attention to the ethics and sustainability of the fruit and oil.
Avocado is a very oily fruit
Avocado is one of the most fat-rich fruits. Avocado fruit flesh can contain up to 32% oil and 65% water. Avocado oil was originally used only in cosmetics. Avocado oil for cosmetics is traditionally made from dried avocado using solvents and heat. Finally, the oil is purified, bleached and perfumed. Such avocado oil is used by large cosmetic giants.
Avocado oil for cooking is always made from carefully ripened, healthy avocados. Over-ripen, black avocados cannot be used in top quality oil. The avocado mass is ground into a paste and rinsed for 60 minutes at 45-50 degrees Celsius. The pulp is then made into oil by mechanical treatment. Fortunately, we cosmetics makers always have the opportunity to choose the highest quality oils for our products. Personally, I choose cold-pressed, organic oil.
Avocado oil is equivalent to olive oil
The fat profile of avocado oil is similar to that of olive oil. It contains very high concentrations of oleic acid. Avocado oil is therefore not suitable for persons having easily clogged pores on their skin. Due to its high oleic acid content, it causes easily acne, pimples and skin problems on the facial skin.
Unlike olive oil, avocado oil is high in skin-protecting oleic acids such as palmitic and palmitoleic acids. That’s why I think avocado oil is a good addition to dry skin products.
Avocado oil is moderately rich in vitamin E, or tocopherol. Vitamin E is a very effective substance in combating the signs of skin aging. In addition, avocado oil contains chlorophylls as well as carotenoids. Chlorophylls are a green dye in plants. Because of the high content of chlorophyll, the avocado has such a wonderful, emerald green colour. The colour of avocado oil is also beautifully visible in the products. Chlorophyll is very sensitive to light. That is why it is especially important to keep avocado oil and products protected from light.
Fatty acid composition, cold pressed, extra Virgin avocado oil
- Palmitic acid 10-12%
- Palmitoleic acid 5-8%
- Oleic acid 60-80%
- Linoleic acid 7-20%
How do I use avocado oil in cosmetics?
Avocado oil has a very similar fat profile to olive oil. A good feature of avocado oil is its shelf life. Just like olive oil, avocado oil won’t get spoiled easily. If you wish, you can use avocado oil instead of olive oil in your products. As an easily pore-clogging oil, I do not recommend avocado oil for face products, at least in large quantities. Here are some examples of how you can utilize avocado oil in cosmetics
- In body products
- In washable products
- In hair products
- In very dry skin products
- In peeling products
- In foot creams
- In hand creams
- In soaps
Avocado oil is worth exploring
I have written here on my blog about many oils. I always choose my favourite oils as my topic. I don’t want to write about oils I don’t like. I was considering writing about avocado oil for a long time. I considered it to be too pore-clogging. However, avocado oil has quite a few good features. It’s gorgeous emerald green colour, good shelf life, skin protective fatty acids and rich antioxidants made me rethink. Avocado oil is a useful cosmetic raw material with certain notice. I recommend trying it in cosmetics.
Safflower oil is a base oil for cosmetics. In the past, safflower oil was available in every store like sunflower oil. Safflower oil was believed to have many health effects. It was recommended for salads and for other cooking. However, safflower oil was displaced by olive oil by time.
Now it is really hard to find safflower oil anywhere. Fortunately, some online stores selling cosmetic ingredients have added this fine oil to their selections. What are the benefits of safflower oil in skin care and how should it be utilized in the DIY-cosmetics? That’s what I’m going to tell you now.
Safflower oil is an ancient product
Safflower (Carthamus tinctorius) is one of the oldest crops in the world. Safflower is a plant belonging to the Asteraceae family. It has been cultivated already in ancient Mesopotamia. Safflower do flourish in moderately warm areas. It also tolerates both drought and salt well.
Safflower’s Latin name tinctorius refers to the use of plant for dyeing. The flowers of safflower are intense orange red in colour. Initially, safflower was grown only for dyeing purposes. The red colour of safflower was replaced in the 20th century by synthetic aniline dyes and the popularity of safflower declined.
In cooking, very expensive saffron is replaced by safflower flowers. Safflower oil has also been used for a very long time for cooking, edible oil and in cosmetics. The paint industry is using safflower oil instead of linseed oil in some paints.
Safflower oil is currently produced in the USA, Kazakhstan, Mexico, India and Turkey.
Features of safflower oil
Safflower oil is an ideal oil for many purposes. Safflower oil is clear and very light in colour. It is also an almost tasteless and odourless oil. These features make safflower oil quite popular in both cooking and cosmetics.
The special smells, tastes and strong colour of oils easily dominate the whole product. Safflower oil does not have this problem. Therefore, safflower oil is particularly well suited as a base oil for cosmetics.
There are two different types of safflower oil
The original safflower oil is particularly rich in linoleic acid. Since linoleic acid is a very easily oxidizing oil, a variety rich in oleic acid was also developed. Linoleic acid-containing safflower oil is especially suitable for cosmetics. Safflower oil containing oleic acid is better for nutritional use. However, safflower oil with high concentration of oleic acid does not actually contain very much oleic acid, so it is also perfect for cosmetics.
Fatty acids from safflower oil
Since there are two different types of safflower oil, please find below two different fatty acid content. You should check with the seller the exact contents. Different lots may vary a lot depending on the weather, variety, etc.
- Linoleic acid 71% – 84%
- Oleic acid 8% – 18%
- Palmitic acid 4% – 8%
- Stearic acid 2% – 3%
Safflower oil is especially good for skin care
The main fatty acid in safflower oil is linoleic acid. It is an essential fatty acid for the production of ceramides. Ceramides are important components in the formation of the protective layer of the skin. If the skin lacks ceramides, it easily becomes irritated and dry.
Safflower oil is a very well absorbed skin care oil
As a mild, light oil, safflower oil is suitable for both young and aging skin. It doesn’t clog pores at all, so I recommend it for acne prone skin as well.
Safflower oil has a particularly high vitamin E content
Vitamin E is a powerful antioxidant that protects the skin from aging. Skin aging is affected by free radicals. Their effect is enhanced, for example, by excessive sunlight. Vitamin E in safflower oil blocks the action of free radicals. On the skin, this is reflected in smoother skin and a reduction in dark spots on aging skin.
Safflower oil reduces inflammation on the skin and soothes the skin
Safflower oil accelerates wound healing and skin cell regeneration. The vitamin E in safflower oil helps the skin quickly form new cells to replace the dead ones.
Safflower oil helps the skin maintain its moisture balance. It forms a barrier on the skin so that moisture stays where it should to be.
The comedogenic classification of safflower oil (clogging of skin pores) is 0. This means that safflower oil can also be recommended for people suffering easily clogged pores. Only very few oils get a comedogenic value of 0.
Safflower oil is also suitable for haircare products
Safflower oil is also often used in haircare products. Its particularly high vitamin E content helps to moisturize the hair and the dry scalp. Because safflower oil is high in linoleic acid, it is able to be well absorbed into the scalp, improving blood circulation and nourishing it. The scalp needs a lot of nutrients to grow healthy and strong hair. Improved blood circulation as well as hydration really help a lot in this.
How do I use safflower oil in cosmetics?
Safflower oil acts as a carrier oil in cosmetics, to which special oils and essential oils can be combined. Above all, carrier oil is required to be indistinguishable and that safflower oil is.
Prepare herbal oils from safflower oil
Safflower oil is particularly suitable for extraction. I think safflower oil is much better choice when making herbal oil than olive oil. However, make sure that the safflower oil you buy has as much best before -date left as possible. Herbal oil should not be made from aging oil. The herbs you dried in the summer are worth of good oil.
Safflower oil is well suited as a base for creams
It is well absorbed and does not leave the skin oily. Safflower oil has the ability to retain moisture on the skin. So, combine moisturizing ingredients such as glycerol with safflower oil cream to get a really effective moisturizing cream. If you want a little more protection in safflower oil, you can also try adding a few drops of sea buckthorn berry oil.
Safflower oil is my favourite oil for oil cleansing
I often combine it with a drop of deep cleansing castor oil as well as sunflower oil or rice bran oil. You can easily wipe the safflower oil away from your face using a moist, warm towel. If you are doing double cleansing, you can use the cleanser of your choice after the oil cleansing.
Safflower oil is suitable for caring oil serums
The oils used in the oil serum should be easily absorbed and that is what safflower oil is. Use safflower oil (or herbal oil made from safflower oil) as the base for the serum. I also often add a little jojoba oil to the serum to enhance the absorption of the active ingredients. Feel free to choose other special oils for your serum as well to bring in more antioxidants and more curability. Only your imagination is the limit.
Remember that as a linoleic acid-containing oil, safflower oil gets spoiled easily. Therefore, always store the oil bottle in the refrigerator. Likewise, all products made from safflower oil should be stored protected from light, preferably in a cool place.
Have you already tried safflower oil?
The way to benefit from active ingredients of the plants is to make extracts from them and then simple use them in creams and other cosmetics. Herbal extracts are semi-finished products for cosmetics. By using them it is easy to make products you want.
Now it is time to talk about herbal oil extracts. I’ll teach you two different ways to make herbal infused oil from the plants you want. Follow the instructions to in order to get herbal oils, which are semi-finished products for home-made cosmetics. You will also learn to choose the right oils and suitable plants for extraction.
Herbal infused oil is the cornerstone of a good cosmetic product. That is why it is very important that you learn how to make a quality oil extraction right from the start. High quality herbal oil contains as much of the plant’s active ingredients as possible.
Read on to learn how to make herbal oil extracts from vegetable oils.
There are several ways to make herbal oil extracts
Here are two different ways to make the oil extract. The way you choose depends on you, the way you want to do it, and few other factors
The choice of method of preparation depends on
- Available time
- What plants you want to extract
- Whether you use fresh or dried plants
- The oil you are using
What kitchenware is needed to make oil extract
You just need simple kitchenware you may already have.
- Clean glass jar with lid, approx. 2-5 decilitres
- Clean gauze cloth for straining
For the hot method you need also
- pot for double boiler
- Metal bowl to place on top of boiler (pot) for water bath
• Wooden chopsticks or clothes pegs between bowl and pot to keep the bowl above water level You do not need those if the bowl and pot fit together well.
All you need is a few very simple tools and some time. You can easily and affordably create a comprehensive and versatile set of herbal oils.
The herbal infused oil made by yourself is
- at least 100 times better quality than industrial cosmetics oils
- always effective enough, you have measured the ingredients yourself
- Always fresh if you use only high-quality plants and oils. Oils should be usable at least 1,5 years (best before date)
- an inexpensive cosmetic semi-product
- Easy to use, you can add the infused oil of your choice to your products or use it as such for example in oil cleansing or massage
It is worth making plenty of infused oils, but not too much. You can use them for a half a year, and then make new ones. It would be best to choose a few favourite herbs and then make oil from each one of them. Also think about herbs suitable for your skin and what skin problems you want to solve.
What Plants Should I Choose for Herbal Infused Oil?
That is a really difficult question. There are so many options.
If you just want a sensual scent for your cosmetics, you can make oils from chamomile and rose. They are mild and gentle on the skin. Rose and chamomile are usually suitable for everyone’s skin.
Also, check out my post: The top 11 herbs for skin care. There are a few good alternatives that will give you a great result.
If you want to use a long formula of cold extraction to make an oil, always use dried herbs. I do not recommend fresh herbs for oil extraction due to health risks. Fresh herbs contain water and can spoil the oil.
You can then freely use either fresh or dried herbs for the hot oils. However, use only fresh or dried herbs, not both for the same extract.
Always choose organic herbs or wild herbs for your oil extract. Mass-produced herbs contain pesticide residues such as glyphosate (Roundup), which are passed on to the final product. Pesticides can cause cancer. They have also been found to destroy normal human bacterial systems, both on the skin and in the digestive system.
Pick your own wild herbs
Pick wild herbs from a clean environment. A clean environment means an area with no highways nearby and no farmed crops where pesticides can spread to the nature. I have also avoided dog walking trails. In southern Finland, finding such an area is becoming more demanding. So I suggest you to make a bicycle trip to some of the larger outdoor areas. Picking up herbs is actually real fun and relaxing. In my opinion, picking wild herbs even beats wild berry picking and mushroom picking.
If you find yourself an uncertain wild herb picker, do not hesitate to join a guided wild herb group. The guide will give you lots of tips on how to identify and use wild herbs, and you’ll get to know nice people as well.
You can dry the herbs you have picked up yourself or use them immediately. I am also thinking of making a new post about drying of wild herbs. I think summertime is good time for that.
Some wild herbs are perfect for cooking. If you were thinking of using wild herbs for nutrition, first make sure that the herbs you are picking are edible. There are restrictions and limits on using some herbs during pregnancy or when having certain diseases or eating certain medicines. These are the things you must check with your doctor.
Get herbs online
You can also buy herbs from a reliable supplier. I always try to find a domestic supplier myself, if possible. There are many online shops selling herbs in many countries. It could be sometimes difficult to get to know the country of origin of herbs.
Herb trip abroad
In addition to domestic herb suppliers, there are numerous herb suppliers abroad. Looking at them from Finland, the nearest quality herbal suppliers are located in Estonia. If you’re heading to Estonia, don’t forget to take a look at their herbs. Estonian herbs are usually available in local pharmacies.
Selecting Oil for Herbal Oil Infusion
You have to choose the base oil, aka carrier oil. Carrier oils are neutral oils that are suitable as a base for cosmetics. I think the best carrier oils are sunflower oil, safflower oil or rice bran oil.
Do not choose expensive special oils for extraction. Their good properties are ruined during extraction. If you want to use them, use them only at the end of making process by adding few drops to the final product.
There is plenty of information available in my book Home Cosmetic Raw Materials and Making of Home-made Cosmetics about different oils. Unfortunately, this book is at the moment only available in Finnish language. There will be an English edition available later on.
There is plenty of talk about coconut oil and cosmetics but I really do not recommend using coconut oil as it is very unsuitable for extraction. For some reason, herbs do not just release their substances into coconut oil. The composition of coconut oil is quite different from other oils.
Another not so good oil for extraction is sesame oil. Sesame oil is very effective in removing active ingredients from plants. It is just not very good oil for skin care because it clogs the pores. It is thick and greasy and does not absorb well into the skin. In addition, it is a very warming oil. The skin may get unnecessary redness from sesame oil.
The third oil I do not recommend for cosmetic oil extracts is olive oil. Olive oil is a considered as superfood. However, in skin care, olive oil clogs the pores and even causes acne to some. At least cold pressed olive oil for baby products is not recommended at all because it is very allergenic.
The rule of thumb I have is that if some oil is a healthy nutrition, it is not suitable for the skin and vice versa.
Freshness of the oils
Always choose the freshest oil possible. Make sure the best before date is at least a year away.
How to make an herbal oil infusion slowly
The slow process for making oil is indeed very slow. You will need about 4 weeks to extract. However, some use the extract as early as after 2 weeks of extraction. Then it’s lot milder.
For good extraction you need the herbs you have picked and dried. In the slow process, only dried herbs can be used.
- Put the herbs you cleaned and chopped into a glass jar. It depends on the number of herbs how strong the extract becomes. I recommend making strong extracts which can then be diluted if necessary. You will get a strong extract by filling the glass jar with dried herbs (not too full)
- Pour the oil over so that the herbs are covered
- Close the jar and label it with following information:
- Used oil and oil best before date
- Used herb
- The date when extract was made
Place the jar at room temperature or in a slightly cooler place. However, do not put the jar in the refrigerator. Choose a place that is protected from light.
Let the herbs extract in the oil. You can turn the jar a little at times, but it’s not necessary.
After 4 weeks, you can separate herbs from the oil using a gauze cloth.
Now you have herbal infused oil you can use in cosmetics.
Herbal oil infusion by a quick method
Herbal oil can also be produced quickly. This is done by heating the herbs and oil in a water bath for 1.5 hours.
- Place the cleaned, fresh or dry herbs in a metal bowl
- Pour good quality base oil such as sunflower oil enough to cover the herbs
- Lift the bowl over the water boiler (pot)
- There should be plenty of water in the pot but the bottom of the bowl should not touch the water. The intention is that the extract in the bowl warms up only with water vapor. This prevents the oil and herbs from overheating and losing nutrients.
- You can fit the bowl onto the pot by using wooden chopsticks. Another way is to use wooden clothes pegs on the sides of the pot to reduce the radius of the pot.
- Allow the water to boil and then reduce the heat so that the water is just bubbling. The steam is hot enough to heat the mixture. If the water boils, the mixture may overheat.
- Keep the mixture in a water bath for 1.5 hours
- Press herbs into oil all the time and stir occasionally
- After 1,5 hours you can lift the bowl off from the pot
- Dry the bottom of the bowl to prevent any water getting into the oil. If there is even a little water in the oil, it will not be preserved.
- Remove all herbs from the oil using a gauze cloth
- Pour the oil into a glass jar
- Close the jar and label it with following information:
- Used oil and best before date (of used oil)
- Used herb
- Date of making the extract
Now you have herbal infused oil that you can use to make your own cosmetics!
Which method is preferable, slow cold infusion or quick hot one?
I myself prefer the quick method because first of all it is quicker and therefore ingredients will not get spoiled easily, comparing to slow method. Secondly, because of the reason no 1, the final product is safer to use.
I recommend to store final products in a fridge. If that is not possible please store protected from light and in a cool place.
Enjoy your personalized herbal infused oils!
Hemp seed oil is one of the best cosmetic oils. Its amazing benefits to the skin are recognized several years ago. Indeed, the use and interest of hemp seed oil in natural cosmetic products has been growing. However, there is plenty of room for new products containing hemp oil. Hemp seed oil has its own special features that should be taken into account. This article will introduce you to the properties of Hemp Seed Oil. Read more about how to use hemp seed oil in cosmetics!
Hemp is an ancient, traditional plant
Hemp (Cannabis sativa) is no strange foreign specialty. It has been part of many nationalities’ life for thousands of years. Hemp has grown well here in the north. Along with flax, hemp has been one of our most important fibre plants. Hemp was cultivated in northern Europe even before it was known in Central Europe. Remarks of the cultivation of hemp can be found as far as Neolithic Stone Age, 4800 years B.C. Hemp is one of the first cultivated plants in northern Europe.
Hemp was also popular in China in ancient times.
From China, hemp has most probably arrived to northern Europe together with pottery and buckwheat. The Chinese made sails and strong, durable paper of hemp fibres. China is still number one in hemp production.
Production of hemp seed oil
In this article, I deal with hemp seed oil. Hemp seed oil should not be mixed with cannabidiol oil made from hemp leaves and stems.
Hemp seeds contain about 30% oil. So, hemp is a very good oil plant. The oil content of hempseeds varies greatly depending on the place where the plant is grown, the variety and the weather conditions. Hemp is grown as an oil crop in China and Europe. China is definitely the world’s number one in hemp production.
Hemp seed oil is squeezed from hemp seeds. In homemade cosmetics we always prefer cold pressed, unfiltered oils because of their rich vitamin and antioxidant content. The colour of unfiltered, cold pressed hempseed oil is always deep green.
There is also a clear, filtered version of hemp seed oil, which is used in industry and for the production of biodiesel. Such a clear, refined oil is unsuitable as a cosmetic ingredient.
The benefits of hemp seed oil for the skin
Hemp seed oil is nowadays widely used in skin care. It’s a really great thing because hemp is one of the best oil for skin care. But what makes hemp oil an excellent skin oil then? We will find out next.
The fatty acid composition of hemp seed oil is perfect for the skin.
It contains on average:
- Linoleic acid 55%
- Alpha Linolenic Acid 18%
- Gamma linolenic acid 5.3%
- Oleic acid 9.15%
- Palmitic acid 6%
- Stearic acid 2.4%
The fatty acid profile of hemp seed oil is very beneficial for the skin.
The high content of linoleic acid makes hemp seed oil a very absorbent oil. It does not leave a greasy-like layer on the skin surface but is effectively absorbed. Linoleic acid is a skin moisturizing oleic acid.
Alpha-linolenic acid high-dehydrating oleic acid when used too much. Therefore, hemp seed oil should not be used in very big quantities at a time. However, alpha-linolenic acid content in hemp seed oil is not too high. All you have to do is take into account the dehydrating effect of hemp seed oil. For your information, there is too much alpha-linolenic acid in linseed oil. I do not recommend linseed oil for skin care at all.
Gamma-linolenic acid of hemp seed oil is a rare oleic acid that is usually found only in low concentrations. Gamma linolenic acid is actually produced by the body as well. As you get older, your body functions are getting weaker and your body does not produce enough gamma linolenic acid. Gamma linolenic acid is the salvation of aging skin. It is found elsewhere, for example, in primrose oil and blackcurrant seed oil.
Hemp seed oil contains only about 9% oleic acid. Oleic acid is not the best fatty acid for skin care. It easily clogs pores and causes pimples. Such low levels of oleic acid are only found in few, rare oils.
Hemp seed oil is rich in antioxidants
The colour of hemp seed oil is a deep dark green. The green colour in the oil always indicates a high antioxidant content. Hemp seed oil antioxidants are in a class of their own. Hemp seed oil contains vitamins A, C and E, which are very effective antioxidants on the skin.
Hempseed oil is anti-inflammatory and soothes the skin
If you have an inflammatory skin condition and are looking for a suitable skin oil, you should give hemp seed oil a try. It has been found to soothe the skin and reduce inflammation on the skin. Hemp seed oil has also begun to be studied as a possible treatment for many skin conditions such as acne, rosacea and eczema. However, there are no research results published yet.
Hemp seed oil does not block pores
Hemp oil is a “noncomedogenic” oil, meaning it does not block the pores at all. This is good to know if you get pimples easily. For all other skin types, noncomedogenic oils are recommended.
Minuses of Hemp Seed Oil
Hemp seed oil also has its dark side. It contains very fine fatty acids but these fatty acids make it difficult to be preserved. Hemp seed oil gets very easily tarnished. It must be absolutely fresh when buying. So, get hemp seed oil from a place where it’s sold a lot. Always check the bottle for dates to ensure freshness. I buy hemp seed oil myself from quality store. In some quality stores the oil is professionally stored in the refrigerator. I greatly appreciate such expertise and diligence. When making products using hemp seed oil, always store the finished products in the refrigerator. Even if you use a preservative, hemp seed oil may still tarnish.
Hemp seed oil is high in alpha-linolenic acid
It is a very useful fatty acid for the skin. However, alpha-linolenic acid dehydrates the skin when used excessively. Therefore, hemp seed oil should always be diluted with other oils.
Hypersensitivity to Hemp Seed Oil
Hemp seed oil is an unrefined product. It contains a large variety of plant chemicals to which you may be sensitive. Usually they are good for the skin but allergies and hypersensitivity are quite possible. So, check if hemp seed oil is suitable for your skin if you haven’t used it before. Skin reactions may not appear until a few days later. Therefore, you should be patient when performing sensitivity tests.
How can you use hemp seed oil in home cosmetics?
Hemp seed oil is suitable for many different products. However, it should not be used for oil extraction because of the risk of tarnishing.
Hemp seed oil should also not be heated for very long period of time. Its sensitive fatty acids will be destroyed easily when heated.
Use only small amounts of hemp seed oil at a time.
Mix it with some other oil suitable for your skin. This gives you the benefits of hemp seed oil and avoid its drying effect. Hemp seed oil alpha-linolenic acid, when used excessively, dehydrates the skin. On a small scale, it is a real relief for the skin. It moisturizes and nourishes the skin effectively.
How to use Hemp Seed Oil in Facial Creams?
Hemp seed oil suits particularly well for facial products. It is a highly absorbent oil that does not leave the skin greasy. Therefore, it suits very well for making facial creams. I recommend hemp seed oil only for light emulsion creams. This oil is high in alpha-linolenic acid. When used extensively, alpha-linolenic acid may dry the skin excessively. For example, it is used as an additive in oil paints because it dries quickly.
How to use Hemp Seed Oil in Oil Cleansing Products?
It is advisable to use hemp seed oil together with other oils in oil cleansing. You can use it about 10-20% in your oil mixture. It does not block pores; it does moisturize the skin and cleans pores effectively. Hemp seed oil is a thin oil that can penetrate the pores of the skin. Due to the high content of linoleic acid, hemp seed oil causes the pores of the skin to react naturally. Linoleic acid does not dry in the pores like oleic acid. The pores begin to remove impurities by pumping them up onto the skin surface.
How to use Hemp Seed Oil in serums and Skin Care Oils?
Hemp seed oil is a great ingredient to be used in skin care oil serums. All you have to do is to remember to keep the bottle of the oil serum in the refrigerator. Then this delicate oil does not become rancidified.
Its Hard to Find any Hemp Seed Oil Beauty Products
Unfortunately, I could not find any good natural cosmetic lotions or oils containing organic hemp seed oil. This is a healing balm made of hemp seed oil. It’s quite unbelievable when you think about how long hemp has been in use. On the other hand, I do understand well why hemp seed oil is not a common ingredient in cosmetics.
Hemp seed oil is a difficult oil for organic cosmetics manufacturers
Hemp seed oil is a very delicate oil that cannot be preserved on the shelves of shops. Hemp oil products should always be stored in the refrigerator. However, it is not always possible to arrange such storage. It is worth making the products from hemp seed oil by yourself and enjoy the beneficial effects of hemp oil.
You can read more about oils here
Have you come across small domestic natural cosmetics manufacturers who use genuine hemp seed oil in their products? Please let me know about them!
Natural oils in cosmetics are very important in skincare. Vegetable oils in cosmetics are really the foundation of skincare. Most cosmetic products are based on oils and fats. The influence of vegetable oils and fats cannot be overemphasized when choosing skincare products.
Vegetable oils are currently produced from the seeds of almost all known plants. There are some exceptions, like the avocado that is very oily. Avocado oil is made from fruit flesh. Oil can be squeezed from almost any seed.
Is exotic and expensive cosmetic oil better than the regular oil?
You have certainly noticed how the manufacturers praise their creams for very special and exotic oils. In case you thought that these oils have a very special effect on the skin it may not be true. However, some special oils contain phytochemicals that have a positive effect on the skin. That is why oil is blended in the product, it is because of its active ingredients. The purpose of base oil, or carrier oil, is not to bring any new chemicals into the skin. The purpose of carrier oil is to strengthen the amount of naturally occurring fatty acids on the skin. This is why these two types of oil, base oils and special oils must be separated. This article is concentrating especially on base oils. Let’s talk about natural oils in cosmetics.
Get to know the world of oils
When making homemade cosmetics, you should pay particular attention to the secrets of oils. Natural oils in cosmetics contain precisely those very important components. By learning the properties of vegetable oils, you can make more effective and skin-friendly products. You can also save you a lot of money. By learning the basics of the structure of oils, you can avoid buying expensive and ineffective special oils for your skin. You can find effective skincare alternatives even from the most common oils.
The most common fatty acids of oils
The basic structure of oils consists of two components; glycerol, or glycerine, and fatty acids. In addition, oils contain varying amounts of vitamin E and other antioxidants. Dark green oils contain more antioxidants. Glycerol is generally the same in all oils (there are some exceptions). Instead, the fatty acids do vary greatly. It is worth paying attention to the fatty acids of oils when formulating the product for your own skin. It is also good to know the properties of oils when choosing a product from the range of natural cosmetics.
The most common fatty acids in cosmetic oils are
- Oleic acid, (omega 3 fatty acid), a monounsaturated liquid fatty acid
- Linoleic acid (omega 6 fatty acid), a polyunsaturated, liquid fatty acid
- Palmitic acid which is a saturated, solid fatty acid
- Stearic acid which is a saturated, solid fatty acid
These four fatty acids are the most common in most vegetable oils. The more common ones are linoleic acid and oleic acid. In addition, there are two very important omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids that are only found in very small amounts in the base oils.
Two very important fatty acids are:
- Alpha-linolenic acid (an omega-3 fatty acid of plant origin) which is a so-called essential fatty acid. The human body cannot produce it so it must be supplied with food. For example, from flax seed, hemp oil or hemp seed and walnuts.
- Gamma-linolenic acid (omega-6 fatty acid) which is a polyunsaturated fatty acid. Gamma linolenic acid is a very rare fatty acid. It is found, for example, in the seeds of evening primrose. The human body is able to make enough gamma-linolenic acid from alpha-linolenic acid. The exceptions are the ageing people and some illnesses.
Varying amounts of alpha-linolenic acid can be found in many vegetable oils. Oils rich in alpha-linolenic acid are so called dry oils. These two fatty acids are natural in varying amounts in human skin. Of course, there are many other fatty acids in human skin that are not covered in this text. All naturally occurring fatty acids on the skin also have their own functions on the skin. Older people and those with abnormal skin conditions, should pay special attention to alpha-linolenic acid and gamma-linolenic acid, and use them both internally and externally.
How to Find Optimum Fatty Acids for Your Skin
When looking for the best oil for our skin, we must first find out the fatty acid content of the different oils. It is not an easy task. Vegetable oils in cosmetics do vary a lot depending on the source. The fatty acid content of natural oils can vary really a lot. For example, sunflower oil may contain between 28% and 89% linoleic acid, depending on the variety of sunflower seed and growing location. Unfortunately, manufacturers do not always tell the fatty acid content of oils. This makes it very difficult to choose the right oil.
The most important external fatty acid for human skin is linoleic acid
Human skin has an incredible number of different fatty acids. Some of the fatty acids human body produces itself. Some fatty acids are mainly found only on the skin. Linoleic acid is one of them. Linoleic acid is an important component of cell membranes. If someone has a deficiency of linoleic acid, the deficiency is immediately apparent with scaling and hair loss. That’s why vegetable oils are so important in cosmetics
The downside of linoleic acid is its quick oxidation. Therefore, it is not very popular in industrial cosmetics. Often products, containing linoleic acid, are rich in preservatives to prevent oxidation. This has been necessary to extend the product’s shelf life.
Linoleic acid prevents inflammation of the skin
Linoleic acid has anti-inflammatory effects when applied to the skin. Overconsuming of linoleic acid with nutrition may increase inflammation in the body. If linoleic acid is applied topically to the skin, it in reduces inflammations such as acne and eczema.
The oils that are good for our skin may not be suitable for nutrition and vice versa. This is a very good rule of thumb to keep in mind when choosing oils.
This is very typical functioning of the human body. The skin is often a mirror image of the internal functioning of the human body. The human body is always alkaline from the inside but acidic from the outside. This is one of the body’s defence mechanism. If your skin becomes alkaline, you will most certainly get sick.
Linoleic acid is high in the following easily obtainable oils
- Sunflower oil about 66% (can also be as low as 28%) Always get cold pressed oil, not frying oil at Market
- 74% Safflower Oil
- Poppy Seed Oil 70%
- Hemp Oil 54%
You can read more about sunflower oil here. There are also exotic vegetable oils with very high levels of linoleic acid. However, they are difficult and expensive to obtain. You can try to spot the linoleic acid content of different oils online
Skin does not like excess oleic acid
Cosmetic industry generally uses oils that are very high in oleic acid. It is very preserving oil that does not oxidize and deteriorate in the same way as linoleic oils.
The most important fatty acid in the skin is linoleic acid. The skin can also use oleic acid. However, oleic acid is just some kind of emergency aid for skin. If your skin is dry after the shower, and you do not have body lotion containing linolenic acid available, you can use lotion containing oleic acid as a replacement. The problem with oleic acid is that, when used for a long time and abundantly, it eventually clogs the pores. However, if the skin is always rich in linoleic acid, this may not be the case.
The main source of oleic acid is olive oil. Olive oil often contains almost 90% oleic acid. Oleic acid is a very healthy nutrition. For the skin it should not be used in very large quantities. So olive oil is not the best oil in skin care.
Palmitic and stearic acid are useful in cosmetics
Although vegetable oils are often fluid in cosmetics, you should not forget about solid fats. Palmitic and stearic acids are fatty acids that are found in small amounts in all oils. If you want to find large amounts of these hard fatty acids you can use shea butter or some other solid vegetable fat. Palmitic acid and stearic acid make these vegetable fats solid.
Palmitic acid is common in animal fats
Animal fat is the most abundant source of palmitic acid. Some animal fats contain up to 25% palmitic acid. Among vegetable oils, rice brand oil contains 21%, macadamia oil contains 20% palmitoleic acid and 20% palmitic acid, corn oil 10%, shea butter 9% and coconut oil 8%.
Animal fats (25%) and shea butter (up to 20%) also have the highest levels of stearic acid. Corn oil is also high in stearic acid.
All oils contain some palmitic acid and stearic acid. If your skin does not need protection against dehydration, you can be confident with making your product, for example, from rice bran oil. It has a very optimal blend of different fatty acids (37% linolenic acid, 37% oleic acid and over 20% palmitoleic acid) for the skin. Rice bran oil also contains a lot of vitamin E, which is a very important antioxidant.
Palmitic acid and stearic acid also occur naturally in normal skin. The skins own sebum contains these fatty acids just for protection. Palmitic acid and stearic acid form a protective, natural film on the skin surface that protects the skin from drying out. Therefore, all these fatty acids are very important and necessary in their own way.
Use herbal omega-3 fatty acids for intensive skin care
Alpha-linolenic acid and gamma-linolenic acid are essential herbal omega-3 acids. Omega-3 acids also exist as animal origin fatty acids. Fish oil, for example, is such an oil. Fish oil is good for the skin but only for internal use. Because of its odour, fish oil is never used externally, although it may otherwise be suitable for the skin.
These two fatty acids, alpha-linolenic acid and gamma-linolenic acid, are so-called dry fatty acids. They are very absorbent on the skin and leave no greasy feeling at all. However, these fatty acids have their drawbacks. When used excessively and too often, they dry the skin too much. So use herbal omega-3 oils very carefully.
Where can I get alpha-linolenic acid and gamma-linolenic acid?
You will find alpha-linolenic acid in seeds such as linseed and hemp seeds. Gamma linolenic acid is less common. It can be found very small amounts in vegetable oils. Only evening primrose seeds and blackcurrant seeds contain more gamma-linolenic acid.
After all, gamma-linolenic acid is produced by the body itself. However, if you suspect a deficiency, you can find it, for example, in evening primrose oil or black currant oil. You will also find evening primrose oil in the form of capsules. Gamma linolenic acid is easily oxidized so capsules are really the only way to buy proper oil. You can open the capsule one by one at a time and use shea butter instead of night cream.
This story was my gift for you. Thanks again for taking the time to read my post. I will open this oil issue more widely in the future. Natural oils in cosmetics is always very interesting topic to me and there are so many things I will share with you later on.
What is your favourite natural oils in cosmetics? Do you use only one oil or do you also mix different oils?
Sunflower salve is easy to make. This salve contain no water, are full-bodied and easy to prepare. When winter is coming the skin needs protection from colder wind and inside air dried by the central heating. This simple guideline gets you started easily.
Ingredients are simply and easy to get. However, you have to pay special attention to the quality. The oil must be absolutely fresh and extra virgin -quality which means it is cold pressed. Organic oil is always better than oil manufactured in mass production factory. Sunflower oil suits to almost all skin types. Sunflower palm absorbs quickly into the skin. It protects and moisturizes perfectly the skin. You can use this cream to protect your children’s skin as well although I do not recommend it to infants under one year age.
Beeswax works in a cream as an emulsifier. Keeping the quantity of beeswax small makes the cream easily absorbing. When making creams you have to find a balance. What is the suitable amount of beeswax in order to create balanced cream which is not too liquid but is still easily absorbing? It is easy to try, just use a part of beeswax mentioned in recipe. When the cream is ready but not yet bottled, put small amount, just few drops, of cream into the fridge. After cooling, in case the result is not satisfactory, add some more beeswax to the cream and heat it up again to get wax melted. You can repeat this process several times until the cream is ready.
Where can I get beeswax?
You may get beeswax from some shops – I have ordered it from online shops. Beeswax will last many years so you can order it a bit bigger quantity at once. Beeswax is for sale as grains and sheets, both are as good and have no influence to the result. Just select the natural yellow, unprocessed beeswax.
In case the beeswax is not suitable
One can be allergic or oversensitive to beeswax, there are always some remains of pollens. Vegans do not use beeswax and it is not suitable to infants, only after one-year age it is safe to test its suitability. You can use carnauba wax, shea butter or cocoa butter instead of beeswax. Features of these waxes differ from beeswax. Cocoa butter is available in grocery store. It is foodstuff-quality so you can use the rest for cooking. You can find Carnauba wax and shea butter in online shops selling materials for diy-cosmetics.
To make sunflower salve you need:
- 100 mills good quality sunflower oil
- 10 – 15 grams of beeswax
- small glass containers with cans
How to do
- Measure both beeswax and sunflower oil in metallic bowl.
- For double boiler, take a suitable sized pot and add some water in bottom. Place the bowl into the pot. Do not let water touch bottom of the bowl. The temperature of materials may not rice too high.
- Put the double boiler on stove and heat the water up. Turn down the heat immediately after the water starts to boil.
- Mix beeswax in oil until it is melted. Usually small quantities are melted before the water starts to boil.
Now the cream is ready for cans. Pour the cream in small glass 30 – 50 ml cans, cool the down and close. Attach stickers with contents and preparation dates.
You can store creams in a fridge – I keep all oils and creams prepared by me in my fridge.
A tip: If you want more creamy cream, you can use a kitchen device to make foam. After foaming, you have to use spoon to fill glass cans, cream is no more liquid. Foamed cream is easier to spread onto your skin. Foamed cream will not last as long as pure cream. Remember to keep it always in the fridge.