In cosmetics, the quality of raw materials is crucial. The product should fit the skin and bring added value to skin care. In my series of articles on the treasures of the rainforest, I have also wanted to study the raw materials of cosmetics from an ethical and ecological point of view. Eco-certified products have the least possible impact on the environment. Did you know that with the wise raw material choices, you can also promote biodiversity? For me personally, nature is especially important. I enjoy spending time in old forests, where nature can make its own choices without human intervention. In my series of rainforest treasures, I have combined my love of nature and natural cosmetics. Keep on reading to find out how your choice of cosmetic ingredients can save rainforests.
Rainforests have their own special habitat
Rainforests range from temperate zones to the hottest tropics. Rainforest is a type of vegetation where rainfall exceeds 1,500 millimetres per year. The largest rainforests are located in South America, Southeast Asia and Africa. Did you know that the rainforests of the temperate zone are located even in the Nordic countries? There is a small area on the Norwegian coast that is counted as a rainforest.
There are not very many rainforests on earth. Only about 2% of the earth’s surface is rainforest. The Amazon rainforest, the world’s largest rainforest, covers an area of about 5.5 million square kilometres.
In the rainforests, life is elevated
The roof of the rainforest is about 30-50 metres above the ground. The canopies of large trees are there. The highest vines, the climbers do also reach the roof of the rainforest.
Below, in the shade of the canopies, is the undergrowth, inhabited by vines, flowers, ferns and decayed vegetation.
Some animals spend their entire lives in the canopy of the rainforest. Others spend their time mainly in the ground layers. The trees in the rainforests are dense and obscure the soil from light. Therefore, undergrowth in rainforests is very scarce. Typical rainforest undergrowth are mosses and ferns that can withstand low light. Other plants live in symbiosis on tree trunks. Tropical orchids are a good example of such plants. It is estimated that up to 70-90% of rainforest life is in trees. The soil often contains only bryophyte and the roots of the largest trees.
The biota of the rainforests is plentiful
Up to 70% of all species on Earth live in rainforests. The biodiversity of rainforests is so great that a large proportion of the rainforest inhabitants are still completely unknown. Heavy rains combined with heat create a unique habitat for plants, insects, birds and many other animals. The decline of rainforests on the planet is having a decisive impact on biodiversity.
The abundance of flora and fauna in the rainforest is dazzling. An area of 1,000 acres may contain 1,500 different flowering plants, 750 species of trees, 400 species of birds and 150 species of butterflies. The Amazon rainforest alone is home to 10% of the world’s known species. The trees that produce seeds and nuts can be up to 1,000 years old.
Rainforests are the pharmacy of the earth
A quarter of the world’s medicinal plants have been found in rainforests. 70% of the plants identified by the U.S. National Cancer Institute as being relevant for cancer treatment are found only in rainforests. Even more incredible is that although there is a huge repertoire of medicinal plants in the rainforests, only about 1% of them have been studied. There is a huge natural pharmacy in the rainforest. Local people living in rainforests have knowledge of the different plants’ suitability for medical purposes and skin care. Many of the rainforest products are highly antimicrobial. They have analgesic and antioxidant effects. Plants have special characteristics known as heritage. By using rainforest products collected by local people, we also pass this heritage information to future generations.
The lungs of the earth
Rainforests are called the lungs of the earth because they absorb carbon dioxide and produce oxygen. Rainforests absorb carbon dioxide from exhaust emission of cars, planes and heating. Rainforests are a major carbon sink. The gradual disappearance of rainforests is decreasing the earth’s ability to remove carbon, which has an adverse effect on the climate. Naturally, the state of the climate is also affected by many other things, such as the state of the seas.
Rainforests affect rainfall and cloud formation
Rainforests have many effects on the global climate. Rainforests help maintain the world’s water cycle by evaporating water and creating rainfall. Drought is a major problem in many areas. The water mass created in the rainforests travels around the world. Moisture generated in the rainforests of Africa ends up in America and Europe. By deforestation of rainforests, we are creating new areas suffering from drought.
Humidity generated by rainforests also has an impact on climate change. Water vapor is one of the most important greenhouse gases. Therefore, even small changes and disturbances in the climate water balance can be fatal.
Rainforests are under threat
The area of rainforests is decreasing every day. We are destroying rainforests so fast that they could disappear completely in a hundred years. Of the originally measured 15 million square kilometres of rainforest in the world, there are only about 6 million square kilometres left. Deforestation in the Amazon rainforest began in the 1960s. The destruction of the Amazon rainforest was at its peak in the 1990s. At that time, an area about the size of Spain was cut down as farmland for soybeans, oil palms, coconut palms, rubber trees and livestock. Mining has also destroyed a significant area of the rainforest. If oil palms or coconut palms are planted in place of the cut rainforest, the rainforest will not burn. The farm has only a tree field and the biotope rich in life is gone forever.
Currently, deforestation has calmed down due to intense pressure. However, 18 million hectares of forest are destroyed every year. The destruction of rainforests must be stopped.
The farmland expansion continues
Farmers are forced to deforest farmland from the rainforest, as the land already cleared will only remain fertile for a short time. Rainforests are very complex ecosystems. The nutrients in the rainforests are not in the soil but in the trees and other vegetation. When a rainforest tree dies naturally and decays, it releases nutrients for other plants. In this way, the surrounding plants utilize the dead plants as nutrients. There is not much nutrient in the rainforest soil itself. If the felled trees are removed, there will be no nutrients left in the ground for new growth. Therefore, the rainforest cannot regenerate after felling. And of course, the logs will be removed as the rainforests grow some of the world’s most valuable tree species. The smuggling of logs is quite common.
When a rainforest is cleared for soybean or oil palm plantation, the entire rainforest biotope is destroyed at the same time. Thousands of rare plants, trees, birds and butterflies are gone along the rainforest. The rainforest cannot be replanted. Rainforests have formed as a result of millions of years of evolution. Rainforest plants and animals are formed in certain types due to special conditions.
Fortunately, due to international pressure, world policymakers are already interested in protecting their rainforests. Brazil and Indonesia have stood up and made their legislation more rainforest-friendly. This is an important step in protecting rainforests. Brazil and Indonesia have the most rainforests in the world.
How can rainforests be protected?
The world is awakened by the plight of the rainforests. Numerous organizations are working to save rainforests. State administrations make decisions aimed at protecting rainforests. At the grassroot level, each of us can do something. The easiest way to protect rainforests is to support organizations that protect rainforests. I’ll tell you how you can support the vitality of rainforests in your cosmetic choices.
In rainforests, money grows on trees
Like all of us, local people living in or near rainforest need money to live on. They have children who need to be educated. They need proper health care as well as a home. They have two options for generating income; felling the forest trees and become a soybean grower or live in the traditional way, collecting valuable nuts and other forest products. With our own choices, we can encourage local people to maintain their ecological lifestyle. By purchasing and using rainforest products, we are also preventing the destruction of rainforests.
How rainforest-friendly raw materials for cosmetics is produced?
There are many nuts and seeds growing wild in the rainforests, which are used as raw materials for cosmetics. Because of these products, not a single rainforest tree has had to be planted or cut down. Only the nuts, seeds and fruits produced by trees are used in the products.
The world’s rainforests are home to an estimated 50 million people. They belong to the indigenous people of their territories. Indigenous people have always used the harvest of trees growing in rainforests for food, medicine and skin care. Most rainforest plants are completely dependent on the rainforest biotope. They cannot be cultivated like monoculture, a cultivation of single crop. The trees in the rainforest are completely wild.
Coconut palms also grow wild
Have you ever thought that a coconut palm, for example, is as unecological when cultivated as an oil palm or rubber tree? Organic, rainforest coconut palm is a whole different matter. Coconut palms growing in a natural biotope also smell and taste quite different from those growing in a monoculture. Local people in the rainforest have even treated acne with coconut oil. With regular coconut oil, this cannot be done because coconut oil easily clogs the skin. Authentic, natural coconut is a whole different thing. If you find wild coconut oil somewhere, give it a try.
Harvesting is collecting
Harvesting in the rainforests takes place only by manpower. Locals collect products from the rainforest at hand as night work, collecting in the woods. They know where the best trees are and because they produce the crop. Local people also know how often the crop can be harvested without damaging the plants.
For example, in addition to global warming, wild vanilla has suffered from excessive harvesting. Vanilla is a wild orchid species growing in rainforests that is highly endangered. The vanilla sold in the store is not this wild strain. Wild vanilla grows In Thailand and in some other countries.
Local rainforest people wander on foot along labyrinthine jungle trails in very rough terrains. Organic harvesting in rainforests does not require infrastructure such as roads or electricity grids. Local people are used to walking in the woods without damaging nature. After harvesting, the nuts are washed in the river and dried under the sun. Nuts produced by local people are particularly organic and ethical products.
Get rainforest products as raw materials for your cosmetics
Of course, I definitely prefer local products. However, in addition to these, we should also favour cosmetic raw materials that are produced ethically and ecologically in rainforests. That’s why I started my series “Treasures of Rainforest”.
Cosmetic choices can also make an impact
Many people think that cosmetics is a margin industry. The amounts of raw materials used in cosmetics are quite small. They should not matter for rainforests. However, I strongly disagree.
To start with an example, we, the people who are dealing with natural cosmetics, have been at the forefront of fighting for animal rights resulting vegan products. We have also been fighting against the use of massive child labour in the mica industry. Our voice has come a long way and influenced many policies. The reason for this is that cosmetic users represent a large grassroot level of people that forms the so-called public opinion. We have said no to unethical products and pointed out the grievances.
The cosmetics industry is following trends closely. Now the trend in cosmetics is ecology and ethics. Trends in cosmetics have a very strong impact on public opinion. With cosmetic choices, you can take important messages to consumers and thus to decision makers.
The Treasures of Rainforest -story series
I have written a series of articles on the treasures of the rainforests. The Treasures of Rainforest series tells the story of cosmetic raw materials that are the original plants of rainforests.
I would like every user and manufacturer of natural cosmetics to stop for a moment to think about the origin of the cosmetic raw materials they use. Where the products are made and how the raw materials are produced.
Here are some good cosmetic ingredients you can use in your own products
Have you used products from the rainforest?
The introduction of the cosmetic treasures of Amazon rainforest continues. Andiroba oil is still a very unknown cosmetic raw material from Amazon area. Amazon rainforests are bursting with useful ingredients. Andiroba is one such treasure. It belongs to the mahogany family. Andiroba tree is a traditional medicinal plant. Its bark, oil and leaves have been used in ancient indigenous medicine. In this article, I will tell about the benefits of andiroba oil in cosmetics use.
Andiroba is a traditional tree in the Amazon rainforest
The Andiroba tree, (Carapas guianensis), is a typical tree of the Amazon rainforest. It belongs to the plants used by the indigenous people of Brazil. The greenery of Andiroba is dense and the tree is very tall. It grows riverside in tropical rainforests. Andiroba is one of those trees that is preferably logged from the rainforest into lumber. The tree belongs to the mahogany family, although it is not classified as genuine mahogany.
The popularity of Andiroba as sawn timber is due to the terpenes it contains. The tree naturally repels mold, fungi and other microbes. It is a durable wood and therefore highly sought after as a building material. Andiroba also has an insect repellent property. Pests do not thrive on andiro boards. Andiroba oil is also commonly used to make insect repellents.
Andiroba oil production
An adult tree can produce up to 120 pounds of seeds. The average output is about 50 pounds. The seeds contain 40% fat. 12 kilos of seeds are needed to make one litre of oil produced by solvent technology. If produced by mechanical cold pressing, considerably more seeds per litre of oil are needed.
Traditionally, andiroba oil is made by boiling nuts. After boiling, the nuts are fermented for 25 days. The soft core is removed from the fermented nuts. The core is left to drain for a few weeks. This naturally removes oil from the seeds without pressing. The process is completely natural. No chemicals or compression equipment is required. Such andiroba oil is rare. Andiroba oil sold for cosmetics is usually cold pressed.
Why is it important to favour andiroba oil in cosmetics?
I am writing this series of “Rainforest Treasures” for ecological and ethical reasons. Of course, we have to favour domestic products, that’s for sure. However, Amazon’s rainforests are the lungs of the world. The world’s rainforests are threatened by massive logging. Many trees are utilized as sawn timber. Once the rainforest is felled, it will be replaced by a corn field or perhaps soybeans. The destruction of a natural rainforest biotope is catastrophic for many different reasons.
If we diligently use the natural products of Amazon’s rainforests, there is no need to cut down the trees at all. The indigenous people earn their living by selling the products that the jungle produces and there will be no need to log the trees anymore. Andiroba nuts is a good example of this.
Andiroba trees have also been cultivated in rainforests, with large plantations. With this cultivation, the problems are same with the monoculture. The biodiversity of the rainforest is disappearing. Trees are exposed to pests and the crop suffers. Chemicals are needed to destroy diseases and insects. Chemicals destroy other organisms in the rainforest. The circle is ready. It is worth researching carefully that the rainforest products you buy are sustainably produced.
What is andiroba oil?
Andiroba oil is also called crab oil although it has nothing to do with crabs. Andiroba oil is a 100% vegan product that is pressed from the nuts of the andiroba trees. The oil is rich in hard fatty acids. It is thick and slightly reminiscent of Vaseline when cooled. The oil is pale yellow in colour and very bitter. The bitterness is due to a group of terpenes called Meliacines. Andiroba oil solidifies at 25 degrees like coconut oil.
One of the Meliacines in andiroba oil is called Gedunin. Gedunin has been shown to have similar anti-malarial properties to quinine. In chemical analyses, andiroba oil has been found to be highly curative and anti-inflammatory. These properties are due to the limonoids in the oil, called andirobins.
Fatty acids from andiroba oil
Andiroba oil is rich in hard fatty acids. However, the main fatty acid in andiroba oil is oleic acid. Palmitic acid in andiroba oil is up to over 30%. It is the rich palmitic acid that makes andiroba oil very firm and thick. Stearic acid is also abundant in oil.
The main fatty acids in andiroba oil
- Oleic acid 45-58%
- Palmitic acid 25-32
- Stearic acid 6-13%
- Linoleic acid 6-14%
Comedogenic classification 2
The aroma is strong, muscular
Andiroba has numerous medicinal properties
Andiroba oil is one of the best-selling medicinal oils in the Amazon rainforest. Andiroba oil is usually mixed with honey and used internally for many ailments. Honey is included not only as a health-promoting product but also because the andiroba oil tastes very bitter. With a mixture of honey and oil, locals have always fought flu and sore throats.
Fatty and thick andiroba oil doesn’t sound very good for acne prone skin. However, local people in Amazon have successfully used andiroba oil for acne prone skin. The oil is very antimicrobial. Therefore, it soothes inflammation well.
Andiroba oil is well absorbed into the skin. Therefore, it can affect the deepest parts of the skin. Local people have also used andiroba oil to treat bruises and sore joints. Andiroba oil is especially popular as a massage oil. It’s like made to relax sore muscles.
Benefits of Andiroba Oil in Cosmetics
Andiroba oil contains a huge number of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals. It is a very useful oil to regenerate the skin. The nutrients in andiroba oil are especially suitable for aging skin. The oil contains ingredients that have a beneficial effect on collagen production. Andiroba oil reduces wrinkles on the skin.
Andiroba oil is worth trying for many skin problems. It has plenty of skin rejuvenating and protective effects. Please bear in mind, however, that this particular oil is very strong and contains terpenes. Terpenes can cause severe allergies, especially to people who are allergic to resins. First, test if you tolerate andiroba oil at all. If you suffer from eczema, be really careful when trying new products. Although andiroba is specifically recommended for eczema and psoriasis, I would still be careful.
Andiroba oil has been used with success in the treatment of hair and scalp. As an antimicrobial oil, andiroba oil is well suited for treating scalp problems. For example, dandruff or itching of the scalp could be cured with a serum containing andiroba oil.
Andiroba oil also supports hair follicles and stimulates blood circulation to the scalp. This will make your hair grow better.
Andiroba oil is rich in palmitoleic acid, which protects the skin from drying out as well as external factors.
What products can andiroba oil be used for?
First of all, Andiroba oil seems to be a specialty oil suitable for body products. However, its use range is much wider. Andiroba oil, despite its heaviness, is a relatively fast-absorbing oil. That is why it is also worth trying for facial skin and hair care.
Prepare from andiroba oil
- Massage oils to treat sore joints and muscles
- Night creams and protective day creams to treat aging skin
- Creams for impure skin
- Creams for irritated skin
- Antimicrobial creams for foot care
- Oil treatment serums for the scalp
- For soap making; special care soaps
Due to its bitter taste, andiroba oil should not be included in lip products.
Try andiroba oil as an insect repellent. Andiroba oil has a strong, musky scent that repels insects. If mosquitoes are being fought in the Amazon rainforest, why not in other areas as well. Did you know that neem oil is also quite an effective mosquito repellent?
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.
Sandalwood is a hard, heavy and fragrant type of wood. Sandalwood grows wild in tropical rainforests in India, Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand. Sandalwood is one of the most expensive woods in the world. It has been very popular for hundreds of years and continues to do so. The story of the wild sandalwood is quite sad, although there is some hope in the horizon. Fortunately, sandalwood has been cultivated. This is how we will continue to enjoy fragrant sandalwood in the future. How, then, is sandalwood related to cosmetics? The story of the sandalwood is very interesting. Keep on reading to learn more about this marvellous tropical tree.
Sandalwood is a tropical tree
The Santalum album (Santalum album) is originally native to the tropical rainforests of India. There are a dozen different look a-like species of sandalwood.
Santalum spicatum is a variety of sandalwood that is grown commercially in Western Australia. The sandalwood oil used in cosmetics comes from Australia. Australian sandalwood oil can be used safely as it is grown sustainably. Today, Australia has overtaken India in sandalwood production. However, Indian sandalwood oil is of higher quality and significantly more expensive.
Other sandalwood species
- White sandalwood
- Hawaiian sandalwood
- Sandalwood in Fiji
- Red sandalwood
Other tree species are also used as a substitute for the rare sandalwood. The red sandalwood is obtained from the red tree Pterocarpus santalinus, which belongs to the bean family. This species of wood may be the same one used in ancient times in the temple of King Solomon.
The sandalwood is a parasite
The sandalwood is actually a parasite. To succeed, it needs an authentic and the right kind of rainforest biotope around it. Sandalwood does not take nutrients directly from the soil but absorbs phosphorus, nitrogen and potassium from other plants. Sandalwood also does not grow in the open area but requires shade from a humid, hot jungle to thrive.
Sandalwood lives about a hundred years. It never grows very tall. Only 4-6 meters, sometimes up to 10 meters high, a small tree forms small groves. The bark of the tree is brown at a young age. As it gets older, it turns almost black and forms red cracks. The inside of the tree is green and drill.
The wild sandalwood is an endangered plant
Sandalwood has been used for centuries completely unsustainably. Old, wild sandalwoods are hardly found in nature anymore. The smuggling of sandalwood is incredibly common. In nature reserves, this happens all the time despite careful guarding.
Planting and growing sandalwood is challenging
There have been attempts to grow sandalwood in many different countries. Unfortunately, genuine natural sandalwood is still the best in quality. Cultivated trees do not succeed in creating as intense a scent as they can in wild-growing trees.
Sandalwood always needs a parent plant. It can only live as a parasite after forming an efficient food chain with the surrounding plants. Especially at a young age, the environment is very important for the well-being of the tree. It is really easy to understand that creating such a biotope is challenging. Indeed, most planted sandalwood dies at a young age.
Sandalwood can only be utilized at the age of about 15-30, depending on the variety. The trees grow really slowly.
Sandalwood has a very wide user base
There is a Hindu culture in India that has always valued sandalwood in religious ceremonies. Fragrant sandalwood was used to make furniture for Hindu temples. Incense also often contained sandalwood.
One of the most important uses for sandalwood has been in Ayurveda medicine, which is an ancient Indian folk medicine. Sandalwood is still used in Ayurveda to treat the flu, liver and gallbladder problems, mental health problems, muscle problems, digestive problems, scabies and haemorrhoids.
Ground sandalwood is used in the paste used in India to make caste marks.
Aromatherapy has been quite popular since ancient cultures. Sandalwood oil is still used in aromatherapy to promote mental and physical health.
Due to its refined aroma, sandalwood oil has been commonly used as a base fragrance in the perfume industry. Indeed, most of the essential oil of sandalwood is used for the needs of the perfume industry.
Sandalwood was once used to make furniture. Today, it is not anymore possible. Small items made of sandalwood, on the other hand, are quite popular. Scented sandalwood beads and rings are popular. The scent of sandalwood relaxes and soothes.
Sandalwood combs take care of the hair. Small amounts of essential oils are released from sandalwood combs to repair damaged hair and reduce electricity.
Sandalwood contains valuable oil
The essential oil contained in sandalwood is very valuable. The oil is separated from the wood by steam distillation. Wood contains about 0.3-0.6% essential oil. The sweet, strong and very durable scent has made sandalwood oil a favourite product in the perfume industry. The scent of the sandalwood itself lasts for about 40 years. Sandalwood objects are best identified by the scent.
The essential oil obtained by steam distillation from sandalwood is particularly strong and therapeutic. The free fatty alcohols contained in sandalwood oil are known as alpha-santalol. Pure sandalwood oil has a minimum fatty alcohol content of 90%. This kind of oil is way too strong. Sandalwood oil sold to consumers is therefore always diluted. Pure sandalwood oil is mixed with jojoba or some other oil. There is usually about 10% of sandalwood oil in the mixture. The concentration varies depending on the supplier. Contact your dealer for more information on safe use of the oil.
Beware of synthetic sandalwood oil
Because sandalwood is a very rare type of wood today, there are also synthetic variants of sandalwood oil for sale. Synthetic sandalwood oil smells the same as genuine but does not have the same therapeutic effects. When purchasing sandalwood oil, check the authenticity of the oil.
The Benefits of Sandalwood Essential Oil
Sandalwood essential oil is an important ingredient in cosmetics. As I have already said, sandalwood is one of the most prized scents in perfumes.
Calm down and stress relief
Sandalwood oil has remarkable therapeutic properties. It is used in meditation as a means of calming the mind. In aromatherapy, sandalwood is a very valuable and used fragrance. Sandalwood calms and reduces stress and improve the Quality of sleep. Sandalwood reduces anxiety and helps the mind calm down and ground. Sandalwood brings out the spiritual side of man and helps free oneself from the tyranny of intellect.
Acne and irritated skin
Sandalwood essential oil is very antiseptic. Use sandalwood in products intended for irritated skin. Sandalwood essential oil also does good for acne. It soothes inflammation and brightens the skin. Sandalwood oil also has a restraining effect on sebum production. This feature also helps in the treatment of acne skin.
Sandalwood oil also has a calming effect on insect bites. The cream containing sandalwood oil soothes the itching by cooling the skin.
However, do not use sandalwood essential oil on broken skin or open wounds.
In India, sandalwood oil is used to treat irritated skin along with rose hydrolate. These ingredients support each other in the treatment of irritated and acne prone skin.
Sandalwood essential oil contains ingredients that support normal cell growth. That is why sandalwood has traditionally been used to treat scars. Sandalwood oil also improves skin elasticity and nourishes and moisturizes the skin. These properties are good when you want to fade scars. Sandalwood oil has been found to be effective on scars, especially in combination with honey.
Sandalwood brightens the skin and evens out the uneven colour of the skin. This is due to the Ayurvedic effects of sandalwood oil. According to Ayurveda, darkening of the skin is caused by excessive heat. Sandalwood oil cools down and soothes the skin.
Another factor that makes sandalwood oil brighten and lighten the skin is the alpha-santalol it contains, which blocks an enzyme called tyrosinase. Tyrosinase is a key factor in the synthesis of the skin pigment, melanin. Another tyrosinase inhibitor used in cosmetics is vitamin C, or ascorbic acid. I’ve written about vitamin C on one of my blogs before.
Treatment of aged skin
Sandalwood oil has been found to reduce the formation of wrinkles on the skin. Sandalwood contains a significant number of effective antioxidants that have an anti-aging effect.
Sandalwood is used in cosmetics in many different ways
By far the most famous sandalwood product is the essential oil of sandalwood. However, sandalwood is used in a wide variety of cosmetics.
A product familiar to many is sandalwood soap. Sandalwood soap soothes and brightens the skin. It is suitable for daily use on most skin types.
Powder from sandalwood is a very useful product. There are two types of sandalwood powder available, red and white. White sandalwood powder is a very medicinal product used in Ayurveda to treat various ailments. Red sandalwood powder is suitable for skin care, for example for acne prone skin.
Sandalwood hydrolate is a by-product of the production of sandalwood oil. Sandel hydrolate is used in the manufacture of lotions, hair cosmetics and lotions.
A wild Murumuru tree growing in the Amazon rainforest is the source of wonderfully rich and versatile butter. An essential part of protecting the Amazon rainforest is that we know how to sustainably take advantage of the rainforest’s natural plants. This way, local residents have no reason to cut down trees to claim more farmland. There are a huge number of particularly useful plants growing in the rainforests that we should learn to use. Murumuru butter is a very interesting product and I’d like to present it as the very first beauty product of the rainforest.
What is Murumuru Butter?
Murumuru butter is derived from the seeds of the Astrocaryam murumuru, a naturally growing palm in the Amazon rainforest. The Murumuru butter is yellowish white in colour. Murumuru butter is used not only for cosmetics but also for cooking.
The fatty acid profile of Murumuru butter is very similar to coconut oil. Murumuru butter is very close to shea butter in structure. Murumuru butter has a typical nutty aroma. The scent can sometimes be intense depending on the batch. The odour of different batches can vary greatly depending on the place of growth and/or the age of the product. Refined Murumuru butter has hardly any odour and the colour is lighter.
Murumuru butter is a welcome addition to the range of vegetable butter
Murumuru butter is clearly different from other butters due to its special fatty acid profile. Its composition differs quite decisively from shea butter, mango butter or cocoa butter. Murumuru butter has gained popularity among the old familiar products. I think it’s really good that there are more choices available in the selection of plant butters. The old, familiar plant butters are very similar to each other’s. Now is the time to give a try to something completely different.
Properties of Murumuru butter
Almost half of Murumuru butter is lauric acid, the same fatty acid that is also found in coconut oil. Unlike coconut oil, Murumuru butter is particularly well absorbed into the skin. It does not clog pores like coconut oil. Murumuru butter also resembles coconut oil in that it is particularly well-preserved.
This is my summary about Murumuru butter; Murumuru butter resembles shea butter in texture but has the good properties of coconut oil.
- Murumuru butter does not leave a greasy surface on the skin. It absorbs beautifully and leaves a slightly waxy, not shiny finish.
- Murumuru is above all a very moisturizing and softening plant butter. Because it leaves a waxy, moisture-retaining surface on the skin, the skin is unable to release moisture so easily.
- Murumuru butter is especially high in antioxidants.
- Murumuru butter helps to calm the skin. It should be used on sensitive, irritated skin.
- Murumuru butter should also be used in massage products along with other oils. Murumuru has a relaxing effect on muscle tension.
- Murumuru butter like coconut oil also has antibacterial properties. Coconut is used in all products to control the bacterial activity of the skin, such as deodorants. Murumuru has exactly the same properties except that Murumuru doesn’t feel so greasy on the skin.
- Due to its antibacterial properties, Murumuru is also suitable for the treatment of acne prone skin. Remember that the comedogenic value for Murumuru is 0, meaning it really doesn’t clog pores.
- Murumuru softens cracked, dry skin. It is therefore suitable for the treatment of rough heels, elbows and knees. Murumuru is also recommended for the treatment of psoriasis precisely because it does not clog the skin.
- Due to its high content of myristic and lauric acids, Murumuru butter is an excellent choice for hair care products.
Fatty acid profile of Murumuru butter
- Lauric acid 47%
- Myristic acid 26%
- Oleic acid 12%
- Palmitic acid 6%
- Caprylic acid 2%
- Linoleic acid 2%
- Palmitoleic acid 2%
- Stearic acid 2%
- Capric acid 1%
Melting point 30-35 degrees Celsius
Comedogenic value 0
Murumuru butter is a very versatile product
Murumuru butter can be used in a wide variety of products. It is suitable for almost everyone’s skin. Here are a few examples of how you can use crumb butter in cosmetics
- Oily skin products
- Massage oils
- Foot creams; Murumuru butter softens cracks. Apply to damp, greasy feet after foot soak.
- Hand creams; Murumuru butter forms a protective waxy surface
- Lip creams; really good product for dry lips
- As is on damp skin after showering. Murumuru butter locks moisture into the skin and the skin feels moisturized and soft for a long time.
- Acne skin products
- Products for the care of children and babies; use Murumuru butter as is
- Hair care products; use a small amount after shampooing as is. Murumur butter locks moisture in the hair
- As a hair conditioner; Murumuru butter makes the hair more elastic. This way the hair does not break so easily. Murumuru butter also increases the shine of the hair and makes the hair easier to comb.
- Murumuru butter is suitable for making soaps due to its fatty acid profile.
Murumuru is a welcome novelty among vegetable butter
Although Murumuru is still a relatively unknown raw material for cosmetics, I think its popularity is yet to come. Murumuru butter is a product worth trying.
If you are worried about the fate of the Amazon rainforest, I recommend choosing the natural products available there. This is how we take care of the environment.
Are you already familiar with murumuru butter? Tell me about your experiences.