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Mother Nature provides natural plant oils free from parabens and synthetic fragrances that we can extract and apply to hair, body, face and nails, and pamper and feed body and soul – naturally.
A great variety of botanical oils (and combination products) are on offer in most retail outlets or online. Explore, and try and discover your favourite, but make sure the parabens have not been added back and choose organic whenever possible.
Unlike creams that generally sit on the skin’s surface, leaving a protective barrier, oils penetrate the hair and skin’s deeper layers. But the love of oil is often unfulfilled when it leaves a sticky, oily residue. Discover the exceptions infused with blossoms and spice extracts and use lavishly! In some cases, entire beauty ranges exist based on one plant oil. Finding the right oils will leave you smelling gorgeous, hooked, and oh yes, your skin and hair nourished!
Transform your bathroom into a day spa with oil product ranges in fragrances of the finest oils, flower and seed extracts – from head to toe.
ARGAN OILFor centuries, the Berber women of Morocco have relied on oil from the argan tree to maintain a fair complexion and to cure skin pimples and scars from chicken pox. The knowledge of argan oil’s beneficial effect on skin health by reducing the rate of appearance of wrinkles and in fighting dry skin has been established and is especially unique as it’s suitable for both oily and dry skins. It also restores the health of hair and strengthens nails.
This ‘liquid gold’ is known for its antioxidant and anti-ageing properties and can therefore alleviate oxidative stress (from UV radiation) in the cells. But recently scientists have shown that argan oil regulates cells that have lost their ability to produce melanin, resulting in a depigmenting effect on the skin.1
I can recommend the organic argan oils from Soil, Nautica and Tree of Life (derived from organic Argania spinosa oil). Master Health Foods offers a handy roll-on face and neck oil (10 ml) as well as a hair and body oil (100 ml).
JOJOBA OILJojoba oil is wonderfully hydrating, giving your skin the moisture it craves without clogging your pores or leaving you feeling greasy. Use as a moisturiser, makeup remover, a cuticle treatment and a luxurious massage carrier oil. It’s suitable for all skin types, and especially beneficial for acne-prone skin, as it helps to remove impurities and unclog the pores.
Crede’s all-natural jojoba oil has the added benefits of vitamin E and SPF4. Soil and Nautica offers certified organic jojoba oil. Victorian Garden makes a lovely jojoba and apricot cuticle oil and Naturalmente offers a jojoba shine hair spray.
GRAPE SEED OILGrape seed oil is a powerful antioxidant with anti-ageing properties, and also diminishes free radical damage. It contains skin-brightening vitamin C – targeting uneven skin tone; and vitamin E, a nutrient that concentrates in the membranes of skin cells and helps hold on to moisture. Grape extract has also been shown to have wound-healing properties. When combined with other antioxidants, topical application reduces the biomarkers in skin responsible for skin cancer.2
The Soil range of products offers a beautiful certified organic grape seed oil which can be used to even out the skin tone, especially acne-prone skin, helps regulate natural oil production and can be used in place of a night serum. I also love the Caudalie range of grape seed oils (https://us.caudalie.com).
ROSEHIP SEED OIL AND ROSE FLOWER EXTRACTHarvested from the seeds of rose bushes predominately grown in Chile, rosehip seed oil boosts skin regeneration and elasticity due to the naturally occurring vitamins and essential fatty acids (EFAs) it contains. Because our bodies don’t produce EFAs for themselves, these fats must be consumed or absorbed through our skin. Its ability to reduce the depth of wrinkles, fade fine lines, treat scars, uneven skin tone and lighten age spots – while being lightweight and non-greasy – makes this oil an all-time favourite. Known for its tissue-regenerating properties it is an ideal oil for dry and damaged skin due to its high vitamin A and EFA content. It is also used to treat scarring, and to reduce wrinkles and signs of premature ageing, particularly as a result of sun damage.
Rose flower oil is extracted via steam distillation from the fresh Damascus rose (or Damask rose) – the preferred variety because they are the most fragrant species and are believed to be the original red roses with the strongest aroma and highest oil content. In addition to the beautiful fragrance, the medicinal properties of rose oil are impressive and include anti-depressive, anti-inflammatory, antiseptic, antiviral, antispasmodic, aphrodisiac and astringent properties plus many more!
Rose Nurturing Body Oil by Dr Hauschka is one of my favourite rose oils as the soft rose scent (extract of Damask roses) is combined with jojoba oil. Favourite face oils include Rosehip Healing Facial Oil in The Victorian Garden range and Bon Natural Oil’s Rose Hip Serum.
BAOBAB OILThe baobab tree is known as the ‘Tree of Life’, or more humorously ‘the upside down tree’. The baobab has been cherished by locals across the African continent for centuries and its oil, made from the tree’s seeds, is a very effective moisturiser. The seeds are cold pressed and filtered. Cold pressing ensures that the valuable properties in the oil are not destroyed as could happen in a heated press.
Baobab oil absorbs quickly without leaving an oily residue. Baobab seed oil is also rich in omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. It is used in the formulations of up-market bath oils, soap, body lotions and face moisturisers. Furthermore, topical application of baobab oil has been shown to alleviate chronic dry skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis due to its powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. One of my favourites is Eco Products Moisturising Baobab Oil. A must-have is the Kalahari Baobab Bath Oil.
ALMOND OIL Almond oil is packed with antioxidants, is high in vitamins E, A, D and B, contains protein, essential minerals and healthy fats as well. It is also rich in oleic and linoleic acids. Due to its high nutrient contents, this oil is used as a skin care product. It is used not only for skin and face care, but also as a medicinal oil, and for treating some skin disorders.
Crede Sweet Almond Oil Massage carrier oil adds moisture and nourishing vitamin E. A scalp massage with sweet almond oil will nourish and strengthen the roots of your hair, giving it renewed health, volume and bounce. You can apply a small amount to the area under your eyes to brighten the skin and banish dark circles.A lovely almond skin oil infused with Camelina Sativa Seed Oil is made by L'Occitane (Almond Smoothing and Beautifying Supple Skin Oil). And what’s more is that L'Occitane supports the sustainability of almond trees.
COCONUT OILS WITH A TWISTWe have published full-length feature articles on coconut oil, so here I wish to add something different:■ Monoi oil with its many uses has a rich history in the Polynesian Islands. This light and fragrant oil is made by soaking the native tiare flower (Tahitian gardenia) in coconut oil for at least 10 days. Add it to a warm bath, slather on after a shower focusing on dry areas, use as a hair mask or indulge applying Monoi oil in a relaxing full body massage. You can find this beautiful oil online from Nars via Sephora (www.sephora.com/monoi-body-glow-ii-P146810) or another favourite is by Elemis (www.elemis.com/frangipani-monoi-body-oil.html).
■ Coconut vanilla beauty oil is available online (www.malie.com/coconut-vanilla-beauty-oil) from Malie Organics. Organic coconut oil is infused with vanilla, jasmine, Macadamia and kukui nut, jojoba, grape seed, apricot, almond and even avocado. Malie mixes in a healthy dose of vitamin E and signature botanicals for a fragrant, moisturising elixir. Their coconut vanilla range includes roll-on perfume, body cream, body wash, soap, body polish, eau de parfum, room spray, candles and more.
COMBINATION OILS WORTH MENTIONING■ Esse Repair Oil supplies an ideal blend of omega fatty acids found in flax, marula and rosehip oils, making it effective in treating scars and stretch marks. This oil is packed with antioxidants, making it highly effective in preparing and healing the skin from exposure to environmental stress.
■ Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse (now available in South Africa) repairs and softens face, body and hair. This superior dry oil is light, non-greasy, blends well and has a captivating, delicious fragrance. Made from six precious plant oils (Macadamia, hazelnut, borage, almond, Camellia and St. John's wort) and preservative free, it is also available as a perfume and shower oil.
■ Caudalie Divine Oil contains a blend of grape seed, hibiscus, sesame, and argan oils combined with patented grape seed antioxidant polyphenols, available online from Sephora.
■ Shu Uemura Essence Absolue is a nourishing, protective, multi-use hair oil that moisturises and protects hair with intense nutrition. Camellia oil absorbs rapidly, deep into the hair's cortex, rebalancing the hair's moisture level and providing all-day UV protection without weighing down even the finest of hair. SO MANY OILS, SO LITTLE SPACE!
Oils worth exploring on your own include apricot, avocado, Macadamia nut, marula and Moringa oils. These natural oils have incredible skin rejuvenating properties.
Should you choose an oil-based product, look for certified organic oils with no added synthetic fragrances, dyes and preservatives, free from mineral oils, parabens, silicone, dermatologically tested and not tested on animals. Note: We have decided to publish a stand-alone, medically focused article just on castor oil in our September issue.
References1.Villareal MO, Kume S, et al. Activation of MITF by argon oil leads to the inhibition of the tyrosinase and dopachrome tautomerase expressions in B16 murine melanoma cells. Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine. 2013; Vol. 2013.2.Yuan X, Liu W, et al. Topical grape seed proanthocyandin extract reduces sunburn cells and mutant p53 positive epidermal cell formation, and prevents depletion of Langerhans cells in an acute sunburn model. Photomed Laser Surg. 2012; 30(1):20-5.
She is editor, publisher and founding member of Natural Medicine and Dreamcatcher Publications. She has a passion for knowledge and strives to share the work of the brightest minds and biggest hearts in healing. For Daleen natural medicine is more than taking a pill for an ill philosophy. Natural medicine also encompasses nutrition, lifestyle, spiritual health, exercise, and emotional and mental well-being. She is the mother of three children.
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