Natural oils and plant extracts have been used in skincare for centuries, thanks to their moisturising properties, antibacterial qualities and the protective layer they can give skin that is exposed to the elements on a daily basis. As we strive to find effective ways to nourish our skin without breaking the bank or damaging the environment, so natural oils continue to be a popular ingredient in skin cleansers, shampoos and other beauty products.
Three particularly popular and effective natural products used widely in holistic therapy services and face and body treatments are shea butter, macadamia and jojoba oil. Read on to discover the benefits of incorporating all three into your daily skincare regime.
Shea butter benefits
Shea butter is extracted from the nuts of the shea tree, found growing in the dry savannah belt of West Africa. The fat is naturally ivory or off-white in colour and remains solid at room temperatures, yet pliable enough to be massaged into the skin for a great soothing, smoothing and conditioning treatment. Shea butter is safe for all skin types and especially effective on drier skin types. Apply directly onto the skin and rub it in using gentle, circular motions until the fat is completely absorbed. You can also use it sparingly on your hair as a conditioner, especially on the ends of your hair to make them look shiny and fresh.
Shea butter is well-known for its moisturising properties, thanks to its higher fatty acid content, such as linoleic, stearic and palmitic acids. These are absorbed rapidly into your skin when you rub the shea butter in and act as a ‘refatting agent’, restoring naturally occurring lipids, boosting moisture and adding a protective layer to prevent oils from evaporating too quickly. Despite the high moisturising capabilities; however, shea butter won’t leave your skin feeling greasy or oily as it soaks into it very thoroughly
Shea butter also offers powerful antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties that help repair and protect skin against free radicles, pollution and signs of ageing. This is due to the presence of Vitamins A, E and F, which promote healthy skin cell growth and blood circulation Shea butter also shows signs of being able to help prevent certain fungal skin infections, including athlete’s foot, as well as boosting collagen production and promoting cell regeneration. Finally, this amazing product may help reduce the appearance of wrinkles, stretch marks and scarring while offering a soothing balm to ease symptoms of conditions such as eczema and psoriasis.
Benefits of Macadamia
Macadamia oil comes from macadamia nuts, indigenous to Australia. It is used in both food and cosmetics, valued for its emollient properties and high squalene content – a naturally occurring antioxidant that helps nourish our skin, scalp and hair.
Our skin absorbs macadamia oil very easily. The ingredient really helps restore a youthful appearance by adding essential lipids and oils back into the skin, making it look plumper and more glowing. Macadamia oil is highly emollient and a very close match to the skin’s own sebum, or natural oils This fact plus the abundance of squalene will help the skin regenerate cells and soften and moisturise it at the same time. Even the shell of the nut contains Vitamin E that is highly beneficial to our skin and easily transferrable via the extracted oil.
Macadamia oil also contains omega 7, or palmitoleic acid, that assists with the healing of scratches and burns. Phytosterols help calm itchiness and redness. Finally, the oil adds a protective barrier to prevent damage from the outside elements and effects of modern lifestyles. Macadamia oil can stay fresh and useable for up to two years after it has been harvested.
Jojoba oil Benefits
Jojoba oil comes from the desert-dwelling jojoba plant; woody, perennial bushes that retain their leaves all year round Newly planted from seeds, a jojoba plant can take up to three years to produce flowers, from which more seeds are produced and harvested to extract the precious oil. Fully mature jojoba seeds look like coffee beans, but are larger and produce a large amount of oil when cracked open.
Jojoba oil is deeply hydrating, thanks to its light texture and easy ability to absorb fully into the skin. It is also very moisturising, countering adverse weather and adding a healthy glow. Jojoba oil won’t evaporate as quickly as water-based cleansers, meaning that it can keep working on your skin for longer It is also full of other key nutrients that the skins needs, such as Vitamins E and B, as well as antioxidants and minerals including copper and zinc, which help eliminate free radicles, repair skin and slow down signs of ageing.
Jojoba oil has also been shown to soothe sunburn and help reduce the chances of peeling. It is gentle and non-allergenic, naturally deterring microbes that can lead to acne and skin flare-ups Finally, its anti-inflammatory properties help guard against chaffing, chapping and reduces redness caused by irritated or dry skin.