Ingredient Spotlight: Meadowfoam Oil

October 9, 2013

Ingredient Spotlight: Meadowfoam Oil Photo Credit: Flickr/Dan and Raymond

Meadowfoam Oil (also known as Meadowfoam Seed Oil) is pressed from the seeds of Meadowfoam (Limnanthes alba), a plant which received its name because of its resemblance while in bloom to the white foam blowing on the ocean. Meadowfoam is native to northern California, southern Oregon, Vancouver Island, and British Columbia.

Meadowfoam Oil contains over 98% long-chain fatty acids, and also has higher quality triglyceride levels when compared to other vegetable oils. In addition, it has three long chain fatty acids that were previously unknown before its discovery. Because of the long-chain fatty acid content, Meadowfoam Oil is one of the most stable oils with the ability to extend shelf life of less stable ingredients.

Meadowfoam Oil’s feel on the skin is distinct from many other natural oils. This is because it contains more carbon atoms than fatty acids common in oils such as almond, sunflower and olive. As a result, Meadowfoam Oil provides good emolliency without being overly greasy or slimy. It is absorbed quickly and leaves the skin feeling velvety soft.

Meadowfoam Oil is becoming a very popular ingredient in natural soaps, lotions, creams, and other skin care products. Its popularity is due to the fact that it is moisturizing, extremely stable, and capable of adhering and staying on the skin.

Meadowfoam Oil has many beneficial properties the most common being:

  • In hair care products, it will add shine and moisture to the hair, and will remedy dry or damaged hair.
  • When added to lip balms, it will remoisturize dry or cracked lips and skin.
  • When used alone or added to a lotion or cream it moisturizes the skin and serves as a barrier cream.
  • If offers ultra-violet protection (when used as an ingredient in sunscreen).
  • It is known for reducing wrinkles and signs of aging.
  • It is a great companion ingredient in all personal care products because it blends well with other carrier oils, is very stable, even under heat and air exposure, and extends product shelf life when combined with less stable ingredients. It also helps products retain their scent longer as it acts as a binder.

Meadowfoam Oil is a very earth-friendly product and the plant itself is a a sustainable and renewable resource. The oil was first developed in the 1970’s and was introduced as an alternative to sperm whale oil in order to protect the species. The pressed seeds from the Meadowfoam plant are fed to cattle and other livestock, and are a source of nutrients for these animals. While grown in the field, birds, insects, mice, and other wild critters, also eat the nutritious seeds. Often used by farmers for a rotation crop, this eliminates the need to burn the fields in between grass seed plantings. It also helps to bring in additional income for grass seed farmers.

Scientists at Oregon State University and the US Department of Agriculture (amongst others) are all currently studying Meadowfoam Oil in order to discover new applications for this versatile oil.

I personally have always been drawn to Meadowfoam Oil and often times will just blend it with some coconut oil and my favorite essential oils and use it as my body lotion. When I saw how easily it absorbed into my skin, I knew I needed to add it to some of my bars! You can find Meadowfoam Oil in my Neem Tea Tree bar and Sea Buckthorn Satsuma bar.

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