Plant oils are used around the world daily. These oils were discovered centuries ago (Cleopatra, known for her beauty, used black cumin seed oil in her beauty routine apparently!). These natural oils come from the seeds of a range of plants, flowers and fruits as well as nuts and kernels. At Leonie Botanics, we use oils that have been cold pressed, which is a chemical-free process to ensure the maximum raw amazing skin-loving nutrients are contained.
What plants oils typically contain:
Free fatty acids
Vitamins and minerals
Obviously not all oils will suit everyone, however oils rich in omega-6 and 3 work wonders and help to keep my skin balanced and in control. These types of oils i have found work well under makeup too as they are fast-absorbing without clogging my pores.
Plant oils contain different percentages of unsaturated and saturated fatty acids depending on the seed/fruit/nut or kernel it has come from. Not all oils will contain every single one of these in their profiles but these tend to be the most common fatty acids found:
Linoleic acid (polyunsaturated)
Alpha-linolenic acid (polyunsaturated)
Oleic acid (monounsaturated)
Palmitoleic acid (monounsaturated)
Palmitic acid (saturated)
Stearic acid (saturated)
Gamma Linolenic (polyunsaturated)
These fatty acids are essential for healthy skin because plant oils are very compatible with our skin as the lipids in the stratum corneum (the top layer of our skin) contain ceramides, cholesterol and free fatty acids which are found in natural plant oils. The fatty acids in plant oils can help the skins natural oil barrier and helps to reduce trans epidermal water loss (TEWL), which is the amount of water that passively evaporates through the stratum corneum to the external environment, which can affect the skin barrier function. More water can escape through the stratum corneum if the strength and integrity of the skin barrier is compromised, leading to skin dryness, cracking and roughness so plant oils help lock in moisture as they act as a protective barrier to the skin, allowing the skin to retain moisture, resulting in decreased TEWL values.
Polyunsaturated acids (omega 3&6) help balance the skins sebum production, whether dry or oily. If you are prone to breakouts/blemishes stick with high linoleic acid oils(omega 6), which are found in oils such as watermelon/kalahari melon, rosehip, cacay , passionfruit, high linoleic safflower and sunflower, noni fruit, grapeseed, cucumber, black cumin, guava, blueberry, dragon fruit and of course my beloved prickly pear seed oil. The oils are fast absorbing and less likely to clog your pores, helping to prevent further breakouts. Raspberry, chia, primrose, blackcurrant, rosehip, strawberry and elderberry oils also contain a high amount of linolenic(omega 3)making them fabulous anti-inflammatory oils for the skin. Be cautious – these oils can be quite sensitive so make sure you keep them away from excessive heat and store in a cool dry place away from direct sunlight.
On a side note, you may recognise some of these from our Sweet Dreams Rejuvenating Face Oil.
Don’t forget to look out for these in future formulations!