As someone with dry skin I’m always on the lookout for a good facial oil, and especially so since I’ve been using tretinoin which makes my skin even drier. For most of the last year I’ve gotten my oily goodness via maracuja oil (passion fruit seed oil), but I’ve been curious about baobab oil for a while. Why? Well, lets dive right into it.
Where does baobab oil come from?
Baobab oil is obtained from the seeds of Adansonia tree. This tree is one of the most characteristic trees of Africa, and it is often called the upside down tree because it looks as though it is growing roots upwards. […] These trees store water in their trunks and are able to survive years of drought. They also live up to a thousand years. […] The oil is obtained from the seeds using cold pressed method, in most cases. This is the best in terms of conserving nutrients and preventing contamination of oil with unwanted chemicals.
How does baobab oil benefit the skin?
This enriching oil nourishes and improves skin elasticity and soothes dry skin. Baobab oil contains moisturizing Vitamins A, D, E and F, which help to rejuvenate damaged skin cells. Also rich in omega fatty acids, baobab oil does anti-aging wonders for skin by fighting free radicals. It’s also a favorite in beauty products because it absorbs into skin and hair seamlessly, without leaving any greasy residue.
What is it’s fatty acid profile? (why this matters)
Linolenic- less than 1-3%
Needless to say, I was intrigued. Of course I could have easily bought some online, but I wasn’t sure an oil that absorbed into the skin “seamlessly” and without any “greasy residue” was going to work for my dry skin, so I wanted to try it out before I committed to a whole bottle.
And I tried – oh, I tried – to find pure baobab oil, but alas I was thwarted. I did, however, easily find Aura Cacia Nighttime Baobab Facial Oil Serum with Vanilla & Vetiver at my favourite health food/grocery store, and after trying the tester out on my hands, into my cart it went.
To be clear: this is an oil blend that features baobab oil as it’s star ingredient. It does contain 2 other base oils: sunflower – the first ingredient listed -, and jojoba – the third ingredient listed. For some people that might be a deal breaker, but for me this actually works out well. But before we get to that, lets quickly cover why sunflower and jojoba oils are considered beautifying oils.
Where does sunflower oil come from?
Sunflower oil is the non-volatile oil compressed from the seeds of sunflower (Helianthus annuus).
How does sunflower oil benefit the skin?
Sunflower seed oil is rich in linoleic acid, and has been used topically in the treatment of essential fatty-acid deficiency, rapidly reversing the disease with its excellent transcutaneous absorption. More locally, these essential fatty acids can help maintain the skin barrier and decrease transepidermal water loss, both important features in thinking about skin problems such as atopic dermatitis.There is some thought that preparations with higher amounts of linoleic acid versus oleic acid may be more beneficial in this role and some clinical data that bears this out.
Several studies have also suggested that sunflower seed oil has anti-inflammatory properties. Linoleic acid is the major lipid that converts to arachidonic acid, which leads to prostaglandin E2, an inflammatory modulator, possibly via peroxisome proliferative-activated receptor-a (PPAR-a) activation. These anti-inflammatory aspects are very compelling for our menagerie of inflammatory dermatoses.
What is it’s fatty acid profile?
Palmitic acid (saturated): 5%
Stearic acid (saturated): 6%
Oleic acid (monounsaturated omega-9): 30%
Linoleic acid (polyunsaturated omega-6): 59%
Where does jojoba oil come from?
Jojoba oil is extracted from seeds of the jojoba plant, scientifically known as Simmondsia chinensis, which are indigenous to southern United States and northern Mexico.
How does jojoba oil benefit the skin?
What makes it so unique compared to other seed oils is that jojoba oil is structurally and chemically very similar to the human sebum. This is because sebum is also largely comprised of wax mono esters, the primary constituent of jojoba oil. In most cases, it can act as a substitute while giving similar or added benefits compared to sebum. […] It contains many different varieties of tocopherols which make up Vitamin E and many other natural minerals. Vitamin E is well known for promoting healthy and clear skin. […] Most bacteria including Staphylococcus aureus and the fungus Candida albicans cannot reproduce and die when they come into contact with jojoba oil.
What is it’s fatty acid profile?
Yeah, yeah, yeah, onto the review:
Aura Cacia Nighttime Baobab Facial Oil Serum with Vanilla & Vetiver
Product information: Your regular evening facial cleansing routine removes the daytime build-up of grease, grime and make-up, but it also destroys the skin’s natural moisture-preserving protective layer. Rest your skin overnight with an application of rich Senegalese baobab oil combined with vanilla and vetiver essential oils. 1 fl. oz.
Ingredients: Organic Helianthus Annuus (Sunflower Oil), Organic Adansonia Digitata (Baobab) Seed Oil, Organic Simmondsia Chinensis (Jojoba) Oil, Organic Vanilla Planifolia (Vanilla) Co2 Extract, Organic Vetiveria Zizanioides (Vetiver) Oil.
I am not kidding when I say I’ve basically abandoned all other facial oils for this one. It’s so light – even as a blend – that I can slather it on, first thing after I cleanse, and then follow with serums/ampoules/essences within 10 or 15 minutes. In fact, I actually mix this 50/50 with my vitamin C serum which contains an oil-soluble form of vitamin C every morning to excellent results. But on days (or nights) when I’m feeling lazy I will usually just cleanse, apply a thick layer of this, and then seal everything in with a moisturizer and call it done. This keeps my skin looking dewy and luminous even when I’m feeling anything but.
And I have to say, while the baobab oil is great and all ARE YOU FREAKIN’ KIDDING ME WITH THE SUNFLOWER OIL!? I mean I get it, it’s not a sexy, exotic ingredient, but it’s AMAZING! Oh it only reverses fatty acid deficiency, repairs damaged moisture barriers, prevents transepidermal water loss, and is an anti-inflammatory. No big deal. Oh, and it has 59% linoleic acid, which makes it great for acne prone skin, and is – I’m pretty sure – the reason I can use this product so frequently because lord knows my skin is all kinds of temperamental about oils that dare to be even equal in terms of oleic vs. linoleic.
Goddamn. Someone needs to do a serious PR campaign for the wonders of sunflower oil because it’s severely underrated.
Though I don’t have oily skin I do think would be brilliant if you do. Even in it’s blended form it’s super light, but if this is too heavy (I honestly can’t imagine that scenario, but again: dry skin) the pure form will be even lighter since the sunflower and jojoba oils will give it an extra richness.
Vanilla and vetiver.
I’m not one to normally complain about fragrances in skincare, and this isn’t a deal breaker for me, but to my nose it smells like stale pipe tobacco. My boyfriend loves it because all he smells is vanilla (he sniffs my face. it gets weird), and I go nose-blind to it pretty quickly, but still. I could do without it.
It might be discontinued. iHerb lists it as such, but I can still find it in stores and on Amazon, and it’s product page doesn’t say anything about it, so who knows.
On a scale of 1 to I-hear-angels-singing-every-time-I-apply-it, lets just say I can hear the choir warming up.