Other important ingredients are vegetable oils, wax, and butter which alone can come with a variety of nutrients and characters. There are so many different choices on the market but really, just a handful of choices will provide good quality products.
Commercially available oils, wax, and butter go through a series of chemical processes, like bleaching and deodorizing and thus, lose many nutrients such as chlorophyll, fatty acids and vitamin E. ‘Cold pressed’ oil may mislead us into understanding it is nutritionally superior as no heat is used during the pressing stage, but in reality, these oils still go through many chemical processes. The best option is to find unrefined oils that are mechanically processed. Unrefined oils, wax, or butter however, have a short shelf life, with the exception of jojoba and coconut oils, and it is recommended that they be kept refrigerated and used up within less than one year once opened.
Apricot kernel (Prunus armenia)
Light in texture and easily absorbed into the skin. It is nourishing and suitable as a facial massage carrier oil and useful for mature, dry, sensitive, or inflamed skin.
Argan (Argania spinosa)
Made from the nuts of Morocco’s argon tree, known to survive for seven years without rain. It is known to have a sun protection factor (SPF) of 15, is rich in vitamin E and fatty acids. This oil is useful for moisturizing and is anti-ageing, anti-wrinkling and good for hair care, as well as effective for rheumatism and burns. Use it as a specialty oil.
Avocado (Persea americana)
Nourishing and moisturising, yet non-greasy and penetrates into skin very well; also a perfect oil for hair. It can also soothe and soften the skin; beneficial for dry, mature skin.
When applied topically, beeswax provides an antioxidant, antifungal and antibacterial effect on the skin owing to flavonoids. Also, beeswax acts as a thickening and emulsifying agent in different cosmetic formulations such as bath preparations, cold and emollient creams, lotions, and shaving products.
Cocoa butter (Theobroma cacao)
Cocoa butter is used as a skin softener, emollient, and protectant due to its antioxidant components. In traditional medicine, it is being used to treat neck wrinkles called ‘turkey neck’, as well as the wrinkles around eyes and at the corners of the mouth. There are sources which indicate that cocoa butter also acts as a thickening agent that prevents water loss and has a soothing effect on the skin. Keep it in the refrigerator after opening.
Coconut (Cocos nucifera)
Researchers reportedly found that coconut oil blocks out about 20% of UV rays, equivalent to SPF 10. It also has great cleansing and moisturizing ability for the skin, as well as acts as a natural antibiotic if used as a mouthwash to kill bacteria and whiten teeth. It must be mixed with at least 50% of another oil to prevent solidifying.
Evening primrose (Oenothera biennia)
Evening primrose act as an anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, emollient, and cell regulator agent in cosmetic preparations. It relieves itchiness and fights redness of the skin. This plant has been proven to leave a whitening effect.
Grapeseed (Vitis vinifera)
Rich in beta-carotene, vitamins C and E, and fatty acids, it aids in the regulation of sebum production while locking in moisture, making it suitable for oily, acne skin. Because of its light consistency, it is easily absorbed into the skin but is not recommended for leave-in products. Although grapeseed oil is widely available, highly processed oil has no nutritious value, so be sure to choose the unrefined variety (requires refrigeration).
Mango butter has proven properties as a moisturiser which is beneficial for cracked and dry skin. It is used in topical formulations as a curative and protective agent owing to its anti-inflammatory and anti-ageing properties; the high level of tocopherols, phytosterols and triterpenes in mango butter reduces wrinkles and skin roughness for a younger-looking appearance.
Raspberry seed (Rubus idaeus)
It is exceptionally rich in vitamin E, vitamin A, and omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids which provide broad spectrum protection from the damaging influence of UV-A and UV-B rays.
Rice bran (Oryza sativa)
It moisturises and protects the skin. It is light and suitable for infusing herbs.
Rosehip (Rosa rubiginosa)
It has been used to reduce wrinkles and premature ageing. As it is high in linoleic and linolenic fatty acids, it is useful for regeneration and the repair of skin tissue. Use the oil only at night as it oxidises under the sun and causes pigmentation. Use it as a specialty oil.
Sesame seed (Sesamum indium)
Sesame seed oil is significantly stable against autoxidation and very resistant to rancidity—two properties which are highly desirable in cosmetic preparations. Sesame seed oil acts as an effective moisturiser, it is also a natural sunscreen which blocks 30% of UV rays.
Sweet almond (Prunus amygdalus)
Sweet almond oil contains monounsaturated fatty acid and vitamin E, along with other nutrients. It is an excellent emollient, and gives the effects of soothing, moisturizing, and cleansing.
Wheat germ (Triticum durum)
Rich in vitamin E, it is an excellent antioxidant in topical anti-ageing formulations. Also, it has a nourishing and moisturising effect on the skin. Add 5%–10% of other oils to improve the stability of the product, as a higher percentage may cause irritation. Use as a specialty oil.