Meadowfoam: the Wonder Oil

by Molly Watman

We wanted to introduce one of our favorite oils, meadowfoam oil. It comes from a lovely plant, Limnanthes alba, that has tiny flowers that resemble white foam blowing on the ocean.  It has proven to be invaluable in the body care and cosmetic industries, and is also being studied currently for pharmaceutical and industrial use. Native to the west coast of the USA and Canada, meadowfoam oil is cold pressed from the plant’s tiny seeds, which produces an oil with superb anti-oxidant properties and skin softening benefits.

Here’s the science breakdown:

As traditional wisdom had previously told us, lab tests show that meadowfoam oil possesses a unique chemistry of fatty acids, which contain more carbon atoms than fatty acids common in edible oils such as soy, almond,  and sunflower. As a result, meadowfoam oil provides good emolliency (slip) without feeling greasy. Like jojoba (which we highlighted here), meadowfoam is a waxy oil. Not coincidentally, it’s remarkably similar to the human moisture factor, called sebum.

As we age, we produce less sebum and our skin dries out more easily. But other factors can contribute to dry skin – lack of hydration, exposure to wind and sun, and washing too frequently in water that’s too warm. Of course, things like sulfates (the foaming element in pretty much all commercial cosmetic soap products) suck the moisture out us, leaving our skin dry and stressed. Not to mention ingredients like salicylic acid and benzoyl peroxide (commonly used on blemished skin), which can destroy the skin’s natural defenses and leave it dry, scarred and weak.

Meadowfoam oil has a rich texture that provides the skin barrier formation to lock in natural moisture, preventing dryness and softening the skin. It also has amazing antioxidant and rejuvenating capabilities, which means it can help in healing the skin that has been damaged or is invaded with free radicals. In addition, meadowfoam oil is one of the most stable oils, and will actually extend the shelf life of less stable ingredients, meaning that is doesn’t require preservatives and is ideal for natural beauty products. Yeah!

Aside from these amazing personal uses, meadowfoam oil is also beneficial for our environment! It 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 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 critters, also eat the nutritious seeds.

The meadowfoam plants themselves are a renewable crop, and are usually grown as a rotation crop for grass seed farmers. This eliminates the need to burn the fields in between grass seed plantings, and also provides farmers with additional income. Meadowfoam also requires less fertilizer and pesticides than most crops, assisting farmers and the environment. It’s pollinated by bees only and the honey made from meadowfoam nectar is divine. Try it!

We use meadowfoam oil in a few of our products, for example Magick Potion Lotion, our anti-oxidant serum, Massage in a Bottle, and Shave, from our men’s line. We adore the way it feels, and results that we see from it.


{Photo from: Waywardspark}

2 thoughts on “Meadowfoam: the Wonder Oil”

  1. Hey Molly thanks for the shout-out. I work for the farming cooperative that commercialized meadowfoam as a crop in the 80s. I’m not sure where you get your oil, but it no doubt comes from our fields. Also, I am pretty sure I was there the day your photo was taken. 😉

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