Baobab seed oil – a superfood for the skin

A fan of oils for over 10 years, my love affair started in my 20s with Neal’s Yard rehydrating rose facial oil, a blend of various oils (grape seed, hazelnut seed, evening primrose, rose flower and a few other flower oils) which helped keep skin supple, hydrated and bright. I used it every night for years, until I graduated to rosehip seed oil in my 30s – a constant companion for about 5 years, and which helped heal, balance and repair skin.

I am ready to graduate again now I am in my 40s, not because the rosehip seed oil isn’t doing a good job, but because I want a blend that does a great job. I don’t worry about getting old – grey hairs and lines are here to stay – I just want skin to be as healthy as it can be so that it can age gracefully. I have already replaced night creams with oils and want to see if I can replace my morning moisturiser with oils too, keeping things as natural as possible (I will still be using my NARS tinted moisturiser – fear not – this girl can’t go completely au naturel).

Baobab seed oil and my little apothecary bottle *rubs hands together and cackles like a witch*

Baobab seed oil and my little apothecary bottle *rubs hands together and cackles like a witch*

The first one I have been trying out is Baobab seed oil, cold pressed, 100% pure and rich in vitamins A, D, E and F, omegas 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids, and anti-oxidants. It is ideal for eczema sufferers and gentle on sensitive skins. Intensely moisturising whilst being non-comedogenic, it absorbs easily into skin, working to regenerate and improve elasticity. It is a balanced oil, marginally higher in Oleic Acid vs Linoleic Acid, which is ideal for drier skins whilst not blocking pores and causing breakouts. It’s also great for hair, when used as a pre-shampoo treatment on scalp. It smells a bit nutty and isn’t as pungent as Argan oil, but there is definitely a scent to it, not wholly unpleasant though.

The Baobab tree is known as the ‘tree of life’ and is recognisable by its very wide trunk within which it stores water to cope with draughts – essentially it is hardy. They have been known to grow old (1200 years old) and can be found in Afrtica, Madagascar, Arabia and Australia. The fruit is harvested for its high nutritional content, and is fast becoming popular as a health food. My oil is from the seeds of Baobab trees the mainland African species.

Baobab tree seen on bus from Mwanza to Dudoma, Uganda on my trip in 2010

Baobab tree seen on bus from Mwanza to Dudoma, Uganda on my trip in 2010

The oil can be used on its own, although I have been blending it with organic sweet almond oil (softening and nourishing for sensitive skin) and rosehip seed oil. So far the results have been positive after only a week’s use – no dry patches, no tightness of the skin, smoother complexion and scars from my eczema outbreak are healing well. My make-up goes on smoothly and I don’t seem to get oily patches on my T-zone any more, which makes me think skin is a bit more balanced, but may also be the side effect of healing eczema. I know there are other elements to my skincare routine that will be contributing to the overall health of my skin – I’m still using my Pai cleanser and not washing my face with water – but for now not using a moisturiser has not had a detrimental effect.

Some may think this is an expensive replacement for a face cream, but I only paid £6 for this 100ml aluminium bottle with pump, £5.50 for 100ml of organic sweet almond oil, and organic rosehip oil is available for £8 for 100ml, all from Naturally Thinking. These will easily last a year, with the baobab seed and almond oils being used as scalp treatments as well as on neck/décolleté. Good value in my opinion.

A final word on this – I don’t think I will give up using a serum underneath the oil – currently using Aurelia Probiotic Skincare’s revitalise and glow serum* (organic) – because they deliver a concentrated hit of goodness to target specific concerns (mine being that skin doesn’t look healthy and bright). The oil works to trap the serum into the skin in a way I don’t think moisturisers can, and they are much more gentle on my sensitive skin, with the added bonus that there are no extraneous ingredients in the mix – pure, cold pressed oils, organic where possible.

* A review of this is coming soon.