Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Kukui nut oil

I bought a bottle of this from Voyageur Soap & Candle and thought I'd try it out, but first, I need to do some research on this oil!

Kukui nut oil (INCI: Aleurites moluccana seed oil) is derived from the kukui nut or candlenut and produces a light, clear yellow liquid with little odour and is considered to be a non-greasy oil. It has an interesting fatty acid profile - 5% to 8% palmitic acid (C16), 2% to 5% stearic acid (C18), 15% to 30% oleic acid (C18:1), 35% to 45% linoleic acid (C18:2), and 24% to 34% linolenic acid (C18:3). (Oleic acid is great moisturizing and skin regenerating fatty acid with some anti-inflammatory effects and linoleic acid offers an increase in skin's ability to repair barrier damage and a decrease in transepidermal water loss. Click on the links for more information these fatty acids!) With all these double and triple bonded fatty acids, we'd expect to see a very short life span for this oil, but it's reported to be 12 months!

So why might that be? It's hard to find information that doesn't consist of "used by Hawaiians for centuries..." and actually has some proper details on this oil. (Reminds me of my research on camellia seed oil, which contained a lot of statements like "Japanese women have used this on their hair...", which aren't helpful!) I haven't been able to find any information on anti-oxidants in this oil - although there must be quite a lot considering the shelf life - and I can't find out anything on the polyphenols or phytosterols. There have to be some tannins or other chemical in the oil that makes it feel less greasy, but I can't find anything on this topic either. There really is very little information out there on kukui nut oil, apart from the traditional uses of the oil, which, although interesting, really doesn't help me decide if I want to use it in my creations. (If you have any good links for information on this oil, please comment so I can do more research!)

I did find out that we should add kukui nut to our creations in the cool down phase to ensure we don't ruin the oil and it's suggested that we store it in a cool dark place. I've seen suggestions that you can use this neat as a hair or massage oil, but the suggested usage is up 30% in our products, used in the cool down phase.

Edited on June 2, 2012 - After more research, I'm going to suggest that you DON'T use this in the cool down phase. You won't hurt the oil by heating it up, but you could ruin your emulsion if you add a bunch of oil to the cool down phase. So please, use the kukui nut oil in the heated oil phase! 

So kukui nut oil contains a ton of great fatty acids that will moisturize, regenerate skin cells, increase skin's barrier protection abilities, reduce dry skin and scaling, and reduce transepidermal water loss. It will feel light and less greasy on your skin than other oils, and it should offer some anti-inflammatory benefits. Thanks to the oleic acid, it should be absorbed by your skin well, and thanks to the linoleic acid, it could benefit those with acne.

You can use this oil anywhere you might use rice bran or sesame seed oils, as it has that balance of oleic and linoleic acids. You can use this in place of any light oil to decrease the feeling of greasiness, and it would be a great substitute for oils like grapeseed or hempseed oil as they have much shorter life spans.

Join me tomorrow as I experiment with kukui nut oil in some moisturizing products!


Katie said...

I have just discovered your blog and I LOVE it! It is in fact very difficult to find meaningful info on our lotion ingredients, and your blog is a blessing for all of the info you provide! I'm sorry I can't offer you any good links on kukui nut oil, I just wanted to say Hi and tell you how much I appreciate all your info!

David said...


Kukui nut oil does absorb into skin extremely well! When I was in Hawaii I saw a friend of our spray Kukui Nut oil onto her skin and rub it right in without and problems. I just disappeared into her skin! I've got a gallon of it somewhere... LOL!

madpiano said...

nothing exact, but found this:

Have you tried searching for Kemiri Nut Oil instead? It's the same, just in a different language.



Can't really find any information about specific ingredients and why it is poisonous when raw either, but I am very hungry now, as there were tons of links to Indonesian Curries....

Alex Dehoff said...

I bought some of this from Lotioncrafter and their listing contains a special note, " Our Kukui Nut Oil is packed under a layer of inert argon gas to protect it from oxidation until you open and use it. Once opened, refrigerate it for long term storage or top it with our Ox-Blox gas after every use."
Does Kukui Nut Oil have a particular tendency towards oxidation compared to other oils? Would this oxidation be an issue once it's in a completed product? I know refrigerating/freezing oils can be good to extend their life from rancidity in general, but wasn't sure if there was something about this particular oil that caused it to be more sensitive.

Pam said...

Realizing this is such an old post but wanted to ask just in case!

Does Kukui Nut Oil have an odor or scent? I just purchased some and it smells fishy to me.

Thanks Susan.