Monday, November 4, 2013

Meadowfoam seed oil

I've finally had a chance to play with meadowfoam seed oil and I'm really enjoying it, so let's take a look at this exciting oil before we do some formulating with it.

Meadowfoam flowers are found on Vancouver Island in Canada and northern California and southern Oregon, which makes it a local product for me! The INCI is Limnathes alba (meadowfoam) seed oil. It's made by crushing the seeds, which give up 20% to 30% oil. It has a shelf life of a year because of its weird fatty acid make-up, and it is said it can extend the life of other oils when we combine them with meadowfoam seed oil. Being an oil, it is soluble in other oils and oil soluble things, and not soluble or mixable with water or water soluble things.

Related posts: Why oil and water don't mix

It's a funny oil with its fatty acids found as eicosenoic acid (C20:1) at 61% to 63%, docosenoic acid or erucic acid (C22:1) at 12% to 16%, with other C20 and C22 acids making up about 27%.

We also find eicosenoic acid in jojoba oil and a bit in borage oil, but I'm still not sure what it brings to our skin. If you want an ingredient that is cheaper than jojoba with a lighter feel and less waxiness, meadowfoam is a great choice.

It has about 2% unsaponifiables, which is where we find the phytosterols and polyphenols of an oil.

With all those double bonds, why is this a stable oil? "The stability is due to the fact that the double bonds are not conjugated and the to the presence of natural anti-oxidants in the oil" unlike something like linoleic acid, which can have conjugated bonds if it's a conjugated linoleic acid. (We'll take a look at that in more depth tomorrow!)

How does meadofoam seed oil feel? I compared it to soy bean, evening primrose, and kukui nut oils. I found it felt as light as those oils, was less oily feeling than the soy bean oil but more oily feeling than the evening primrose and kukui nut oils, and it offered more rub in time than the kukui nut oil but less than the soy bean and evening primrose. I found that my skin felt like the oil was still on it an hour later, while the kukui nut oil and evening primrose oil didn't feel like it was still there in any significant quantity. I would classify this as a light feeling, medium greasy feeling oil in my own categorization. (Your opinion may be different than mine.)

How do we use it? Use it like we would other oils. If you're worried about exposing it to heat, just think about all the protection it has from oxidation, which is what can happen when we heat an oil. It'll be just fine. I've seen it suggested for usage at up to 5%, but there's no reason you can't go higher.

It's a slightly more expensive oil - on par with evening primrose and kukui nut at my local supplier - so you might want to use it at lower levels. It seems like most people are using it as an oil extender than for its inherent qualities, and you can use it at up 5% for that purpose. For any other purpose, you can use it up to 100%.

Related posts:
Does heating & holding damage our oils?
Heating, holding, freezing & thawing our ingredients

Quick summary about meadowfoam seed oil
INCI: Limnathes alba (Meadowfoam) seed oil
Shelf life: 1 year (possibly longer)
Iodine value: 89 to 105
Saponification value: 160 to 175
Specific gravity: 0.90 to 0.92
Suggested usage rate: up to 5% for anti-oxidant properties, up to 100% otherwise
Not heat sensitive

Join me tomorrow as we take a look at this weird and wacky oil's anti-oxidative stability before we do a little formulating with it.

Page 11 and page 49,  Ingredients from science
Page 2, Liquid esters
Page 409, Surfactants in personal care products
Page 416, Synthetics, mineral oils, and bio-based lubricants: chemistry and technology
Page 435, Nutriceutical and speciality lipids and their co-products

Online references:
Data sheet from Brenntag Specialties
Quick summary page from Brenntag Specialties
Interesting article comparing jojoba and meadowfoam seed oils
Page 140, The Biological Activity of Photochemicals


Anonymous said...

I made a great body cream using Meadowfoam Seed Oil, Mango Butter,Cocoa Butter and Ritamulse E Wax. I added other goodies as well and of course, a good preservative.I tend to have very dry skin at this time of year so I love a cream that absorbs nicely without leaving a greasy feeling.
Going to try this oil neat tonight and I will let you know Susan. Thanx for the post on this particular oil. I love the fact that the plant is specific to the Northwest and can extend the shelf life of a product. ---Beth :)

A.J. said...

I use Meadowfoam seed oil in my shea body butter. I also use it neat. I love this oil - hands down. I find that it is the best thing to cure dry itchy skin of the northeast winters.

Pamela said...

Hello! Can you tell us where you buy your meadowfoam oil?
I am trying to find a Canadian distributor, hopefully of cold pressed oil (I can find solvent extracted but not cold pressed. Thanking you in advance.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Pamela. I get mine from Voyageur Soap & Candle in Surrey, B.C.

Pamela said...

Thank you, Susan!!

TheDevilYouKnow said...

Hi Susan
I have read that you can use Meadowfoam oil in place of Dimethicone in skincare and I am wondering if this might work in lotion bars and allow the bar to glide the way dimethicone does? I am going to order some, though it's quite a bit more than Dimethicone but would be a nice, natural and biodegradable alternative. Thank you. Rebecca

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi TheDevilYouKnow! No, you can't. Dimethicone has some very specific qualities like spreading easily and forming a protective, occlusive barrier on your skin that meadowfoam doesn't. There are some things you can use instead of dimethicone, but meadowfoam isn't one of them. Sorry to be the bearer of bad news...

TheDevilYouKnow said...

oh that's s a shame, never mind I'll use up the meadowfoam somewhere, is there anything natural/biodegradable that can replace silicon oils -I just wanted my bars to be 100% biodegradable but also don't like the feel them without the silicon oils and IPM. Thank you for sharing your wealth of knowledge with us. Rebecca

swifty said...

Hey, I was just gifted a liter of meadowfoam by one of my clients (who is also a supplier). Now off to play.

swifty said...

Rebecca try Diakon Seed or Broccoli Seed oils (warning - Broccoli Seed oil smells like wet broccoli)

Rebecca Mace said...

Thank you. I actually have trialled Lexfeel N350 in place of Dimeth and that has worked quite well!