Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Blueberry seed oil

Blueberries are my favourite fruit - I can eat them by the handful in the summer until my tongue and lips are purple and we freeze over 20 pounds to make sure I can make it through the year! It's also gained a reputation as a superfood, something filled with anti-oxidants. Does it stand up to the hype?

Blueberry seed oil (INCI: Vaccinium corymbosum (blueberry) seed oil) contains some interesting compounds and fatty acids! It has 1% to 5% palmitic acid (C16:0) and 1% to 3% stearic acid (C18:0), around 12% to 22% oleic acid (C18:1), 43% to 53% linoleic acid (C18:2), and 29% to 32% linolenic acid (C18:3). It has a shelf life of 6 months to a year - I wasn't able to confirm this, but it seems more likely with all that oleic, linoleic, and linolenic acids that it will be more like 6 months.

Blueberry oil contains quite a lot of phytosterols - 580 mg per 100 grams or 5800 ppm - which behave as anti-inflammatories, help our skin repair after damage, reduce trans epidermal water loss, and offer moisturizing. This is a ton of phytosterols, and is amongst the highest of the oils. (Higher than soybean oil, which is considered to have a lot of them, but not as high as sesame oil, which is really high.) It also contains about 110 ppm tocopherols, which isn't very high. The anti-oxidizing power of this oil comes from the polyphenolic compounds like anthocyanins. And check out the squalene in this oil! With 1781 ppm, it's got quite a lot, which might help chapped and cracked skin, prevent UV damage to skin, and offer cell regenerating properties.

Blueberry oil has about 1.3 ppm carotenoids, which isn't very high, and we can see that from the very light colour of the oil. (Raspberries have 230 ppm and we see that in the yellow colour of the oil.)

How does it feel and appear? I thought it felt like a very light oil going on - I'd compare it to being slightly heavier than fractionated coconut oil or more on par with our esters - but it was a little draggy on my skin. I expected it to feel like the other light oils, so it'd go on quite smoothly, but I found it seemed to sink in really quickly but was a little harder to apply. Weird. An hour later, it feels like the oil has been absorbed quite well with no greasy after feel. There is no odour, unfortunately.

I'd consider blueberry seed oil an exotic oil due to its price, which varies from supplier to supplier quite a bit. Formulator Sample Shop carries it for $9.00 for 2 ounces. Lotioncrafter has it for $5.95 per ounce. From Nature with Love carries it for $16.25 for 1/2 ounce.

Summary of blueberry seed oil:
INCI: Vaccinium corymbosum (blueberry) seed oil
Suggested usage rate: 1% to 10%
Shelf life: 6 months, possibly up to a year
Tocopherols: 110 ppm
Phytosterols: 5800 ppm
Squalene: 1781 ppm
HLB: 7

References for the fruit oil series:
Table 4.1, this textbook
Value-adding factors in cold pressed edible seed oils and flours
Journal of Food Lipids. Mar2009, Vol. 16 Issue 1, p33-49. 17p. 4 Charts.
Food Chemistry. Aug2011, Vol. 127 Issue 4, p1848-1855. 8p.

As a note, I was given this blueberry seed oil to play with by the Formulator Sample Shop. They gave me the oils for free and I have been playing with them in the workshop. I am not paid for my opinion and they were advised that I would be sharing my opinion, good or bad, on my blog. I also received a small sample of it from Suds & Scents


Anonymous said...

How can anyone get oil out of such a small seed like blueberry?
It's great to hear from you, even though we know you haven't ababoned the blog, we know you are busy and working on something. Hopefully you are getting warmer days like we down here in Texas are, thank goodness winter is gone!!!!

Bonstergirl said...

It looks like this would be good in a lip balm. I just may have to give it a try.

Thank you so much for all you do. This blog is the best resource on the Internet!

Becky Bravo said...

Hi Susan, I love all the hard work you do to inform all of us. I have been finding a lot of different butters lately. Blueberry, orange, tangerine, lavender, etc. Do these actually add anything to the finished product, or are they just a scented butter? I find it really hard to tell. Thanks for any information.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Becky! This blueberry oil is a carrier oil, like sunflower or rice bran, so it has no smell. Can you send me links to these other butters and I'll see if I can figure out an answer for you!

Becky Bravo said...

Hi Susan. Thank you for your help. The link is www.soap goods.com/Butters. I look forward to your reply.

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

These are hydrogenated oils with some citrus oils in them, so I suspect there's a smell to them. Holy moly, those are expensive for half a pound!

You could make your own using Lipidthix or Butter EZ and some essential oils.

Becky Bravo said...

Susan, that what I suspected. So butter eze and essential oil? Sounds interesting. Thank you again.

Becky Bravo said...

Susan, that what I suspected. So butter eze and essential oil? Sounds interesting. Thank you again.

melody said...

Has anyone information on using real blueberries in lotions?

Here is the ingredient list from one such product (All Natural Blueberry Scented Body Butter); Ingredients: crystallized tree way, shea butter, water, glycerin, jojoba oil, sunflower oil, sugar, blueberry fragrance (essential) oil (apricot kernal oil, blueberries and grain alcohol).

Any thoughts?


Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Melody. This ingredient list is really confusing. The way it's written, it can't work as there's no emulsifier to keep the water phase with the oil phase. Also, if there's water in this product, the sugar will dissolve and leave nothing but a sticky mess. Where's the preservative? If this is a valid ingredient list - I don't believe it is - this will be growing fungus, yeast, bacteria, and more in less than a week if it contains glycerin, sugar, and blueberries! I would avoid this product at all costs! (If it isn't doing all the things I mention, it means their ingredient list isn't complete...)

Onto your actual question, though: This recipe isn't using real blueberries. They've made an infusion with blueberries in alcohol and oil - which, honestly, makes no sense to me as this apricot kernel oil isn't going to mix with alcohol without an emulsifier - then added it to the product. I love blueberries - they're my favourite fruit and one of my favourite things all around - but I don't know what the actual fruit would bring to a product. What do they claim they bring to the product other than the idea of awesomeness? (It sounds like they're using it as a fragrance. There's no such thing as blueberry essential oil, and you certainly can't make it at home with oils and alcohol.)

My husband makes a blueberry vinegar by soaking the berries in a big container for a while. We eat it and it's lovely, but I wouldn't use it in a product. If you want to use blueberries or other fruit in a product, please find a powdered extract or ingredient intended for use in cosmetics - like the ones you could get at Formulator Sample Shop. Adding fruit to products will only end in serious grossness.

Quick question: What's "crystallized tree way"?

Sorry for the wall of text, but I kinda went on a tangent there. The short answer is that no one should be using real fruit in their products as it can become contaminated very quickly.

melody said...

?? "crystallized tree way"? --- I have not been able to find out. It's driving me crazy.