Embrace foods not just for holiday meals, but as wonderful ingredients for your skin! This week we’re reviewing some of our favorite foods in skincare from the current season, most of which thrive in the Pacific Northwest as well. Then we’ll jump below the equator and acknowledge some of the other foods in season from around the world.
Apple is a great and under-used food in skincare, and we typically use dried fruit powder when apple is involved. It has some wonderful alpha hydroxy acids and fatty acids, including malic and the hard-to-find succinic acid. These acids are the building blocks of skin, and we’re fans of using the powder or fresh macerated apple in face masks. The powder mostly dissolves in water, so we avoid putting it in clear products like gels or serums.
Pomegranate is certainly a superfood, and you can use either pomegranate seed oil (organic or conventional) or the fruit powder. Like apples pomegranate oil is filled with fatty acids, and has a great balance of oleic and linoleic acids, including a high percentage of punicic acid. This makes it great for all skin types, and both the fruit powder and oil are high in antioxidants, making it ideal for maturing skin. The powder fully dissolves in water so you can add it to the water phase of almost any product. Meanwhile the oil is great on its own or as a carrier oil.
A Pacific Northwest favorite, hazelnuts find themselves in everything from pesto to desserts. And the oil they give off is wonderful for skin. Refined Hazelnut Oil contains a high content of catechins and tannins (healthy flavonoids) making this oil a “dry” or “astringent” oil that feels smooth and toning on the skin. It has a delightful nutty and sweet aroma.
Although walnuts are good to eat, they are a little less adaptable when it comes to skincare. We use the shell as a great natural exfoliant, but unlike other brands we use extremely fine-ground shell powder that is more delicate on the skin. One of our most popular products is our Walnut Body Polish which is great year-round and has a non-oily texture, similar to sugar sand.
Cranberry Seed Oil is high in antioxidants and has a very high linoleic acid content. This indicates that is has what we call a “dry oil” feeling, and cranberry seed oil has high fluidity so spreads easily. Oils high in linoleic acid are ideal for people with naturally oily skin, especially teenagers. Some of its fatty acids include Omega 3, 6, and 9, and you can use this oil straight on the skin or as a carrier oil.
Pumpkin can be used either as the fruit, such as a puree with other ingredients mixed in (our Pumpkin Face Masque is a great example) or you can use pumpkin seed oil. It typically has a structure of 50% linoleic acid and 30% oleic acid, making it suitable for all skin types. Like others in this list, pumpkin seed oil is high in antioxidants and can be used straight or as a carrier oil.
South of the Equator
Although snow is here or just around the corner in much of the US, our friends closer to the equator get to enjoy a different variety of food in skincare (and we’re a little jealous)! We’ll run through just three: Papaya, Banana, and Coconut!
Papaya is principally known for the natural chemical exfoliant in the protein papain. It is such a strong exfoliant that we are legally not allowed to sell it, but other parts of the papaya can be great. We use it in our Papaya & Pineapple Face Masque, and it has a great little tingle to it. You can also use the fresh fruit, mash it up and apply that as a mask too.
Banana is a surprisingly great fruit powder to use in skin and hair care. It’s particularly good for teenaged, oily skin and also for hair. We recommend using the powder in conditioners, and although it does not completely dissolve in water it can work in most emulsions. Learn more about banana here.
And finally the coconut. The oil is somewhat dropping out of favor in skincare, but it still has many great uses in hair and as a part of other products. Coconut water is an interesting addition to skincare products, and could be used alone as a spritz or even mixed together with banana powder and papaya fruit to create a great food-based face mask!
Hopefully we’ve provided some inspiration for your upcoming products, and we encourage you to try out samples, mix things together, and have a little (delicious) fun!