That creamy-looking balm up there is actually an oil. It's from Brazil and goes by the name Babassu Oil.
I started getting acquainted with it sometime last year (or was it 2015?). I'll admit I've had quite a bit on my plate for longer than I care to admit, so when my first order arrived (way back when), it just sat there in the stockroom cooler for a couple of months.
When I finally got around to testing it out, I fell in love.
A whole lot.
Let's have a look as what Babassu (also called Cusi) oil has to offer.
Loves Skin & Loves HairBabassu (INCI: Orbignya oleifera) is a not just great for skin. It has also caught the attention of the textured hair crowd because of what it brings in the way of moisturizing and softening action to coils, kinks and curls.
Lipids - Yes IndeedBabassu is comprised of 40% - 50% lauric acid. As a matter of fact, about 70% of babassu oil is lipids, which is why it has so much to offer.
Apart from the generous amount of lauric acid, one also finds myristic, palmitic, oleic and stearic acid to make up the remainder of that 70%.
The Lauric ThingIf lauric acid bit is ringing a bell with you, it might be because you recognize it as the star component of coconut oil. Lauric acid is indeed what makes coconut oil such a fabulous ingredient. It is the lauric acid in coconut oil that is extracted for use as a mothers milk replacement.
Babassu oil is being examined as a possible alternative to coconut oil for this very reason.
Same, But DifferentDespite the lauric acid similarity, there are tangible differences between coconut and babassu oil.
Coconut oil is umistakably greasy-feeling while babassu is quite the opposite. Babassu melts in super quick and even feels dry.
And this is just one of the reasons I fell in love with it. Not only are non-oily feeling oils easy to work with when formulating for anyone who doesn't want a greasy feel (that pretty much includes all men and all children, and many women), it is also beautiful as a stand-alone ingredient.
Babassu also has a neutral scent.
Apart from melting right in and not even coming close to being smelly, babassu has even more fabulous things to offer.
Babassu Oil Properties
- Great for sensitive skin
- Good penetration
- Film forming
- Well tolerated by most skin types
There is also a possible negative to consider, though (hey, no ingredient is perfect, is it?).
A Possible NegativeRemember the lauric acid I was talking about a minute ago? Lauric acid is classified as comedogenic, so that places babassu in the same comedogenic category as coconut oil. No need to panic though. The term comedogenic is often misunderstood (I did a post on that right here).
Storage and Usage TipI often get to know a new oil by trying it out solo. And even though I have used babassu in a few products, I'm still loving it straight out of the jar – as is.
My supplier of babassu packages the oil in a bottle, making it near on impossible to get out of the container without placing it in a warm water bath first.
That's not on. Can't wait that long!
The impatient me devised this method.
- Warm bottle in water bath until melted
- Transfer melted babassu to jar
- Do a bit of fancy label slicing and dicing so you have all the pertinent info on the jar
- Enjoy babassu fabulousness.
Do TellAre you a fan of babassu oil? How do you use it?
More InfoWikipedia: Babassu Oil
About Lauric Acid (Fractionated Coconut oil – on this blog)
Comedogenicity and irritancy of commonly used skin care ingredients