Los Angeles facialist Angela Caglia calls it a "perfect oil," but what exactly is meadowfoam seed oil and what can it do for the skin?
Meadowfoam seed oil comes from a tiny white flower that flourishes in the regions of Oregon and Northern California. Believe it or not, this wildflower was only discovered as a personal care ingredient just a few decades ago. Today, this non-greasy, moisturizing ingredient has made its way into numerous skin care products. That's because it's not only super hydrating, but also extends the shelf-life of products.
Scientifically known as Limnanthes alba, meadowfoam grows in wet, grassy, marshy areas. The U.S. Department of Agriculture discovered the nutrients packed in meadowfoam seeds in the 1950s and '60s and soon after, it was appearing in everything from moisturizers to hair care products.
One of the meadowfoam seed oil's major benefits is its ability to lock in moisture and penetrate deep into the dermis. Research also shows it can bring balance to your complexion, thanks to its similarity to sebum, the skin's natural oils. Thus, this emollient makes an excellent acne treatment by keeping your face oil-free.
“Think of it as getting a kiss of youthful moisture," says Caglia, "It leaves you with a plump, dewy, glowy complexion without the feeling of a heavy oil resting on your face."
Let's take a closer look at its beauty benefits.
Meadowfoam Seed Oil (inci: limnanthes alba) is a rich source of Vitamin E and fatty acids. In fact, 97% of its fatty acids are long chain fatty acids composed of 20+ carbon atoms. In spite of its high molecular weight, this oil remains as liquid at room temperature.
Whether used in lotion or conditioner, or as an essential oil, meadowfoam seed oil offers a variety of beauty benefits.
Eases Acne-Prone Skin
For those prone to acne, meadowfoam seed oil can help a lot. While the oil is very similar to the oil our skin naturally produces, it does not clog pores the way some oils might. It also signals to the body not to produce more sebum, a major cause of breakouts, helping to improve acne.
Meadowfoam oil also soothes inflammation and won't trigger breakouts. It's definitely a great ingredient to look for in cleansers, lotions and body oils.
In addition to its anti-acne effects, meadowfoam boasts potent antioxidant properties that offer powerful anti-aging effects such as tackling fine lines and wrinkles. It's also worth noting that as we age, our skin is more prone to dryness. Meadowfoam seed oil will make your skin feel smooth, soft and youthful again.
When people think of hydrating oils, jojoba oil springs to mind. As awesome as jojoba is in personal care products, don't dismiss meadowfoam. Just because you may not have heard of it, it's nevertheless a powerful anti-aging ingredient worth trying.
Look out for it in sunscreen too.
Rescues Dry, Damaged Hair
Packed with fatty acids like ecosenoic acid, euric acid, and docosadienoic acid, meadowfoam seed oil is a fabulous hair hydrator. It's one of the reasons you'll often find this ingredient in hair masks and conditioners. Just like it moisturizes the skin, meadowfoam can also moisturize the hair just as effectively.
Try Truly's Rainbows in Mirrors Split End treatment, made with meadowseed oil, avocado, and argan. This mask mends and seals frayed, brittle ends while restoring the color and vibrancy of fragile hair. Did we mention it also prevents split ends from cropping up in the future?
Protects the Skin Against Sun Damage
Meadowfoam seed oil doesn't just sit on the surface of the skin. Some of its fatty acids can be absorbed into the lipids of the skin's outer layer. In other words, it can help repair that barrier, preventing moisture from evaporating as quickly.
It also contains vitamin E, a natural antioxidant, which helps shield the skin against sun damage. According to research, compounds in the oil might protect skin cells from the sun's harmful UVB rays. Now, that doesn't mean you should skip the sunscreen in favor of meadowfoam oil. But it does mean wearing it (in addition to sunscreen!) provides extra protection.
Its Long, Long Shelf-Life
Plant oils contain fat molecules known as fatty acids, which vary depending on the number of carbon atoms they have. Meadowfoam seed oil is made up primarily of long-chain fatty acids, which means it doesn't break down easily. As a result, it can last as long as five years without going bad. Even more impressive, meadowfoam seed oil helps extend the shelf life of other ingredients.
Super Soft Skin
A leading characteristic of meadowfoam seed oil is how good it makes the skin feel. Even though it’s a natural emollient, it absorbs fast enough that it doesn't feel greasy, but also slow enough that it doesn't dry out the skin. You can use it alone, as a carrier oil, or in products like lip balms, massage oils, and lotions. Meadowfoam seed oil will leave your skin (or your lips!) feeling silky smooth and nourished.
Meadowfoam seed oil is very safe. Owing to its molecular structure, meadowfoam is a neutral oil that won't interact with other ingredients. Additionally, it does not irritate the skin or cause allergic reactions in the majority of people. Of course, if you notice a reaction in your skin after using this oil, refrain from using it immediately.
With the growing demand for clean, vegan ingredients, we'll no doubt see meadowfoam seed oil appearing in more and more beauty products. The oil definitely has potential.
Without a doubt, meadowfoam seed is one of the most stable beauty oils out there. And because of its long-shelf life, it makes it highly convenient to keep it in your bathroom cabinet without having to worry about using it up fast enough.
Unlike a lot of oils, it's highly moisturizing without being greasy. So you can wear it alone or under makeup and you won't have to worry about shine.