Much like Love Island and CBD oil, we’ve struggled to escape coconut oil over the last year. Whether we’re cooking our food in it or slathering it over our dry skin, the world has gone loco for all things coco. Hell, we even tried shaving our legs with it and whitening our teeth using the stuff – and we can attest it actually works!
However, in the fast-paced and fickle world of wellness and beauty, there’s a new, all-natural oil that’s piquing our interest.
Babassu oil is a tropical oil made from the seeds of the babassu palm, a tree native to the Amazon rainforest of South America. Like coconut oil, it is extracted from the kernels of the tree’s produce. Within Brazil, the Babassu tree is known as the ‘Tree of Life’ due to the healing properties of the oil. It is commonly used in hair and skin products, as well as for cooking: a true multi-tasker.
The benefits of Babassu oil are endless. Like coconut oil, it is rich in fatty acids and vitamin E, which are immune-boosting and have antibacterial and antimicrobial qualities. Recent studies have even suggested that the oil can kill cancer cells. It is therefore widely used in medicines around the world.
However, the most common (and most exciting) use of babassu oil is within skincare. It has a melting point similar to that of human skin, and so it is solid at room temperature, but melts upon contact with skin. Unlike coconut oil, babassu oil is lightweight and not greasy, making it an excellent addition to your skincare routine, as it does not block pores or cause acne or breakouts. Instead, babassu oil moisturises and increases skin elasticity, but is quickly and easily absorbed and barely noticeable to the touch. It also produces a refreshing, cooling sensation, and so adding babassu oil to both your body and face moisturising routine might be the perfect way to start the day.
For those with dry, flaky skin and eczema, babassu is recommended due to its anti-inflammatory and moisturising properties. Packed with essential oils and made from up to 70% lipids, it has restorative oils to heal rashes, and can even reduce cellular damage caused by harmful chemicals.
Babassu oil can also be added to your haircare regimen. It has been known to add volume and moisture to flat, dull and dry hair, leaving your locks smooth and shiny. For those with dandruff, babassu oil has been recommended as it nourishes the scalp, and won’t cling to the roots of your hair like coconut oil. As it is less greasy, it also won’t make your hair oily, and so does not need to be washed out. You can therefore use babassu oil as a smoothing agent to deter flyaways and perfect your daily style.
Unlike coconut oil, babassu oil also is almost scent-free, and can easily be mixed with other products such as creams, moisturisers or shampoo. It is therefore widely used in homemade products. The natural, mild scent means that you can enjoy the nourishing benefits of coconut oil without smelling like a tanning salon!
So, if you are looking for a lighter, less potent alternative to coconut oil, your skin and haircare prayers have been answered: babassu oil might be your 2020 saving grace.