Africa boasts a long lived tradition of creating skin and hair care recipes from the natural ingredients provided by its rich and varied landscape. As these ingredients gain popularity in commercial formulations, they have also become readily available to natural skin and hair care artisans, lending a fresh perspective on these traditional ingredients.
An incredibly popular ingredient for soap making, Avocado Oil is a rich, moisturizing ingredient that is also great for dry skin formulations, and intensive hair treatments. High in vitamins A, B1, B2, B5 (Panthothenic acid), Vitamin D, E, minerals, protein, lecithin and fatty acids, Avocado Oil makes a nutritive addition to skin and hair care formulas. Avocado Oil can be a little heavy, so use it sparingly in light formulations such as facial recipes or massage oils. Use it liberally in moisturizing soaps, intensive conditioners, and balms.
Avocado Tree – Photo by Joachim Huber
Baobab Oil is golden in color, with a light, nutty aroma. It contains a high level of essential fatty acids, as well as a nutritive boost of vitamins A, D, and E. Baobab Oil is great for moisturizing both skin and hair. It can help to improve elasticity, regenerate cells, all the while leaving pores clean and clear. An excellent ingredient for eczema or psoriasis, Baobab Oil continues to be a boon to the natural skin care industry, as it has for centuries in Africa.
Baobab Tree – Photo taken by Geoff Wilson
Manketti Oil, or Mongongo Oil, is derived from trees that grow throughout the African continent. The nuts of this tree produce a highly emollient oil that can help protect the skin from harsh winds and dry climates. It is used in a traditional Kwangali hair oil treatment, and makes an excellent ingredient for moisturizing formulations such as body butters, salves, balms, and ointments.
Marula Oil is rich in fatty acids and antioxidants, making it one of the most nutritive African skin care oils. Marula is a great choice for dry skin formulations. In addition to being highly moisturizing, it can also help to reduce redness and heal damaged tissue. Use Marula in healing ointments, balms for chapped skin, moisturizing lotions and soaps.
Marula Fruit – Photo by Sarahemcc
Also known as Behen Oil, Moringa Oil is light in texture, but carries a lot of weight in the world of natural skin care and medicine. Its potent antioxidants have made Moringa Oil a sought after ingredient, even by ancient cultures. Today, the oil is popular for use in massage and aromatherapy applications. It also makes a great addition to light lotions, creams, and body or hair oils.
Moringa Flower – Photo by Ton Rulkens
Papaya Oil is high in Oleic Acid, making it a highly moisturizing oil. Its moisturizing properties, paired with its light texture make Papaya Oil an ideal ingredient for skin and hair care. Papaya Oil can be used in almost any kind of formulation. Use Papaya Oil in light lotions and creams, body scrubs, and hair conditioners or oils. Papaya Oil also makes a great massage oil.
Lady Selling Papayas – Photo by Elin B
Maracuja (Passion Flower) Oil is an exceptional ingredient for personal care. Maracuja is highly moisturizing and rich in fatty acids, calcium, and phosphorous. Its light texture makes it extremely versatile. It can be used in facial serums, creams, lotions, lip balms, or even hair care products.
Maracuja (Passion Flower) by Gilberto Santa Rosa
Kalahari (Watermelon Seed) Oil is also known as Ootonga Oil in Africa. It has a delightfully light texture while being highly moisturizing, making it a versatile ingredient in both hair and skin care. Kalahari Seed Oil can help to restore skins elasticity, and is often used in belly oils and balms for expecting mothers. The oil is also popular for use as an alternative to mineral baby oils. Kalahari Oil is an excellent conditioner of both the hair and skin. It is great for use in scrubs, soaps, and light lotions and hair oils.
Yangu Oil, also called Cape Chestnut Oil is a traditional ingredient in African Skin Care. Generations of African people have used natural Yangu Oil to condition their hair and skin. It is currently a popular ingredient in cosmetics and bath & body products due to its high content of essential fatty acids. Yangu Oil may also provide a degree of ultra violet protection. It makes an excellent ingredient for soaps, lotions, shampoo bars, hair conditioners, or balms.
Try out each of these amazing ingredients with our sampler. Our Oils of Africa Sampler contains 1 oz. sizes of the following:
- Maracuja (Passion Flower)
- Kalahari Melon (Watermelon) Seed
- Yangu (Cape Chestnut)