Category Archives: Plant Oils

Essential Oils in Skincare

shutterstock_136205948At Mary Elizabeth we take great care in choosing all the ingredients we use in our products.  We always use vitamin rich plant oils and organic essential oils, all chosen for the specific purpose of the product

But why do we include essential oils in our blends? Well, throughout history, essential oils have been used to clear complexions, reduce wrinkles and to leave the skin beautiful and healthy. The properties in the oils haven’t changed over the years, and fortunately many of the oils are readily available, although some do come a significant price!

There are many beautiful oils with amazing skincare properties.  Over the coming months we will be looking at these essential oils, and at many plant oils, in some details in our blog feature “Oil of the Month”.  Tody I just wanted to briefly introduce you to a few of our favourites

1 Lavender Essential Oil

We just love Lavender and think it is one of the very  best  essential oil for great skin.  It is  versatile and safe, and so is suitable for most skin types.  It tones and revitalizes and can help with all sorts of  skin problems including acne, oily skin, dry skin and sunburns.

2 Geranium Essential Oil

This lovely essential oil has a beautiful floral scent, making it popular in natural beauty products. Not only does it smell great, but it’s also wonderful for oily skin, acne, cellulite and dull skin.

3 Rose Essential Oil

Rose Oil is one of the most expensive essential oils.  However due to it’s wonderful skincare benefits and amazing fragrance we just had to blend it with other great oils in our Frankincense and Rose Moisturiser.  Rose essential oil is one of the very best oils for  ageing skin and is also really beneficial for several skin conditions such as eczema and very dry skin.

3 Chamomile Essential Oil

Chamomile essential oil can be effective for conditions such as acne, eczema, dermatitis, very dry skin, inflamed skin and allergic reactions.  It is a key ingredient in our Juniper and Jojoba Hand Cream and gives the products its lovely woody/ herbal aroma which so many of you just love

4 Rosemary Essential Oil

Not only can this essential oil help promote better skin, it may  also ease congestion and is great to use in cleansers

5 Tea Tree Essential Oil

Tea Tree Oil is a real powerhouse of an oil.  Antibacterial, antifungal , soothing and nurturing . Our award winning Spearmint and Tea Tree Nurture Balm makes the most of its skincare properties

As with any Plant Oil or Essential Oil we cannot guarantee that your skin will like it!  Every skin is different and so you should always try any new product on a small patch of skin first .    Here at Mary Elizabeth we ensure that all our ingredients are on the label, not on a fancy box which you just throw away.  This means that you know exactly what you are putting on your skin

Do look out for further information on these, and lots of other lovely oils, in future Blogs

Take care

Cecilia & Claire x

 

 

 

Oil of the Month – Jojoba Oil

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Jojoba Oil (Simmondsia chinenis).

Pronounced ho-ho-ba, Jojoba Oil is a plant oil, a botanical extract of the seed of the jojoba tree. Technically it is not actually an oil, but rather what is called a wax ester. This makes it particularly beneficial in skincare. Of all the compounds in nature, this wax ester is the most similar to human skin oil (sebum). It is believed that applying jojoba oil to the skin can “trick” the skin into thinking it is producing enough oil, thus balancing oil production.

Jojoba oil is non-comedogenic. Comedogenic simply means likely to cause comedones. Non-comedogenic, therefore, means unlikely to cause comedones!

A comedone is a plug of debris (made up of bacteria, oil, dead skin cells, and skin care ingredients)  filling a skin pore. Comedones usually appear as blackheads and sometimes as whiteheads. Comedones trap the oil that normally flows out of pores and a pimple will often develop around this trapped oil.  We will be featuring more information about Comedogenic and non- comedogenic oils in a future blog.

This therefore means that acne prone skin may benefit from the use of products containing Jojoba Oil.

Uses of jojoba oil

  • Moisturiser – a super-moisturiser due to it’s high linoleic acid content and low comedogency. Will soften, soothe and improve the feel of your skin
  • Make-up remover – as jojoba oil is not an eye irritant, nor allergenic, you can use it to remove eye makeup. It also easily removes foundation, blush, and lipstick.
  • Lip balm – Apply a drop of oil onto your finger and apply to your lips for an extra-light alternative to lip balm
  • Hair conditioner – mix a few drops of jojoba oil into your current conditioner or use jojoba oil on its own in the shower. Great for an overnight treatment, but remember to wash out in the morning! (We will be blogging about the best Oils for Hair Treatments very soon
  • Shaving – For men, rub 6-8 drops of jojoba oil on your beard area beneath your shaving cream (lather from your cleanser or other non-comedogenic shaving cream) for a more comfortable shave. Helps prevent razor burn and leaves your skin feeling nice and soft.
  • Massage oil – Jojoba oil is a great massage oil on earth. A little goes a long way and for people with body acne is a welcome non-comedogenic option.

Please Note – As with any Plant Oil or Essential Oil we cannot guarantee that your skin will like it!  Every skin is different and so you should always try any new product on a small patch of skin first.  Sometimes the blend of different oils in a product can result in a skin reaction.  Here at Mary Elizabeth we ensure that all our ingredients are on the label, not on a fancy box which you just throw away.  This means that you know exactly what you are putting on your skin

 

 

 

Jojoba Oil (Simmondsia chinenis).

Pronounced ho-ho-ba, Jojoba Oil is a plant oil, a botanical extract of the seed of the jojoba tree. Technically it is not actually an oil, but rather what is called a wax ester. This makes it particularly beneficial in skincare. Of all the compounds in nature, this wax ester is the most similar to human skin oil (sebum). It is believed that applying jojoba oil to the skin can “trick” the skin into thinking it is producing enough oil, thus balancing oil production.

Jojoba oil is non-comedogenic. Comedogenic simply means likely to cause comedones. Non-comedogenic, therefore, means unlikely to cause comedones!

A comedone is a plug of debris (made up of bacteria, oil, dead skin cells, and skin care ingredients)  filling a skin pore. Comedones usually appear as blackheads and sometimes as whiteheads. Comedones trap the oil that normally flows out of pores and a pimple will often develop around this trapped oil.  We will be featuring more information about Comedogenic and non- comedogenic oils in a future blog.

This therefore means that acne prone skin may benefit from the use of products containing Jojoba Oil.

Uses of jojoba oil

  • Moisturiser – a super-moisturiser due to it’s high linoleic acid content and low comedogency. Will soften, soothe and improve the feel of your skin
  • Make-up remover – as jojoba oil is not an eye irritant, nor allergenic, you can use it to remove eye makeup. It also easily removes foundation, blush, and lipstick.
  • Lip balm – Apply a drop of oil onto your finger and apply to your lips for an extra-light alternative to lip balm
  • Hair conditioner – mix a few drops of jojoba oil into your current conditioner or use jojoba oil on its own in the shower. Great for an overnight treatment, but remember to wash out in the morning! (We will be blogging about the best Oils for Hair Treatments very soon
  • Shaving – For men, rub 6-8 drops of jojoba oil on your beard area beneath your shaving cream (lather from your cleanser or other non-comedogenic shaving cream) for a more comfortable shave. Helps prevent razor burn and leaves your skin feeling nice and soft.
  • Massage oil – Jojoba oil is a great massage oil on earth. A little goes a long way and for people with body acne is a welcome non-comedogenic option.

Please Note – As with any Plant Oil or Essential Oil we cannot guarantee that your skin will like it!  Every skin is different and so you should always try any new product on a small patch of skin first.  Sometimes the blend of different oils in a product can result in a skin reaction.  Here at Mary Elizabeth we ensure that all our ingredients are on the label, not on a fancy box which you just throw away.  This means that you know exactly what you are putting on your skin

Love

Cecilia and Claire xx

 

Oil of the Month – Avocado Oil

shutterstock_68416087Avocado oil is a real skin care treasure. It contains a high amount of proteins, omega 3 fatty acids and unsaturated fats, all of which are beneficial skin agents. Avocado oil is also high in a substance called sterolin, which studies have shown to may help facilitate the softening of the skin and to reduce the incidence of age spots.

In addition this amazing oil is rich in antioxidants, making it beneficial for sun-damaged skin. Antioxidants like vitamins A, D and E in Avocado assist in keeping the skin to be supple. Good news for all skin types, and particularly ageing skin! Add to the mix Lecithin and Potassium which are highly beneficial for the skin, as well as the hair, and you see why Avocado Oil is such a powerhouse, and why we have included it in our Spearmint and Tea Tree Nurture Balm and our Camellia and Geranium Gentle Face Scrub

Avocado Oil can be beneficial for  a variety of skin conditions, including eczema and psoriasis. It has even been reported that Avocado Oil may assist in increasing collagen production. When applied, Avocado Oil is believed to increase the production of collagen, which helps keep the skin plump and decreases the effects of aging.

Home Recipe Tip : For a simple home application, instead of throwing away the Avocado peel from your salad, save it for your facials. Gently wipe it over your skin in upward massaging motions until you have covered your whole face. For best results, leave the oil on your skin overnight, and rinse off in the morning.

Why not give it a try!

Take care

Cecilia  & Claire x

Note – As with any Plant Oil or Essential Oil we cannot guarantee that your skin will like it!  Every skin is different and so you should always try any new product on a small patch of skin first .   Here at Mary Elizabeth we ensure that all our ingredients are on the label, not on a fancy box which you just throw away.  This means that you know exactly what you are putting on your skin

 

 

 

 

 

Mineral Oils v Plant Oils

 

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There is a currently a lot written in skincare articles about mineral oils and how paraffin oil / Paraffinum Liquidum will form an occlusive layer on your skin and stop it “breathing” (See our May blog for more on whether skin actually breathes) You may also have read that mineral oil has large molecules that don’t penetrate the skin and sit on the skin surface, trapping sweat and bacteria beneath it.

A 2011 study compared mineral oil with jojoba oil, almond oil, avocado oil and soybean oil. The study found that none of the oils penetrated the skin further than the top 2-3 layers of corneocytes. Corneocytes are the upper layers of cells in the upper layer (stratum corneum) of the upper layer (epidermis) of the skin. So we are talking about an extremely thin layer and area of penetration! Only almond oil and soybean oil made it to the third layer, the other oils either sat on the skin’s surface or made it to the first two layers of cells.

In other words, plant oils act in the same way as mineral oil – forming a layer on top of the skin. The main difference mentioned by the authors of the study is that plant oils are similar in composition to skin lipids so they are taken up by the skin through enzymatic decomposition while mineral oil is not metabolised. Furthermore, many plant oils contain components such as triglycerides, flavonoids, phytosterols and tocopherols which provide additional benefits for your skin whereas mineral oil is very simple molecule made of only two atoms – carbon and hydrogen.

Oils applied to your skin trap help your skin to retain water and make your skin feel temporarily softer and smoother. They provide moisture to the top layers of the skin. There is no difference in this process regardless of whether you use mineral oil or plant oil.  However the additional benefits of natural plant oils over mineral oils do mean that plant oils are a much better choice when it comes to looking after your skin.

Take care

Cecilia and Claire

Oil of the Month – Calendula

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Calendula oil is derived from the beautiful marigold flowers that we all know and which are found in many of our gardens.  What isn’t as widely known are the amazing skincare benefits of the plant oil derived from the flowers.

The distilled oil is a powerful anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial agent, and antiseptic. One of the complex characteristics of calendula oil responsible for these actions is a compound called triterpenoid. For this reason including Calendula Oil in your skincare regime may help with conditions such as  dermatitis, eczema and  irritated dry skin .  This is one reason why Calendula is one of the base oils we use in our Juniper and Jojoba hand Cream ( RRP £9.50). As the oil is anti-bacterial it’s especially beneficial if applied after gardening, housework or other manual tasks.

The magic in the marigold has been used as far back as ancient times. The high content of antioxidants found in Calendula Oil contributes to the cell regeneration aspect of the oil. Some of these antioxidants are mucilage, carotenoids, saponin, and quercetin. Other benefits are its great moisturising properties, so it’s really nurturing and soothing (again why it’s in our Hand Cream)

Many of the plants and flowers we see on a regular basis have amazing skincare properties.  We will be looking at more over the coming months.  Do get in touch if there is a particular oil you’d like to know more about

Please Note – As with any Plant Oil or Essential Oil we cannot guarantee that your skin will like it!  Every skin is different and so you should always try any new product on a small patch of skin first .  Sometimes the blend of different oils in a product can result in a skin reaction.  Here at Mary Elizabeth we ensure that all our ingredients are on the label, not on a fancy box which you just throw away.  This means that you know exactly what you are putting on your skin

Take care

Cecilia and Claire xx

 

 

 

Pouring Oil on Troubled Skin?

shutterstock_123808480The use of oils in skin care, especially in those products for acne-prone, oily, or combination skin, often causes concern to users.  It seems counter intuitive that putting oil on oily skin will  help alleviate the problem.  However, it is actually true!

Many oils are fantastic for skincare,  even on acne-prone skin, and the right types of oils can even help reduce clogged pores and acne (However many can also cause clogged pores and inflame acne.

The first thing to consider is how comedogenic the oil is. Comedogenic simply means likely to cause comedones. Non-comedogenic, therefore, means unlikely to cause comedones!

A comedone is a plug of debris (made up of bacteria, oil, dead skin cells, and skin care ingredients)  filling a skin pore. Comedones commonly appear as blackheads and sometimes as whiteheads. Comedones trap the oil that normally flows out of pores and a pimple will often develop around this trapped oil

The product type is important, so a cleanser is less likely to clog pores as it is removed from the skin, while a moisturiser may be more likely. Even toners can cause clogged pores if they contain comedogenic ingredients . ( Look out for our blog on the fantastic Oil Cleanse Method)!

Look at the quantity of an oil in the product, because this influences how comedogenic a product is.   By law product ingredients must be  listed on skincare products in order of quantity, with the largest component appearing first.  A product may only contain a tiny percentage of an ingredient listed at the end!

Consider the type of oil in a product, and your skin type. Dry skin often has small pores, not letting much oil out or much debris in.  Oily skin often has larger pores to release a larger amount of oil on the skin, potentially  collecting debris, resulting in comedones.

The following oils have low comedogenecy  A level of 5 would means that an oil is likely to be highly comedogenic.  At Mary Elizabeth we ensure that all our products contain significant quantities of at least one, if not more, of these amazing oils.

OIL

LEVEL   OF COMEDOGENECY

Almond   oil 2
Apricot   oil 2
Avocado   oil 2
Calendula   oil 1
Coconut   oil 3
Emu   oil 1
Grapeseed   oil 1
Hazelnut   oil 2
Jojoba   oil 1
Olive   oil 2
Pomegranate   oil 1
Rosehip   oil 1
Safflower   Oil (high linoleic acid variety only*) 0
Sesame 2
Sunflower 2

* Safflower oil comes in two varieties: The high linoleic acid variety and the high oleic  variety. The high oleic acid variety is comedogenic and should only be used for cooking

We will blogging about different oils in our regular Oil of the Month feature.  Watch out too for our blog on the Oil Cleansing Method

Take care

Cecilia & Claire x

 

 

 

Oil of the Month – Meadowfoam Oil

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Meadowfoam Oil is a fairly new oil in skincare in the UK.  It’s the one we are asked most about when people read it on our ingredients list.  We use it because we believe it’s pretty special and has great skincare properties!

The oil is pressed from the seeds of Meadowfoam (Limnanthes alba), a plant which received its name because,while in bloom, it resembles the white foam blowing on the ocean. Meadowfoam is native to northern California, southern Oregon, Vancouver Island, and British Columbia.

Chemically, Meadowfoam oil contains over 98% long-chain fatty acids, and also has higher quality triglyceride levels when compared to other vegetable oils. In addition, it has three long chain fatty acids that were previously unknown before its discovery. This all enhances its moisturising and rejuvenating capabilities, and is why it’s a key ingredient in our Frankincense and Rose Moisturiser. It also means that it’s a very stable oil so can help ensure the shelf life of your product.

When applied to the skin, Meadowfoam Oil forms a moisture barrier and will assist the skin with preventing moisture loss. When added to lotions and lip balms, it will remoisturise dry or cracked lips and skin, and helps make balms last longer. We use it as one of our plant oils in our award winning Spearmint & Tea Tree Nurture Balm for these very reasons

In summary, Meadowfoam oil has these beneficial characteristics:

  • Moisturises the skin
  • Rejuvenates and adds shine to hair
  • Non-greasy feeling, soaks into the skin easily
  • Helps reduce wrinkles and signs of ageing
  • Blends well with other carrier oils
  • Very stable,  even under heat and air exposure
  • Binder, helps products retain their scent longe


In addition to  its uses, Meadowfoam oil is also beneficial for our environment! It was first developed in the 1970’s, and was introduced as an alternative to sperm whale oil in order to protect the species. The Meadowfoam plants themselves are a renewable crop, and are usually grown as a rotation crop for grass seed farmers. This eliminates the need to burn the fields in between grass seed plantings, and also provides farmers with additional income. Meadowfoam also requires less fertilizer and pesticides than most crops, assisting farmers and the environment.

So really, what’s not to love!

Take care

Cecilia & Claire x

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The Benefits of Natural Oils on Dry Skin

shutterstock_119013610Most of us will experience dry skin at some stage in our lives, especially during the harsh winter months when wind, cold and central heating all take their toll.

The main cause of dry skin is the gaps which open up between the skin cells when they are not sufficiently plumped up with water. Moisture is then lost from the deeper layers of the skin, allowing bacteria or irritants to pass through more easily.  If your skin is particularly dry it might crack or peel and then become inflamed or irritated. This is more likely to occur on the hands and feet, which we tend not to moisturize as frequently. Your skin might become slightly rough and itchy.

Inflamed or cracked may be the first sign of dermatitis.

Adequately moisturising your skin on a regular basis is the first step to managing dry skin. Using products which contain natural plant oils is a great way to increase the moisture levels in your skin

Oils are emollients, which mean they soften or soothe the skin, helping it to keep  skin moist and flexible. Oils help produce a layer over the skin’s surface which traps water beneath it.

Oils can also help soothe the inflammation and irritation normally associated with dry skin. They create a protective layer which helps to reduce the penetration of irritants, allergens and bacteria, and so helping to prevent the development of dermatitis.

Natural oils also make the skin look more hydrated and less wrinkled. Because they are plant based they contain beneficial compounds such as polyphenols, phytosterols and carotenoids ( we’ll be explaining more about these compounds in a future blog, so keep reading).These compounds are metabolised by the skin and provide antioxidant properties which can help reduce those signs of aging.

So which natural oils should you be looking out for? At Mary Elizabeth we have a few favourites which we include in our products

Oils that are denser and have a high viscosity which typically penetrate a bit slower into the top layers of the skin such as Avocado Oil (Persea Gratissima) and  Meadowfoam Oil (Limnanthes Alba)  .We use these in lovely oils in all our products

 Oils that offer natural anti-inflammatory properties , for example Jojoba Oil (Buxus Chinensis) and Hemp Seed Oil (Cannabis Sativa). Hemp oil is also great for nails which is another reason its in our multi award winning Spearmint and Tea Tree Nurture Balm

Oils that have been infused with anti-inflammatory herbs oils (generally called ‘macerated’ oils) such as  Calendula Oil (Calendula Officinalis) and Chamomile Oil  (Anthemis Noblis) both of which we’ve included in our Juniper and Jojoba Hand Cream

All of these oils can be used as facial oils. Use a few drops and massage them into your delicate facial skin after your normal evening cleansing and moisturising routine. You may want to try different oil blends until you find one that works best for your skin.

Oils really are natures defence against dry skin

Take care

Cecilia and Claire x