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As I bottle up our first production batch of our natural shampoo I thought it would be a good time discuss some of the ingredients we are using in our latest creation.  Some of them  are familiar household ingredients but others are a bit more exotic and unfamiliar. Olive oil ~ OK, so nothing too exotic here.  Just because olive oil is a familiar name in culinary as well as hair & skin care circles, doesn't mean we should underestimate its benefits.  Olive oil is high in oleic acid, an omega-9 fatty acid, which is wonderful for dry, thirsty hair.  Olive oil can help treat smooth split ends, reduce static, control dandruff, smooth the hair cuticle, and improve the overall health of your hair and scalp. Babassu oil ~ This was a new one for me.  Babassu oil is rich in fatty acids, also called lipids, which makes it an excellent emollient.   The breakdown of the major acids is as follows:
Fatty acid Percentage
Lauric 50.0%
Myristic 20.0%
Palmitic 11.0%
Oleic 10.0%
Stearic 3.5%
Lauric and myristic acids have melting points relatively close to human body temperature, so babassu oil can be applied to the skin as a solid that melts on contact.  It shares this and many other properties with coconut oil and is often used as a substitute for coconut oil.  Babassu is a non-drying oil which means it will moisturize the skin or hair without leaving an oily sheen.   This wonderful oil is derived from the nut of the Babassu palm which is native to the Amazon region of South America.   A nice characteristic of this tree is that the whole tree is used when it is harvested.  In addition to deriving oil from the fruit, the leaves are used to make thatch for houses or they are used to make woven mats.  The wood of the tree is used for lumber.  Here are a few pics of the babassu palm and its fruit: Stand of Babassu Palm trees.   Clump of Babassu Fruit hanging from the tree.   The inside of the Babassu Fruit after it has been cracked open. Avocado Oil ~ If you have been following us for a while you will know that I absolutely love using avocado oil.  We currently use this oil in our body wash and I was very excited to add it to the new shampoo formula.  This ultra rich organic oil is a contains high amounts of Vitamin A, B1, B2, D, and E.  It also contains amino acids, sterols, pantothenic acid, lecithin, and other essential fatty acids.   Further, it is a deep penetrating oil which absorbs deeper into the dermis than many other vegetable oils. Castor Oil ~ Castor oil is derived from beans that grow on the aptly named Castor Bean Plant.  It is quite a beautiful plant, see below. Castor oil is another deep penetrating oil that is rich in nutrients like omega fatty acids, critical for cell health.  As a humectant, castor oil draws water to the area its applied.  In our application it will help moisturize the skin, reducing flaky dry scalp.  Because it is a deep penetrating oil it delivers its nutrients past the surface layers and down into the connective tissue of the skin.  This is important for the scalp since hair follicles lay down below the surface layers of the skin. Kukui Nut Oil ~ Kukui Nut oil is derived from the Kukui tree which is native to Hawaii.  This oil is a natural moisturizer that protects the skin from drying, acts as a natural sunscreen, and promotes healing and rejuvenation. Kukui Nut oil is homeostatic, meaning that it helps to restore the skin’s balance. Kukui Oil acts as a “carrier oil” because it exhibits qualities of being able to penetrate to all skin levels and protects tissue from drying.   Pure Kukui Nut oil has been used by Hawaiians for centuries to protect and heal skin exposed to their tropical climate which includes harsh sun, drying winds, and salt water.  Traditionally, Kukui Nut oil was used to anoint newborns to protect their young skin from the elements.  Hawaiians also noted that the oil helped to soothe skin with minor sunburns, rejuvenated dry skin, and minimize wrinkles and fine lines while softening and moisturizing the skin.   So now you know a little more about the oils that we use in our new natural shampoo for normal to dry hair.  It is so interesting to learn about the oils, the plants from which they are derived and the way that native cultures have known for centuries what we are just now learning.  A gentle reminder that over the past few centuries, we "advanced" civilizations have likely forgotten as much, and perhaps a good bit more, than we have learned. Live Simple & Be Well, Wayne Disclaimer:  None of the above statements have been reviewed by a member of the medical or regulatory community.