The Amazonian rainforest is home to a level of biodiversity so dense and diverse that scientists are still discovering new species. This natural wonder is unique in the world, but so is the makeup of its skincare ingredients. For centuries, indigenous Amazonian women have been using local plants to enhance their hair and skin. These ingredients are not only abundant in essential fatty acids, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory, they are also incredibly versatile to use for a wide range of natural skincare products.
So, without further due, let’s find out what are they and what they can do for you!
Plant-derived oils are natural emollients that primarily form a protective layer on the skin, helping to restore skin’s natural moisture levels, softening the skin, and protecting it against external threats. In addition, oils are an abundant source of fatty acids and bioactive compounds with anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, and anti-ageing action, among many others.
Traditionally expressed from fruit, nuts, kernels and seeds, they come in various viscosities, scents, colours and various skin benefits. With a few of them on the market, it can be tough to find the one that will work for you. I would always recommend you to experiment with them until you find your favourite. Here are some of the well-known Amazonian emollients.
Abundant in tropical regions of the Amazon, acai oil is packed with antioxidants and unsaturated fatty acids. Its unique fatty-acid composition plays a vital role in improving the skin’s overall health. Its ability to revive skin, repair damaged cells, restore moisture and elasticity in the skin makes it a highly sought after emollient. It is particularly suited for ageing skin, as it helps to minimise the appearance of wrinkles.
Andiroba Seed Oil
A well-rounded emollient known in the beauty industry for its anti-inflammatory, cicatrising and insect-repellant actions, andiroba seed oil offers a multitude of benefits. It can reduce inflammation caused by arthritis and rheumatism. It is also an effective mosquito repellent, a natural insecticide that kills lice; it can help heal the skin and fungal infections, reduce symptoms of eczema and psoriasis, but might even reduce hair loss and appearance of cellulite.
With similar fatty-acid content as olive oil, bacaba oil is used to help condition the skin and maintain its moisturise levels. It can also be used as a relief for scaling or an itchy scalp. Overall, it is a great oil that works well in body moisturisers, hair masks, and even removing makeup.
Brazil Nut Oil
Another excellent emollient from Amazon. Abundant in unsaturated fatty acids, selenium and vitamin E, brazil nut oil is a light emollient with a profound moisturising effect. It can improve eczema, possibly reduce hyperpigmentation, reduce the appearance of wrinkles, blemishes and stretch marks, and strengthen the hair roots.
Working with burití oil is always very exciting. Abundant in vitamin A, E, and monounsaturated fatty acids, buriti oil can help protect the skin from UV radiation, reduce inflammation, lighten dark spots and aid the skin’s recovery affected by exposure to the sun keeping the skin moisturised.
Guava Seed Oil
Slightly fruity, this super-light oil is packed with vitamin A, omega 6 fatty acids and Lycopene (a potent antioxidant). Guava seed oil suits all skin types. Due to its astringent actions work very well for oily, acne-prone skin, keeping the skin free of acne breakouts and blemishes. However, it does wonders for ageing skin too. Antioxidants found in the oil help to improve skin elasticity and firmness, tighten the skin and reduce wrinkle formation.
Maracuja oil (Passion Fruit Oil)
Deeply nourishing, maracuja oil is another lightweight oil your skin will love. A combination of carotenoids, vitamin C and essential fatty acids (Omega 6) found in the oil have a rejuvenating effect on the skin. It can bring your skin back to life by reducing inflammation, dryness and enhancing skin’s elasticity. It works well for all skin types. Oily, acne-prone and ageing skin in particular.
Light yellow with fruity notes, this refreshing emollient has gained popularity in haircare for its restorative actions. Deeply hydrating, it nourishes hair from the roots all the way to the ends. Patauá oil can restore, strengthen and protect your hair, leaving it smooth and shiny.
Deeply curative emollient, pracaxi oil is abundant in behenic fatty acid and antioxidants. Antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antihemorrhagic and insecticidal qualities of the oil
is remedial in treating dry skin, scars, burns, diaper rash, and hyperpigmentation, improving skin appearance and texture.
Highly therapeutic, soursop oil has a soothing effect on the skin. Gentle on the skin, this is a light emollient with a hydrating impact. It is a perfect fit for dry, itchy skin but is also helpful in treating eczema and psoriasis.
Tucuma oil is a light emollient rich in Omega 3, 6 and 9, vitamin A and C. The oil has anti-inflammatory properties that protect the skin from irritation and UV radiation, improve the skin’s elasticity and firmness. It is particularly effective in treating dry, chapped skin.
Butter is, in fact, solidified oil due to its composition of fatty acids. Oils composed mainly of saturated fatty acids tend to harden. A good example is murumuru butter. The primary fatty acids found in the butter are lauric, myristic and palmitic fatty acids, forming over 80% of the fatty acids profile. The following are my personal favourite.
Traditionally used in natural skincare to revive dry skin, bacuri butter invigorates the skin. In addition, it’s an excellent moisturising agent as it naturally reduces cold sores and scarring. Even more, it’s considered a valuable ingredient in relieving rheumatic pain, eczema, herpes or other skin conditions due to its antimicrobial and antioxidant properties.
Cocoa Seed Butter
Cultivated throughout history by Maya and Aztec people for its richness in saturated fatty acids and polyphenols (antioxidants with a range of potential skin benefits), cocoa seed butter is an effective body moisturiser and popular ingredient in cosmetics. Cocoa is invaluable in maintaining healthy skin due to its antioxidants and anti-inflammatory effect. Highly curative, cocoa seed butter soothes and moisturises the skin. It can even help to protect it from the damage of UV radiation.
But it isn’t just skin that benefits from its nurturing touch. Cocoa butter is fabulous for hair too! It can add volume and shine to your strands, soothe the scalp and strengthen your hair.
Cupuaçu Seed Butter
Despite being rich in oleic acid, cupuaçu butter is a very light occlusive and emollient agent that soaks to the skin fast, protecting it for up to 8 hours. In addition, its unique fatty-acid composition plays a vital role in protecting the skin’s moisture barrier, repairing a damaged cell, and restoring skin’s elasticity.
Murumuru Seed Butter
Murumuru seed butter is unique for its high content of saturated fatty acids, particularly lauric acid. As a result, Murumuru butter can improve skin conditions such as acne, eczema and psoriasis due to its antibacterial and anti-inflammatory effects. Furthermore, it is lightweight and deeply nourishing butter that can help restore your hair’s elasticity, control frizz and define your curls.
Also known as a vegetable silicone, tucuma butter functions as an emulsifier and emollient. This smooth, yellowish butter with versatile use is abundant in saturated fatty acids, tocopherols and sterols. It may work wonders in your daily beauty routine by moisturising, restoring skin’s elasticity, elevating dry, damaged and dehydrated skin.
This unique, hard butter is valued for its antioxidant, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory properties. Ucuuba butter is particularly effective in improving skin dullness, dryness and damage caused by UV radiation.
Natural compounds derived from the bark of the trees or the plant stems, resins have been used throughout history for their curative effect. These potent natural substances with antinociceptive, analgesic, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial, and soothing properties offer various use. Below is a couple of my favourites.
Breu Branco Resin
Bursting with healing properties, breu branco resin is a fascinating natural ingredient worth trying. Abundant in terpenes and terpenoids, this resin soothes inflammation and improve healing. It is a popular ingredient in skincare products but is also used as incense and added to perfumes.
This aromatic oleoresin is extracted from the Copaifera Officinalis tree’s trunk. Abundant in sesquiterpenes and diterpenes, this resin is valued for its anti-inflammatory, antiischemic, antimicrobial to antileishmanial action. It has been used extensively by the native Amazonians for centuries to treat inflammation, infection, heal leishmaniasis wounds and pain. In cosmetic products, copaiba is used in creams, lotions, hair care, and health products.
Amazonian beauty ingredients are some of the most exciting ingredients to work with, offering a range of benefits for the skin and hair. From fighting the signs of ageing to soothing inflammation, they play a critical role in the skincare of many Amazonian folks. Passed down through generations, these natural ingredients are a perfect example of the impressive biodiversity present in the Amazon rainforest. So if you’re looking for high-quality constituents, Amazonian emollients, butter, and resins are a beautiful way to start. Bursting with essential fatty acids and bioactive compounds, they would make a valuable addition to your skincare routine.