Prickly Pear Seed Oil

What is it? Prickly pear seed oil is the oil pressed from the seeds of the prickly pear cactus. It is a premium (aka expensive) carrier oil. It is comprised of mostly linoleic acid, oleic acid, and palmitic acid. It can also be known as Indian fig oil, cactus pear oil, and barbary fig oil.
INCI Opuntia ficus indica seed oil
Appearance Yellow to green liquid oil
Usage rate Up to 100%
Texture Smooth, rich
Scent Typical of oils
Absorbency Speed Average
Approximate Melting Point I didn’t find a melting point specific to prickly pear seed oil, but it is approximately 60–70% linoleic acid and the melting point for linoleic acid is -5°C (23°F). I store my bottle in the fridge and it does not solidify.
Solubility Oil
Why do we use it in formulations? Because Prickly Pear Seed Oil is so expensive it is typically limited to products where it can really be appreciated—usually serums or facial lotions (the idea of putting it in soap or a cleansing oil makes my heart hurt!).

We use prickly pear seed oil as an emollient, and it can be especially beneficial for sensitive and/or dry skin due to the high linoleic acid content.

Do you need it? No
Refined or unrefined? Unrefined is preferable
Strengths Prickly pear seed oil is a lovely emollient.
Weaknesses It is hella expensive.
Alternatives & Substitutions Look for oils rich in linoleic acid and oleic acid as those two oils can comprise up to 80% of prickly pear seed oil. In terms of oils with similar fatty acid composition, wheat germ oil, baobab seed oil, passionfruit oil, amaranth oil, cotton oil, and quinoa oil can be a good alternatives.
How to Work with It Include it in the oil phase of your recipes, avoiding heat if possible.
Storage & Shelf Life Stored somewhere cool, dark, and dry, prickly pear seed oil should last up to two years. I recommend refrigerating it due to the high price.
Tips, Tricks, and Quirks It takes approximately 1 ton of fruit to produce 1L of prickly pear seed oil.

The Opuntia cactus features in the Mexican Coat of Arms.

Recommended starter amount 30mL (1fl oz) or less
Where to Buy it  Buy it from an online DIY ingredient supplier or Amazon.

Some Formulations that Use Prickly Pear Seed Oil


Posted on

February 6, 2019