Kukui nut oil

What is it? Kukui nut oil is a liquid oil pressed from the seeds of the kukui nut (or candlenut) tree. It has a long history of use in Hawaii for skin care and as a light source (hence the name candlenut!).
INCI Aleurites Moluccanus Seed Oil
Appearance Clear yellow liquid
Usage rate Up to 100%
Texture Rich, smooth oil
Scent Typical of plant oils
Absorbency Speed Average to slow
Approximate Melting Point Liquid at room temperature
Solubility Oil
Why do we use it in recipes? Kukui nut oil is a beautiful, rich emollient. I love it in lip products and skin care products that are designed to be protective.
Do you need it? No
Refined or unrefined? I’ve only ever used refined and it’s lovely.
Strengths Rich emollient that is excellent for irritated skin.
Weaknesses Can be harder to find, can be more expensive than other carrier oils.
Alternatives & Substitutions I’d try rice bran oil.
How to Work with It Include kukui nut oil in the oil phase of your formulations. It can be hot or cold processed.
Storage & Shelf Life Stored somewhere cool, dark, and dry, kukui nut oil should last up to two years.
Tips, Tricks, and Quirks The alternative name for the kukui nut tree—the candlenut tree—comes from a history of the nuts being burned as candles due to their high fat content!
Recommended starter amount 50mL (1.69fl oz)
Where to Buy it  Buy it from an online DIY ingredient supplier or Amazon.

Some Recipes that Use Kukui nut oil

Tamanu oil

What is it? Tamanu oil (also known as calophyllum oil) is a liquid carrier oil pressed from the seeds of the tamanu tree from South East Asia. Tamanu oil is mostly comprised of oleic and linoleic acid, but does contain relatively high amounts of stearic and palmitic acid for a liquid oil, so it is prone to going cloudy in cooler temperatures.
INCI Calophyllum Inophyllum Seed Oil
Appearance Green/brown cloudy liquid
Usage rate Up to 100%
Texture Smooth, rich oil
Scent Nutty/woodsy
Absorbency Speed Average
Approximate Melting Point 15–20°C
Solubility Oil
Why do we use it in recipes? Tamanu oil is often recommended for the care of scars and other topical wounds (minor burns, scratches, etc.) as well as acne, psorasis, and eczema.
Do you need it? No
Refined or unrefined? I’d recommend unrefined
Strengths Tamanu oil is a lovely emollient oil with rich skin feel as well as anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties.
Weaknesses The scent and/or colour can be undesirable in some end products, not suitable for those with nut allergies.
Alternatives & Substitutions The fatty acid content is very unique, so it’s hard to suggest a substitution on that basis. To replace the nutty scent you could look at macadamia nut oil. Otherwise, you might try a combination of shea butter and olive oil to get a somewhat approximate blend of fatty acids. If the tamanu oil is included in a recipe for its skin benefits I would recommend researching other liquid oils that may suit your skin and its particular needs.
How to Work with It Include it in the oil phase of your formulations. Tamanu oil can be hot or cold processed.
Storage & Shelf Life Stored somewhere cool, dark, and dry, tamanu oil should last up to two years.
Tips, Tricks, and Quirks Tamanu oil should be avoided by those with nut allergies.
Recommended starter amount 30mL (1fl oz)
Where to Buy it  Buy it from an online DIY ingredient supplier or Amazon.

Some Recipes that Use Tamanu oil

Canola Oil

What is it? Canola oil (or rapeseed oil) is the oil pressed from the seeds of the canola/rapeseed plant. It is commonly used in cooking, and is quite inexpensive. It is made up primarily of oleic acid, linoleic acid, and erucic acid.
INCI Brassica Napus Seed Oil
Appearance Clear yellow liquid
Usage rate Up to 100%
Texture Smooth liquid oil
Scent Low to none
Absorbency Speed Average
Approximate Melting Point -10°C (14°F)
Solubility Oil
Why do we use it in recipes? I really only use canola oil for soap making, where its easy availability and low price makes it a good choice for use in recipes where I’m testing new techniques. Some people have reported incidents of DOS (dreaded orange spots—spoilage) while soaping with canola oil, but I’ve had bars made with it last upwards of two years.
Do you need it? No, but there’s a pretty good chance you already have it in your pantry!
Strengths Inexpensive, easily available liquid oil.
Weaknesses Shorter shelf life, some people have strong negative associations with it due to GMO concerns (this can be resolved by purchasing organic canola oil).
Alternatives & Substitutions In soap I would choose olive oil or rice bran oil as an easy and effective alternative. In skin care products rice bran oil would work nicely, as would safflower oil or apricot kernel oil.
How to Work with It Include it in the oil phase of your projects. Canola oil can be hot or cold processed.
Storage & Shelf Life Stored somewhere cool, dark, and dry, canola oil should last at least a year.
Tips, Tricks, and Quirks “Canola” is a word made from “Canadian oil low acid”.
Recommended starter amount 1L (33.8fl oz) for soap making. 100mL (3.3fl oz) for skin care.
Where to Buy it  Buy it from an online DIY ingredient supplier or Amazon.

Some Recipes that Use Canola oil

Meadowfoam oil

What is it? Meadowfoam oil (or meadowfoam seed oil) is a liquid carrier oil pressed from the seeds of the meadowfoam flower. Its fatty acid composition is very unique among vegetable oils, comprising of mostly 5-Eicosenoic, 3,5-Docosadienoic acid, and Erucic acid.
INCI Limnanthes Alba Seed Oil
Appearance Pale yellow liquid
Usage rate Up to 100%
Texture Smooth, satiny
Scent Low
Absorbency Speed Average
Solubility Oil
Why do we use it in recipes? Meadowfoam oil is a beautiful emollient with excellent oxidative stability (it is very slow to go rancid). Not only is it a lovely oil to use on skin and hair, but it can also extend the shelf life of other oils in an oil blend. It also has high water absorption properties (for an oil—it is still not water soluble!) making it a great addition to lotions.
Do you need it? No.
Refined or unrefined? My only experience is with refined, which is lovely.
Strengths Excellent shelf life & resistance to rancidity, and it extends the shelf life of other oils it is blended with. It can also be produced in Canada!
Weaknesses Higher price point than many liquid oils.
Alternatives & Substitutions Meadowfoam seed oil is sometimes recommended as an alternative to jojoba oil, so one could also use jojoba oil as an alternative to meadowfoam. Here is an interesting comparative PDF.
How to Work with It Include it in the oil phase of your formulations. It can be hot or cold processed.
Storage & Shelf Life Stored somewhere cool, dark, and dry, meadowfoam seed oil can last up to three years.
Tips, Tricks, and Quirks Meadowfoam oil is very resistant to oxidization as it is mostly comprised of long chain fatty acids. Testing has shown it to last nearly twice as long as jojoba oil in high heat testing.
Recommended starter amount 100mL (3.3fl oz)
Where to Buy it  Buy it from an online DIY ingredient supplier or Amazon.

Some Recipes that Use Meadowfoam Oil

Rice Bran Oil

What is it? Rice Bran Oil is the liquid oil pressed from the germ and inner husk of rice. It is comprised primarily of oleic and linoleic fatty acids.
INCI Oryza Sativa Bran Oil
Appearance Yellow liquid
Usage rate Up to 100%
Texture Smooth, silky, rich
Scent Characteristic
Absorbency Speed Average
Approximate Melting Point I found everything from -10°C to 28°C (14–82°F), so I would check with your supplier.
Solubility Oil
Why do we use it in recipes? Rice bran oil is a beautiful and inexpensive emollient for use in skin and hair care products. It has both antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties. Rice bran oil can also be a good alternative to olive oil, especially if the price of olive oil is higher than usual.
Do you need it? No
Refined or unrefined? I’ve only ever worked with refined, and I like it.
Strengths Lovely emollient oil with great skin feel.
Weaknesses I can’t think of anything in particular.
Alternatives & Substitutions Olive oil is an easy and readily available alternative.
How to Work with It Include it in the oil phase of your formulations. It can be hot or cold processed as needed.
Storage & Shelf Life Stored somewhere cool, dark, and dry, rice bran oil should last up to two years.
Tips, Tricks, and Quirks Depending on your source and the batch your rice bran oil may not be “winterized”, and can become cloudy in cold temperatures. If this happens, simply place it in a warm water bath.
Recommended starter amount 100mL (3.3fl oz) unless you’re soaping with it, in which case I’d recommend 1L (33.8fl oz)
Where to Buy it  Buy it from an online DIY ingredient supplier or Amazon.

Some Recipes that Use Rice bran oil

Babassu oil

What is it? Babassu oil is a soft carrier oil from the kernels of the Babassu palm that grows in Brazil. I find it to be indistinguishable from coconut oil, making it a great potential alternative for anyone with a coconut allergy or sensitivity.
INCI Orbignya Oleifera Seed Oil
Appearance Solid white fat.
Usage rate Up to 100%
Texture Fast-melting with a thin, silky skin feel.
Scent Slightly fat-like
Absorbency Speed Average
Approximate Melting Point 24°C (76°F)
Solubility Oil
Why do we use it in recipes? I tend to use babassu oil as an alternative to coconut oil. I like it in massage products, where its oily feel gives long-lasting slip.
Do you need it? No; it is so similar to coconut oil that you only need one, and coconut oil is less expensive.
Refined or unrefined? I’ve only worked with refined, and it’s nice.
Strengths Babassu oil is a flawless replacement for coconut oil.
Weaknesses If you already have coconut oil you might as well use it instead.
Alternatives & Substitutions I find babassu oil to be indistinguishable from refined coconut oil, so they make excellent substitutions for one another.
How to Work with It Include babassu oil in the oil phase of your formulations. It can be hot or cold processed as needed.
Storage & Shelf Life Stored somewhere cool, dark, and dry, babassu oil should last at least two years.
Tips, Tricks, and Quirks Try swapping coconut oil for babassu oil anywhere coconut oil is called for.
Recommended starter amount 100g (3.5oz)
Where to Buy it  Buy it from an online DIY ingredient supplier or Amazon.

Some Recipes that Use Babassu Oil

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