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

Black Cumin Seed Oil

What is it? Black cumin seed oil is a carrier oil pressed from the seeds of Nigella Sativa. It is comprised mostly of linoleic acid (~50%) and oleic acid (~20%).
INCI Nigella Sativa Seed Oil
Appearance Dark yellowy-orange liquid
Usage rate Up to 100%
Texture Smooth, velvetty oil
Scent Distinctly peppery
Absorbency Speed Average
Approximate Melting Point -5°C (23°F)
Solubility Oil
Why do we use it in recipes? Black cumin seed oil is popular for its anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial, and antioxidant properties—it’s very popular for irritated skin and has been shown to be helpful in the treatment of eczema and acne.
Do you need it? No
Refined or unrefined? I’d recommend unrefined.
Strengths Excellent anti-inflammatory properties—it’s a great choice for products for irritated skin.
Weaknesses You might not be a big fan of the scent.
Alternatives & Substitutions According to Modern Cosmetics black cumin seed oil is very unique; they state there is “no suitable substitute”. I would probably choose something like evening primrose oil if a substitution was required.
How to Work with It Include it in the oil phase of your recipes; it can be hot or cold processed, but if you can avoid heating it that’s probably best.
Storage & Shelf Life Stored somewhere cool, dark, and dry, black cumin seed oil should last at least one to two years. I recommend storing it in the fridge.
Tips, Tricks, and Quirks Black cumin seed oil contains two fatty acids we rarely see—arachidic acid and behenic acid, both at about 1%.
Recommended starter amount 100mL (3.3 fl oz)
Where to Buy it  Buy it from an online DIY ingredient supplier.

Some Recipes that Use Black Cumin Seed Oil

Borage Oil

What is it? A carrier oil pressed from the seeds of the borage flower. It is primarily comprised of linoleic and γ–linolenic acid.
INCI Borago Officinalis Seed Oil
Appearance Pale yellow liquid oil
Usage rate Up to 100%
Texture A thick, heavy oil
Scent It smells very distinctly oily/fishy; I recommend blending it with other carrier oils and perhaps some essential oils to dilute/mask the scent.
Absorbency Speed Slow
Solubility Oil
Why do we use it in recipes? Borage oil is recommended for acne-prone, mature, dry, and/or sensitive skin.
Do you need it? No, but it is useful to have one of either Evening Primrose, Black Currant Seed, or Borage oil. They all have a similar fatty acid profile so there’s no real need to have more than one of them.
Refined or unrefined? I have tried the unrefined stuff and it’s fine, but if you are quite scent sensitive you might prefer to source the refined variety.
Strengths It’s amazing for battling acne and tacking problematic skin. It’s also recommended for aging skin.
Weaknesses It’s pretty heavy and doesn’t smell amazing.
Alternatives & Substitutions Evening primrose and black currant seed oils have a similar fatty acid profile. They are also similarly heavy and oily-smelling.
How to Work with It Include it in the oil phase of your recipes; avoid extended exposure to heat where possible. I typically aim to dilute it with a lighter oil or in an emulsion.
Storage & Shelf Life Stored somewhere cool, dark, and dry, borage oil should last up to two years. I recommend storing it in the fridge.
Tips, Tricks, and Quirks Try blending it with a faster absorbing oil, like argan or pomegranate seed, to help it sink into the skin faster.
Recommended starter amount 100mL (3.3fl oz) or less
Where to Buy it  Buy it from an online DIY ingredient supplier or Amazon.

Some Recipes that Use Borage Oil

Black Currant Seed Oil

What is it? A carrier oil pressed from the seeds of the black currant. It is mainly comprised of linoleic acid and also contains a small amount of the rare omega-3 fatty acid stearidonic acid.
INCI Ribes Nigrum Seed Oil
Appearance Yellow to green liquid oil
Usage rate Up to 100%
Texture A thick, heavy oil
Scent It smells very distinctly oily/fishy; I recommend blending it with other carrier oils and perhaps some essential oils to dilute/mask the scent.
Absorbency Speed Slow.
Solubility Oil
Why do we use it in recipes? Black Currant Seed Oil is recommended for acne-prone, mature, dry, and/or sensitive skin.
Do you need it? No, but it is useful to have one of either Evening Primrose, Black Currant Seed, or Borage oil. They all have a similar fatty acid profile so there’s no real need to have more than one of them.
Refined or unrefined? I have tried the unrefined stuff and it’s fine, but if you are quite scent sensitive you might prefer to source the refined variety.
Strengths It’s amazing for battling acne and tacking problematic skin. It’s also recommended for aging skin.
Weaknesses It’s pretty heavy and doesn’t smell amazing.
Alternatives & Substitutions Evening primrose and borage oils have similar fatty acid profiles. They are also similarly heavy and oily-smelling.
How to Work with It Include it in the oil phase of your recipes; avoid extended exposure to heat where possible. I typically aim to dilute it with a lighter oil or in an emulsion.
Storage & Shelf Life Stored somewhere cool, dark, and dry, black currant seed oil should last up to two years. I recommend storing it in the fridge.
Tips, Tricks, and Quirks Try blending it with a faster absorbing oil, like argan or pomegranate seed, to help it sink into the skin faster.
Recommended starter amount 100mL (3.3fl oz) or less
Where to Buy it  Buy it from an online DIY ingredient supplier or Amazon.

Some Recipes that Use Black Currant Seed Oil

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