Sea Buckthorn is slowly becoming better-known in North America thanks to its remarkable nutritive profile and extensive internal and external benefits. As its popularity grows, more and more companies have begun incorporating Sea Buckthorn oils into their skincare products. Unfortunately, there seems to be some confusion and a marked lack of knowledge about the oils extracted from the Sea Buckthorn plant. In particular, it seems that a lot of companies offering Sea Buckthorn-derived skincare are unaware whether the Sea Buckthorn oil in their products is Sea Buckthorn fruit oil, Sea Buckthorn seed oil, a combination of the two, or even a Sea Buckthorn oil cut with another carrier oil! All “Sea Buckthorn oils” are not created equal, and it’s important to know what kind of oil you’re actually getting, how it was extracted, and where it came from.
As we discussed in a previous blog posting, there are actually two main types of oil extracted from Sea Buckthorn berry: the Fruit oil and the Seed oil. The Fruit Oil is extracted from the fleshy pulp of the berry, while the Seed Oil is extracted from the berry’s small dark seeds. Not only do the two oils look very different visually– the Fruit Oil is very rich dark orange to red in colour and quite viscous, while the Seed Oil is yellow to pale orange in colour and more fluid—but they also have noticeably different nutritive profiles. Of course, that means that each oil also has different benefits and is appropriate for different applications. For example, the Seed oil contains Omega 9 and is very nourishing and protective, ideal for dry skin. The Fruit oil, on the other hand, contains Omega 7, which stimulates cell regeneration and can be drying. Too much Fruit Oil could leave dry or mature skin too dry.
So, it’s important to know the differences between the two oils when selecting a Sea Buckthorn oil for a skincare application. Unfortunately, many companies offering skincare products containing Sea Buckthorn oils fail to specify which oil is in their products, making it difficult to determine whether the chosen oil is appropriate for your skin type.
But it’s not just the skincare companies who are to blame. Often, companies distributing oils for skincare product formulation are unclear about which oils they sell. And to add to the confusion, some Sea Buckthorn oil producers actually cut their oils with cheaper carrier oils, then sell them as pure Sea Buckthorn oils to unknowing customers.
Yet “cut” oils are not the only poor-quality Sea Buckthorn oils in the marketplace. The quality, appearance, and nutritional composition of both Sea Buckthorn fruit oils and Sea Buckthorn seed oils can vary widely depending upon the method of extraction, the Sea Buckthorn varietal from which they are extracted and the growing conditions to which the trees were subjected. For example, it’s been shown that oils extracted from Sea Buckthorn grown in areas of the world where air and soil contamination are prevalent may be contaminated, often with heavy metals.
Clearly, what you see isn’t always what you get with Sea Buckthorn oils these days. That’s why it’s so important to ask some questions, do some research and know what type of oils you’re getting, where the oils are coming from, and how they were extracted. And that’s why we would never buy oils from an outside source– why we extract our own supercritical Sea Buckthorn fruit and seed oils ourselves, onsite, from locally-grown, herbicide-, pesticide-, and fungicide-free fruit for use in our Mont Echo Bath & Body Sea Buckthorn skincare products. We’re actually the first and only company in North America to do so.