Meadowfoam seed oil, botanically known as Limnanthes Alba, is cold expellar pressed from the seeds (which contain 20-30% oil) of the meadowfoam flower. It is a herbaceous, winter annual plant, native to the pacific Northwest, mainly northern California, southern Oregon, Vancouver Island, and British Columbia. The meadowfoam plant received its name because when it is in bloom, it looks like the white foam found blowing on the ocean.
Meadowfoam Seed Oil was actually developed in the 1970s as a replacement for sperm whale oil, when the sperm whales began to be monitored against endangerment. In fact, the oil from the Meadowfoam plant closely resembles that of sperm whale oil, and it is recognized for its outstanding oxidative stability. It has since proven to be invaluable in the body care and cosmetic industries, and is also being studied for pharmaceutical and industrial use. It is quite an unique oil, in that it contains over 98% fatty acids that have over 20 carbon atoms, meaning that they are long-chain fatty acids. It also has higher quality triglyceride levels than other vegetable oils, and it has three long chain fatty acids that were previously unknown before its discovery. Another unique feature of this oil is that, despite its high molecular weight, Meadowfoam Oil remains liquid at room temperature, unlike its counterparts.
Meadowfoam Seed oil is highly emollient, yet it is absorbed very quickly, leaves a lighter feel on the skin than many other oils, and does not feel greasy. It has amazing rejuvenating capabilities, and is very stable, making it a wonderful oil of choice for a wide variety of applications.
Meadowfoam Seed Oil is said to moisturize the skin and hair better than most oils, and, when applied to the skin, it forms a moisture barrier which will assist the skin in preventing moisture loss. In shampoos and hair care products, it helps to add shine and moisture to the hair and scalp. In lipsticks and lip balms, Meadowfoam Seed Oil helps to revitalize dry, cracked lips and keeps them moist for a longer period of time. It is valued as a lubricating oil, providing good slip in creams and massage oils. In lipsticks and other makeup this oil provides adhesion, making them stay on for a longer time. It has a high tolerance for heat, and is suitable for a wide range of applications.
Meadowfoam Seed Oil is one of the most stable lipids (fats) known, having a shelf life of two to three years, and it will lend stability to other oils that are combined with it. Therefore, this oil is quite useful in recipes where you are using less stable oils, such as sweet almond, kukui nut, evening primrose, borage, and hemp seed oil. Use Meadowfoam Seed Oil in lotion bars, lip balms, and other products where you wish to extend shelf life. It is often used as a binder, and is credited with extending fragrances, or helping them perform better than other oils, especially when used in bath salts, soaps and massage oils. Meadowfoam oil creates a very moisturizing bar of soap, when used as a superfatting agent, or when used as part of the base oils, from 10-30%.