Babassu Oil: Properties, Uses, and Sustainability

Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay – Melati411

Babassu oil is made from the seeds of a certain type of Amazonian palm tree. It shares many of the properties of coconut oil: Use babassu for your hair, skin, or for massages.

Babassu oil is made by pressing the seeds of the Brazilian babassu palm tree, which is native to the Amazon basin in South America. These trees only begin producing fruit after eight years and can grow to be almost 100 feet tall. The oil has a nutty taste and is similar in application to coconut oil. 

In its original form, babassu oil looks like melted butter. But after being refined, it is colorless and has almost no scent. Its melting point is about 75 degrees Fahrenheit, which is relatively low. It turns to liquid at body temperature, which makes it ideal for cosmetic purposes. 

Babassu Oil: Composition and Properties

babassu oil for hair
You can use babassu for your hair and skin – just like coconut oil. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay – DanaTentis)

In Brazil, babassu oil is not only used in the kitchen but also to treat mild skin conditions. The oil has been shown to have wound-healing properties, and is known to be anti-inflammatory

Like coconut oil, babassu oil is rich in lauric acid, which is antibacterial. Studies suggest that it may help to kill cancer cells. The oil also contains oleic acid, a monounsaturated fat that is also found in olive oil. The substance has been credited with many health benefits like beneficial effects on autoimmune and inflammatory diseases.

How to Use Babassu Oil

how to use babassu oil
Babassu oil is often used to make cosmetic products. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay – Nir_Design)

Babassu oil can be used in all the same capacities that coconut oil can. It is often used as an ingredient in the cosmetic industry, and can be found in a wide range of products like:

  • Soap
  • Hand creams
  • Hair products
  • Massage oil

But you don’t have to buy expensive products in order to enjoy the benefits of this lighteight and non-greasy oil. It can also be used pure.

To use babassu oil for hair or for dry skin, rub a few drops of oil between your hands and gently coat the tips of your hair, or massage into dry skin. For a touch of aromatherapy, add a few drops of your favorite essential oil. 

For more tips on how to use babassu oil for hair, check out our article on how to use coconut oil for hair and simply use babassu oil instead of coconut. 

Tip: The oil is also great for frying and for baking. It has a mild nutty note and goes well with both sweet and savory dishes. 

Sustainability: Where Does the Oil Come From?

cosmetic oil sustainability
The babassu palm is native is South America. (Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Pixabay – Mareefe)

Native to the Amazon basin in South America, babassu palms are far removed from the North American and European markets. Because of the pollution caused by this exceptionally long transport, using babassu oil only very sparingly is a good way to remain environmentally conscious.

  • For your hair and skincare routine, rotate babaussu oil with other, less exotic oils like coconut or olive oil.
  • Buy only high quality and cold-pressed oil, so that you can benefit from the maximum amount of nutrients.
  • To be sure that a particular product is certifiably responsibly produced, look for a third party seal that ensures dignified working conditions, fair trade, and fair wages.

This article has been translated from German to English by Christie Sacco. You can read the original version here: Babassuöl: Eigenschaften und Anwendung des Pflanzenfettes

Important Information regarding Health-related Topics.

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