July 7, 2020

Meadowfoam is a truly special oil, with its majority of twenty carbon monounsaturated fatty acid chains. These very-long carbon chains endow the oil with an unusual stability against oxidation that gives it a long shelf life as well as helping protect more sensitive oils when combined in a formula.

The oil feels soft on the skin and absorbs easily protecting and helping maintain moisture in the cells. 

Limnanthes Alba (Meadowfoam) Seed Oil, a beautiful plant and oil and one that has many uses in skincare. 

So why is it so hard to find organic meadowfoam seed oil? 

With this question and others in mind, I headed to the meadowfoam fields in late May to meet with Jim Daniels of Natural Plant Products and see the fields in bloom. 

It was a moody day on the fields in Oregon! with inky grey skies in late May

I asked Jim the status of organic certification for meadowfoam seed as we stood at the edge of the field listening to the bees busily pollinating the flowers. 

 The short answer is that meadowfoam is not sold with organic certification for a variety of reasons.

Growing Meadowfoam Seed Oil

It is the nature of the crop, that meadowfoam crops move around the valley each year planted in different locations. 

This practice ensures good soil and crop rotation practices are followed. Oregon Meadowfoam Growers (OMG), is a cooperative of multi-generational farms that employs a staff agronomist to advise each year’s crop and growing practices.

Once harvested Natural Plant Products purchases the seeds from OMG and presses the oil for markets across the globe. 

Click the link here to visit Natural Plant Products website meadowfoam.com)

The movable nature of the fields where meadowfoam flowers produce seeds each season make organic certification nearly impossible. But the growing practices used by the farmer’s co-op are sustainable and ecologically sound. 

Seeds are spread across the fields in the fall. They are not tilled and don’t require fertilizing. Over the damp winter they lay dormant and when the spring rains arrive they bloom in profusion. 

With the damp Pacific Northwest climate, especially in winter and early spring, the meadowfoam seeds require no irrigation. 

Minimal Intervention

One early spraying, well before the bees are in the fields limit pest damage of the plants. The farming practices of growing this crop are respectful of the earth and the environment.

Then once the seeds are collected they are processed into oil using three methods for use in cosmetics worldwide.

Bee boxes in the field of meadowfoam. The bees definitely busy!

3 Methods Of Extraction

Solvent extraction is the least expensive type of the oil as this method captures the most oil from the seeds.

Expeller pressed meadowfoam seed oil is less costly in line with the volume of oil produced and considered more natural than the solvent extraction.

Recently in the last few years, Natural Plant Products has undertaken to produce a cold processed oil that is the most costly but the closest to a pure product.

Here is the edge of the field with clusters of meadowfoam plants.

The oil is extracted and refined according to Ecocert and COSMOS standards enabling the oil to join certified organic raw materials in certified products.

All this careful growing, handling and processing of meadowfoam seeds enables meadowfoam oil to be among the best cosmetic ingredients available to formulate with. 

Are you working with meadowfoam seed oil in your formulas and recipes? Leave a comment below and share your experience. 

  • Why sprayed at all? The blog post diminishes the fact that the fields are sprayed. I think it only fair to say why and with what.

  • wow huge field… smell good outside ha
    that kind of good for skin …. good to know thank you for sharing

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