December 8, 2020

Today I want to talk a little bit about how oils come to market and the refining process of carrier oils.

Specifically the berry seed oils that are becoming more and more available from suppliers.

In the case of the berry seed oils, cranberry, blackberry, blueberry, strawberry, raspberry and so on, we find that these oils are actually a bi-product of the juice and jam industry. 

Once harvested, when the juice and pulp is taken away for juice or jam, there is a pulp, called pomace, left that is usually just thrown away. But, within that pomace is a wealth of seeds, and so people have begun separating the seeds from the pomace and pressing them for lipid oils. 

Most, if not all, oils that come to market are somewhat refined. The initial refining process removes cloudiness, bits of fruit or pulp and other large particles in the oils. 

But then some oils are further refined to remove pigments and scent. Some formulators prefer clear oils so that pigments and scents in lightly refined oils don’t interfere with the final product. 

I ordered both versions of the blueberry seed oils below at the same time from different suppliers, without knowing exactly what I would be getting. And as you can see, one came with this gorgeous deep green color, while the other is pale and almost colorless. 

Refining doesn’t change the fatty acid profile of an oil, so two oils (for example blueberry seed oils) with identical fatty acid profiles can have these very different colors. 

What is taken out during the refining process is the unsaponifiables or healing fraction. Everything that is not a fatty acid. This is the polyphenols , antioxidants, minerals and other compounds. 

Here’s one other example of two oils with the same fatty acid profile but different color. 

Below are two different meadowfoam seed oils. 

Originally I could only really find expeller-pressed meadowfoam seed oil, but as interest in this oil grew for skincare, people wanted more unrefined options. 

The darker one above is cold-pressed and only lightly refined. It even has a little bit of scent left. The light-colored one is expeller pressed and more highly refined. 

So just with these two oils, you can see some of the variations we have to work with! 

What oils are you working with? Leave a comment below.

  • I am playing with andiroba at present for its insect repellent and skin healing properties. I like it. Coming to summer in Australia so mosquitos weather. Lesley

  • I honestly love coconut oil. I use it in most of my homemade products like pain salves, deodorant, to remove makeup, lip balm and more. I haven’t tried blueberry oil but I’d love too.

  • This week I am working with grapeseed and olive oil in sugar scrub cubes.. just for fun in a pedi bar for the feet…Thank you for sharing , you teach me so much!

  • Seeds and seed oils will become a scarcity with the shift to seedless fruit. More awareness needs to be raised to preserve the seed.

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