abyssinica oil

Winter is still upon us and many are still on the quest for nourishing ingredients to stave off dryness and damage. As we feed our skin and hair, we are making sure to use multipurpose oils that will do more for our bodies than make them smell nice. We want powerhouse properties that will nourish, soothe, and seal in moisture. It is all about protecting our strands from the elements. When we find an oil that encompasses those attributes we sing about it from the high heavens because curlies love sharing great natural oils!
Abyssinian oil is often compared to jojoba oil but it is much higher in erucic acid and means a stronger, intense moisturizer for your skin and hair.

Oh my goodness, we have another new oil to check out? Well, yes and no. This oil is far from new but little is known about its amazing benefits. Abyssinian (Crambe abyssinica) seed oil is ultra-light, non-greasy natural oil with a unique molecular structure not found in any other naturally occurring oils. This useful plant that originated in the Mediterranean region along with parts of eastern Africa comes from the seeds of Crambe abyssinica. Although it is inedible oil, Abyssinian has a number of industrial as well as beauty uses.

This plant was introduced to the United States in the 1940’s and successfully grown in the mostly North Dakota. It is an annual herb with large pinnately-lobed leaves and can achieve a height of 24-40 in. depending on the conditions and the plant’s density. The plant procures numerous small, white flowers and the seeds (from where the oil comes from) are about 1/8 inch in diameter and round.

This oil is closely related to rapeseed and mustard and has about 50%-60% erucic acid, which is a long fatty acid often used to manufacture industrial consumer items like high-temperature lubricants, heat transfers fluids, surfactants, coatings, cosmetics, polyesters, and more. The spherical fruit bears one seed each and the seed remains in the pod or hull until harvest because de-hulling improves oil extraction efficiency. It is extracted by cold pressing and the oil’s breakdown is rather impressive:

Abyssinian Oil Composition

via The Herbarie

• Palmitic 1.0-4.0%

• Palmitoleic 0.1-0.5%

• Stearic 0.5-2.0%

Oleic 10.0-25.0%

• Linoleic 7.0-15.0%

• Linolenic 2.0-5.0%

• Arachidic 0.5-2.0%

• Eicosenoic 2.0-6.0%

• Eicosadienoic 0.0-4%

• Behenic 1.0-3.0%

• Erucic 50.0-65.0%

• Lignoceric 0.0-1.0%

Read more: 4 Acids that are Great for Your Hair

Abyssinian Oil and Hair

Abyssinian oil is often compared to jojoba oil but it is much higher in erucic acid and means a stronger, intense moisturizer for your skin and hair. It is very stable and long-lasting seed oil that rapidly penetrates the outer layer of the epidermis, and because it is often compared to jojoba oil (meaning it mimics human sebum), it is very silky in texture and makes for a great natural alternative to silicones in haircare products. It adds wonderful shine and a light feel to the hair and it forms a light continuous lipid layer to help detangle the hair and lock in essential moisture. Since it can be used as a surfactant it is great in shampoos and conditioners and even eliminates the feeling of greasiness. Because Abyssinian oil is very stable against heat breakdown and is highly resistant to oxidation, it allows your hair’s cuticle to remain sealed, protecting the cortex within.

With the erucic acid your hair gets a strong layer of protection against dehydration. This oil is great for creams, lotions, lipstick, lip gloss, foundations, and hair care products that condition without greasiness and add an emollient feel to the hair. One of the most beneficial ways to use this light, non-greasy oil is in a spray form whether on your face or hair since it is safe to use directly on either. Abyssinian oil is becoming increasingly popular and can be found as an ingredient in hair care products like a few we have listed below.

Do you use Abyssinian oil?