The meadowfoam family of herbaceous plants consists of small flowering plants that grow in damp grassy areas. Some ecosystems are more prone to the proper soil conditions for meadowfoam growth, while other poorly drained areas also provide good conditions for growing these plants. The limnanthes alba species, commonly called white meadowfoam, is commonly found in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States and in some areas of California. The limnanthes alba flowers are small and white. Limnanthes alba plants also produce fruit, which provide the main source for the oil. Limnanthes alba is most commonly used in the production of meadowfoam seed oil.
Meadowfoam oil is light yellow in color and is extracted from meadowfoam seeds through a pressing process. This oil is considered one of the most stable forms of vegetable oil. Aside from its health and stability benefits, white meadowfoam is considerably easy to grow in comparison to other plants. Farmers can incorporate it easily into their crop rotation and plants require minimal chemical pesticides to grow successfully.
Meadowfoam oil has excellent moisturizing properties. Combined with its chemical stability, this makes it a popular ingredient in skincare products. Many natural skincare lines use meadowfoam oil in moisturizing products to hydrate and rejuvenate skin. These products are particularly good for dry, sensitive, or damaged skin as they are very restorative. Meadowfoam oil does not generally cause skin irritation and is very gentle. Some studies have shown that meadowfoam oil has anti-aging benefits as its moisturizing properties help to diminish the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Products that contain meadowfoam oil are also ideal as they provide long-lasting hydration and care. This oil adheres easily to the skin and does not easily disintegrate, meaning that moisturizing benefits last four hours after application. This quality helps skin to maintain the best possible moisture balance without losing too much moisture to the atmosphere. Meadowfoam oil works by creating a sort of moisture barrier over the top layer of the skin, preventing excessive moisture from evaporating and ensuring that skin stays hydrated.
Meadowfoam oil can hydrate hair as well as skin. Many natural shampoos include meadowfoam oil as an ingredient to help build healthy and shiny hair follicles. The oil helps hair to maintain a good moisture balance. The moisturizing properties of the oil work to rebuild damaged hair and create a smoother and healthier hair shaft. In addition, products that contain meadowfoam oil act as protection against future damage. By hydrating hair and sealing in moisture, meadowfoam oil prevents hair from environmental damage caused by extreme weather, direct sun, or other elements that can harm hair. Meadowfoam oil also improves the shine of one’s hair, leaving it smoother and more radiant.
Because it is stable and nourishing, meadowfoam oil is often a main ingredient in massage oils and lotions. In these products, it provides benefits similar to its use in facial products. Skin appears healthier and softer. Damaged or dry skin receives a strong dose of hydration as meadowfoam oil helps to repair the skin. With regular use, skin will achieve a healthy moisture balance and enjoy protection from future damage.
Lip balm products include meadowfoam oil to heal and soothe dry and cracked lips. Lips can be damaged or irritated by the weather, the sun, or other elements. Cracked lips can be painful and meadowfoam oil is gentle but effective at restoring moisture levels, as needed. Meadowfoam oil is also ideal for lip balms because it helps the balm to last longer and does not require frequent reapplication.
Though it should not be used on its own as a sunscreen, meadowfoam oil can protect the skin and lips from UV rays from the sun. Because of this, it is often used in sunscreen products to add additional protection and hydration. Meadowfoam oil can be seen on the ingredient lists for sunscreen lotion, SPF moisturizers, lip balm, and other products that seek to protect the body from sun damage. Unlike many oils and SPF products, meadowfoam oil has a non-greasy feeling and is not likely to stain clothes. Formulas based on meadowfoam oil soak easily into the skin, making the application process easy.
Meadowfoam oil is a hugely useful ingredient to rejuvenate and protect hair and skin. These benefits extend beyond product lines, as meadowfoam oil can often be used as a replacement for sperm whale oil. Since collecting sperm whale oil is harmful to the environment and to the sperm whale population, meadowfoam oil is considered an environmentally safe alternative.