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Red Raspberry Seed Oil (Rubus idaeus)

By Ann C Wooledge
on July 18, 2013

Sun protection in a natural plant oil? Probably not after all...


Red raspberry seed (Rubus idaeus) oil was thoroughly analyzed in one 2000 study and among other impressive benefits was its SPF. But it is the ONLY study I can find.

But this particular carrier oil has an additional array of very beneficial properties which are the reasons that we include it in our Skin Renewal Intensive Facial Complex. 

Benefits of Red Raspberry Seed Oil: 

I love this oil and here are the reasons why. This oil will be available for sale on our website soon. Our virgin Raspberry Seed Oil is cold-pressed, unrefined and extracted from the seeds of raspberry fruit without solvents or chemical processing.

 1.      Contains 83% and greater (depending on source of information) of essential fatty acids, which is quite high by the way, and the ratio of linoleic, alpha linolenic and oleic, has been shown to significantly reduce the effects of oxidative stress - free radical damage - which equals aging and wrinkles. 

 2.      Contains high levels of carotenoids, which is vitamin A, and well-known for its skin healthy and anti-aging benefits.  Scientists say that mixtures of carotenoids when used with other antioxidants, such as vitamin E, can increase the overall activity against free radicals."

 3.      Contains "exceptionally high levels of alpha & gamma tocopherols (Vitamin E) and when combined with its Vitamin A content, provides excellent antioxidant activity." The gamma tocopherol (137-272 mg/100 grams) is "much higher than those reported for other vegetable oils and foods." 

  4.      Due to its high levels of phytonutrients and antioxidants, it is believed to contain clinically significant anti-inflammatory properties. Which is why it is good for rosacea. 

 5.      High SPF broad spectrum, UVA and UVB, protection? The one and only study that is often quoted is from 2000 by Oomah, et all,  and goes into quite some detail about the properties and benefits of this oil. They say that one of the really unique and beneficial properties about raspberry oil is its very high levels of natural SPF ranging between 28 and 50. In fact, it was noted that this oil when tested at full strength was equal to titanium dioxide in sun protection capabilities. You will find titanium dioxide used in many sunscreens. SPF values are never exact and how one person responds compared to another depends on many factors including skin health in general. However, adding this oil to any formula could possibly increase its natural sun protection properties. So - that being said, I would not depend on the proported SPF in this oil to provide the skin with significant broad-spectrum protection from both UV-A or UV-B rays.

Physical Properties:

I read several different and conflicting opinions as to color, texture and smell of this oil. One source said it had a "fishy" odor and another that it had a "mild, pleasant, berry-like" odor. I have purchased from 2 different reputable sources over the past 6 to 7 years and I find it to have a pleasant, almost berry-like odor as well. It's a light golden color. The viscosity is medium, it absorbs quickly and is non-greasy. Due to its stability and significant antioxidant properties, it could be used in a formulation to help extend the life of other oils more prone to early oxidation. I still keep it refrigerated though, in dark glass bottles.

Finally, not only does the oil have important benefits for the overall health of your skin, it also has specific benefits that significantly improve the texture and dryness of your skin. It is emollient, very moisturizing, and as mentioned earlier anti-inflammatory - which is why it is particularly good for those of us with rosacea. Use is as a stand-alone anti-aging wrinkle reducer or add it to other oils for an easy answer for moisturizing AND sun protection. We like to add it to jojoba oil which has a low SPF value of around 4 - but there are only a few oils that have sun protection properties. 

We include this oil in our Organic Skin Renewal Intensive Facial Complex you can find here.

Have you used raspberry seed oil? Have you used it as a sunscreen and how well did it work for you? 

Thanks for listening!




 Ann's mission statement is to provide health and wellness information to you and your family that you may not find in your every-day newspapers or Prevention magazines. Her college studies, certifications and passionate self-study have provided her with a huge spectrum of understanding of the intricate issues and debates concerning health and nutrition. Ann is a Critical Care Registered Nurse, a Certified Clinical Aromatherapy Professional, and has been studying nutrition, aromatherapy, skin care health and medicinal herbalism for at least 13 years. Not so surprisingly, all of these interact for health and wellness at a level we all want to achieve. She is an ardent pursuer of verified research and information and spends huge amounts of time searching for information that is relevant and evidence based. We sincerely hope you benefit from her efforts.

Hexane in that veggie burger?

By Ann C Wooledge
on August 03, 2011

Is there hexane in that veggie burger?

And do you know why hexane is used as compared to cold-processed or expeller pressed oils? Are  you worried about hexane residue in your veggie burger?  And as importantly, is there hexane in the oils you use to cook with or used to make your personal care products? We don't think it's a high risk in your veggie burger and the link below shows why, but we do buy and use 100% certified organic cold pressed oils and expeller pressed oils for all of our personal care products. These oils are always more expensive, 2 to 3 times for some oils and butters. We do that because these processes are done at lower temperatures and this retains the vitamins, antioxidants and other phytonutrients in the oils, not so much because we're concerned about hexane in non-organic oils. We're much more concerned about pesticide and herbicide residuals in non-organic oils. Below is some information about the different types of oil processes - things you might want to consider when purchasing your oils for cooking or your creams, soaps and cosmetics.

Why do we buy oils that are expeller pressed?

Our first choice is always cold pressed, but that's not always available in some oils. If we can't find cold-pressed for a particular oil, then we look for expeller pressed oils and butters. This is a process that does not use chemicals to extract the oil - which means, no hexane is used. Additionally, no external heat is applied in order to extract the oil. There is friction and, therefore, higher heat from the higher friction is required in some nuts or seeds that are harder and require more friction in order to extract the oil. So basically, expeller pressed means that the oil is extracted without using hexane or other chemicals. Using chemicals and high heat is a common practice for many conventional oils you find on the grocery stores and your cosmetic counters.

Why do we pay extra for cold pressed?

Well, cold pressed is just that - cold processed where temperatures are controlled to ensure that the seed or nut does not go higher than 100-120 degrees F (some are even processed as low as 80 to 90 degrees F).  By cold pressing, the key nutrients, essential fatty acids and phytonutrients are left intact. Obviously, this is a more labor intensive and expensive process, but worth it we think and definitely the "gold standard" for all oils. When we add these oils to our products, we also are very careful about keeping these oils at low temperatures, as we also do when infusing our organic herbs into the oils.

Avocado oil was the one that was the most obvious to me and finally convinced me we needed to change. We previously purchased a "cosmetic" grade avocado oil and when I asked the supplier if it made a difference whether I purchased the organic or cosmetic grade, he said no. I then asked was this oil "food grade" and he said no. It was then that I knew we should be purchasing not only food-grade oils, but certified organic ones. I decided to sample some of the different oils and purchased a certified organic cold-processed, unrefined avocado oil that is a beautiful deep green, thicker, and it seems obvious to me would contain far more nutrients than could possibly be retained in a high heat process used for cosmetic grade oils and butters. The picture here clearly shows the difference, even in spite of my amateur photography. The oil on the far right is our certified organic extra virgin olive oil, the same that we use for cooking and for our creams and soaps (30% in our soaps). The oil on the far left is the cosmetic grade Avocado oil we used before we knew better, and the middle avocado oil is our certified organic unrefined avocado oil. I'm visual and this was an obvious no brainer for me. The lesser grades of olive oil are also very thin and clear in color but that is what is used in most of the cosmetics and soap on the shelves today - and, unfortunately, in a lot of the extra virgin olive oil you probably pay a lot for at the grocery store - even the health food store. Not ours. Unrefined oils are always darker in color and more true to their natural seed, nut or fruit.

The cosmetic grade oils are refined at temperatures as high as 450 degrees - these oils are not a food grade oil. Some oils are "partially refined" which can include deodorization and bleaching. And, finally, and important we think, is that certified organic oils and butters are rigorously analyzed for chemical, pesticide or herbicide residue. We do not purchase oils that have been processed through high heat extraction as these methods produce unhealthy oils - if we can't eat it ourselves, we don't use it in our products.

So what about hexane in our veggie burgers?!

The link provided below gives a good analysis of whether this is true and to what extent it should influence  your purchasing habits. We do think it's important to look at the label and compare the oils you use for cooking as we believe it makes a difference in the content of vitamins, antioxidants and phytonutrients retained. Obviously, you're probably not going to know what type of oils are used in your cosmetics and other personal care products- except ours of course. And that's even assuming the product contains real oils and butters or just lots of synthetic chemicals to try to accomplish the same feel at a much lower cost - to them, not usually to you. But that's another story for another day.

Thanks for listening!

Acai Oil (Euterpe oleracea oil)

By Ann C Wooledge
on January 30, 2010

Acai oil (Euterpe oleracea) oil is full of high powered nutrients, anti-oxidants and other benefits which alerted us to its potential as an impressive ingredient for our anti-aging creams, soaps and serums. Studies indicate that the phenols in Acai oil act as antioxidants – and very powerful ones at that. We also use Acai extract in our formula’s – see the discussion below about the extract of Acai. Not only does Acai have a significant antioxidant profile, but it is also an excellent emollient and an effective moisturizer that will relieve dry skin and help reduce the appearance of aging skin. It is quickly absorbed leaving your skin soft and supple. We use a high percentage of both the Acai oil and Acai extract in our Skin Renewal Intensive Facial Complex – which is why it is tan in color, not white! We also use Certified Organic Acai pulp powder in our Pomegranate & Acai Organic Shea Butter Soap.

World’s #1 Super Food?": The Acai (pronounced ah-sigh-ee) berry, a more recent discovery from the rain forest, was proclaimed the “World’s #1 Super Food” on the Oprah Winfrey Show. Enough said, right? Well, no, not in our book. Although like everyone else, we do love Oprah, we decided to research this a little further. According to NBC Today, the Yanomami Indians harvested and used this phenomenal powerhouse as a food that “holds unique power.” They believed there was energizing power in both the fruit and its oil.

Miracle Skincare ingredient? So – in our never-ending search for beneficial, natural ingredients, we decided to take a look at this miracle fruit as a possible skin-care ingredient. Guess we weren’t the only ones interested and you will now find it listed in some of the most expensive skin care products on the market.

What is Acai oil and where does it come from?: The Acai palm tree is native to Brazil and other parts of Central and South America. The small purple berries hang in clusters from the tall palm tree and each berry contains one large seed. As with any fruit, we’ve learned that the darker, the better as far as antioxidant and phytonutrient power. The oil from the Acai is cold-pressed from the seeds of the Acai berry. Cold-pressed is the best way to obtain oils as this process retains the highest content of beneficial properties otherwise lost during a heat or solvent extraction. The oil is naturally deep golden to light brown.

Why is Acai oil so beneficial?: The Acai fruit does, in fact, contain a truly amazing nutrient profile with a combination of omega-3, omega-6 and omega 9 essential fatty acids that support cellular structure, phytosterols, vitamins such as B1, B2, B3, E, and C, minerals such as phosphorus, calcium, and potassium, and essential amino acids. And as importantly, the Acai fruit is rich in anthocyanins and phenols, which are powerful antioxidants. It is no secret that Vitamin C is essential for helping to rejuvenate and revitalize your skin. Research shows that the content of anthocyanins is reported to be an astounding 10-30 times higher than the anthocyanin content of red wine grapes.
Antioxidant values are calculated according to an ORAC value and the Acai fruit is shown to have a value higher than pomegranates or cranberries.

Acai extract: The extract we use generously in our creams, especially the Skin Intensive Facial Renewal, is produced using a blend of dried Acai pulp, vegetable glycerin and water. It is alcohol free, GMO free, preservative free and biodegradable. The extract, of course, contains all of the beneficial properties mentioned above. These antioxidants help to reduce cell death which causes the aging process, thereby keeping your skin more firm and youthful. The full-bodied extract that we use is naturally dark brown in color and if you purchase a cream that has any beneficial amounts, the cream will NOT be white, it will be cream colored to tan – which ours is.

So – you decide. Is Acai “The World’s #1 Super Food?” Well…maybe not, as we can think of others that are probably more nutrient dense. We’ll publish a blog very soon about foods and what it truly means to be nutrient dense. In the meantime though, definitely Acai is a powerful skin care ingredient and one you should look for while reading labels. And – please DO read the ingredient labels before you buy anything.

You can also check out an article by WebMD on Best Ingredients for Skin Care Products – you’ll see that we use them all!

Hopefully, healthfully helpful!


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