Babassu seed oil (orbygnia oleifera) is a pale and clear vegetable oil extracted from the seeds of the babassu palm which grows in Brazil. It is solid at room temperature but has a melting point at around 76˚F. Babassu's impressive essential fatty acid profile gives it soothing, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It has an amazing velvety feel on the skin which provides a protective film that helps to restore skin’s barrier functions.
Not only is this a fabulous ingredient for skincare, but it is an oil that comes to us as a readily available natural resource harvested by local people. The women babassu breakers work locally, collecting nuts and extracting kernels at the same time as looking after their children and homes. The babassu palm is a vital source of income for local people. The status and influence of women has been significantly improved as a result of setting up a worker’s cooperative (COPPALJ) that has given women legal access to the land to harvest the nuts. COPPALJ has set up a community shop in each village, where the babassu breakers can trade their nut harvest in return for goods or cash. The co-operative then collects the nuts from the shops each week and takes them to its factory, where the nut kernels are pressed to extract oil. You can read more about this women’s industry here.