Originally published on Guide to Aromatherapy
In my first post, I covered nut-based carrier oils derived from sweet almond, arachis (peanut), coconut and hazelnut. Today’s post covers kukui, macadamia, pecan and walnut. All four can be used as carrier oil additives, as well as on their own.
Kukui nut oil
Kukui oil is quite an expensive oil which does not keep for very long, so is best bought in small quantities. It is a clear yellowish oil which is thin and non-greasy, with a light nutty aroma. It is pressed from the nuts of the candle nut tree (Aleurites moluccana), a native of Hawaii and South East Asia.
Kukui is great for skin care: it penetrates, moisturises, nourishes and soothes the skin. It is also great for burns of all kinds including sunburn, and is even used by some hospitals to treat burns from radiation therapy.
Research has found that kukui oil has skin regeneration properties, particularly helpful for damaged skin. It is also beneficial for psoriasis and eczema, and functions as a barrier against the elements of sun, wind and water, even though there’s no oily residue.
Kukui oil can be used on its own as a carrier oil or added to another carrier at a rate of about 10%. It is a useful addition to ointments and creams for the treatment of eczema and psoriasis. Because it is high in essential fatty acids it is also a good addition to body oils, particularly for mature skin.
Macadamia Nut Oil
This is a much thicker oil, enough to leave a residue when used alone. It is extracted by cold compression of macadamia nuts from Macadamia integrifolia trees, which are native to Australia.
Macadamia nut oil is a clear oil, slightly yellow in colour, and is an excellent choice for a massage oil due to its viscosity and slip.
Unlike most other carrier oils, macadamia nut oil is quite strongly scented, sweet and nutty. The fragrance is so strong that you may find that it overpowers the essential oils you blend with it, so it’s often used as an additive at a rate of about 10%, rather than on its own.
Macadamia oil is rich in palmitoleic acid (Omega-7), an oil naturally present in young skin, but which diminishes with age. This makes it useful for restoring mature skin’s natural healing ability. It is deeply penetrating because of its close similarity to natural skin oils, and very beneficial for dermatitis, eczema, burns and wounds (however, you should avoid using essential oils on wounds, even in dilution).
I offer macadamia nut carrier oil in my online shop.
Cold pressed from the pecan nut from the tree of the same name (Carya pecan), this is a medium oil with a slightly oily feel and a mild nutty aroma. It must be kept in a dark bottle and stored in a cool place to avoid rancidity.
Pecan oil can be used as an alternative to almond and grapeseed. It is almost clear in colour and is usually used for massage, alone or mixed with other oils at about 10%. When used alone, it will leave an oily residue on the skin.
This oil is extracted from walnuts from the English walnut, Juglans regia. It is light in colour, with a delicate texture and a rich, nutty aroma. You may wish to use it in dilution at a rate of around 10-20% to avoid overpowering the scent of your essential oils, although it’s great just on its own for body massage, soothing and refreshing, and will leave your skin feeling soft and smooth.
Even without the addition of essential oils, walnut oil is analgesic, antibacterial, antifungal, antiseptic and anti-inflammatory. It also has anti-ageing and skin rejuvenation properties. These properties probably explain why walnut is often used in creams, lotions and balms for anti-ageing and general skincare. It is very gentle and safe for use even on sensitive skin and can also be used as a make-up remover and skin toner.