Raw vs. Refined oil - Is there a Difference When It Comes to Skincare?
You have probably heard a lot about refined and unrefined oils when it comes to cooking oils; but have you thought about which type of oil is being used in your natural skincare products? For example, if your serum consists of rosehip oil, is it refined or unrefined? Does it even matter?
First, let’s go though the difference between refined and unrefined oils.
Unrefined oils (also referred to as ‘raw’, ‘virgin; and ‘extra virgin’) are generally either cold-pressed or expeller-pressed. It means they are minimally processed using pressure and low-temperature controlled conditions to extract the oil from the fruit, seed, or other parts of the plant. This initial refining process removes cloudiness, pulp and other large particles in the oils.
These relatively gentle methods of extraction allow oils to retain their plant-specific compounds. This is the portion of the oil that contains the vitamins, minerals, proteins, carotenes, antioxidants, and many additional compounds that make up the healing fraction of the oil, and give each type of oil its distinctive colour, taste, scent and nutritional value.
Unrefined or raw oils are the most desired to use in skincare, as the minimal processing ensures a high quality, nutrient-rich, authentic-to-nature oil which is true in its colour and scent.
When an oil is further refined beyond the initial stages of extraction mentioned above, it undergoes various further methods of processing. Refining doesn’t change the fatty acid profile of an oil, but it removes those precious, plant-specific compounds that give individual oils their nutritional and antioxidant values are stripped away during this refining process. Refined oils have less active compounds compared to raw oils, as the further processing damages these elements. They are also often less expensive, and have a longer shelf life than raw oils.
Raw oils often have rich colours and distinctive scents, whereas refined oils are generally colourless and odourless. Some unrefined oils, such as avocado, meadowfoam and sea buckthorn oil carry a strong colour or smell.
The big players in the cosmetic industry often don’t want oils that are full of colour and scent because they would interfere with the look and feel of the final product. That's why they usually use refined oils in skincare products. The refined oil will still give a similar emollency to the end skincare product but the healing benefits have been stripped away along with the scent and colour.
You may have already noticed the rich colours of our facial oils. Creating skincare products using raw oils that are rich in vitamins, antioxidants and nutrients is key to the efficacy of our products. We believe in using unrefined oils as much as possible to provide products that nourish your skin in a natural and healthy way!