Can Meadowfoam Seed Oil Improve The Health of Your Hair and Skin?

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

Meadowfoam seed oil is relatively unknown compared with other oils commonly used in cosmetics, such as coconut oil and jojoba oil.

Although you may not have heard of meadowfoam seed oil, its unique chemical structure has the potential to moisturize your hair and skin without leaving a greasy feeling behind, though more research is needed in this area.

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Meadowfoam seed oil is extracted from the seeds of the white, flowering meadowfoam plant native to Oregon, California, and Western Canada. The plant also goes by the botanical name Limnanthes alba.

Meadowfoam seed oil benefits

There’s a very limited amount of research looking at the benefits of meadowfoam oil for skin and hair health. Most of the benefits are either anecdotal or theoretical, based on the properties of the oil.

Here are some of the potential benefits of meadowfoam oil for your skin, hair, and overall health.

Meadowfoam seed oil skin benefits

Meadowfoam seed oil acts as an emollient when applied to your hair or skin, according to a 2017 study.

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Emollients are substances that create a protective seal over your skin to lock in moisture. Other emollients commonly used in skincare products include:

  • shea butter
  • avocado oil
  • macadamia butter

When applied topically, emollients smooth out your skin and help keep it soft and supple. Most commercial moisturizers include emollients in their formula, along with other ingredients that draw water into your skin.

Meadowfoam seed oil has several traits that may make it a good choice to include in your skin care routine.

It contains more than 98 percent long-chain fatty acids that give it one of the highest stabilities of any vegetable oil and a long shelf life — without losing its effectiveness.

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Plus, meadowfoam oil doesn’t leave a greasy feeling when applied to your skin like some other emollients do.

Meadowfoam seed oil for stretch marks

One 2016 research review found positive results for treating stretch marks with a mixture shea butter, cocoa butter, olive oil, and meadowfoam seed oil. Although it’s impossible to draw conclusions from this single study, it’s at least a potential area for future research.

A small 2016 study found that a mix of argan oil and other emollients also showed positive results for early treatment of stretch marks. However, there were only 22 participants in the study and the researchers didn’t test meadowfoam seed oil specifically.

Meadowfoam seed oil for sun damage

A 2018 lab study examined two chemicals derived from meadowfoam, called 3- methoxybenzyl isothiocyanate and 3-methoxyphenyl acetonitrile, to assess whether they could protect the skin from UVB rays found in sunlight.

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The researchers exposed isolated human skin cells and human skin grown in vitro to UV light, and they found that these two chemicals did play a protective role.

The same researchers are also looking into the photoprotective effects of chemicals in the seed meal created as a by-product of meadowfoam seed oil production.

Meadowfoam seed oil hair benefits

The emollient properties of meadowfoam seed oil give it the potential to keep your hair hydrated by locking in moisture. And keeping your hair hydrated may prevent:

  • brittleness
  • tangling
  • frizz
  • dullness

A form of meadowfoam seed oil called dimeadowfoamamidoethylmonium methosulfate is sometimes used in hair conditioners to create a protective seal over your hair.

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It’s thought that conditioners containing meadowfoam seed oil may be a good choice for dyed hair since it’s resistant to oxidation and may minimize color stripping compared with other oils.

Potential side effects of meadowfoam seed oil

The Cosmetic Ingredient Review Expert Panel concluded that meadowfoam seed oil is safe for use in cosmetics, based on current scientific evidence.

However, any time you start using a new cosmetic product, there’s a chance of developing an allergic reaction. Some common symptoms of a cosmetic allergy include:

  • hives
  • redness
  • tingling
  • swelling
  • itchiness
  • rash
  • inflamed skin
  • scaly skin
  • blisters that ooze

Whenever you start using a new skin care or hair product, it’s a good idea to perform a patch test: Apply the product to a small section of your skin and wait 24 hours to see how it reacts before applying it to sensitive areas like your face or scalp.

How to use meadowfoam seed oil

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Meadowfoam seed oil is sold by itself and in blends with other oils. You’ll commonly find it in conditioners, moisturizers, and bath products.

You can apply meadowfoam seed oil to your hair in several ways:

  • Apply a conditioner that contains meadowfoam seed oil and follow the instructions on the bottle.
  • Apply a small amount of oil directly into your hair whenever it feels dry. Try rubbing about a teaspoon of oil into your palms, then rubbing it through your hair with your fingertips. If your hair is particularly dry or long, you may want to add more oil.
  • Let the oil sit on your scalp for a few hours or overnight, then rinse it out.

Meadowfoam seed oil is included in many moisturizers with a mixture of other oils and ingredients. If you’re using it in a moisturizer, you can apply it whenever your skin feels dry.

You can also pour a small amount of meadowfoam seed oil directly into your palms and rub it into any parts of your skin that feel dry, such as your elbows or hands.

Takeaway

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Meadowfoam seed oil has the potential to hydrate your skin and hair by creating a barrier to prevent moisture from escaping.

You can apply meadowfoam seed oil directly to your hair or skin, or look for products that contain meadowfoam seed oil in their ingredients list.

Meadowfoam seed oil is available at many places that sell cosmetics.

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