In the vast and beautiful continent of Africa, understood to be the origin of our existence, is a landscape which harbours a rich biodiversity of fauna and flora. The plant species indigenous to the continent are unique in their resilience and innate ability to adapt and flourish in the climatic extremes found between the subtropics.
With such an introduction, it is only to be expected that the ripe fruits belonging to these unique plants possess extraordinary natural ingredients, with remarkable properties. The African oils extracted from the seeds of these fruits have been used in beauty rituals passed down from generation to generation, inevitably ending up in most of the luxurious personal care products in your bathroom cabinet today. Chances are, your skin care and hair care products include an array of African oils, such as jojoba, argan, baobab and marula oil, but what of Kalahari melon oil, the latest entrant to the market that already has many people excited.
Kalahari melon oil may very well be the lesser known of the African oils and in fact, it has only recently made its way to the cosmetics industry, but this has not stopped it from becoming one of the best beauty oils on the market today. This article breaks down what makes it so special, and the 5 benefits Kalahari melon oil has over all the other African oils.
- The Story of Kalahari Melon Oil – as told by Nêô Sephiri
- What is Kalahari Melon Oil?
- The 5 Benefits of Kalahari Melon Seed Oil
- How to Use Kalahari Melon Seed Oil
The Story of Kalahari Melon Oil – as told by Nêô Sephiri
The story begins on a farm on the fringes of the Kalahari Desert, nestled within the North West Province of South Africa. Once an agricultural heartland, a few years ago the community experienced the worst drought in 80 years. Most crops withered away and perished in the unforgivable heat, forcing farmers to significantly scale down their land. One plant, however, continued to grow and flourish throughout the drought. This plant was the Kalahari melon.
Considered the ‘original wild watermelon’, this fruit is the evolutionary ancestor of the common watermelon, distinguishable by its distinctive and intensely bitter taste. These notable features meant that the plant was overlooked for centuries and considered worthless by local farmers, who actively managed it out of agriculture. It was not until scientists began to investigate the properties beyond its hardy skin and bitter flesh, that they discovered the Kalahari melon seed possessed an oil quite unlike that of standard watermelon seeds – in fact, it possessed an oil unlike any other beauty oil currently available on the market.
What is Kalahari Melon Oil?
Kalahari melon oil (or citrullus lanatus seed oil for those in the know) is a nourishing and hydrating oil, concentrated for skin cell recovery and moisture balance. It boosts the health of your skin barrier by providing it with the nutrients it needs for growth and repair at the cellular level. These incredible benefits are owing to the uniquely potent combination of two crucial components: linoleic acid and vitamin E, which synergistically repair and protect your skin barrier.
Linoleic acid, also known as vitamin F, is an omega-6 essential fatty acid (EFA), which means that it is essential for the proper and healthy function of your skin cells. Despite this your body cannot produce it and therefore it needs to be supplemented through your diet or topically via skin care.
After harvesting and splitting open the melons, each melon seed is collected, dried and cold pressed to produce a 100% natural plant oil, which should not be confused for an essential oil. Organic Kalahari melon seed oil smell is neutral, owing to the oil being fragrance-free, whereas essential oils are highly fragrant and, ironically, not essential. In fact, the safety data sheet (a report containing information on the safety of a chemical) corresponding to most essential oils states that they pose a high risk of skin irritation.
In the past Kalahari melon oil has been suggested for use as a carrier oil (an oil that can carry essential oils into your skin), however this use is not recommended, due to the oil having so many more extraordinary benefits to offer.
The 5 Benefits of Kalahari Melon Seed Oil
1. Rich in Essential Fatty Acids
The unique fatty acid profile of Kalahari melon oil shows that it is rich in essential fatty acids, which are essential to your skin. The oil harbours twice the amount of essential fatty acids compared with argan oil and baobab oil, meaning that it has greater antioxidant properties. More specifically, Kalahari melon seed oil comprises an astounding 70% linoleic acid content, higher than most other African oils. Once applied to your skin the linoleic acid integrates within your skin cell wall structure, where it functions as an essential building block for the production of ceramides; crucial components of your epidermal barrier.
2. The Highest Vitamin E Levels of all the African Oils (or any other oil, for that matter)
Kalahari melon oil is naturally rich in vitamin E*, containing a higher content than any other cosmetic oil. It contains five times more vitamin E compared with argan oil and approximately 10 times more compared with marula oil. This means that the oil possesses extremely powerful antioxidant properties and is superior in preventing the signs of premature skin aging, such as wrinkles and the appearance of fine lines. Vitamin E nourishes and hydrates your skin, while also behaving as a natural preservative, stabilising the other components within the oil. The extraordinary high vitamin E levels in Kalahari melon oil naturally stabilises the components for longer than other African oils, ensuring prolonged and long-lasting activity on your skin.
*Also known as tocopherol when in its natural form. In other cosmetic oils you may see the term tocopherol acetate, which means that the vitamin E was added in a laboratory.
3. It’s Lightweight & Fast Absorbing
The exceptionally high levels of linoleic acid in Kalahari melon oil creates a very dry oil that absorbs quickly into your skin without leaving behind a greasy or sticky residue. The lightweight and fast-absorbing texture benefits all skin types, including those with oily skin.
Being a dry facial oil means that it is versatile for use in both your morning and night-time routine. In the AM the oil can be used as a primer before applying your SPF, whereas in the PM you can use it in the final step of your routine, locking in moisture and allowing the linoleic acid to go to work on your skin cells, without leaving a greasy residue on your pillow while you sleep.
4. Controls Sebum Production
Your sebum (oil) is made up of lipids (fats), including linoleic and oleic fatty acids. If you have oily or acne-prone skin, your sebum is likely to be deficient in linoleic acid, yet rich in oleic acid, resulting in a thick and greasy consistency – which causes acne. The rich linoleic acid content of Kalahari melon seed oil restores this imbalance, replenishing your sebum’s natural linoleic acid levels. This helps to reduce and control sebum production and clogged pores, benefiting oily and acne-prone skin types. Additionally, these incredible properties make the oil ideal for use as a natural facial cleansing oil.
Furthermore, the Kalahari melon oil comedogenic rating (a scale to measure the ability for the oil to clog your pores) is 0 – 1. This extremely low score denotes that it will rarely clog your pores, making it more suitable than jojoba and baobab oil, which both achieved a comedogenic rating of 2.
5. Superior Sustainability
Each individual drop of Nêô Sephiri’s Pure Kalahari Melon Facial Oil can be precisely traced back to a single farm in the Kalahari Basin, where sustainability is at the heart of production. The melon is sustainably superior in its requirement for very little water and desire for arid and underutilised land. By harnessing the drought-resistant biology of the Kalahari Desert melon and performing their organic production process onsite, Nêô Sephiri are securing livelihoods for marginalised communities, which have been affected by recent acute climate change in South Africa.
Tree-based African oils, such as argan, baobab, marula and sweet almond oil, can take up to 20 years to mature before they can begin to produce oil, whereas the Kalahari melon is a plant-based African oil. This means it has no maturation period and can easily cope with the increasing demand of the global cosmetic trade.
The drought resistant biology of the Kalahari melon – and the fact that it is indigenous to the Nêô Sephiri farm – means that this melon can grow in underutilised areas, away from forests and food crops. It is also a seasonal crop, meaning production can scale and contract to meet global demand in a sustainable fashion.
How to Use Kalahari Melon Seed Oil
Nêô Sephiri recommends using their Pure Kalahari Melon Facial Oil as a final step in your night-time skincare routine.
- Apply three to five drops to your fingertips.
- Press the oil gently across your face.
- Finish by massaging your neck and décolleté.
Nêô Sephiri’s application method is very flexible and can be adapted, depending on your individual skin type and desired skin goals. One suggestion involves adding a few drops mixed into your moisturiser for an extra antioxidant boost, alternatively you could use it after moisturising to lock in hydration or you may wish to skip the moisturiser all together, with the facial oil alone providing your skin with a natural glow.
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