It’s cropping up in hair care, skin care, and even makeup products. Brands such as Marie Veronique, John Masters, and Sunday Riley are including it in their formulas. The Environmental Working Group's Skin Deep Cosmetic Database lists 63 products using broccoli seed oil (Brassica oleracea) as an ingredient. (The potent veggie oil scores a low hazard score of 1 on the EWG Skin Deep database.) Broccoli seed oil is gaining recognition as a natural alternative to silicone in cosmetics where high sheen and luster drive demand. But why? What’s so magical about broccoli seed oil?
Does broccoli seed oil really hydrate the skin like haulyuronic acid, gloss like silicone, anti-age like green tea, block like zinc, turnover cells like retinol, and reduce inflammation like turmeric?
That’s a lot of work from one single oil, right? Maybe, but the unique combination of essential fatty acids and potent antioxidants in broccoli seeds are game changing. At least, that’s what many experts are saying.
When I asked Marie Veronique, Founder of the eponymous natural skin care line that formulates with broccoli seed oil, why it’s so popular at the moment she gushed “If natural sun protection isn’t enough to make it a formulator’s dream ingredient, its ability to deliver emollience without the grease, and act as a moisturizer for both oily and dry skin types, make it a very desirable oil indeed,” she said. “It is excellent in addressing aging concerns such as dry skin and wrinkles because it is extremely moisturizing, yet easily absorbed. At the same time, it has the ability to reduce the greasiness of products it has been added to, so it is the ideal choice for moisturizing oily skin, which should never be allowed to get too dry.”
Broccoli seed oil is comprised of 80-85 percent polyunsaturated fatty acids including erucic acid (omega-9), oleic acid (omega-9), and linoleic acid (omega-6). Approximately 50 percent is erucic acid, an omega-fatty acid that imparts a silicone-like sheen and luster to hair and skin, and keeps them looking youthful. Gay Timmons, founder of Oh Oh Organic, a cosmetic ingredient distributor in North America solely dedicated to the sale of measurably sustainable ingredients agrees, “Broccoli Seed Oil is one of the many oils, (in cosmetics) with interesting antioxidant properties. It is very different. It brings actives to the game that other oils do not contain.”
Here are 8 reasons why the seed oil of this notoriously hated vegetable may well become the newest darling of natural cosmetics.
- Silicone Slip: It’s extremely difficult to find a texture that gives you that same dewy slip, feel, and glow as silicone. Light, non-greasy, and easily absorbed, broccoli seed oil won’t weigh hair down. “It is a boon to those of us plagued with curly hair that turns to frizz. A few drops of broccoli seed oil helps tame the frizzies, and makes dull hair shiny. It’s by way of being nature’s answer to silicone-laden hair gels,” says Veronique.
- Superior Hydration: The fast penetrating oil provides greaseless hydration and quickens hydration of the skin, while a-linoleic acid (ALA) acts as a membrane fluidizer and balancing agent to maintain ultimate skin hydration.
- Excellent Moisturizing: Not only do the essential fatty acids in the light lustrous oil help hydrate skin, but they also deeply penetrate to provide lasting moisture and smoothing for dry skin.
- Retinol Replacement: It’s rich in natural vitamin A (retinol), which can help increase cell turnover and help slough off old, dead skin cells. Additionally, linoleic acid promotes ceramide synthesis, thus contributing to regenerative processes in the skin. “[Broccoli seed oil] is particularly recommendable for mature skin lacking in smoothness, vitality, firmness, and moisture.” cites In-Cosmetics Asia.
- Powerful Antioxidant: In addition to vitamin A, broccoli seed oil also contains vitamins C, E, and beta-carotene.These vitamins provide antioxidant properties that fight free radicals while reducing the appearance of fine lines, wrinkles, and pigmentation.
- Reduced Inflammation: It’s packed with antioxidants. “Antioxidants are wonderful for reducing inflammation. Very small amounts are powerful and provide anti-inflammatory properties.” says Timmons. Also found in broccoli seed oil is another essential fatty acid called arachidonic acid, which is the second most abundant polyunsaturated fatty acid in the epidermis. It helps to reduce inflammation and calm the skin.
- Skin Health: Vitamins and minerals such as selenium, copper, zinc, and phosphorus found in dark green veggies like broccoli can improve skin’s overall immune system protecting it from skin infections and disease.
- Skin Cancer Protection: The anti-cancer compound sulforaphane found in broccoli provides protection against UV radiation by controlling the redness medically known as erythema which significantly reduces the risk of skin cancer. “Broccoli extract works differently from other antioxidants—rather than scavenging free radicals it is directly absorbed into the cells of the skin when applied topically,” says Veronique. “Inside the cells, it produces a matrix of protective enzymes that defend against damage from UV exposure. It works at the cellular level to reduce skin redness and inflammation caused by exposure to ultraviolet radiation.”
Broccoli image via Shutterstock
Paige is a Los Angeles based makeup artist and the author of The Green Beauty Rules. She is considered a leading authority on ‘green beauty’ and is often is often sought out by the press. You can read more from Paige at paigepadgett.com where she blogs about sustainable beauty, wellness and lifestyle.