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The Skin-Saving Power of Meadowfoam Seed Oil

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The Violet Files

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Facialist Angela Caglia explains why this relatively unknown oil is the next skin care hero ingredient—and essential for those in pursuit of a perfect complexion.

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In cooking, your food is only as good as your ingredients. The same applies with beauty. In a new series, we single out cutting-edge and under-the-radar hero ingredients to find out why they work, how they were discovered and—most importantly—what they can do to make you look better. Here are the heavy-lifters who underpin the formulations of your favorite products.

“It is a perfect oil,” gushes Angela Caglia. The Los Angeles facialist—whose uncanny ability to make skin glow has earned her a devoted celebrity clientele—is extolling the virtues of meadowfoam seed oil. Sorry, but what the hell is meadowfoam seed oil? And why haven’t we heard of it? And what have we been missing??

Let’s back up a bit. Caglia is an aesthetician with over two decades of experience, and the type of practitioner that beauty experts speak about in hushed, reverent tones. From her posh Bel Air studio, Caglia coaxes radiant skin out of uneven, stubborn complexions in the space of a single appointment, and multiple clients have issued the same report: “It was the best facial ever.” So when Caglia set out to a produce a range of skin care products, the bar was high: all-natural, performance-driven formulations that personified the notion of “eco-luxury.”


While developing her line, Caglia stumbled on the ingredient almost by chance: “I found an obscure lab in Oregon that was sourcing meadowfoam seed oil when no one was using it. I hadn’t worked with it during my years in the industry, so I asked the lab to send me a sample. I was blown away by what it did.” So much so that Caglia used the ultra-nourishing liquid in all of the products from her just-launched eponymous skin care collection. But why did it take so long for meadowfoam seed oil to be discovered? Caglia’s take on the lack of visibility: “I guess because it's not an exotic oil [the meadowfoam flower is native to Northern California and Oregon]. Companies probably don’t find the fact that it's a local resource compelling enough.”


For starters, meadowfoam seed oil locks in moisture and allows entire formulas to penetrate deep into the dermis. But the real superpower here is its superior ability to bring balance to your complexion. The oil's composition is strikingly similar to that of sebum (aka your skin oils), which makes a huge difference when it comes to keeping your face in that sweet spot between excessively oily and overly dry. “Think of it as getting a kiss of youthful moisture," says Caglia, "It leaves you with a plump, dewy, glowy complexion without the feeling of a heavy oil resting on your face.”

For the acne-burdened, the thought of incorporating an oil into one’s skin care regimen might seem counterintuitive. Caglia assures us that meadowfoam seed oil won't trigger flare-ups, “It soothes inflammation and acne-prone skin. It’s one of the reasons I decided to incorporate meadowfoam seed oil into my entire line. Everyone has different skin types, so I was adamant about creating formulas that wouldn’t clog pores or cause irritation.” Not only that, the oil boasts a rich antioxidant profile that lends it anti-aging properties and the ability to tackle fine lines, wrinkles, and dryness. “There are so many hormonal conditions that can cause an increase in oil or dryness, especially as we get older, so it’s great to have something that keeps complexions well-balanced and properly hydrated.”


As far as oils go, meadowfoam seed is one of the most stable. “That was huge for me,” says Caglia, “It supports the entire formula from oxidising.” Not only does this improve performance, it means you can hold on to your products for an extra three months—and that a longer shelf life translates to less waste. This impressed Caglia: “The fact that meadowfoam is eco-friendly makes it especially timely. I grew up on a farm, so it really spoke to me.”

With the growing demand for clean, effacacious ingredients, Caglia predicts that we’ll start seeing meadowfoam seed oil crop up in more and more products. “Right now it’s very much of an unknown, but I definitely think it’s going to become more popular. I see the results with my clients: they’re glowy and really happy with their skin—I want everyone to be.”