The science of formulating wholesome skin care products lies in the selection of the base oils and butters used to create each recipe. Each natural oil and butter lends unique properties to the finished product.
A great deal of experimentation has gone into finding just the right combinations of oils and butters to create Chagrin Valley natural skin and hair care products.
We use unrefined oils and butters whenever available. Unrefined oils retain their natural scent, color and nutritional benefits.
Some base oils and butters, such as kokum butter and illipe butter, are not available as certified organic. But since we are a certified organic company, we are required to submit documentation that even our "non-organic ingredients" were produced without the use of toxic pesticides, genetically modified organisms (GMOs), sewage sludge, solvents or irradiation.
(Sweet) Almond Oil, Prunus dulcis, cold pressed from the dried kernels of the almond tree, is moisturizing, nourishing properties and is easily absorbed, leaving the skin soft and smooth without a greasy feel. It is rich in essential fatty acids, vitamins A, B1, B2, B6, and E and is said to relieve dry, itchy skin. In hair care, sweet almond oil helps condition, nourish, and soften hair.
Aloe Vera Butter is an extraction of healing aloe
in coconut oil so that it can be used like a butter. Aloe Butter melts on contact with the skin and is wonderful for treating dry skin, eczema, psoriasis, rosacea, sunburn and chapping. This great product moisturizes and also includes all of the wonderful healing properties of aloe.
Apricot Kernel Oil, Prunus armeniaca, is a light expeller pressed oil rich in vitamins A, D and E and in oleic and linoleic acids. Non-greasy and easily absorbed into the skin, apricot kernel oil is frequently used in massage. A great moisturizing and conditioning oil for mature and sensitive skin and skin that is inflamed and dry.
Argan Oil, Argania spinosa, produced from the kernels of the Moroccan argan tree, is prized for its ability to improve the quality of skin. Rich in vitamin E, natural squalene, phytosterols and essential fatty acids it helps reduce wrinkles and fine lines. It contains natural anti-inflammatory agents that help with inflamed skin, sebum regulating properties to help reduce the appearance of blemishes and acne and hefty dose of antioxidants to neutralize free radicals. Argan oil improves skin hydration and skin elasticity leading to a firmer, smoother complexion. In hair care it penetrates deep to moisturize, replenish nutrients, and help fight breakage to promote soft, silky hair with a lustrous, beautiful shine. The nutrients found in argan oil promote hair growth and help prevent damage to the hair including hair loss.
- Avocado Oil, Persea gratissima,
expeller pressed from the pulp of the avocado fruit, is rich in vitamins A, D and E. Avocado oil is very penetrating and imparts valuable nutrients to the skin because it is a penetrating oil rich in vitamins A, B1, B2 panthothenic acid, E and lecithin and fatty acids. Great for dun damaged and mature skin. In hair care it helps restore luster and hydrate dry and damaged ends.
- Babassu Oil, Orbignya oleifera, expeller pressed from the seeds of the native Brazilian babassu palm, has been used for generations by indigenous cultures of South America as a natural moisturizer. A fast penetrating oil, Babassu is one of nature’s richest emollients and is especially good for eczema, itchy , dry and inflamed skin. In hair care babassu oil nourishes, moisturizes and restores hair strength, giving you shiny, healthy-looking hair.
- Beeswax, Cera alba, is produced by the (female) worker honeybees. The bees mold the wax into six-sided cells which are filled with honey and then capped with more wax. When honey is harvested, the top layer of wax that covers the cells, called the cappings, must be removed. Our unrefined beeswax, which contains some honey and propolis varies in color from yellow through brown and retains the sweet smell of honey. Beeswax forms a lovely, light barrier on your skin that prevents loss of moisture and helps seal in moisturizing oils and butters, without clogging pores. In hair care Beeswax adds moisture, hydration, and softness to hair and can add shine and glossiness to dull hair.
Borage Oil, Borago officinalis, pressed from the seeds of the Borage plant, has the highest concentration of the Omega-6 fatty acid, gamma linolenic acid (GLA) naturally found, higher than in any other plant source! Borage oil restores moisture and smoothness to dry and damaged skin and provides relief from chronic skin disorders such as eczema and atopic dermatitis.
Canola Oil, Brassica napus canola, is a moisturizing oil that promotes healthy skin. It is nutritious, conditioning, penetrating, and great for all skin types. Rich in essential fatty acids, canola oil helps prevent moisture loss, conditions, and softens skin. It is a fabulous oil in soaps and adds a silkiness to the lather. We use (non GMO) or Organic canola oil. In hair care, canola oil penetrates the hair shaft and revitalizes and softens hair as it imparts shine. It helps repair damaged and smooth split ends as it provides a protective barrier.
Carrot Root Oil, a rich golden oil obtained from infusing carrots, is not the same as Carrot Seed Essential Oil. We make our own carrot root oil, rich in beta-carotene, that is especially great for mature, sensitive, or sun-damaged skin, and for inflammatory skin conditions. In hair care carrot root oil helps to balance the moisture and conditions the hair.
Castor Bean Oil, Ricinus communis, also known as Palma Christi oil, is expeller pressed from the castor bean plant. Rich in fatty acids, it is a soothing, lubricating oil that is readily absorbed by the skin. It moisturizes by acting as a humectant to attract and lock moisture to the skin. Castor bean oil adds mildness and richness to soap and provides a conditioning, fluffy lather with thick, large bubbles. In hair care castor oil is commonly used in hair conditioners and in hot oil treatments for brittle, damaged hair or hair loss. Castor oil coats the hair shaft and smooths the cuticle layer, sealing in moisture and leaving the hair feeling soft and silky. Read more about Castor Oil
Cocoa Butter, Theobroma cacao, a prime pressed creamy yellow butter from the seed of the Cacao Tree, has the distinct aroma of chocolate. Cocoa butter is an excellent all over the body moisturizer as it acts as an emollient (softening and soothing to the skin) that adds a protective layer that locks in natural moisture. It soothes and softens dry, itchy skin. The natural emolliency, moisturizing and antioxidant characteristics of cocoa butter make it an excellent choice for dry overworked skin. Cocoa butter is often found in products that claim to reduce the appearance of stretch marks and scars. In soap, cocoa butter helps make a hard, very moisturizing bar - great for very dry skin. In hair care cocoa butter easily absorbs into the hair and imparts sheen. It locks in moisture and helps protect the hair shaft. We use is unrefined cocoa butter, which ensures that all of its special properties remain intact --plus, it smells good enough to eat!
Coconut Oil, Cocos nucifera, from the fruit of the Coconut Palm, is a great moisturizer. When rubbed into the skin, the rich natural fats are easily absorbed and penetrate deeply to plump up your cells creating a smoother, softer, healthier and more youthful appearance This oil gives soap cleansing properties and makes a rich creamy lather with big, fluffy bubbles. In hair care it is used as a hair tonic to stimulate
the scalp and encourage hair growth.
Virgin Coconut Oil, Cocos nucifera, is a light, penetrating oil extracted from freshly cut coconuts. The fresh coconut meat is grated and then expeller pressed to produce the coconut milk. This milk is centrifuged to separate the milk into coconut solids, water and oil. This result is a very creamy coconut oil that retains the smell of fresh coconut milk. This cold process extraction takes place within hours of opening the coconuts and thus conserves the nutritive components of coconuts such as natural squalene and vitamin E. We use certified organic virgin coconut oil.
Evening Primrose Oil, Oenothera biennis, expeller pressed from the seeds of the Evening Primrose Flower, is high in vitamins and minerals. As a rich source of fatty acids, including gamma-linolenic acid (GLA), it promotes healthy skin by restoring moisture and helping to maintain skin elasticity. Soothing Evening Primrose has been used to help with conditions like eczema, is an excellent oil for dry, aging or chapped skin, or massage.
Flaxseed Oil, Linum usitatissimum, rich in vitamins and minerals, is also a source of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids and the essential fatty acid alpha-linolenic acid (ALA). Flaxseed oil helps seal moisture into the skin, reduces inflammation, which may help with psoriasis and eczema, and softens the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles. In hair care, flaxseed oil has been use topically to improve hair strength and shine, minimize dandruff and flakiness, moisturize and help prevent hair loss.
Grapeseed Oil, Vitis vinifera, extracted from the seeds of grapes, is a lightweight oil that easily absorbs into the skin without leaving a greasy feeling. It is very rich in linoleic acid, (Omega 6), an moisturizing fatty acid quite important for the skin and cell membranes. In hair care, grapeseed oil promotes healthy hair and has been used in conjunction with jojoba oil and essential oils as an anti-hair loss massage. It also has good slippage for detangling hair.
Hemp Seed Oil, Cannabis sativa, is not, as so many people assume, the same plant as marijuana. It is a non-narcotic variety. Hempseed oil, expeller pressed from a tiny nut, contains about 20 to 35 percent protein. One of the world's richest sources of polyunsaturated fats, it contains more naturally occurring essential fatty acids (EFA) than any other plant-derived oil. Rich in vitamin E, hemp seed oil penetrates the skin to moisturize and sooth. In hair care, hemp seed oil imparts luster and manageability to hair, bringing relief from dry scalp or hair damage.
Illipe Butter, Shorea stenoptera, is obtained from the nuts of a magnificent tree that grows in the forests of Borneo. For centuries, the inhabitants of the island have been using his butter as a treatment for skin problems. Illipe butter, similar in nature to cocoa butter, moisturizes and helps restore skin elasticity. Many believe it to be the most nourishing of the healing butters.
Jojoba Oil, Buxus sinensis, expeller pressed from the jojoba bean, has been used for skin and hair care for hundreds of years. Jojoba (pronounced "ho-ho-ba) oil is not an oil but liquid wax. The structure so closely resembles that of your own skin sebum, it is considered nature's most effective natural moisturizer. It penetrates the skin easily, has anti-inflammatory actions and can be used on acne without any problems. It is great for mature, aging skin and exceptional mildness for sensitive skin. In hair care products, jojoba provides shine, promotes hair growth and improves the health of the scalp and hair.
Kokum Butter, Garcinia indica, a highly prized butter obtained from a tree in India, is non-comedogenic, high in vitamin E, and rich in essential fatty acids. It has been used traditionally in India to soften skin and restore elasticity and as a balm for dry, cracked, rough and calloused skin. It is a great ingredient to add to healing creams and body butters because of its ability to soothe and heal chapped dry skin.
Mango Butter, Mangifera indica, a gentle butter obtained from the fruit kernels of the Mango tree, is rich in essential fatty acids necessary to restore skin tone, elasticity and flexibility. It is a great moisturizer for all skin types, but especially mature, dry or sun-damaged akin. Nourishing mango butter helps provide relief from the dryness of eczema and psoriasis. In hair care, mango butter replaces moisture, adds softness, elasticity and shine to your hair.
Neem Oil, Azadirachta indica, cold pressed from the fruit of the Neem or Margosa tree, is an excellent moisturizing oil whose medicinal use can be traced back to the Indian Harappa culture, 4,500 years ago. Known as “the village pharmacy" in India, neem plays an essential role in Ayurvedic medicine as an antiseptic to fight viruses and bacteria. The neem fruit, with its garlicky odor, has been used in the treatment acne, psoriasis and eczema. It is especially gentle and nourishing when used for itchy, sensitive or dry skin conditions. In hair care, it is used to treat itchy, irritated scalps, dandruff and other scalp problems. Regular use of neem oil products may also help with thinning hair since the oil promotes hair growth and strengthens hair from the roots.
Olive Oil, Olea europea, obtained from cold pressed olives, attracts external moisture, holds the moisture close to the skin, and forms a breathable film to prevent loss of internal moisture. Since the fat composition of olive oil is very similar to that of human skin, it rarely causes allergic reactions and does not block the natural functions of the skin. Olive oil is believed to have healing properties and helps keeps skin soft, supple and younger looking. In hair care, olive, used for centuries in hot oil treatments, helps repair split ends, control dandruff, and makes your hair shiny, silky, and lustrous.
Olive squalane is a botanical lipid that is similar to the squalene produced by our skin’s sebaceous glands. Olives have the largest percentage of vegetable squalene. Human skin naturally produces squalene, which helps protect and lubricate skin. Squalene production increases during adolescence, when it composes up to 15% of skin fats, and peaks around age 25. As we age, our skin produces less and less squalene and by the time we are 50 it can be as low as 5%. Olive squalane is a unique emollient refined from natural olive squalene that penetrates quickly and absorbs deeply. Squalane is believed to help to promote cell growth and help with dry, rough skin, and skin irritations like eczema and psoriasis. Squalane is often found in anti-aging and wrinkle reducing products. Years ago squalane used in cosmetics was derived from shark liver. Squalene is also found in small quantities in wheat germ oil and rice bran oil.
Palm Oil, Elaeis guineensis, is produced from the pulp or fleshly portion of the fruit of the palm. Palm oil is an excellent moisturizer and never dries out skin. It makes a nice hard bar of soap that cleans well when used in combination with other oils such as coconut and olive oil. It lends hardness and smooth creamy bubbles to soap. Palm oil is universal and used in many luxury soaps and skin care products.
The palm oil we use is organic and certified sustainable by the Rainforest Alliance. To be certified by the Rainforest Alliance, products must come from forests that have met rigorous standards for protecting forestlands, communities and wildlife.
Read about sustainable Palm Oil
Palm Oil Virgin, Elaeis guineensis, has a vivid orange color from the Beta-Carotene content which is 15 times more than that found in carrots. Rich in Vitamins A & E, virgin palm is excellent for skin nutrition and protection
and to maintain a healthy complexion. The nutrients in virgin palm oil can help minimize the signs of aging, soothe and heal acne,
relieve psoriasis and eczema, and fight fine lines and wrinkles and
help. In hair care, virgin palm oil conditions, is great for dry hair,
and may help help with hair loss.
- Pomegranate Seed Oil, Punica granatum, a rich, nutritious oil, contains high levels of anti-oxidants. It helps fight free radicals and skin aging; helps heal, protect and moisturize dry, cracked, mature, and irritated skin; revitalizes dull or mature skin, assists with wrinkles; improves skin elasticity; and soothes minor skin irritations, including dry skin, eczema, psoriasis and sunburn.
Pomegranate seed oil is very expensive. It takes over 200 pounds of fresh pomegranates to produce one pound of pomegranate seed oil!
Pumpkin Seed Oil, Cucurbita pepo, is derived from the Styrian pumpkin with
dark green seeds. The seeds do not have an outer shell and are
easily processed into oil. We use virgin pumpkin seed oil, cold
pressed from the seeds, with a naturally a dark green color and a
nutty aroma. This highly nourishing and emollient oil is rich in
vegetable protein and contains many valuable nutrients and phytosterols. Pumpkin seed oil is particularly high in
the gamma tocopherol form of vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant.
Rich in essential fatty acids that regulate skin oil
(sebum) production, it is great for both oily/acne-prone skin and
dry damaged skin. It helps combat fine facial lines and
dryness and may be helpful for eczema and psoriasis. In hair care, it helps protect hair follicles and promote shine. It is an emollient that moisturizes and helps smooth frizz.
Rice Bran Oil: We no longer use Rice Bran Oil because it is only available as a solvent (usually hexane) extracted oil. Raw materials that are solvent extracted are not allowed to be used in certified organic products. While we found numerous companies advertising "cold pressed" rice bran oil, when we asked for the documentation needed for our organic certification stating that the oil was not hexane extracted we received replies like, "that documentation is not available," "there is an error on our website," "we will get back to you", or most often no response at all! So much for honest advertising and accountability!
Rosehip Oil, Rosa rubiginosa, has been used for centuries to treat
wounds and inflammation. Rose hips are the seed pod left after the
rose petals fall off. The retinoic acid found in Vitamin A helps
improve fine lines and wrinkles, while the antioxidants and omega
fatty acids protect cells from damage. It easily penetrates dry skin
to restore needed moisture and help delay the effects of aging. When
used as an ointment or topical cream, rosehips oil promotes healing
of eczema, rosacea, dermatitis and burns, including radiation and
sunburn. It has been known to diminish stretch marks and sunspots
and work wonders on scars from surgery and acne.
Seabuckthorn Oil, Hippophae rhamnoides, fruit comes from a deciduous shrub native to Europe and Asia. The entire berry, fruit and seeds, is pressed resulting in a resulting in a deeply colored oil packed with nutrients. The berries have high levels of Vitamin C, omega-3 oils, palmitoleic acid, antioxidants (like vitamin E), B vitamins and beta-carotene, which gives the berries their characteristic color. The high levels of nutrients help improve skin elasticity, repair damaged and dry skin, normalize sebaceous secretions and combat symptoms of aging skin such as wrinkles. Seabuckthorn has anti-inflammatory and anti-microbiological activity that helps promote wound healing and reduce scarring by encouraging tissue regeneration. When used as an ointment or topical cream, seabuckthorn oil promotes healing of eczema, rosacea, and burns, including radiation and sunburn. There are claims that seabuckthorn oil kills demodex mites that often cause rosacea. Seabuckthorn oil is very expensive. Ten pounds of berries are needed to produce one pound of oil. It is so concentrated that it may temporarily stain the skin. Our seabuckthorn oil is processed by the cold press method of the entire berry with seeds.
Sesame Seed Oil, Sesame indicum, expeller pressed from whole sesame seeds, is one of the best oils
to nourish your skin. It contains loads of vitamin E along with vitamin B complex and vitamin A which helps nourish and rejuvenate skin.
Sesame oil, used for massage and health treatments in ayurvedic medicine, contains a potent antioxidant called sesamol that is beneficial for mature aging skin and helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
We use only unrefined Shea Butter - - Read our Shea Butter Tutorial
Shea Nut Butter, Butyrospermum parkii, also known as African Karite Butter, has been shown to increase the healing of wounds and improve scars. It is used to soothe burns, rashes, severely dry skin, and to lessen the irritation of eczema and psoriasis. It penetrates deep, moisturizes and nourishes, and is excellent for dry, damaged and maturing skin. Shea butter contains unsaponifiable fats, which do not turn to soap and thus supply wonderful moisturizing properties in a bar of soap. In hair care Shea Butter provides deep nourishment for the hair shaft, and moisturizes dry, dull hair resulting in improved luster and manageability. It is particularly beneficial for processed and heat-treated hair and is also believed to help promote new hair growth.
- Shea Olein, Butyrospermum parkii, is true liquid shea butter, not a solvent extracted shea oil. The two most prevalent natural fatty acids in shea butter are stearic acid and oleic acid. Stearic acid is solid at room temperature and oleic (the major fatty acid in olive oil) is liquid at room temperature. If cold pressure or gentle heat is applied, the oleic portion will melt first and can be separated out. Much more solid shea butter is produced than liquid shea oil, thus the liquid shea is a precious commodity.
The separation process is non-chemical and involves a simple physical separation so there are no chemical residues to worry about. Shea Olein is a valuable ingredient in cosmetics due to its high content of unsaponifiables, the most healing fraction. Shea olein penetrates quickly and is great for for dry skin and damaged hair. It is believed to have exceptional nourishing, protective and reparative properties, which may help with aging and/or irritated skin. It also makes an excellent massage oil and leaves hair feeling healthier and more manageable.
Sunflower Oil, Helianthus annuus, expeller pressed from the seeds, is very high in essential fatty acids and helps to moisturize, regenerate and condition the skin. This oil is easily absorbed and can be used on all skin types. It is high in tocopherols (vitamin E), a natural antioxidant, making it especially helpful for delicate, dry or mature skin. It is known to be one of the most moisturizing vegetable oils. In hair care, nutrient-rich sunflower oil moisturizes, nourishes and protects for silky, strong, healthy hair. Sunflower oil is said to be a hair strengthener and prevent aging of the hair follicle.
Tamanu Oil, Calophyllum inophyllum, cold pressed from the nuts of the Tamanu tree, has been used in Tahiti for centuries to heal wounds and skin damage. Its ability to heal damaged skin has been demonstrated in clinical studies. Tamanu, rich in fatty acids, has antibacterial, antimicrobial and antifungal properties. Tamanu oil fades stretch marks, helps improve the appearance of scars, promotes new tissue formation and encourages healthy skin growth to aid in healing minor cuts, burns, rashes, acne, eczema, rosacea, and other skin conditions. It contains a high content of calophyllic fatty acid, an anti-inflammatory that is said to reduce signs of aging and relieve puffiness around the eyes. When massaged into the skin, Tamanu has demonstrated relief from neuralgia, rheumatism and sciatica. Tamanu oil has a rich earthy scent and although it is a
relatively thick oil, it is non-comedogenic (non-pore clogging). Tamanu is safe for use on oily, acne-prone or sensitive skin. I love adding Tamanu Oil to the skin care recipes because its therapeutic healing capacity is amazing. Tamanu oil is very expensive. It takes 220 pounds (100 kg) of Tamanu fruit to make 11 pounds (5 kg) of oil.
Walnut Oil, Juglans nigra, expeller pressed from the walnut, is an excellent moisturizer and a great emollient. Walnut oil,
a deep penetrating, very nourishing oil, absorbs quickly into the skin and has a mild astringent action which stimulates circulation. It is believed to have anti-aging, regenerative and skin toning properties, which makes it wonderful for damaged or maturing skin. Walnut oil is an excellent hair care oil. It helps condition your hair and to provide flowing, smooth, and manageable hair.
Wheat Germ Oil, Triticum vulgare, expeller pressed from the germ of the wheat kernel, is rich in vitamins and minerals. We use virgin wheat germ oil, rich in vitamin E, a natural antioxidant, which is believed to promote skin elasticity, nourish skin cells, and prevent moisture loss resulting in smoother, younger looking skin. In hair care, wheat germ oil improves the scalp’s ability to utilize oxygen, leaving the scalp healthy and softens hair.
Please Note: The information on this website is for educational purposes only and is in no way intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease or health condition. If you have medical concerns regarding yourself or your family you should seek the advice of qualified, licensed health professionals. This information has not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration.
Please read our Medical Disclaimer.