10 Best Zero Waste Oils for Skincare and Haircare

10 Best Zero Waste Oils for Skincare and Haircare

The future of beauty involves a greater focus on sustainability through ingredients such as zero waste oils. In fact, the demand for sustainable ingredients is growing rapidly as indie beauty formulators and entrepreneurs understand that their customers want to know the provenance of their beauty ingredients.

We invited Thomas Kerfoot of O&3 – The Oil Family to write today’s blog post for us, in which he lists 10 of the very best zero waste oils for use in your formulations. And yes, before you ask, O&3 do indeed ship worldwide! We’ve tried their oils here at Formula Botanica and love them very much.


What is Zero Waste Beauty?

Zero waste means that we aim to send nothing to a landfill, incinerators or the oceans. This lofty goal may sound impossible to achieve, but is worth serious consideration when you realise that the average person in the United States throws away their body weight in rubbish every month.

Experts predict that global solid waste generation will exceed 11 million tonnes per day by 2100. The drive towards zero waste beauty is a necessary requirement to help prevent pollution, although it is important to recognise that every beauty product will have some waste footprint somewhere throughout its supply chain.

Listen now: Zeroing in on Zero Waste Beauty

We are all striving to play our part in the fight for a cleaner, healthier planet. Whether it’s readdressing our home recycling methods, adjusting how we travel, or considering the impact of buying certain products.

Drastic measures have been made in the personal care sector with regards to reducing waste already but there is so much more work to do. Ingredient suppliers like O&3 are playing their part by striving to offer zero-waste ingredients to empower formulators to promote sensible consumer habits and further consider our beautiful planet.

What are Zero Waste Oils?

Every formulator will know how amazing carrier oils are in skincare and haircare. In fact, many formulators choose to only work with oils because they are such effective and beautiful ingredients. Luckily, various oil producers have now started using waste ingredients to create zero waste oils, which are not only great for us as formulators but also meet important principles of environmental sustainability.

The supermarkets decided a number of years ago that they had a demand for seed-less or pulp-less jams and juices. This decision created waste in the production of these jams, concentrates and juices, because the excess pulp and seeds that were removed from the juices and jams were left as waste. Some of this waste was utilised as natural fertiliser, but the majority of it and all of its nutritional goodness was left to waste.

Luckily, soon enough, a micro-market emerged and the seeds and pulp were saved so they could be further processed and have oil extracted from them. A cosmetic gold-mine was discovered by creating oils with powerful inherent benefits and an even more powerful ingredient conscience: zero waste.

10 Best Zero Waste Oils for Skincare and Haircare

Zero waste oils are predominantly pressed from waste fruit and vegetable seeds, which means that some of the best zero waste oils on the market are also some of the interesting for use in skincare and haircare formulations. We’d like to introduce you to our top 10 zero waste oils:

1. Strawberry Seed Oil

  • INCI: Fragraria ananassa seed oil
  • Characteristics: Light, fresh, fruity aromatic oil
  • Zero waste credentials: the oil is cold-pressed from seeds that would otherwise go to waste in the jam/juice industry

Strawberry seed oil is probably one of the most iconic zero waste oils on the market. Several indie beauty brands have started to incorporate zero waste strawberry seed oil into their formulations (including Formula Botanica graduates BYBI Beauty!) and make this ingredient a big part of their overall sustainability story. Strawberry seeds are plentiful in the jam industry as shoppers don’t want jams or juices with seeds in them.

Historically these seeds have been used as a natural fertiliser or simply been sent straight to waste. Here at O&3, our strawberry seeds are collected directly from jam/juice producers in Poland, dried and then sent for processing. The seeds are sieve filtered before processing, then cold pressed and then finally filtered again through a filter press to create a fresh, light, fruity oil, high in antioxidants.

The waste left behind from cold pressing is still very valuable in antioxidants so is then either sold on to animal feed suppliers and a small amount is used to create a natural strawberry seed exfoliant. If there is any further surplus (and there generally isn’t), it can be used as natural fertiliser.

2. Raspberry seed oil

  • INCI: Rubus idaeus oil
  • Characteristics: Light, fresh, fruity aromatic oil
  • Zero waste credentials: the oil is cold-pressed from seeds that would otherwise go to waste in the jam/juice industry

Similar to strawberries, raspberries contain lots of seeds – in fact, a typical raspberry contains 100-120 seeds. These seeds are also unwanted in the jam and juice industry and are collected from our partners in Poland for filtering, cold pressing and bottling.

The result is a beautiful, light raspberry seed oil, which has fruity notes to its fragrance. The leftover meal (waste) from cold pressing is then also used to turn into a natural raspberry seed exfoliant. The exfoliant is powder-like, which offers a very fine scrub particle for skincare (and even haircare!) formulations.

The beauty of these scrubs particles is that they are not only following the zero waste mantra, but they are still rich in nutrients as some of the oil remains within the scrubs, giving your scrub further functionality.

Zero Waste Oils - Raspberry Seed Oil

3. Blueberry seed oil

  • INCI: Vaccinium myrtillus oil
  • Characteristics: Light, fresh, fruity aromatic oil
  • Zero waste credentials: the oil is cold-pressed from seeds that would otherwise go to waste in the jam/juice industry

Blueberries contain around 50 seeds per fruit. They’re all tiny, but packed full of antioxidants just waiting to be cold pressed. We collect them from fruit processors in Poland and then filter them, cold press them and sell them as blueberry seed oil, making this another great example of a zero waste oil.

Similar to our strawberries and raspberries, we also dry and process the leftover meal (waste) from oil pressing to create a blueberry seed exfoliant. These fruit seed oils give us the perfect opportunity to blend sustainability and beauty, as blueberry seeds are bursting essential fatty acids, linoleic acid and alpha-linolenic acid.

4. Blackberry seed oil

  • INCI: Rubus fruiticosus oil
  • Characteristics: Clear oil with an earthy aroma
  • Zero waste credentials: the oil is cold-pressed from seeds that would otherwise go to waste in the jam/juice industry

Blackberry seed oil is another great example of a zero waste oil from the fruit processing industry. The seeds are collected as by-products of jams and juices produced in Poland and we then dry, filter and cold press the seeds to create this beautiful earthy oil.

Much like many other soft fruits, blackberries contain between 50-100 seeds in each fruit, giving us plentiful raw materials to extract this beautiful cold pressed oil. We also create our blackberry seed exfoliant as a by-product of cold pressing the oil, which means that none of the fruit goes to waste.

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5. Cranberry seed oil

  • INCI: Vaccinium macrocarpon oil
  • Characteristics: Light, fruity aromatic oil
  • Zero waste credentials: the oil is cold-pressed from seeds that would otherwise go to waste in the juice industry

Canada is the best place in the world for growing cranberries, hosting a huge industry to create cranberry juice. In fact, Canadian cranberries are the best quality cranberries in the world, which is why we source our cranberry seed oil from Canada. 

Cranberry seeds typically offer a 25-28% yield, so for every metric tonne of seeds pressed, we get 280kg of beautiful cranberry seed oil. The seeds that are would otherwise be a waste by-product are captured during the juicing process, dried and then cold pressed to create cranberry seed oil. The leftover waste meal from this cold pressing is then used further to create cranberry seed exfoliant, ensuring that the full process is zero waste.

6. Apricot kernel oil

  • INCI: Prunus armeniaca oil
  • Characteristics: Light, fruity aromatic oil
  • Zero waste credentials: the oil is cold-pressed from kernels left over from the juice / jam industry, although many apricots are now grown for their oil

We source all of our apricot kernels from Turkey, where there is a huge market for apricot kernel oil. Initially, the kernels were a by-product from the jam and juice industry, but the demands for apricot oil have started to outstrip the demands for apricot juice and jam.

This change in demand obviously changes the oil’s zero waste credentials slightly, as it is no longer fully a by-product. The oil is created by crushing the kernel to obtain the seeds within, which are then dried, cold pressed and filtered to create this light oil that works so well in skincare and haircare formulations.

Zero Waste Oils - Apricot Kernel Oil

7. Apple seed oil

  • INCI: Pyrus malus oil
  • Characteristics: Fresh, light “marzipan” aromatic oil
  • Zero waste credentials: the oil is cold-pressed from seeds that would otherwise go to waste in the juice industry

We all learn from a young age that we shouldn’t eat apple seeds, as they can release a chemical called amygdalin in our bodies which produces cyanide. However, those seeds are beautiful for cold pressing to apple seed oil. We source our apples in Poland, where we process them on site. The apple has its core pushed through it and the seeds are then extracted out of the central core before being sent for cold pressing.

Similar to cranberries, we find that apple seeds yield about 25-28% oil. At the moment apple seed oil isn’t as popular as we think it should be, as it’s a magnificent oil for formulating into your skincare and haircare!

8. Pomegranate seed oil

  • INCI: Punica granata oil
  • Characteristics: Clear, earthy aromatic oil
  • Zero waste credentials: the oil is cold-pressed from seeds that would otherwise go to waste in the juice industry

Turkey is another great supplier of pomegranate seeds that would otherwise go to waste from the juice industry. It is very important to us that our pomegranate seeds are of the highest quality and contain around 70% punicic acid, which is the most valuable component of pomegranate seed oil.

For that reason, we buy the seed and ship it directly to Poland so that we can control its processing in-house. We ensure that the seeds are pressed very carefully and that we don’t apply too much friction, so that we can extract the maximum amount of punicic acid and goodness in the oil.

9. Tomato seed oil

  • INCI: Solanum lycopersicum oil
  • Characteristics: Earthy aromatic oil
  • Zero waste credentials: the oil is cold-pressed from seeds that would otherwise go to waste in the food industry

Think of all the tomato-based products we buy every week: tomato puree, tomato passata, tomato soup, tomato pulp. The tomato processing industry extracts more seed than anything else from tomato, which means that there is a big opportunity to create by-products that can be pressed to tomato seed oil.

We source our tomato seeds from Turkey and process them at our facility in Poland. Tomato seed oil is very sensitive so we take control of the process ourselves for that reason. The tomato seeds are dried and then cold pressed and filtered to create this gorgeous zero waste oil. At the moment, tomato seed oil isn’t used as much as it could be, but we have high hopes that the skincare and haircare formulators of tomorrow will include it in their beauty products!

10. Cucumber seed oil

  • INCI: Cucumis sativus oil
  • Characteristics: Natural earthy aromatic oil
  • Zero waste credentials: the oil is cold-pressed from seeds that would otherwise go to waste in the food industry

Last but certainly not least is cucumber seed oil which follows a similar extraction process to tomato. The only challenge we face in creating cucumber seed oil is ensuring that the seeds are completely dry. If you’ve ever eaten a cucumber, then you’ll know that the seeds are very watery and fleshy, which means that there’s a lot of water to remove in the process of preparing the oil.

The cucumber is cored first, similar to the process for extracting apple seeds. The seeds are then dried to a level that makes sure the water is removed and the seeds won’t oxidise quickly. Once the seeds have been dried in a warehouse for a month, they are put through a sieve which gets rid of any chaff, so that all of the seeds are left behind for cold pressing.


Which Zero Waste Oil Will You Choose?

As a result of this big shift in the beauty industry, and as a supplier to a diverse number of start-up, indie and global brands, O&3 is seeing a major increase in demand for zero-waste ingredients. Retailers and consumers alike are now placing a demand on beauty brands to demonstrate their environmental credentials, packaging ethos and ingredient provenance. Now is the time that the beauty industry has to embrace and implement sustainability.

Which zero waste oil will you be formulating your skincare and haircare with first? Leave us a comment below and tell us which one you’re most inspired by!

If you are looking to sample some of the O&3 – The Oil Family zero-waste natural ingredients in small quantities please go to our Makers Ingredients online store. Use your exclusive Formula Botanica 15% discount code: FORMULABOTANICA

Thomas Kerfoot

Today’s blog post is a guest article by Thomas Kerfoot, a self-proclaimed “oil-nerd” who founded O&3 – The Oil Family along with his two sisters Jennifer and Eleanor. With a product range of 850 natural ingredients and locations in the UK, Eastern Europe and USA, the business supplies a wealth of start-up and established brands in 46 different countries.      


FAQs

What are zero waste oils?

Zero waste oils are carrier oils that pressed from fruit and vegetable seeds, which are sourced as waste by-products from the juice, jam and jelly industry.

What is an example of a zero waste oil?

Strawberry seed oil is an iconic example of a zero waste oil, where the seeds are collected directly from jam/juice producers, dried and then sent for processing. The seeds are sieve filtered before processing, then cold pressed and then finally filtered again through a filter press to create a fresh, light, fruity oil, high in antioxidants.

How can I learn to formulate skincare with zero waste oils?

Formula Botanica teaches award-winning online courses that guide you through the steps you need to become a formulator. You will fall in love with your carrier oils along the way and learn how to bring a zero waste component to your skincare and haircare formulations.

 

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Organic Skincare Formulator

 
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Join over 100,000 other Formulators
By providing your details, you agree to receive additional educational & marketing emails from Formula Botanica, which further introduce our curriculum. Your data is never shared or sold. Read our Privacy Policy.

FREE TRAINING

How to become an
Organic Skincare Entrepreneur

Join over 100,000 other Formulators
By providing your details, you agree to receive additional educational & marketing emails from Formula Botanica, which further introduce our curriculum. Your data is never shared or sold. Read our Privacy Policy.

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