The first thing a lot of us think of when we hear “camellia” is Chanel’s iconic camellia flower. The bloom doesn’t just look pretty, though. It’s fast becoming a popular beauty ingredient thanks to the skin-perfecting properties of camellia oil.
Camellia oil, or tsubaki oil as it’s sometimes known, comes from the nut of the camellia flower. While it is starting to gain attention in beauty circles in the West, camellia oil has long been a staple in Japan for geisha. According to Holly McWhorter, co-founder of PLANT Apothecary, camellia oil is beneficial because of its moisturizing properties. “Its molecular makeup and weight are similar to sebum, the oil our skin produces by itself, and this similarity allows it to be easily and quickly absorbed deep into the lower layers of the skin,” she explains. This also means that the oil will not leave a greasy residue on skin, making it a great option for oily or acne-prone skin.
Another benefit of camellia oil is that it’s packed with skin-perfecting antioxidants, including omega 3, 6 and 9 fatty acids, plant collagen and squalane. McWhorter says squalane is especially important because it’s an essential part of skin’s hydration and protection system, but the body produces less of it as we age. Camellia oil also helps soothe irritation, increase healing and fight bacteria.
Camellia’s benefits have applications beyond skin care. The oil can also be found in body and hair products. It’s even used in makeup — mascaras in particular. Camellia oil helps condition lashes so they don’t get that dreaded crispy finish. Don’t believe us? Pick up a tube of Shiseido Perfect Full Definition Mascara ($24).
Other oils like coconut and jojoba have earned glowing reputations, but it’s worth expanding your oil collection to include nourishing camellia. Shop the best camellia oil beauty products in the gallery above.