Last fall I attended Expo East with my company, ostensibly to check out our competition and get a feel for the natural food industry, which I'd left in 2000 when I quit my job at Whole Foods. After a day and a half of sampling gluten-free pizzas and cookies and cakes and chatting up vendors of hemp seed (not a competitor) and chia seed (not a competitor) and salba seed (also not a competitor) I turned my attention to beauty care. Or is it skin care? I really don't know. I'm not a makeup girl, and I don't even pretend to be one.
I sampled toothpaste and vitamins and colonics (not really, but I did listen to someone try to pitch me. he was so nice, I couldn't turn away). I collected samples of shampoos and moisturizer and non-alcohol-based anti-bacterial washes. I tried cough drops that were stronger than Hall's and tasted of licorice. Walking down a quiet, low-cost, small business aisle I stumbled upon a woman who was selling argan oil in small vials as a face care product. I knew that argan oil, derived from the kernels or 'nuts' from the argan tree and one of the rarest - and most expensive - nut oils in the world, was now being sold in gourmet shops as a nutritious, LDL-lowering and HDL-increasing cooking oil, that, in its raw form, was high in the various omegas, but until that time I had never seen it sold as a beauty product - not that I'm so keyed in.
Once home, I abandoned the big company moisturizer and turned entirely to the vial of sample oil. Within a few weeks it was gone, and I couldn't find it again locally.
Last week when I was shopping at a very friendly natural food store (one of the staff members came up to us as we were checking out and said, "I just wanted to tell you what a pleasure it is to see such well-informed people shopping here") I found a bottle of argan oil. It was toasted, which is not quite right for skincare. And it was 24 dollars, which was not quite right for my pocket.
On the same shelf was a bottle of Camellia tea oil, simply labeled "Tea Oil". Derived from the oleifera camellia seeds of the camellia tea plant, the oil, like argan oil, is high in Omega-9, 3 and 6, lowers LDL and raises HDL. If you are planning to eat it, you shouldn't heat it (even though it has a smoke point of 485 degrees F) but rather use it to finish dishes, make dressings, etc.
It was also a third of the price of the Argan oil.
So I took it home. And without doing my research, I pushed my ridiculously expensive moisturizer aside and started to use the tea oil. It was amazing. It is amazing. In this dry weather, the oil has kept my skin soft and smooth. According to some literature I've read, it even offers some UV protection, though I'm still trying to figure out if that's true or not.
Yep. I'm trading in my expensive moisturizers for something that also doubles as food. What could be better?