Argan oil has reigned in its high position over the past 2 years as a high end hair and beauty product due to it's amazing fatty acid content and vitamins which are highly beneficial to the skin. More recently however, a new product is on the rise, an oil that is even more potent than argan oil. This oil comes from the opuntia ficus indica cactus plant, more commonly known as the prickly pear or barbary fig.
Now, prickly pear seed oil is made of exactly the same vitamins and antioxidants as argan oil but with a higher concentration of linoleic acid, this is what makes it more potent. Given the potency of this oil, it should come as no surprise that this miraculous product has grabbed the attention of the beauty industry. The oil taken from the tiny seeds of the prickly pear fruit that grows on the thorny cactus is said to protect the skin from sun damage, ease inflammation (which damages collagen) and stimulate new skin cells due to the high concentration of linoleic acid. It's highly moisturising ability also repairs and offers protection against free radicals in the environment and a whole lot more. The cactus oil is very light and will deliver a huge moisture boost. It is because of these reasons that prickly pear seed oil will help to keep our complexions looking young and what science and the beauty industry look for in effective anti-aging products.
As well as being a great skin moisturiser, the oil from the prickly pear seeds can be used on hair as a leave in conditioner or overnight treatment and will also nourish dry brittle nails making an excellent all in one beauty aid.
Although the oil from the prickly pear has been long known to the Moroccan people who have harnessed the benefits for many years, it is a relatively new thing to the western world. It has sparked a sensation in the USA, with many cosmetic companies incorporating the oil into soaps, moisturisers, shampoos, conditioners and other beauty products.
The prickly pear oil extraction process, just as with argan oil is a long lengthy process and the yield of oil that can be obtained from each seed is just 5% which adds to the price tag. It has been dubbed the most expensive oil in the world commanding around £25 per 15ml bottle.
The realisation of the potential of this oil has now become a very lucrative business in Morocco where it is mainly produced by Berber women under many co-operatives. The cactus plant and the oil obtained from it's fruit are currently being developed for all sorts of things from slimming aids to medicinal purposes to lower blood pressure and even to help with cancer.
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