Hazelnut carrier oil is a carrier I find very useful for people with oily skin, as well as acne. It is also helpful for combination skin types. It has been used to tone and tighten the skin and is thought to help maintain the elasticity and firmness of the skin. Avoid or use with caution on people who have nut allergies.
Hazelnut Oil (Corylus avellana)
Description: Small deciduous shrub that grows to around 3 meters. Native to Northern Europe where it can be found growing wild. It is said to have originated in Greece. The flowers are produced before the leaves, usually appearing in the Spring, in February or March. Both male and female flowers are produced on the same shrub. The male catkins are pale yellow and 6 – 12 cm long, while the female catkins are very small (1-3cm) and largely concealed in the buds with only the red styles being visible. Once pollinated by wind, the female flowers develop into oval fruits, which hang in groups of one to four. They mature into a nut with a woody shell surrounded by a cup of leafy bracts (modified leaves. These usually take 7 – 8 months to ripen after pollination.
History Folklore: Apparently Hazel has a reputation of being a magical tree. A hazel rod is supposed to protect against evil spirits, as well as being used as a wand, and for water-divining. In some parts of England, hazelnuts were carried as charms and/or held to ward off rheumatism. In Ireland hazel was known as the ‘Tree of Knowledge’, and in medieval times it was a symbol of fertility.
Garden cultivation: It is an adaptable plant doing well in poor, dry soils. It does well in full sunlight but can also tolerate shade.
Harvest: Hazelnuts begin to ripen when the leaves on the trees change color. Depending on the weather, most of the ripe nuts will be found in September and October. The nuts will be edible once the papery outer covering starts pulling back from the nut.
Carrier Oil: The deep yellow oil is obtained through cold pressing the fresh nuts. It is then left for a few days for the sediment to settle and then filtered. The yield is about 40% by weight. It has a pleasant, nutty aroma, and is thick and smooth in texture. It is well known for its astringent properties.
Shelf Life: It has quite a short shelf life of 6 – 8 months.
Cautions: Do not use for those who suffer from a nut allergy.
Action: Considered to have astringent and anti-fungal properties. Considered to be excellent for acne prone skin. Soothing and healing to dry, irritated skin.
Use: Hazelnut oil is best suited for oily or combination skins. Its astringent property makes it very helpful for unclogging pores in oily or combination skins. Because it has a very high oleic acid content (75 – 80%) it has the ability to penetrate the top layers of the skin, so can be a good carrier oil to use if you want to boost the properties of a particular essential oil.
References Jan Kusmirek, Liquid Sunshine, Vegetable Oils for Aromatherapy, 2002 Susan M Parker, Power of the Seed, Your guide to oils for health & beauty, 2014 Len Price, Carrier Oils for Aromatherapy and Massage, 1999