Oil(s) of the month: Evening Primrose and Borage

My first ‘oil of the month’ and it’s a double whammy. I decided I couldn’t separate these two, so I’ve stuck them in together.

Evening primrose oil is pressed from the seeds of the yellow flower. This isn’t a cheap oil, so it’s not one I’d use for a full body massage. However, it makes a really excellent supplement to a massage treatment and it’s also great for an intensive home facial treatment.

Like most intensive oils, evening primrose is particularly good for dry, under-nourished skin. Over time, repeated use can even help to heal facial blemishes, encourage cell renewal and improve the texture of the skin.

Borage oil is also pressed from the seeds of the plant’s star-shaped, blue flowers (which is why you might see it referred to as Starflower oil – they’re the same thing). Again, it’s better as a concentrated treatment for the face or in as an enriching agent in a blend for the body. Like evening primrose, it’s also particularly good at nourishing dry skin, improving the texture of ageing or wrinkled skin and helping to soothe sensitive skin.

It’s also worth remembering that you can take both oils as supplements. They’re both rich in gamma linolenic acids – important for maintaining healthy skin and balanced hormones. They can be really useful supplements if you’re prone to breast tenderness in the run up to your period, although you’ll need to take one or both for at least 3-4 months before you can expect to notice a significant difference.

Remember too that the capsules you take as supplements are just little bubbles of the same oil that you put on your skin. I regularly use a capsule worth of oil for a quick and intensive night treatment, or a nourishing facial treat while I’m wallowing in a hot bath. Just pierce the capsule and squeeze out the oil. Rub the oil into your hands and then press gently onto your skin. One capsule is usually more than enough for the entire face, neck and decolletage.

Or you could add the contents of a capsule to a cheaper base oil – such as sweet almond or sunflower – to create a simple, but effective, body moisturiser.

The following are good stockists for supplements and/or cold-pressed oil:

Remember to check that your stockist specifies that the oil is cold pressed to ensure you’re getting the better quality oil, rich in the goodness you’re after. And try to go organic where possible.

The 'starflower' (photo courtesy of recommended supplier Materia Aromatica)

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