What Is Macadamia Oil?

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  • Written By: O. Parker
  • Edited By: Jenn Walker
  • Last Modified Date: 22 March 2014
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Macadamia oil comes from the fatty nuts of the macadamia tree. The oil commonly is used as a rich moisturizing oil for the skin, either alone or combined with other ingredients. It is both nourishing and healing for the skin. It can be used on the hair as well, and can help improve moisture, structure and shine.

Macadamia trees grow in sub-tropical climates and originate in eastern Australia. The macadamia tree, known by its species name Macadamia integrifolia, is in the plant family Proteaceae. This fast-growing tree produces nuts about 1 inch (2.5 cm) in diameter that are covered with a hard husk. After harvesting, the husks are removed and the nuts are cold pressed to extract the oil.

The oil derived from the macadamia nut contains high amounts of monounsaturated fatty acids. These fatty oils are similar in structure to the natural oils produced by the skin, called sebum oils. Macadamia oil is quickly absorbed into the skin where it nourishes and replenishes moisture instead of sitting on top of the skin.

Sebum oils are stripped from the skin during washing and bathing. As the skin ages, it produces less natural oils. Without the necessary protection, skin becomes dry and can crack, leading to possible infection. Macadamia oil helps to prevent dry skin while healing damaged skin and abrasions, and soothing minor sunburns.


Macadamia oil can be used alone as a skin moisturizer or mixed with other natural oils. Macadamia oil is well suited as a carrier or base oil. A good base oil has a mild scent, absorbs quickly and does not leave the skin feeling greasy. Macadamia oil can be mixed with other fragrant essential oils to create massage oil, body oil or aroma therapy oil.

This oil adds shine and moisture to the hair as well. When used alone as a hair treatment, it can be applied and left to sit for a period of time and then washed out. When added to hair care products, macadamia nut oil adds a rich source of moisture.

Not just for external use, macadamia nut oil also is a healthy, edible oil that contains omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. As it contains monounsaturated fats, it is considered a healthy oil, and studies have shown it can help lower cholesterol. This natural oil can be used in cooking, on salads, in bread dips and in other dishes. It has a light and nutty flavor with a delicate finish.

Macadamia oil is available in cosmetic grade and food grade. Any oil that is food grade is also suitable for use in cosmetics. Cosmetic grade, however, is not considered suitable for consumption.


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