The babassu palm is native to Brazil and can grow up to 20 m tall. Each palm has between 200 and 400 fruit bundles, which can be up to 2 m long. These bear fruit that are about 10 cm long and 5 cm wide. The hard flesh of the fruit contains 3-5 seeds, which are white and oily inside.
One of the two methods of obtaining Babassu oil is hot water flotation. In this process, the seeds are first roasted and then crushed. Water is then added and the mixture boiled. Thus, the fat that has risen to the surface can be easily skimmed off. The other method of extraction is the cold pressing of the ground seeds, after which the oil is usually refined. Native babassu oil has a sebum-like consistency and smells nutty, tallowy, and coconut-like. In its native state, the oil has a yellowish-white color. If the oil is refined, it is odorless and white.
When heated to body temperature, babassu oil melts and is absorbed by the skin quickly, with a cooling effect being observed. The oil moisturizes the skin without leaving an oily film. Dry skin is especially receptive to the effects of babassu oil since the oil prevents further loss of moisture. Babassu oil is also used for oily or combination skin with inflammatory blemishes because its high Lauric Acid content inhibits various inflammatory processes.
Babassu oil is also used to make hard and well-foaming soaps. Due to its foaming properties, the oil is suitable for shampoos as well and is used especially for stressed/dry hair.
The digestion of breastfed babies is facilitated by the lauric acid content in the milk. Since the proportion of this acid in babassu oil is comparatively high at around 45 percent, it is assumed that the oil equally strengthens digestion and immune system.
Since the nuts of the babassu tree are not considered sufficiently profitable, the cultivation of babassu palms is neglected. Therefore, babassu oil is also somewhat rare. If you care about fair trade, you should consider that some owners of babassu palm fields prohibit the harvest under threat of violence. Thus the working conditions of harvest helpers can be accordingly dangerous. But in some parts of Brazil the “Free Babassu Law” was introduced, which is supposed to provide free access to the Babassu palm growing areas. For many inhabitants this can improve the livelihood, which can be secured by the harvest and oil production. However, this is the reason why there are rather few products with babassu oil or pure babassu oil on the market.
Whoever wants to buy babassu oil should pay attention to an appropriate quality of the oil. Many offerers bring babassu oil on the market that was not sufficiently refined or cleaned. Therefore caution is required when buying pure babassu oil.