Primary Uses: The oil pressed from seeds of Camellia japonica ("Tsubaki" in Japanese) is used for hair, skin and nail care. The traditional Japanese way of using it is in its pure, unrefined form obtained by cold pressing.
With its sun-soaked deep golden color and non-greasy, creamy texture, pure Japanese Camellia oil has been responsible for the classic, legendary beauty of Japanese hair for centuries. Among its benefits are
The most common use of Japanese Camellia oil is for conditioning hair after bathing, as it works best applied to hair when it is damp.
|Towel dry hair after washing||Put a few drops of Camellia oil into your palms, and spread well||Starting from the top, massage into hair and scalp using fingertips.|
As a deep hair treatment pack, Camellia oil helps
Massage a few drops into hair before washing. Cover with shower cap, and wrap with towel (to keep it warm) for 20-30 minutes. You can extend this time to up to one hour. Shampoo and rinse as usual.
Camellia oil is used as moisturizer and conditioner after washing hair with seaweed.
Seaweed hair cleanser comes in form of powdered seaweed. It is mixed with water to produce a gel-like mixture.
The mixture is applied in a variety of ways. The traditional Japanese method is to use it by itself. However, it can also be used as a deep treatment pack, or mixed with shampoo.
For more information, see "How to Use Japanese Seaweed For Hair Care.
Japanese Camellia oil is a nutrient and antioxidant-rich skin moisturizer and softener (emollient).
Approximately 85% of the fatty acids in Japanese Camellia oil are composed of Omega-9 Oleic acid. It is hypoallergenic and non-comedogenic (does not clog skin pores). Its list of benefits include
Apply a small amount to damp skin. Massage gently and thoroughly in circular motion until completely absorbed. Use morning and night, or as often as needed.
Although Camellia oil is especially effective as a facial emollient to spot treat small wrinkles and diminish acne scars, Rice Bran oil is a more suitable choice as a complete facial moisturizer, especially for the delicate skin areas such as around eyes.
Not a Sunblock Substitute
Camellia oil, like all vegetable oils, has a fairly low SPF factor (about 4) and is not an effective sunblock.
Japanese Camellia oil softens dry or brittle nails and rough cuticles. It can also help alleviate discomfort from dry skin under and around nails and keep nails nourished, smooth and shiny.
Add one or two drops to a cotton pad and wipe nails and cuticles. Use each night before going to bed. After a few days, you will notice that your nails and cuticles are softer and smoother and look healthier.
The Japanese Camellia tree (Camellia Japonica) is native to southern Japan. The most common variety is the classic red Camellia known as Yabu-Tsubaki (wild Camellia) or simply as Tsubaki.
Yabu-Tsubaki is easy to recognize. The upper-sides of the leaves have a distinct waxy coating which sparkles in the light. The Japanese name Tsubaki is believed to have been shortened from "tsuya-ba-ki" or "shiny leaf tree".
The Tsubaki tree blooms in winter and early spring, when the much-admitted beauty of its flower is a common sight in cities and in countryside. Its all-important seeds are harvested in fall.
The Japanese kanji character for Tsubaki is composed of two parts: the left part meaning "tree" and the right part "spring".
Camellia japonica →
Matured Seeds →
The Camellia plant includes a very large number of species. Notable among these are Camellia japonica, Camellia sinesis (common tea) and Camellia oleifera, as well as many others.
Though they all are commonly referred to as "Camellia", they have important differences and should not be confused.
The true Japanese Camellia. Also called Rose of winter and Tsubaki in Japanese. Its oil is known in Japan as Tsubaki-abura (literally Camellia oil).
The common tea plant. Its two major varieties are var. sinensis (small-leaved teas) var. assamica (large-leaved teas). Its oil is marketed as Tea Oil Camellia.
Notable source of edible oil. Very similar to olive oil, comprising 68–76% oleic acid. Its oil is commonly known as Oil-seed Camellia and Tea-seed Oil.
Japanese Camellia oil is an effective emollient (things which soften skin and hair.) Approximately 85% of the fatty acids in Japanese Camellia oil are composed of Oleic acid (Omega-9).
Oleic acid has an extremely stable molecular structure. For this reason, Japanese Camellia oil does not readily oxidize and deteriorate, and has a longer shelf life than most other oils.
Japanese Camellia oil is also a rich source of Palmistic (8%) and Omega-6 Linoleic fatty acids (3%), as well as numerous anti-aging polyphenol antioxidants.
The traditional Japanese method for collecting Camellia seeds is to gather the seed pods by hand after they have fully matured, around September and October.
This is a time consuming, manual process which ensures that the seeds are at their peak maturity and have reached their maximum potential. The oil pressed from such seeds has an exceptionally deep golden color and a rich, velvety texture.
The collected seed pods are then sun-dried. The process results is the woody shell of the pod to naturally crack open, exposing the seeds inside.
Camellia oil is extracted by one of three methods: cold pressing, heat extraction and chemical extraction.
Camellia oil for beauty application must be free of chemicals and must contain the fullest possible amount of its natural anti-oxidants and nutrients.
Cold pressing, a labor-intensive mechanical process, ensures that the maximum possible amount of oil's character and nutritional content are preserved.
Cold pressing yields only about 20-30% of the seeds available oil. This is the reason for the relatively higher cost (and lower availability) of cold pressed high quality Camellia oil.
Heat pressing is the application of high heat in conjunction with mechanical pressure to extract more oil from seeds.
Heat extraction increases the yield to 60-70% of oil available in the seed, and lowers production costs. However, the introduction of heat changes the composition of the oil and significantly lowers its anti-oxidant and nutritional properties.
Large manufacturers, to fully extract the seed's oil, use high heat along with powerful carcinogenic solvents such as ethanol or Hexane, a petroleum byproduct. Adding solvents to the heat extraction process increases the yield to up to 98% of the available oil contained in the seed.
Solvent extraction lowers production costs - and oil's health benefits - even more than heat extraction, as the oil undergoes temperatures of up to 150° C (about 300° F) under extremely high pressure to keep it from boiling.
The process is followed by distillation to remove the solvents (ethanol or Hexane) from the extracted oil to the extent practical. However, residual solvents remain in the finished oil, although these may only be in trace amounts.
While Europe has rigorous standards in place for the terminology of cold pressing, similare phrases such as "cold filtered" have been used erroneously, especially in the U.S. and Australia, often employed as a marketing technique.
"Cold filtered" oils are not necessarily cold pressed. They could very well have been processed at high heat and using chemicals, and then filtered after being cooled.
Unrefined oils are ones that have not been subjected to high heat or chemicals for controlling color and scent. They maintain the maximum amount of oil's original character, and are untainted by chemicals.
Large manufacturers need to control the batch-to-batch differences in their supply chain to make the final product uniform. They employ various "refining" techniques for this purpose.
Refining allows control of color and scent of oil by using combination of chemical, filtration or heat processing.
Refined oils are less expensive to produce, since the process makes it possible to make the final product always uniform and look and feel the same, regardless of using different grade oils.
Refined oils lose important nutrients and antioxidants in the process. Depending on the type of the refining process, there is also the possibility that trace amount of chemicals remain in the finished oil.
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