Oil Of The Week: Cucumber Seed Oil
Cucumber, the green, juicy, aesthetically pleasing fruit, is a favourite in salads and summery gin cocktails, and is sliced up and applied to the eyes of many a beauty enthusiast. Cucumber is well known for its cooling, soothing and moisturising effects on skin, and the oil is no different. Cucumber seed oil can be considered almost a specialty carrier oil; let’s find out why!
The first thing you will notice about cucumber seed oil is its brilliantly fresh cucumber scent, which happily lingers on the skin, reminiscent of summer days. The oil is cold pressed from the dried seeds of the cucumber (Cucumis sativus) - believed to have originated in India - and is rich in fatty acids, particularly linoleic acid (Omega 6), as well as Vitamin E, oleic acid and palmitic acid.
The oil consists of about 60-68% linoleic acid and 14-20% oleic acid, plus high tocopherol and phytosterol content. Cucumber oil’s rich phytosterol, tocopherol (Vitamin E) and fatty acid content make it remarkably beneficial to both blemish-prone skin and mature skin. Fatty acids keep our skin looking healthy, fight wrinkles and are the ‘gatekeepers’ of our skin. Phytosterols are great anti-agers and can help slow the decreased production of collagen (collagen production decreases with age). The benefits of Vitamin E on the skin need no introduction.
Cucumber seed oil is calming and soothing, and great for problem skin conditions. It is a balancing and moisturising oil which absorbs quickly into the skin. It is also excellent for dry skin and inflammation. The oil has a comedogenic rating of just 1 (0 being completely non-comedogenic and 5 being highly comedogenic), which means it won’t clog pores and is suitable for all skin types.
Cucumber oil is ideal to use in facial serums and lotions, skin brightening formulations, eye creams and after-sun formulations. It's a really nice exotic addition to your skin care routine if you are looking for something a little different but highly effective. Cucumber oil is also good for brittle nails and damaged hair. The gentle cucumber aroma will add a light fragrance to lotions and skincare products.
You can substitute cucumber oil in place of any other oil in DIY recipes, keeping in mind that it will give a cucumber scent, so perhaps leave out any essential oils that may clash with it. Here are a few recipes using cucumber oil to get you started:
Gentle Cucumber Gel Face Wash
I’m a big fan of gel cleansers because I love the way they feel on my skin and hands and they sort of warm up to the touch. This gel face wash is very gentle and uses only coco betaine as the cleanser, so you won’t even need to adjust the pH as it is already in a skin-friendly range.
Make up about ¾ of a cup of xanthan gum gel according to the recipe here. Don’t make the gel too thick or it will have the wrong consistency for a face wash. Make it a nice pourable consistency.
Then blend in
¾ tsp cocamidopropyl betaine
¾ tsp Olive M 300
2 T aloe vera gel
Add in any extras you wish - I added a dollop of honey to mine. You can also add in extra vegetable glycerine (it is a humectant and will help protect your skin from dryness).
Blend everything together and there you have it, as easy as 1,2,3! Store in a pump bottle or jar in a cool place. To use, pump out a small amount and lather on your skin then rinse with warm water. Follow up as usual with your moisturiser.
This incredibly simple facial oil combines two luxury oils to make a highly effective and nutritious blend. Both oils can help reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines, add firmness to the skin and are great anti-aging oils. They absorb well and will leave your skin feeling soft and moisturised.
Cucumber Facial Oil
Add each oil to a pipette bottle, gently shake to combine, then use nightly after cleansing your skin.
This is a great body lotion that will leave skin feeling hydrated and soft.
Soothing Aloe & Cucumber Lotion
50ml aloe vera gel
25ml freshly boiled and slightly cooled water
5ml/1 heaped tsp avocado butter
5 ml cucumber seed oil
4ml Olive M 300
Optional: 5ml cetyl alcohol will really thicken this lotion up beautifully. Just leave out if you don’t have - the end result will be slightly less thick but still perfectly usable.
1 tsp allantoin
10 drops hydrolyzed keratin
10 drops hydrolyzed wheat protein
If you have panthenol, use this instead of the keratin and wheat protein (I just used what I had on hand)
2ml Geogard 221 preservative
Tip: use a 250ml beaker! It’s ideal to measure quantities in and my hand blender fits perfectly inside so this eliminates any mess or spray up when blending.
If you’re using a 250ml beaker, simply add the avo butter and Eco E wax, then melt in a hot water bath or pop in the microwave for a few seconds (the beaker is microwave safe). If you are using the cetyl alcohol, add this here too. Once melted, add the cucumber oil and stir in, then add the freshly boiled water and mix with a spoon. It will immediately start emulsifying with the oil mixture. Add the aloe vera gel, vegetable glycerine and Olive M, and stir well. I like to add in the preservative here to ensure that it incorporates well. Stick your hand blender in the beaker and gently blend with a few short bursts, pumping up and down as needed. Add the allantoin and hydrolyzed proteins (or panthenol if using), and blend for another few seconds. Then place your beaker of lotion in the fridge for 10 minutes to cool, or simply leave it to cool at room temperature. Once cooled, you may want to blend a little bit more to really thicken it up. Decant into a pump bottle or a jar and use as needed.