With 50% more vitamin E and twice the vitamin F of argan oil, this South American elixir could be just what weathered winter skin’s been looking for

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From olive to rosehip oil to argan oil, facial oils  have seen a massive resurgence in popularity as of late. The skincare top-up of choice for many due to their silky texture and anti-ageing prowess, the next big variation is set to promise even greater and wide-ranging benefits. Its name? Cacay oil.

What makes it different?

In a nutshell, its potency. “Cacay is a very potent oil and contains three times more retinol than rosehip oil, 50% more vitamin E and twice the vitamin F [aka essential fatty acids] of argan oil,” says Alexandra Jansons, founder of Oilixia Skincare. With retinol being touted as a key ingredient for improving fine lines, texture and tone , vitamin E for its anti-inflammatory and protective qualities and essential fatty acids for both their hydrating and antioxidant properties, it provides a triple threat in the skincare stakes.

A hero ingredient in Oilixia’s products, its benefits are far-reaching. “The oil has been independently tested on real women to show its effectiveness in improving hydration, firmness, elasticity and smoothness of the skin,” says Alexandra - plus, its benefits go beyond the beauty world. “We use cacay oil in our products for two main reasons; firstly it has some fantastic skincare properties and secondly, because it helps to support the local community in which it is sourced.”

From where does it have its roots? To find its source, we need to take a trip to South America - where it’s actually anything but new. “Sourced from the Amazon rainforest, cacay oil is obtained by cold-pressing the nut kernels grown on the cacay tree,” explains Alexandra. “The cacay nut is the size of a small orange and contains three kernels, all slightly larger than an almond. The nut falls to the ground when it is ready to be harvested, allowing the local community to easily collect them.” It is in this part of the world also that’s its reparative qualities are also renowned. “Due to its healing properties, people use the oil as an emollient in the treatment of skin irritations and burn injuries,” says David Angelo, MD of Cacay Naturals - a real testament to how hard-working it really is.

No part of the nut goes unused. “Cacay has many benefits beyond the oil - the entire nut can be used in some way, which means that none of it goes to waste,” says Alexandra. “The peel can used for cattle feed or compost, the shell’s high heating power makes it great as a bio-fuel, the nut is pressed for its oil and the leftover meal is rich in protein (over 40%!), minerals, omegas and fibre, therefore making it great as a food source or for nut milk.”

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Who should use it?

Nourishing in its effects yet lightweight in its texture, it delivers the best of both worlds and is therefore likely to be a good fit for a range of different skin types. “Due to its light texture and quick absorption, cacay oil tends to be more popular with people that don’t like the feeling of greasiness that is generally associated with plant oils,” recommends Alexandra. Simply use after cleansing and toning and before your moisturiser to reap optimum rewards. So if you’re looking for an oil alternative that’s a little less visible in its after effects, this could be your perfect match. In fact, this particular point of difference makes it ideal also as an instant hair hydrator for dry ends and as a cuticle oil  too, (the ultimate deskside companion if you ask us).

Which are the best cacay oil products?

Oilixia Brilliance Facial Oil, £37

Inspired by Alexandra’s travels through over 50 countries to find the most naturally potent skincare ingredients, this oil leaves skin feeling and looking noticeably smoother and suppler. “We use cacay oil in our Brilliance Facial Oil which contains a blend of 20 other potent oils alongside cacay oil, sourced from all over the world,” says Alexandra. “It also features in one of our upcoming new products, Amazonian Cacay Facial Oil , £48, which also contains precious ingredients from the Amazon including acai oil, Amazonian lily extract, buriti oil and Brazil nut oil.”

The production of the brand’s cacay oil also contributes to a wider vision regarding preserving the Amazonian rainforest and helping its communities: “To produce the oil, the cacay nuts are sustainably harvested and it provides income to over 200 indigenous families in the region,” says Alexandra. “Our cacay supplier has a 5-year vision to reforest 5,000 hectares of the Amazon by planting the cacay tree. This will create a predicted 100,000 jobs for local families.”

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Cacay Naturals Face Oil, £32.75

Made from 100% cacay oil from Columbia, this multipurpose oil serves as a pint-sized heavyweight for souping up your skincare. Organic, vegan and richer in its texture, it helps to both boost radiance and evenness of tone in one fell swoop. “Wash and pat skin dry, apply a small amount to the entire face, neck, décolleté and hands and allow the oil to dry,” advises David Angelo.

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Bamford Restore Elixir, £75

Great either used separately or mixed in with your favourite skincare product, this cacay oil blend fragranced with rose, camomile and lemon makes for the most blissful of beauty rituals to end your day with. Skin’s left feeling both replenished and rebalanced, to act as an extra layer definitely worth adding to your skincare regime.

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