Many fans of Nigella Lawson had long wondered about the "secret sauce" for her gorgeous, youthful skin, and in late 2019 Nigella divulged that the key was prickly pear seed oil.
In a follow-up Daily Mail article featuring our Illumino Youth Serum (which consequently flew off the shelves) we got to touch on the potent nutrient profile - the array of vitamins and omega fatty acids that make this oil so transformative for skin, regardless of age.
We thought it now high time to take a more in-depth look at why prickly pear seed oil, which Nigella claims to be her "face-saving magic," is so powerful when it comes to plumping, hydrating and smoothing skin and break down its rich nutrient profile and how each benefit it.
When Nigella said in the article that the prickly pear seed oil "healed" her skin, she's referring to the effects of Betalains, a super antioxidant that help to protect the skin against ageing from various types of damaging radicals. Should these radicals be left to their own devices, they would promote the development of wrinkles. Betalains are red and yellow pigments found in plants such as Goji, Acai and beetroot, but Prickly Pear contains more betalains than any other plant!
Prickly pear seed oil contains more vitamin E than any other beauty oil - almost 150% more vitamin E than argan oil. Vitamin E is another antioxidant that behaves like a free radical scavenger. If you suffer from redness, you'll be pleased to know that Vitamin E also has impressive anti-inflammatory properties. It is an incredible moisturiser and hydrator and also helps heal wounds and, as such, may help repair damage from environmental pollution and the sun.
'Put it on at night and you'll wake up looking as if you've been to a spa by the sea, slept 10 hours a night and been off Twitter for a month," Nigella Lawson wrote about prickly pear seed oil in the Sunday Times.An undeniable radiance and vitality with skin is a typical result that people tend to notice - sometimes within days! - from using prickly pear seed oil. While this can be contributed to just about every component of this magical oil, the Vitamin K does deserve special mention when it comes to this skin-brightening outcome. Prickly Pear Seed Oil contains significant amounts of vitamin K which is proven to improve and even skin tone, help minimise the appearance of broken capillaries and lighten dark under-eye circles.
Omega Fatty Acids:
Essential fatty acids are the building blocks of healthy cell membranes and help produce the skin's natural oil barrier, which is necessary to keep skin hydrated. Prickly pear seed oil contains the highest percentage of unsaturated fatty acids compared to any other natural skin care oil, boasting a whopping 60.5% of linoleic acid which strengthens the skin's barrier while replenishing moisture and giving skin a noticeable "plumpness". It also fights inflammation and lightens sun-induced hyperpigmentation. And, because acne sufferers usually have higher levels of oleic acid in skin compared to linoleic acid, prickly pear seed oil even helps to combat acne.
Phytosterols are components found in vegetable oils and have a water-binding capacity that helps replenish and restore ageing skin, keeping it soft youthful and supple. They help maintain a healthy skin barrier function and don't only halt the slow-down of collagen production caused by sun damage - they encourage new collagen production!
So, now you know why Nigella's "secret-sauce" for skin is so amazing you will want to choose the highest quality, certified organic prickly pear seed oil. Be sure to check it is cold-pressed because chemical processing of the oil can kill some of these incredible nutrients!
This brings us to another point you want to check - there are cheaper oils on the market from the prickly pear fruit, but it is the seeds that are insanely potent (the label might sometimes say prickly pear oil rather than prickly pear seed oil, but question anything that is too cheap). The precious oil from the seed is more expensive as it takes nearly 30kgs of seeds to get just one litre of oil! As if that isn't enough, this is one of the most sustainable crops in the beauty world!
The prickly pear seed oil in Indagare's award-winning Illumino Youth Serum comes from seeds that are hand-picked by a fair-trade co-operative of Berber families in rural Morocco, then laid in the sun to dry. They are then gently cold-pressed so that bottles bursting with vitamins and nutrients can be sent to us here in Australia for our lucky customers!
* Indagare Natural Beauty do not claim Nigella Lawson uses or endorses their prickly pear seed oil. Newspaper stories featuring Indagare's prickly pear seed oil in relation to Ms Lawson's column were a result of demand for this previously unheard of beauty oil skyrocketing on the back of her UK Times Column.