Biodiesel company makes the leap into cosmetics, part II

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

Related tags Macadamia nut oil Macadamia

Pacific Biodiesel made a big jump from biodiesel to diversify into beauty oils, and in the second part of this article we find out why macadamia nuts were the best choice.

Established over 20 years ago, the company carved a successful business recycling used cooking oils into biodiesel, but when supplies started to run low, the owners turned to the beauty industry as an alternative.

The Hawaii-based company is surrounded by macadamia nut producers who generate significant surpluses. After a feasibility study pointed in the direction of beauty oils made from the nut, the company recently hit the market with its latest addition to the portfolio. 

Cosmetics Design spoke to Pacific Biodiesel marketing director Joy Galatro, to find out why the company believes that it is on the right track.

All about the Palmitoleic Acid

Joy Galatro - Pacific Biodiesel
Joy Galatro, Pacific Biodiesel

“Perhaps the most exciting attribute of our Hawaiian macadamia nut oil as a cosmetic ingredient is its unusually high level of Palmitoleic Acid,”​ Galatro explained.

Galatro explained that the oil has a chemical profile very similar to the sebum produced by the human body. Indeed, the oil contains nearly 19% Palmitoleic Acid  - the Omega 7 Fatty Acid secreted naturally by the skin that makes the skin plump and dewy; this fatty acid diminishes with age.

The company’s research also discovered that the skin's sebum has nearly 22% Palmitoleic Acid. Other natural oils include much 


lower levels of this fatty acid: avocado oil has approximately 4% Palmitoleic Acid, olive oil has 3%, sunflower oil has .1% and coconut has only trace amounts.  

“Indeed, macadamia Nut Oil is the only widely available, plant-based oil with such a high concentration of Palmitoleic Acid,” ​Galatro said. 

Macadamia oil's main attributes

The company’s research, which can be seen by clicking here​, also shows that other benefits of macadamia nut oil as a cosmetic ingredient include:

  • Lightweight moisturizer for hair and skin
  • Extremely nourishing, especially for dry, rough and maturing skin; reduces appearance of wrinkles and fine lines; restores and regenerates; soothing to the skin
  • Non-greasy and does not clog pores
  • Highly polar oil that enhances solubility; reduces separation in emulsions
  • Excellent emollient & moisturizer 
  • Extremely stable against oxidation
  • Absorbs rapidly and deeply; excellent carrier oil and ideal for massage and spa treatments

What type of products will use macadamia oil?

Given these properties, Cosmetics Design asked what kind of products the ingredient is most likely to be included in.

“We are making our cosmetic-grade Hawaiian macadamia nut oil available to cosmetic manufacturers who would use the oil as an ingredient in their product formulations,”​ Galatro said. 

“The industry trends show that increasingly consumers want natural cosmetic products. Hawaiian macadamia nut oil is a plant-based ingredient oil with excellent benefits for skin and hair.“

Why will consumers choose macadamia oil?

There is an increasing selection of beauty oils out there, so Cosmetics Design asked what exactly might sway cosmetic and personal care consumers in favour of macadamia oil in particular?

“Last year we conducted national market research on our macadamia nut oil product and the results were very positive. As a cosmetic ingredient, macadamia nut oil supports the industry trends – consumers want products with simple, natural ingredients,”​ Galatro said.

“Beauty oils are very popular in the industry right now; and macadamia nut oil is an excellent carrier oil for those types of products. And the fact that our oil is made in Hawaii was extremely positive to consumers – people have an emotional connection to Hawaii; it's exotic and romantic, and there's a (correct) perception of high quality with macadamia nuts from Hawaii.”

Galatro went on to add that the oil is likely to end up a wide variety of skin and hair care brands, particularly those that are placing themselves in the vast naturals category, but in particular, there has been marked interest from smaller indie beauty brands, as well as larger luxury players.

Which types of products and where in the world?

The global reach of the ingredient is also likely to be extensive, and having exhibited at the Cosme Tech event in Tokyo, back in January, the company is in the process of determining interest from a variety of global players.

“We had interest from product manufacturers and salon/spa owners from Japan, Korea, Italy, Thailand, and many other countries,”​ Galatro said of the event.

“Our immediate focus is to market our macadamia nut oil in Japan and the United States and then grow into other markets. Japanese in particular love products from Hawaii; and that was strongly reinforced to us at the show in Tokyo.”​ 

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