A relaxing Hawaiian vacation is a dream for most people. If you can’t make it there any time soon, do the next best thing – bring a bit of Hawaii to you! Kukui nut oil comes from the Aleurites moluccana tree, also known as the kukui or candlenut tree. It’s the state tree of Hawaii. The oil that is cold pressed from the kukui nuts is prized for its ability to leave the skin and hair feeling smooth and silky.
What makes kukui nut oil so amazing is its unique fatty acid profile. It contains a good amount of both linoleic and oleic acid. Those fatty acids give the skin much-needed moisture. If you want to learn more about fatty acids, check out this blog post by Susan with Swift Crafty Monkey.
Another unique aspect of the oil is the texture. When applied to the skin, it absorbs quickly and doesn’t leave behind a greasy feeling. Instead, the skin feels soft. It is comparable to sweet almond and avocado oil, which have similar lightweight textures. In addition, it has a fairly long shelf life of 1-2 years. As for the smell, it has a neutral nutty odor that is very subtle in finished products. All those great qualities make kukui nut oil perfect for a variety of recipes.
Cold Process & Melt and Pour Soap
You can use kukui nut oil in soap up to 20%. We like to use it around 12-15%. It will give your bars the lovely silky properties mentioned above. Because it’s a soft oil (liquid at room temperature), it will make your soap softer and more moisturizing. This oil is ideal for intricate designs, as it won’t speed up trace. Learn more about formulating a recipe for intricate designs in this post. As for melt and pour, we don’t recommend adding extra oil. It can make the bases oily or soft. If you do add kukui nut oil, use no more than 1 teaspoon per pound of melt and pour soap.
If you’re in the market for a silky lotion or conditioner, you can use kukui nut as the only oil in the batch. That would be about 23% or more, depending on your recipe. You can also pair it with another liquid oil like argan to get the beneficial properties of both. If you like a lotion or conditioner that’s a bit thicker, adding a butter like avocado or shea would be a good option. Learn more about making lotion in this post. If you want to make conditioner, this video shows you how.
A traditional body or lip balm formula is 1:1:1 wax, butter and oil. Kukui nut oil can be used at 5% and up. It pairs nicely with beeswax or candelilla wax. As for butter, the sky is the limit! Cocoa, mango or kokum butter (a new product as well!) are great options. Before you get started on your balm, pop a few spoons in the freezer. This is called The Spoon Trick. When you dip the cold spoons into the melted balm, it hardens instantly so you can check the texture. If it’s too soft or too firm, you can adjust from there. Learn more about formulating balms in this post. Look out for a moisturizing lip balm recipe made with kukui nut oil later this week.
Kukui nut oil adds a silky, spreadable texture to your body butter recipes. You can use it at 5% or more. You can use the oil with any butter you like. The All About Butter post has more information on options for your recipe. In the Green Smoothie Whipped Body Butter Recipe, kukui nut oil would be a great addition or substitute for grapeseed oil.
Because kukui nut oil absorbs quickly, it’s a great option for scrubs. You can use it at 5-100% in your recipe with the exfoliant of your choice. You can also add potassium cocoate or liquid soap if you prefer a more cleansing scrub. Find scrub recipes here.
Oil and butter wet bath bombs, which helps them hold their shape. They also moisturize the skin. You can add about .5 oz. of kukui nut oil per 1.5 cups of fizzy mixture to start. If you want the bath bombs wetter, you can add more from there. Get more tips in the Bath Bomb Questions and Answers post. The oil would work really well in the Midas Touch Bath Bombs in place of or in addition to the meadowfoam oil.
Add kukui nut oil to the Midas Touch Bath Bombs for moisture.
Have you used kukui nut oil before? What do you like to use it in?