Beauty Ingredient 101: Baobab

Take one look at the baobab tree (rather cartoonesque, right?), and you won't be surprised that it's known as the 'Tree of Life.' But in the beauty world, it's not the imposing baobab tree that's creating the biggest buzz- it's the seeds of its fruit. The oil of baobab seeds now shows up as a powerful ingredient in natural creams, serums and oils that promise to keep skin radiant and stave off aging. And the promises are probable: baobab seed oil is a great source of anti-inflammatory, antioxidant protection and excellent at maintaining skin elasticity, so it really does help keep skin looking youthful.

My favorite new source of baobab seed oil is the Global Face Serum by celebrity makeup artist Lina Hanson (her clients include Natalie Portman and Naomi Watts!). Lina is also the author of Eco-Beautiful, so I was thrilled to hear that such an in-the-know natural beauty guru would be launching a product of her own. This serum is a concentrated blend of oils sourced from around the world, including argan, pumpkin seed, Brazil nut, marula and camellia. It has an earthy-floral aroma from its natural essential oils and it sinks into skin instantly, like the best oil blends do. If you're interested in the skin benefits of baobab, the Global Face Serum is a fantastic place to start. Check it out, along with the rest of Lina's work, at linahanson.com.

The tart pulp of the baobab fruit is also becoming more widely consumed, thanks to its high concentration of vitamin C, calcium, magnesium and potassium; look for it in smoothies and nutrition bars!

Tree image courtesy Wikipedia