The good oils

Celebrate Hanukka by using oil on your body rather than in your mouth.

December 7, 2010 16:20
Herbal oils used in the cosmetics industry.

face oils_311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

According to the Talmud, once the victorious Maccabees reached the Temple, they could find only one oil jug with the high priest’s seal intact.Worse still, the oil in the jug was only enough to last one day. A great miracle occurred and the light lasted for eight days. The Talmud doesn’t emphasize the miraculous victory as the reason for celebrating Hanukka but focuses on the long-burning oil as the basis for the holiday.

We celebrate the miracle by eating lots of fried foods drenched in oil. But a healthier way may be, as cosmetic companies reminded me over the last month, to drench our skin in oil, rather than our stomachs.

Herbal oils that are considered to be “heavy artillery” in the war against ageing signs, are obliphica, jojoba, rosehip and olive, all of which have a high percentage of today’s trendiest of all ingredients: the antioxidants, supposedly the magical cure for the devastating effects of free radicals, the trendiest devils.

Anat Becker, an expert in rehabilitating cosmetics from the Barbur Center, says that there are two main kinds of oils used in the cosmetic industry: herbal oils used to soften the skin, such as almond oil, and etheric oils that are considered active ingredients.

Obliphica: The Russian sea buckthorn is considered to be an all-time miracle treatment. The oil is extracted from the yellow seeds of a thorny bush, and it is very beneficial in treating sunburn, radiation damage, cuts and bruises, scars, hemorrhoids, skin inflammation, pigmentation disorders and aging. It is also considered beneficial to the hair. (Products: CHIC hand and foot products and DSM hair mask.)

Argan: The argan tree grows in southwest Morocco. The oil is extracted from the nuts after being dried in the sun, roasted and ground. It has many cosmetic and therapeutic qualities and is used in spa treatments mainly for nails and hair. It also helps prevent damage from the sun and fights hair loss. (Products: Gelnique Aragne oil. NIS 332.99 for 30 ml.)

Olive: the benefits of olive oil to our diet are very well known. But it is also very beneficial for our beauty and is used in many eye, lips and body creams. It is ideal for mature skin and for very dry skin. (Products: Body lotion by Golan Beit Habad, L’Occitane facial mask and Ananda hair mask).

Rosehip: The wild rose seeds ooze oil acids and are therefore used in many beauty products especially anti rides creams and exfoliating creams. It is great for treating inflamed skin, cuts and scars, and is also very beneficial for babies and pregnant women. (Products: Gade’s face cream, DSM body butter, and in its pure state from Primavera.)

Grape: This oil is absorbed very easily into the skin and is therefore more efficient compared to other oils. It is rich in antioxidants and is used mainly in treatment creams for damaged and aged skin and hair. (Products: Garnier’s Nutritionist day cream NIS 149.)

Avocado: Like olive oil, the avocado oil is extracted from the fruit itself. It is rich in lecithin and other essential acids and vitamins A, B and E, and really softens the skin. It helps prevent stretch marks and is beneficial for dry and aged skin. (Products: Avocado hair mask by CHIC NIS 25 for 500 ml.)

Wheat germ: Very rich in vitamin E and other beneficial substances such as lanolin, this oil is used in many beauty products and is great for pregnant women and fighting dryness of the skin.
(Products: Serum Multi vitamin from Grenoble Nut series by Ananda)

Evening Primrose: Aside from medical uses such as in treating multiple sclerosis, heart conditions and the relief of menstrual pains and menopausal symptoms, this oil is also known for its cosmetic qualities. Rich in linoleic acid as well as the more rare gamma-linoleic acid, it is beneficial in treating acne, atopic dermatitis, psoriasis and eczema and is also called the ultimate anti-aging oil. (Products: Natalie’s cream for skin blemishes, Ananda’s hydrating cream and Orly’s calcium shield for nails.)

Jojoba: The jojoba shrub grows in deserts. The oil extracted from the plant is used for many medical purposes. It can be found in many products including those for hair and treating of dry and aging skin. (Products: Jojoba series by Soft Touch, Jojoba oil by Nofar and organic baby soap by Dr. Brunner.)

Aromatic oils

Although the use of aromas in treating emotional and physical problems has been known for thousands of years, aromatherapy as we know it today was first used only in the 20th century. Its popularity has been growing since and many spa and beauty centers now offer a holistic aromatherapy experience that promises to restore both physical and emotional balance.

“Etheric oils are the only oils that will penetrate the skin and will help in actually removing old skin cells and creating a more flexible and smooth skin,” says Yoel Grinboim of Aroma Life, importer of Primavera natural oils. He says only etheric oils have therapeutic qualities and that synthetic oils “try to copy the aroma of the pure oils.” Aroma Life sells over 200 different etheric oils. Prices range from NIS 30 to NIS 150.

For the winter he recommends using eucalyptus globules, known for their anti-viral and expectorant qualities. They are used for relief in colds in inhalers and saunas and as rubbing oil, for reducing fever and aches and more. They are also good, he says, for treatment of emotional and physical fatigue.

People suffering from high blood pressure, asthmatics, epileptics, pregnant and lactating women and babies should not use them. (NIS 22 for 10 ml.)

Get it at: Pharma chains, nature shops and online at

Other Products:

Hydro Botanic shower gels: Style Aromatherapy has added shower gels containing aromatherapy herbal oils to its Hydro Botanic series (NIS 19.90 for a 750-ml. bottle).

Clarins Body Oil Tonic: Body oil that is recommended in pregnancy and during dieting. Massage a few drops on problematic areas of the body and shower in lukewarm water, or inhale after warming between your palms (NIS 273 for 100 ml.).

Clarins Eau Dinamisante: A popular product used for hydrating skin with a very gentle perfume. It has jojoba oil, aloe vera, olive oil extracts, rosemary and other aromatic oils. Can be rubbed or sprayed after shower (NIS 196 for 150 ml.).

Related Content

Vilnius, Lithuania
August 31, 2014
Travel: Let’s take it slow in Lithuania