This Salad Ingredient Is Better On Your Face

Just a few months ago, I caught my new roomie lubing up her salmon with mayonnaise. It was one of the most unsafest things I've ever seen her do in the several years of our friendship. Since I was a full-time smoker for about 10 years, I resisted the urge to throw stones from the very fragile glass house she had caught me eating ruffles and French onion dip in while surrounded by Popsicle wrappers. Still, a subtle introduction to an alternative to mayo, safflower oil, was required out of love. Of course, while she was upping her salmon game, I was sneaking safflower oil on my natural hair for thick, soft strands, and I came to realize why Black Girl Long Hair's website has named the stuff as one of the best oils for natural hair.

When most of us think of safflower oil, we're thinking about eating it not putting it on our hair and skin. It's definitely time to change how you view this vegetable oil, because this herbal plant isn't just for lowering cholesterol in your body. Safflower oil is a light oil that can have your locks flowing down your back in no time or help that afro get some serious height, sans chemicals.

The safflower plant is native to climates with a rainy season, and it's oil is naturally odorless and lacking in flavor, so while it may not enhance your salad, it's going to be way more pleasant on your face then some of the heavier, smellier carrier oils while increasing your skin's ability to retain water and moisture. Safflower oil, not to be confused with saffron, is certainly a great way to prevent moisture loss in your hair as well as your face, and it's lighter than coconut and olive oil. Don't be fooled by the gentle consistency though — safflower oil is especially beneficial for those suffering from psoriasis and eczema.

Acne sufferers shouldn't discard this oil either: Safflower oil is a natural anti-inflammatory agent that increases cell membrane integrity. Basically, that means it protects you from high levels of toxins and bacteria in the air. Keeping your skin clean and protected is crucial to ward off break-outs and evil little cysts that creep up under your skin. Rich in linoleic acid, this oil is highly versatile and all skin types can benefit from adding this vegetable oil into your facial cleansing routine.

Obvy, there is some hesitation when putting any oil on your hair or face. These recipes below are expert-vetted and super easy to make. Even though safflower oil is generally non-irritating, be sure to test it out on the inside of your elbow to be sure it's right for you.

1. Hair Growth Treatment

Safflower oil is amazing for naturals that are shampoo-less because it nourishes and penetrates hair follicles while protecting your hair from outside free radicals. Massaging your scalp with safflower oil and a few drops of rosemary essential oil can give you an ultimate conditioning experience that will prompt hair growth, thickness, and shine. Of course, if you don't spend your time at health food and vitamin shops, you can opt for using fresh rosemary with your safflower oil.

2. Hair Removal Treatment

Whenever I realize that I'm due for a leg shave, I have to resist the urge to throw a child-like tantrum. Everything about shaving is annoying to me and everything about waxing is equally annoying... but nothing beats slipping into crisp sheets with freshly shaven legs. An Ayurvedic process to remove hair for good has yielded great results for those of us who can be diligent about an extra daily step in our beauty routine. Mix safflower oil and Thanaka powder together and rub directly on site everyday to gradually decrease hair growth. Eventually, you'll notice a larger gap in between those shaving sessions.

3. Dry Skin Cleanser

Meridian Organic Safflower Oil, $17, Amazon

Believe it or not, one of the best ways to remove oil and dirt build-up is with more oil. The problem with this method for dry-skin beauties out there is that it's necessary to lock in moisture to avoid flaky, dull skin. Over the counter treatments for dry skin often contain synthetic agents that temporarily provide moisture and actually increase the aging process, so it's best to use natural oils for optimal results. On a makeup-free face, mix equal parts of apricot seed oil and safflower seed oil and massage for at least 2 minutes.

The oil cleansing method doesn't typically require a moisturizer after you rinse off, but if you are feeling extra dry, you can also apply safflower oil after your wash for added protection.

Image: Christina B Castro, HisakoTANAKA/Flickr; Giphy