Though cacti are associated with the desert and arid climates – which is the last thing we want to think of when conjuring up our hair and skin dreams – they are able to thrive with little to no water.
And that should tell you something. Instead of perpetuating the cactus’ bad rep, let’s dig a little deeper (past the spikes) to find out how these amazing plants function, and how we can apply that to upping our rehydration routines.
It’s a Hero Ingredient
When you think about cactus as a plant, it’s everything we want for our skin,” notes Remi, the founder of Freck Beauty – the line incorporates cactus as one of their star ingredients. The cactus is amazing for many reasons, but mostly because of how it retains water. Cacti pull in moisture and store it within their cells for weeks or months at a time. “It’s a hearty plant that’s drought resistant and grows quickly enough to avoid species depletion,” adds Remi.
Which Type of Cactus to Choose?
You don’t have to be pretentious when it comes to sourcing cacti. Almost all cactus and succulents have hydrating and healing properties — which is why aloe is such an all-over wonder. “We’ve chosen to focus on two,” describes Remi of her line. In particular, Freck uses the Prickly Pear Seed Oil and Cactus Flower Extract from the Cereus Grandiflorus to keep skin and hair hydrated.
Why It’s So Good
Cactus is an incredible ingredient because it absorbs quickly rather than resting on surfaces. ”With large amounts of linoleic acid, oleic acid, Vitamin E, and phytosterols, prickly pear seed oil stimulates healthy cell production and helps skin retain moisture,” continues Remi. “Prickly Pear and Cereus Grandiflorus are both chock full of fatty acids.” These fatty acids work to lubricate, soften, and prevent moisture loss. And as much as cactus is hydrating, it is also preventative since the ingredients allow you to retain moisture (like the cactus) that lasts even after use.
A little bit of cactus oil can actually go along way. “LIL PRICK packs the punch at just over 30% pure Prickly Pear Seed Oil. Nearly 85% of Prickly Pear Seed Oil’s fatty acid content is oleic acid (texture enhancer) and linoleic acid (a skin restorative, an antioxidant and as a skin-soothing agent),” says Remi of her succulent serum.
The main takeaway, cactus oil is rich in essential vitamins and minerals and fatty acids that are key to keeping hair follicles healthy and in check, so you can have optimum growth. Fatty acids keep the hair cycle on point, meaning that once your hair hits the telogen (or fall-out phase) there will be new strands (anagen) ready to back it up.