The Amazonian jungle gives us another great beauty product: the Pracaxi oil. Although it’s not yet very popular, this oil has some impressive qualities. It is especially good for hair, but it can also help the skin heal faster. Check out this article for more useful details and beauty tips.
In this post, you’ll be reading about:
- The physical traits of the oil (color, names, aroma, etc.). These are all details that can help you find a good quality product.
- What makes Pracaxi oil so special in beauty treatments. I’ll be explaining some things about its chemical composition, so you can understand how it works.
- Hair and skin care benefits.
- How to use Pracaxi seed oil to improve the aspect of your skin and hair.
- A few nice and easy beauty recipes with Pracaxi oil.
- Interesting Pracaxi facts and trivia, for a deeper knowledge of the product.
- Where to find the oil, if you want to give it a try.
- Some safety tips necessary to make informed decisions.
Properties and Benefits of Pracaxi Oil (Skin & Hair Care Tips & Recipes)
Botanical name: Pentaclethra macroloba.
Pronunciation: pra- ka- shee
Color: light or bright yellow to dark yellow-brown.
Aroma: vegetable, nutty (raw or roasted), with hints of coffee.
Consistency: thick and creamy. It usually hardens at low temperatures (~2C/35.6F).
Shelf life: If stored properly, Pracaxi can last 18 – 36 months.
Other names: oil bean tree, fine leaf; pracachi; pracaxy and paranacachy (Portuguese); gavilan, sangredo, and palo de aceite (Spanish).
Chemical Composition of Pracaxi Oil
Those are the physical traits of the Pracaxi seed oil. What exactly is Pracaxi oil? It’s an exotic type of carrier oil that’s very resistant to external factors like heat.
The shelf life of Pracaxi oil is a long one. However, the best way to use this beauty oil for a long time is to store it in:
- And dry environments.
Although not as popular as other carriers, Pracaxi should not be overlooked. When it comes to beauty, this oil can truly help.
As of yet, there are only a few medical studies on its effects. Yet, they are enough to back up the hundreds of years of traditional use. Locals used it for everything, from snake bites to stronger hair and fewer scars.
Being a carrier oil, it’s made of fatty acids. These fatty acids penetrate the skin and moisturize it. They keep it elastic and hydrated too. At the same time, they also leave a protective film on the skin. It protects from harmful bacteria and prevents many infections.
Here’s what Pracaxi seed oil contains (chemical profile):
- 45 – 50% Oleic acid (omega 9) – This acid is produced by the body in large quantities. It’s necessary to nourish the skin and keep it radiant and soft. Oleic acid is also needed to keep the skin supple.
- 15 – 19% Behenic acid – It’s a rare fatty acid that’s not commonly found in vegetable oils. It’s fast absorbed into the skin without leaving a greasy feeling. The behenic acid leaves the skin soft and supple. It’s a great natural conditioner. Behenic acid is everyone’s favorite in natural and BIO cosmetics.
- ≤ 12% linoleic acid (omega 6) – It’s the most essential fatty acid we need because the body doesn’t produce it. Linoleic acid helps to repair and heal the skin. It can also strengthen the protective barrier of the skin. It is especially useful for those with acne because it prevents breakouts and scars.
Other beneficial fatty acids and active constituents, found in lesser amounts are:
- Lignoceric acid – this fatty acid contributes to the thickness of Pracaxi oil.
- Palmitic acid – it cleanses the skin while acting as a great emollient.
- Vitamin E – awesome antioxidant.
- Phytosterols – their role is to protect the skin and help it regenerate.
When you put all these ingredients together, the end result is a great looking skin and hair.
Pentaclethra Macroloba Seed Oil Properties
Now that you know what it’s made of, here is a list with most of the beneficial properties of Pracaxi (or Pracachi):
- For hair, Pracaxi oil is conditioning and detangling.
- It makes the hair comb easier and tames frizzy hair too.
- It can also prevent premature hair loss.
- Pracaxi seed oil can protect the hair from the heat of the blowdryer.
- Gives the hair shine, nourishes it, and makes it soft to touch.
- For the skin, the oil of Pentaclethra macroloba can help with regeneration.
- It can maintain the skin hydrated and supple.
- It’s also purifying for the problematic skin.
Because of the high content of oleic acid, Pracaxi oil may increase cell turnover.
What does this mean? It means that you may see some small breakouts after a few uses, though it’s not a rule. This purging effect may last up to a month until all the skin layers have renewed.
I haven’t found any compelling evidence on the comedogenicity rating of Pracaxi oil. Yet, its chemical profile suggests that it should be on the non-comedogenic scale.
This means that Pracaxi oil doesn’t clog the pores. This makes it safe to use for people with acne or combination skin.
Benefits of Pracaxi Oil in Hair Care
Pracaxi oil is great for scalp and hair care. It has anti-inflammatory effects, but it’s also antibacterial and emollient.
It protects the scalp from dandruff and irritation, while keeping it supple and hydrated. It can also feed the hair necessary fatty acids to restore its shininess and strength.
Who can use Pracaxi oil for hair? If you are among the following, then you can use it full-heartedly:
- Dry and damaged hair.
- Afro hair.
- Split ends.
- Hair loss.
- Hair that’s prone to breaking.
- Dyed hair.
- Frizzy and tangled hair.
- Hard to style hair.
The oil of Pracaxi leaves the hair glowing and feeling very soft. This makes it very easy to style. It can also restore the health of an intensely dyed or discolored hair.
How to Use Pracaxi Oil in Hair Care
- If you use the blow dryer often, you can apply a small amount of Pracaxi oil on the lower half of the hair.
- You can also apply hair masks with Pracaxi for hair growth or to prevent premature hair loss.
Being a thick oil, Pracaxi oil should not be applied directly by people with thin hair.
It can weigh down on it and cause it to break. You can still use it but mixed with a lighter oil like Almond, Macadamia or Grapeseed, Watermelon, etc.
The oil can be used as it is or combined with other oils and essential oils.
- Simply rub a small amount of Pracaxi between your fingers or palms.
- Apply it on the lower half of the hair or just the ends.
- This should be done while the hair is still damp, to seal in the water.
Another way to use this oil is to add some in your usual shampoo. Also, you can make a warm oil mask in which you add essential oils to stimulate hair growth. I will give you a few recipes further down the article.
Benefits of Pracaxi Oil in Skin Care
If you want to use Pracaxi oil for skin, it’s quite simple. Luckily, it can be applied to the skin as it is.
Of course, for more potent blends or serums, you can mix it with other carriers and essential oils. You will find a few recipes to get inspiration your from, soon.
Who can use Pentaclethra macroloba seed oil? People with:
- Scars from wounds and acne.
- Stretch marks.
- Fresh wounds.
- Dry and very dry skin.
- Mature skin types.
- Dark undereye circles.
- Age spots.
You can also use it to improve the blood flow under the skin. This usually helps to speed up the healing process.
How to Use Pracaxi Oil in Skin Care
- You can add some Pracaxi seed oil into your usual body lotion or face serum.
- Or you can make some simple face and body blends with natural beauty ingredients.
- You can use the oil of Pracaxi as a base for your blend. Next, you can add one or more essential oils into it for various purposes. Give the blend a gentle shake before each use and you’re ready.
Applying small amounts of oils to the skin will nourish it and keep it supple. They will prevent water loss, thus you can deal with dry skin more easily.
And no, putting oils on your face (in small to moderate amounts) will not make it more oily. In fact, it can balance the sebum production.
The human sebum contains a lot of oleic acid among others. After washing, the skin is usually depleted of most of its protective oils.
This makes the body produce a lot more oil which may lead to blocked pores. Using an oil such as Pracaxi can trick the body into thinking there is enough sebum on the skin.
Of course, there is a downside to this fact. The overuse of oils leads to the danger of not producing enough sebum anymore.
Over long periods of time, the sebaceous glands can become lazy. It’s always good to take a break from your usual beauty oils and creams, and let the body produce its own oil.
Pracaxi Seed Oil Synergies and Beauty Recipes
As I’ve promised, I’ve got some simple DIY beauty recipes for you to try out. They’re all using Pracaxi seed oil as a base.
Keep in mind that you can always change the recipe with something else you have at hand. The ingredients, however, need to be similar to get the right results.
First, take a look at these ingredients that work well with each other (synergy):
- Vegetable types of butter like Cupuaçu, Mango, Shea, Coffee, Murumuru, etc.
- Other carriers like Jojoba, Macadamia, Olive, Sweet Almond, Rice bran, etc.
- Essential oils like Hinoki, Palmarosa, Grapefruit, Ylang Ylang, etc.
Pracaxi Hair Serum Recipe
- Pracaxi oil: 2 tablespoons
- Aloe Vera gel: 1 tablespoon
Give this blend a good shake before each use. Use small to moderate amounts on the palms first. Apply evenly on the ends and the first half of your hair.
You can also add a drop of an essential oil of your choosing. That will make your hair smell nicer. The best moment to do so is when the hair is still damp, to seal in the water.
Pracaxi Warm Oil Mask for All Hair Types
- Pracaxi seed oil: 2 teaspoons
- Olive oil: 1 teaspoon
- Peppermint essential oil: 2 drops
Mix all these ingredients in a small glass bowl with a wooden or glass spoon. Warm it gently and make sure it’s not hot, or you’ll risk to burn the scalp. Apply it all over the scalp, hair roots and/or hair strands.
Put on a shower cap to keep everything warm inside. Heat opens up the pores and cuticles and the hair can absorb deeper the nutrients.
Keep it on for 30 mins. – 1 hour and then rinse with warm water and shampoo. You might have to repeat the process several times until all the oils are off. When it’s super clean, it should squeak.
This hair mask with Pracaxi can help with hair growth, hair loss, dullness, dryness, etc. It should be used once or twice a month, at the most. It can saturate the hair fast and then it’ll weigh it down, looking greasy and dull.
Anti-Stretch Marks Pracaxi Body Lotion Recipe
- Pracaxi oil: 1 Oz (30ml)
- Avocado oil: ½ Oz (15 ml)
- Grapefruit essential oil: 12 drops
Give the blend a good shake before using it, to stir all the ingredients. Apply small amounts on the problem areas, twice a day. You can use the blend to prevent or to improve the appearance of stretch marks. They form while gaining weight, so it’s always good to moisturize your skin daily.
Anti-Wrinkles and Fine Lines Pracaxi Serum
- Pracaxi oil: 1 tablespoon
- Rice bran oil: 1 teaspoon
- Rose or Frankincense essential oil: 3 drops
If you plan on using this blend on the area under the eyes, leave out the essential oil. It can irritate the eyes and the thin skin. Both essential oils are great anti-aging ingredients and can make the serum more potent.
As a bonus, this blend can also be applied on fresh (not open!) wounds. It’ll speed up the healing process.
Pracaxi Oil Facts and Trivia (Where to Find It and Safety Tips)
Now you know a lot about the properties and beneficial effects of Pracaxi. That should be enough to make you decide if you’ll be buying it or not.
However, I’ve still got some interesting facts about it to share. Before concluding the article, you should also read the safety tips.
Let’s start with the trivia about the tree and its fruits (nuts/seeds).
- Pracaxi oil comes from the seeds of the Pentaclethra macroloba tree. This tree is part of the Leguminosae or Fabaceae family of plants. There are about 19.000 known species in this family. They amount to 7% of all the flowering plants. The fruits or legumes of these plants, trees, and shrubs helped humans survive and evolve. Some of the most common ones are soybeans, peas, peanuts, licorice, and alfalfa.
- The P. macroloba tree grows naturally in rainforests and dry forests. More to the point, you’ll find Pracaxi trees growing in Northern Brazil, Guyana, and other areas in Central America.
- In the Amazonian regions, locals use Pracaxi oil for hundreds of years. Traditionally, they treat skin infections and dry skin with it. Women especially, also use it to make their hair look more beautiful. Snake bites were also soothed or treated with macerated Pracaxi bark. It’s already been proven that Pracaxi water extracts can indeed stop the hemorrhage and damage done by some venomous snakes.
- The bark of the P. macroloba tree was also used to treat dysentery.
- The Pracaxi seeds grow in half-moon shaped pods that contain 4 – 8 seeds. 1 kilo (2.20 pounds) of Pracaxi seeds yield about 30% oil.
- The Pracaxi seeds are edible, thus, there is also a cooking oil made from them. It’s widely used in Africa and it’s called
- The wood of the Pracaxi trees is sometimes used to replace mahogany. Pracaxi trees grow very fast, which is why they’re used to rehabilitate forests and savannas.
- The seeds of P. macroloba are one of the few natural sources for high contents of behenic acid. This fatty acid forms a very strong protective barrier on the skin.
Where Can I Find Pracaxi Oil?
Unfortunately, the oil of Pracaxi seeds is not yet very popular. Because of it, the oil can be expensive, though not hard to find.
You do need to make sure the oil is unrefined though. At low temperatures, the oil solidifies. It starts to look more like a butter. This is a clear sign of good-quality Pracaxi seed oil. You can also ask the seller for the GC/MS report of the product before buying.
If you want to give it a try, I’ve found this Pracaxi oil online. It should make things easier for you.
Pracaxi Oil Safety Tips
Generally, Pracaxi is a safe carrier oil. However, there are a few things you should know about before using it:
- The bark and the seeds of the tree contain a poison that can cause contact allergies.
- The high content of oleic acid in Pracaxi oil can also irritate the skin. Make sure you test it first with a small amount and wait for a day or two. If you are allergic to Pracaxi oil, it’ll show up as an irritation (redness, itching, etc.). Also, use small amounts of oil every time. There is always the possibility of developing an allergy.
- Using Pracaxi oil in pregnancy should be done with the doctor’s approval. I haven’t found any proof of possible interactions with medicines or the baby’s wellbeing.
- Do not confuse Pracaxi oil with Pataua or Manketti. They’re different oils with different properties, even though they come from the same geographical areas.
- If you’ve ever wondered or heard about Pracaxi nectar, know that that is the name of a brand product. It’s not the pure and original oil, it’s a manufactured hair care product. It does contain some Pracaxi oil though.
- Don’t take Pracaxi oil internally! The behenic acid can raise the cholesterol levels among others. Talk to your doctor before considering this option.
- Avoid using it on newborns and seek medical advice before using it on infants and toddlers. They have very sensitive skin and the oil could be too strong for them.
The external use of Pentaclethra macroloba seed oil is generally safe. Especially when it’s kept in proper conditions and you use it in moderate amounts.
This oil has some truly impressive effects on the hair. It can also help in clearing the skin from acne and scars. Also, Pracaxi oil can speed up the healing of wounds and improve the aspect of stretch marks.
All these and more benefits from a single beauty oil! How do you feel about giving it a try? Please let me know how it goes, ok?