Carrier Oil Profile: Sunflower Oil

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Image Source: Craftology Essentials

INCI Name: Helianthus annuus (Sunflower) Seed Oil
Source: Sunflower seeds
Types: High linoleic / High oleic
Color: Pale yellow
Aroma: Faint neutral scent
Viscosity: Thin
Absorption: Absorbs into skin at average speed without leaving a greasy feeling
Comedogenic Rating: 0
Shelf Life: 6 months to 1 year (if stored in cool, dry place and away from direct sunlight)
SAP Value (for soap making): 188 - 194 (mg KOH), NaOH = 0.136 (g, oz or lb), KOH = 0.191 (g, oz or lb)
Ideal for which skin type: oily/acne prone (high linoleic type), dry skin (high oleic type)

There are so many reasons to love sunflower oil. Sunflower oil is a highly moisturizing carrier (base) oil that is light in texture so it does not feel heavy when you apply it on your skin. It also has a comedogenic rating of zero which means that it will not clog your pores. The non-comedogenic property of sunflower oil makes it an ideal facial moisturizer for people with acne prone skin. It can also be used as hair serum without weighing your hair down and smelling like oil (it has neutral smell unlike coconut oil).

Sunflower oil has high amount of vitamin A, D and E. Vitamins A and E are both antioxidant that blocks free radicals from our body and slows down the aging process of the skin. Basically, sunflower oil can prevent signs of aging such as wrinkles, uneven skin tone and pigmentation.

There are two variants of sunflower oil – high linoleic and high oleic. Linoleic acid is a polyunsaturated omega 6 essential fatty acid while oleic acid is a monounsaturated omega 9 fatty acid. These two fatty acids work differently on our skin. Sunflower oil that is high in linoleic acid is better suited for people with oily and/or acne prone skin. On the other hand, sunflower oil that is high in oleic acid is more suitable for people with dry skin. Another important difference to note is that sunflower oil that is high in linoleic acid has a shorter shelf life (about 6 months) compared with the one high in oleic acid (1 year).

Sunflower oil is also very inexpensive so you can use it as a base oil for products that contain 100% oil (e.g. massage oil, diffuser oil, etc.). Of course, you wouldn’t want to use your precious argan oil as body massage oil, right? If you have just started experimenting making one type of product, then it is very cost-effective to start with sunflower oil.

Finally, when you buy sunflower oil, you may ask your supplier whether what they’re selling is unrefined (e.g. cold-pressed) or refined (e.g. RBD or Refined, Bleached and Deodorized). There are pros and cons between those two. Unrefined sunflower oil is raw and unprocessed so it maintains its nutritional properties. However, unrefined oils get rancid faster. In contrast, refined sunflower oil has longer shelf life but its beneficial properties have been reduced during the refinement process.


Shelf Life & Benefits – Carrier Oils. Retrieved from

Saponification Chart. Retrieved from

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