Honey has had a long history in human consumption, and is used in various foods and beverages as a sweetener and flavoring. It also has a role in religion and symbolism. Flavors of honey vary based on the nectar source, and various types and grades of honey are available. It has also been used in various medicinal traditions to treat ailments.
Use of beeswax in skin care and cosmetics has been increasing. A German study found beeswax to be superior to similar barrier creams (usually mineral oil-based creams such as petroleum jelly), when used according to its protocol. Beeswax is used in lip balm, lip gloss, hand creams, and moisturizers; and in cosmetics such as eye shadow, blush, and eye liner. Beeswax is an important ingredient in mustache wax and hair pomades, which make hair look sleek and shiny.
Olive oil has a long history of being used as a home remedy for skincare. Egyptians used it alongside beeswax as a cleanser, moisturizer, and antibacterial agent since pharaonic times. In ancient Greece, the substance was used during massage, to prevent sports injuries, relieve muscle fatigue, and eliminate lactic acid buildup. In 2000, Japan was the top importer of olive oil in Asia (13,000 tons annually) because consumers there believe both the ingestion and topical application of olive oil to be good for skin and health.
Coconut oil can be used as a skin moisturizer, helping with dry skin and was shown in one study to reduce protein loss when used in hair.
Before the advent of electrical lighting, coconut oil was the primary oil used for illumination in India and was exported as cochin oil.Coconut oil is an important base ingredient for the manufacture of soap. Soap made with coconut oil tends to be hard, though it retains more water than soap made with other oils and therefore increases manufacturer yields. It is more soluble in hard water and salt water than other soaps allowing it to lather more easily. A basic coconut oil soap is clear when melted and a bright white when hardened.
Shea butter is mainly used in the cosmetics industry for skin and hair related products (lip gloss, skin moisturizer creams and emulsions, and hair conditioners for dry and brittle hair). It is also used by soap makers, typically in small amounts (5-7% of the oils in the recipe), because it has plenty of unsaponifiables.
In some African countries such as Benin, shea butter is used for cooking oil, as a waterproofing wax, for hairdressing, for candle-making, and also as an ingredient in medicinal ointments.
Sweet Almond Oil
Almond oil is a rich source of vitamin E (table).
"Oleum amygdalae", the fixed oil, is prepared from either sweet or bitter almonds and is a glyceryl oleate, with a slight odour and a nutty taste. It is almost insoluble in alcohol but readily soluble in chloroform or ether. Sweet almond oil is obtained from the dried kernel of sweet almonds.
The oil is good for application to the skin as an emollient, and has been traditionally used by massage therapists to lubricate the skin during a massage session.
Avocado oil functions well as a carrier oil for other flavors. It is high in monounsaturated fats and vitamin E. Avocado oil also enhances the absorption of carotenoids and other nutrients.
Avocado oil was originally, and still is, extracted for cosmetic use because of its very high skin penetration and rapid absorption. Following drying of the avocado flesh to remove as much water as possible (≈65% water in avocado flesh), avocado oil for cosmetics is traditionally extracted with solvents at elevated temperatures. After extraction, the oil for application in skin care products is usually refined, bleached, and deodorized, resulting in an odorless yellow oil. Like extra virgin olive oil, cold-pressed avocado oil is unrefined and so retains the flavor and color characteristics of the fruit flesh.
Tocopherols are sometimes used as a food preservative to prevent oils from going rancid, and in liquid castile soap made from coconut, olive, jojoba or hemp oil.
Vitamin E is widely used as an inexpensive antioxidant in cosmetics and foods. Vitamin E containing products are commonly used in the belief that vitamin E is good for the skin; many cosmetics include it, often labeled as tocopherol acetate, tocopheryl linoleate or tocopheryl nicotinate.
Glycerol is a component of glycerin soap. Essential oils are added for fragrance. This kind of soap is used by people with sensitive, easily irritated skin because it prevents skin dryness with its moisturizing properties. It draws moisture up through skin layers and slows or prevents excessive drying and evaporation.
Mint Essential Oil
Mint was originally used as a medicinal herb to treat stomach ache and chest pains. There are several uses in traditional medicine and preliminary research for possible use in treating irritable bowel syndrome.
Menthol from mint essential oil (40–90%) is an ingredient of many cosmetics and some perfumes. Menthol and mint essential oil are also used in aromatherapy which may have clinical use to alleviate post-surgery nausea.
Known in Greek mythology as the herb of hospitality, one of mint's first known uses in Europe was as a room deodorizer. The herb was strewn across floors to cover the smell of the hard-packed soil. Stepping on the mint helped to spread its scent through the room. Today, it is more commonly used for aromatherapy through the use of essential oils.
Rosemary Essential Oil
Rosemary contains a number of phytochemicals, including rosmarinic acid, camphor, caffeic acid, ursolic acid, betulinic acid, and the antioxidants carnosic acid and carnosol.
In traditional medicine of India, extracts and essential oil from flowers and leaves are used to treat a variety of disorders.
Lavender Essential Oil
Lavender is used extensively with herbs such as chamomile in aromatherapy. Infusions are believed to soothe insect bites, burns, and headaches. Bunches of lavender repel insects. In pillows, lavender seeds and flowers aid sleep and relaxation.[medical citation needed] An infusion of flowerheads added to a cup of boiling water is used to soothe and relax at bedtime. Lavender oil (or extract of lavender) is used to treat acne when diluted 1:10 with water, rosewater, or witch hazel; it also treats skin burns and inflammatory conditions.