Family: Theaceae

Genus & Species: Camellia japonica
Common Names: Common Camellia, Rose of Winter, False Flax, Japanese Camellia [1]
Overview: Camellia is a slow growing, evergreen shrub that’s native to Japan, China, and Korea. [1] The oil retrieved from the seed is known in Japan as tsubaki oil, which has a long history of both culinary and cosmetic use. Most notably, tsubaki oil was used by geisha for its ability to nourish and strengthen the skin and hair, helping to facilitate graceful aging. [2] Like many traditional self-care practices, modern research is just beginning to recognize the benefits of using camellia seed oil. It’s been found to reduce signs of aging in two distinct ways. It protects the skin against urban environmental pollutants, which have been identified as a primary cause for aging skin. It also reduces trans-epidermal water loss, protecting collagen from the damage caused by dehydration such as wrinkles. [3,4] Camellia’s moisture-guarding properties extends to hair as well, where it helps to tame frizz, protect ends, and maintain a healthy sheen. As part of its nourishing retinue, camellia seed oil contains oleic acids, linoleic acids, squalene, vitamin E, and vitamin A, all of which contribute to the health of skin and hair in numerous ways. [2]
Therapeutic Properties: Emollient, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, anti-wrinkle, hepatoprotective, cholesterol-lowering, carminative. [2,3,4]
Typical Uses: Any substance that is as gentle and wholly nourishing as camellia oil can be used in so many ways. To take advantage of it’s skin rejuvenating properties, 5-8 drops can be applied to the skin after cleansing and after any water-based products. Gently tap or press the oil into the face to aid with absorption. To use camellia oil as a hair-care agent, add a dime-sized amount onto your palm and spread it evenly over your hands. Run your fingers through your locks and massage your scalp, moving the oil to all parts of your hair and repeating with more oil, as needed. Use just enough oil to create a subtle, healthy sheen. While this practice is great for every day protection, camellia oil can also be used as a deeply nourishing hair-mask. To do this, follow the same steps as above, except use about 3 or 4 times more oil, thoroughly covering every strand. Leave the oil in for 20 minutes to an hour and then wash your hair with a gentle shampoo.
1. Camellia japonica | Missouri Botanical Garden

2. Camellia Seed Oil: A Beauty Elixir From East Asia |  New Directions Aromatics

3. Protective effects of Camellia japonica… | PubMed Central® 

4. Effect of Camellia japonica oil… | PubMed Central®

Image by JackieLou DL from Pixabay