Black seed oil may not be a mainstay in your medicine cabinet already, but the herbal ingredient has a rich history in traditional food and medicine spanning multiple continents and centuries, (with plenty of helpful advantages for skin, too). Read up on the botanical ingredient and its benefits for skin of color, below.
First up, what is black seed oil?
Black seeds—also known as black cumin, black kalonji, nigella seeds, or black onion seeds—come from the Nigella sativa, a small flowering plant that grows in Eastern Europe, Western Asia, and the Middle East. Indian and Arabian cultures have prized the black seed as a tasty edible ingredient in curries and flatbreads, and King Tut even referenced the seed in his burial tomb.
Black seed oil, an extract from the plant, is another component of the plant that some take as an oral supplement or use topically in skin-care products like our Cloud Cushion moisturizer.
What are its benefits? And what skin concerns does it address?
Black seeds have become such a staple in traditional medicine because they’re rich in fatty acids, thymoquinone (a powerful phytochemical), proteins, and antioxidants.
For skincare purposes, black seed oil hydrates while controlling excess oil, unclogging pores, taming redness, and soothing irritation. Because it’s rich in fatty acids, it also helps reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
It’s ideal for acne-prone skin types who want hydration without the added grease, and people with sensitive or aging skin. Some research even suggests that black seed oil shows promise for treating skin conditions like vitiligo and eczema.
Why is it beneficial for skin of color?
Added hydration and fatty acids found in black seed oil can be beneficial for maintaining a healthy skin balance in POC, who studies show experience a high level of transepidermal water loss (meaning the total amount of water lost through the skin when there’s no sweating involved) .
Black seed oil’s soothing, sebum-controlling, and redness-reducing properties are also helpful for calming skin inflammation and acne that can cause PIH (or post-inflammatory hyperpigmentation), another common trait of melanated skin.
How should black seed oil be used?
You can either purchase black seed oil on its own as a concentrate or find it mixed into hydrating products like our Cloud Cushion moisturizer. It’s gentle enough to use with a number of other ingredients, though you’ll usually see it mixed with other oils, emollients, and hydrators.