náu’s skincare formulations begin with sourcing natural ingredients directly from organic, zero-waste farms across Europe. To ensure only the highest quality goes into our products, we then use cold-press extraction in the distillation of our oils, which retains the naturally occurring vitamins and antioxidants that make nature’s ingredients so powerful and beneficial. And when it comes to the extraction of flower oils we use special distillation processes to maintain the very best of their active ingredients.
Traditionally, heat has been used in the extraction of oil, often up to 232°C (450°F), however, heat changes the very nature of its compound structure by causing it to oxidise and degrade. This method produces refined oils, which have a much more chemical-heavy composition, void of their natural goodness, and removed of natural pigments and scent.
Take for example, the difference between extra-virgin olive oil and olive oil that we cook with. Extra-virgin olive oil is made from pure, cold-pressed olives, yielding a more nutritionally dense unrefined oil filled with antioxidants, vitamins, polyphenols and monounsaturated fats. All in all, a healthier oil. Cheaper, refined alternatives are stripped of their impurities through heat extraction; leaving them nutritionally poor with a more neutral flavour and lighter colour.
The same applies to natural skincare. Cold-pressing is an extraction process used to draw out the key active ingredients from nature’s oils without the use of heat above room temperature. With cold-pressing the temperature is controlled at 26-32°C (80-90°F) so ingredients are able to remain in their most vitamin-packed, bioavailable form. Cold-pressed oils are therefore unrefined, minimally processed and authentic-to-nature. By using the purest form of nature in your skincare, you will reap only the benefits.
At náu, we incorporate many flower oils into our formulations, such as Calendula Flower Oil and Lavender Oil. To obtain these precious oils, we source from producers that distillate the plants. Most essential oils, such as lavender, peppermint, tea tree oil, patchouli, and eucalyptus, are distilled.
The process involves using the raw plant material such as the petals, leaves, wood, bark, roots, seeds, or peel, which are then put into an alembic, a distillation apparatus, over water. As the water is heated, the steam passes through the plant material, vaporising the volatile compounds. The vapour passes through a coil, where it condenses back into a liquid, which is then collected in the receiving vessel. Just like cold-pressing, this process provides the purest possible extraction of the flowers’ active ingredients, and retains the natural properties, colour, and scent of the flower, avoiding the need for additional fragrance in the final product.
Unrefined vs Refined oils
Due to valuable plant components being lost, refined oils appear clearer, void of any natural colourants because of bleaching. In contrast, our unrefined cream emulsions and oils have the natural colour and natural odour of the main natural ingredient used, as we never add fragrance nor colour to our formulations.
Are cold-pressed ingredients better for your skin?
Studies have shown increased antioxidant capacity in cold-pressed oils, and the more antioxidants (like Vitamins A, C and E) available the greater protection for your skin. Cold-pressed oils have also been seen to have higher concentrations of Oleic Acid, indicating better oxidative stability, meaning they naturally have a longer shelf life without the need for fillers and synthetic preservatives. Náu never includes allergenic fragrances to ensure our products can be used by those with extra sensitive skin too.