All hail the sunflower, king of the good oils

Sunflowers are grown all over the world and are a hugely important and valuable agricultural commodity. They are incredibly beautiful and there’s nothing like driving through the country when it’s sunflower season, with fields as far as the eye can see of these gorgeous yellow flowers that give the impression they’re turning their heads to the sun – hence their name in French (tournesols) and Spanish (girasoles).

Although it was commonly accepted that the sunflower was first domesticated in what is now the southeastern USA (the Sunflower is the official flower of Kansas), roughly 5000 years ago, there is archaeological evidence that it was actually first domesticated in Mexico around 2600 BC.

In fact many indigenous American peoples used the sunflower as the symbol of the sun and sun gods, including the Aztecs and the Otomi of Mexico and the Incas in South America. It’s still used for its many health benefits and even used as a poultice to treat rattlesnake bite – just in case you ever find yourself bitten by one when you’re out and about in the Wild West!

In 1510 early Spanish explorers encountered the sunflower in the Americas and carried its seeds back to Europe and now it’s grown prolifically in southern France and Spain.

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In recent years, Sunflower oil has often been dismissed as Olive Oil’s poor cousin or an oil that’s just good for cooking…in fact even for cooking purposes it went out of fashion for a while when Olive Oil became de rigueur in the 90s.  But it’s low in saturated and trans fats and actually much better for cooking as it burns at a higher temperature than Olive Oil (which really you should keep for dressings).

In terms of its nutritional and health benefits, Sunflower oil is one of nature’s super oils. It contains very high levels of Vitamin E and alpha-tocopherol, a form of vitamin E that acts as an antioxidant, so it’s perfect for nourishing and thickening lashes. We use it as the base for our super glossy brown All Day Sunflower Oil Mascara as it really brings out the best in lashes, keeping them moisturised, thick and “lashious” and in tip-tip condition.

Always try to shop for GMO free or organic to make sure you’re getting the most from this amazing oil.

Tip: Sunflower oil is more affected by sun and heat than some other oils; so to preserve its qualities, store it in a cool cupboard and away from direct sunlight.

Written for Ere Perez Naturally Beautiful Blog: http://erepereznaturallybeautiful.com/2015/02/13/sunfloweroil/

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