Welcome to the slippery pole

Fatty Acids Or Fossil Fuel?

Fossil fuel oil is slippery is very versatile. As well being the base for most plastics and driving our cars it can be found in less obvious places. It is sold as a moisturizer (think Vaseline and even E45), petroleum-derived, synthetic fragrances are added to many commercial cosmetic products and hexane (another petroleum derivative), is used to extract some vegetable oils.

While I don’t mind oil on my pistons I draw the line at rubbing it on my skin or using it to fry my eggs.

So what to use instead? Renewable Fatty Acids of course

What Are Fatty Acids?

So let’s talk fatty acids. For the purposes of this post, fatty acids are the oily greasy stuff you use to cook with, cut off your bacon, burn in your beeswax candles or rub on as your Shea Butter Body Moisturiser.

They are the oil that is formed in a plant or the fat stored by an animal. There is of course a lot more to them then that and Meanwhile here is a beginners guide.

Fatty acids are fatty, oily, greasy or buttery. They can be harvested from plants and animals.
Vegetable Derived These are obtained from the seeds, nuts and even flesh of plants.There are many kinds of vegetable oils, butters and waxes. Mains uses are cooking & cosmetics.
Animal Derived  This is the fat stored by an animal. These are mostly solid ranging from hard and waxy like lard to the softer butterExamples would be butter & lard

Essential Oils Are not an oil at all as they don’t contain any fatty acids.

Main uses of fatty acids are cooking, cosmetics, lubricating and soap making.
Some like Jojoba should only be used for cosmetic purposes. Coconut oil on the other hand can be used for just about everything. Find out about using oils to make creams and cosmetics here.

Types Of Oil, Wax Or Butter
They come in a variety of forms under the following headings – but it is a rough guide only.
Liquid Oil – never solidifies
Solid Oil – firm when cool but has very low melting point so sometimes it may be counted as an oil i.e. Coconut oil
Butters – a solid oil. Has a high melting point. Rather confusing. Milk butter for example acts more like a solid oil, while Cocoa butter is more like a wax.
Waxes – very hard-of a candle (wax), like consistency. Bees wax for example.

Next you might want to know how your fats and oils they have been obtained and processed – especially if you plan to eat your oil.
Animal fats are collected after slaughter. Concerns here are rather about how the animal was treated before it was slaughtered.
Extracting vegetable oils and processing them is a more complex process. Most commercially produced oils are solvent extracted. This involves a chemical solvent like the petroleum-derived hexane. This technique is used for most of the “newer” oils such as soybean and canola oils.
Mechanical methods where the oil is squeezed or pressed out of the vegetable matter in a variety of ways involves less in the way of petroleum derivatives but depending on the method used can affect the oil. Cold pressed oil is considered the least invasive method of extraction though it also less efficient.
Read more abouts oil extraction here.

Hydrogenated Oil
Both animal and vegetable fats can be hydrogenated.
Hydrogenated oil is made by forcing reactive hydrogen gas gas into oil at high pressure in the presence of a palladium catalyst.
Hydrogenated oil is more stable, does not go rancid as quickly
It has a higher melting point, so can be used for frying.
It is used to make liquid oils more solid. Margarine is an example of a hydrogenated oil.
Oils have been hydrogenated since the 1930s.
Hydrogenating oil modifies the chemistry significantly.
The fatty acids in oils are unsaturated fats. They are unstable.
Hydrogenating oil turns these unstable fatty acids into new more stable fats known as trans fats acids.
There are concerns that trans fatty acids may increase LDL, or bad cholesterol, and decrease HDL cholesterol, the good cholesterol.
Because they are not natural the digestive system does not know what to do with them. They may actually bioaccumulate in the body.
Read more here



Most oils and waxes last for ages. Some like butter will go off.

Find out more basic information about ingredients and alternative products here
Using oils to make creams and cosmetics
Read about the fatty acids we eat here

Oils Butters & Fatty Acids  I Use
For Cosmetics
You can use a lot of waxes and oils neat to moisturise and cleanse or as as ingredients in creams.
Coconut oil– a hard oil which has a very low melting point. Use neat as for everything from hair care to make up removal or add to creams and balms. Can also be used for cooking. Read more 
Cocoa butter – a hard wax which has a high melting point. Use neat as a lip balm or add to creams and balms.
Bees wax – a hard oil wax has a very high melting point add to creams and balms to make them firmer.
Shea butter – a creamy butter with a surprisingly low melting point. Good for making cream and lotions. There’s an  introduction to shea butter here
Castor oil – a very thick oil – add it to lip balm. Can often be bought in chemists.
Almond oil a lighter oil. Can be bought in big supermarkets, Asian shops and online

Cosmetics & Eating
I love a multi tasking product and you cant do better than a moisturiser you cook chips in.
Rapeseed oil – a lighter oil with quite a strong scent but U.K. sourced. Read More
Olive oil – a richer oil can sometimes be bought on tap in the U.K. Used for cooking and more
Rice Bran Oil less “oily” than olive oil and rapeseed oil and not as malodorous as the latter. I used it to make suntan lotion and mosquito repellent.

Only Eating
While I love to get my monies worth I draw the line at lard as a beauty regime.
Butter – eating only. Read more
Lard – a plastic free substitute for cooking oil.

Using oils to make creams and cosmetics
Read about the fatty acids we eat here

Essential Oils Are not an oil at all as they don’t contain any fatty acids.

Oils I try To avoid
Palm Oil because it is often badly farmed read more here
Margarine because it is a hydrogenated oil.
And oils derived from petrol. Don’t want to eat them donut want to moisturise with them

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