Abyssinian Oil: The Featherlight Emollient for Silky-Smooth Skin

Jan 18, 2022by Heather Smith


Abyssinian oil for skin - infographic by bareLUXE Skincare

Abyssinian oil is one of the best face oils, especially for oily skin, and is part of our article series written for people looking to start using face oil.

Read on to find out exactly why we think Crambe abyssinica seed oil benefits make it a must-try facial oil.

What is Abyssinian Oil, and How is it Made?

Crambe abyssinica, also known as Abyssinian Mustard, is the plant used to produce Abyssinian oil. It's native to the highlands of Ethiopia and the Mediterranean but can be grown elsewhere. This plant is part of the Brassicaceae family and can grow over 150 cm tall.

The Crambe abyssinica plant has small, delicate white flowers. Abyssinian oil is extracted by cold pressing the seeds. The tiny round seeds from the small flowers are 1/8 inch in diameter and contain approximately 35% oil.

Crambe abyssinica seed oil is a powerful antioxidant. As a result, it is a great oil to combine with other products to lengthen shelf life. This beautiful oil has a slight woody aroma, is non-greasy, light to the touch, and often a soft yellow.

What Does Abyssinian Oil Contain?

Abyssinian oil contains vitamins high levels of A and E. In addition, it contains a high percentage of unsaturated C22 omega-9 fatty acids. This gives it a higher viscosity and more substantive feel than other oils like Argan. The lipid composition is similar to your natural skin oils. Essential fatty acids are known for their structural integrity and ability to act as a protective layer for the skin.

Abyssinian oil contains high levels of Erucic acid - more than 50% - the highest amount known among all the vegetable oils.

Erucic acid is a monounsaturated fatty acid that helps promote cell growth and repair. Furthermore, it is a very long chain fatty acid that is thought to better control water loss (transepidermal) than other fatty acids.

Abyssinian oil also contains Linoleic acid and Linolenic acid, which renew and moisturize your skin and function as antioxidants and anti inflammatories.

Abyssinian Oil Benefits for Skin?

Abyssinian oil is lightweight and rapidly absorbs into the skin. This oil leaves your skin smooth, soft, and radiant.

The long-chain unsaturated fatty acids in this oil contribute to its ability to enhance and strengthen your skin. They also act as a protective barrier to lock in moisture and prevent dehydration. The fatty acids and Vitamin E contribute to skin renewal and repair and provide anti-inflammatory benefits to soothe skin.

Abyssinian oil sometimes gets compared to Argan oil because it is also found to be useful in a lot of hair care products. It boosts shine and conditioning without adding weight or greasiness. The lightness of the oil makes it able to be used in a spray. 

Abyssinian vs Argan Oil

For some reason, Abyssinian and argan oils are frequently compared to one another, especially in the haircare world. Why these 2 specific oils keep getting pitted head-to-head (over other oils) is a mystery to us.

Each oil has its own outstanding qualities and are both excellent for skin and hair applications.

Although both oils are unlikely to clog pores, Abyssinian has a lower percentage of oleic acid (18% vs up to 50% in Argan). This makes it the better of the 2 oils for skin that is oily or prone to acne.

The other striking difference between the 2 oils is the erucic acid content. Argan oil contains none. This unique feature and the associated erucic acid skin benefits make Abyssinian oil the winner vs argan oil in our books.

Will Abyssinian Oil Clog Pores? Is it Good For Acne?

Crambe abyssinica seed oil comedogenic rating is 0 which means it won't clog pores. It is suitable for all skin types, especially oily.

Since this oil is very lightweight in texture, it can absorb quickly without leaving your skin feeling greasy. These features make it one of the best face oils for people with oily, acne-prone, or congested skin. Because it is similar in composition to our natural skin lipids, it can balance and control the overproduction of sebum, therefore preventing clogged pores and acne flare-ups.

This all makes Crambe abyssinica oil one of the best plant oils for your natural skincare routine.

What Is The Environmental Impact of Abyssinian Oil Farming and Production?

While Crambe abyssinica is native to Ethiopia, it is also grown in other regions. Since it is a plant with large taproots that does not require large amounts of water to thrive, it is considered a beneficial crop to grow. Predominantly grown in Africa, Crambe abyssinica can be planted during the dry season.

Since it does not require a lot of water, planting Crambe abyssinica allows farmers to rotate crops and nourish the soil between seasons to control weeds and soil disease.



  • https://www.cosmeticsandtoiletries.com/cosmetic-ingredients/moisturizing/news/21844621/clariant-introduces-sustainable-african-oil-for-hair-and-skin
  • https://icsc.dk/crambe-oil-benefits/
  • https://lpi.oregonstate.edu/mic/health-disease/skin-health/essential-fatty-acids
  • https://pfaf.org/User/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Crambe+abyssinica
  • https://www.researchgate.net/publication/235352496_Some_technological_characteristics_and_potential_uses_of_Crambe_abyssinica_products
  • https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/agricultural-and-biological-sciences/crambe-abyssinica
  • https://pubchem.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/compound/Erucic-acid

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About the Author

Dr. Heather Smith developed her love for skinimalism and clean beauty years ago when she began making home remedies for her newborn's eczema. She is an expert in natural ingredients and active botanicals and has now launched bareLUXE Skincare - a full line of effective oil serums. She dedicates this blog to consumers who are researching ingredients and working to make their beauty ritual more natural and sustainable.


This content is for informational and educational purposes only. It is not intended to provide medical advice or to take the place of such advice or treatment from a personal physician. All readers/viewers of this content are advised to consult their doctors or qualified health professionals regarding specific health questions. Neither Dr. Smith nor the publisher of this content takes responsibility for possible health consequences of any person or persons reading or following the information in this educational content. All viewers of this content should consult their physicians about their skincare concerns and routines.