Suitable for sensitive and atopic skin, calendula is as much appreciated for its ornamental qualities as it is for its cosmetic ones, due to its components and their interactions. Given the numerous applications of calendula, it is used in the design of various "natural" treatments as a lipid extract. But how is the calendula oil macerate produced?
Why use calendula in cosmetics?
Symbolising gentleness, the calendula is a Mediterranean plant whose properties have been known since antiquity and some of which have been scientifically validated. Its active molecules, particularly the flavonoids, have demonstrated their benefits on inflammations, skin irritations, redness, and burns. Its compounds also give it wound-healing action. Thanks to its high antioxidant content, it also contributes to maintaining the elasticity and suppleness of the skin. Particularly recommended for sensitive, delicate, irritated or inflamed skin, as well as for relieving sunburn for example, it offers numerous applications especially in cosmetics where it is mainly used in the form of macerated oil.
How is a calendula oil macerate produced?
Among the methods of extracting calendula floral oil, we can mention the maceration of the flowering tops in fatty substances such as a vegetable oil, a traditional method known since Antiquity using a static diffusion phenomenon, or the extraction by oily solvent, a more modern, fast and efficient alternative.
These two processes allow the lipophilic substances of the plant to dissolve in the oil, creating a concentrated extract. Regardless of the chosen method, the calendula petals used are handpicked during the flowering period, from May to October, in order to preserve the properties of the plant.
Cold or hot maceration.
The plant material is infused into a carrier oil, such as virgin sunflower, sesame or olive oil, which has not undergone any chemical treatment or refinement before or after cold pressing. Thanks to sunlight or heat, this process helps to release the various compounds of the calendula. Once the maceration period is over, thecalendula oil is then filtered through cloth or a sieve to remove the flower residues.
Solvent extraction technology.
The oil macerate of calendula can also be obtained through the oil-type solvent extraction method. This process intensifies the solvent power of the fatty substance due to the compression created in the extraction chamber. Under pressure, the solvent (vegetable oil) is forcefully passed through the filter bag containing the biomass in order to extract the active plant compounds contained in dry or fresh calendula flowers, and to concentrate them in an oily carrier, all while being protected from light and preserving all bio-functional compounds.
In a matter of minutes, this pressure allows for the bursting of plant cells and facilitates the transfer of lipophilic compounds (phytosterols, carotenoids...) into the oily vector during the decompression phase, but also of more polar or amphiphilic compounds such as flavonoids. Thus, we obtain an oily extract enriched with non-oxidised plant actives, yielding high amounts of extracted molecules, stable and with optimised organoleptic characteristics.
We obtain an oily liquid of an orange-yellow colour, with a very discreet and neutral smell, and a creamy and relatively well-penetrating touch. Sensitive to oxidation, the calendula oil extract must be stored in an airtight bottle, protected from light, air and heat to preserve its quality. It can then be used as it is or transformed into cosmetic treatments.
The calendula macerate used in our treatments was obtained by the solvent extraction method from calendula flower heads, sourced from organic farming, originating from Egypt and using organic cold-pressed sunflower oil (Germany) as the solvent.
JADHAV A. & al. A review on preparation of calendula oil. Sumerianz Journal of Medical and Healthcare (2023).