Camellia: the one that isn't tea tree oil

I'm partial to a good face oil. I don't think they're the magic bullet that solves all my greasy, acne-prone skin's problems, but I've found a place for an array of them in my routine.

First it was jojoba, because I'd read that it was similar in composition to human sebum and is supposed to stop oily skin from overproducing oil. Then there was rosehip, darling of natural skincare regimes. More recently still I've noticed more and more products containing camellia oil, and I'm liking what I see. 

camellia oil products

Camellia oil (from the tea tree Camellia sinensis or oleifera, rather than Camellia japonica, the oil of which is known as Tsubaki), contains up to 88% oleic acid, as well as squalene and a bunch of antioxidants. This isn't to be confused with tea tree oil, which is an essential oil from Melaleuca alternafolia. All of the products I've tried have come from New Zealand-based brands.

I came across the M&R stand at the Green Expo earlier this year; their camellia oil was really well priced, and the woman also gave me a free Jojoba Oil. Score! Otherwise, the camellia retails for $20.90 for 50 ml. It's lightweight, and I find that it absorbs a bit faster than jojoba and rosehip oils. This is really important to me; I know that there's nothing wrong with oils sitting on my skin, as long as they're not breaking me out, but I still don't like the feeling of it. A refined texture is key to me actually using my products!

Martina Organics first caught my eye with its minimalist aesthetic. Marta Camara, the founder, very kindly sent me a couple of samples of her Moisturising Oil, a blend which contains camellia oil (along with evening primrose, argan, hemp, baobab, jasmine, manuka, marula, and macadamia). Since this is a blend, it's a little heavier than the straight camellia oil. I took it down to Wellington with me recently, where the temperatures averaged a good five degrees lower than those in Auckland, and I found it dealt to my suddenly drying skin pretty effectively. I also used it to remove makeup.

The Martina Organics Moisturising Oil costs $99 for 100 ml, which is a big initial outlay, but is actually comparable to the $39.90 for 45 ml of Trilogy's Rosehip Oil. And guess what? They've just launched the travel/tester kit, which contains 10ml each of their three products: cleansing oil, toner, and moisturising oil, for $39. 

I won a tin of Archeus Vital Balm from their Facebook page (previously), and founder Georgina Langdale also sent along  a sample of their Gentle Camellia moisturiser. It's quite emollient and soothing, with a green tea and orange blossom scent. It was a bit too rich for me during the warmer months, but I've been using it this winter to seal in serums and oils. This retails for $46 for 60 ml. Archeus as a brand features the oil and extract from Camellia sinensis in their products, and they also sell matcha tea and associated accessories.

What I like about all three of these brands is the way they don't market specifically to women -- all three state that the products are unisex, which is so refreshing to see, because the skin of men and women don't differ by all that much, despite what marketers try to tell us.

They also walk the walk, so to speak: M&R are Biogro certified, and is also a member of New Zealand Soil Health; Martina Organics states that they use certified organic ingredients, which are sourced from all over the world; Archeus puts a portion of its proceeds towards plant conservation, which you can read more about on their site.  

Camellia oil was supposedly an important part of the geishas skincare regimes, which is the selling point behind a lot of products from Tatcha. The brand has done a brilliant job marketing itself through bloggers, and I want. It's not available in New Zealand and it's a bit too expensive for me to think about ordering in, but I look forward to trying it out eventually and feeling like a fancy lady.

What do you reckon -- have you tried camellia oil? Would you branch out from the usual rosehip offerings in New Zealand? Or are you not a fan of oils, full stop?