What makes a fatty acid ‘essential’? It’s quite simple. Your body can’t produce these critical building blocks by itself so you have to take them in via food – or through your skin.
The second method of delivery is what concerns us here. Certain oils can quite literally nourish the structures of your skin. To do this, they need to contain suitable amounts of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids. It’s not just about moisturising, but actively supporting the integrity of cell walls and optimising the transfer of water and waste.
That’s why we use a unique product sourced from nature – the seeds of the Harakeke plant (also known as phormium tenax or New Zealand Flax). This plant has been used for centuries in Maori traditional medicine but science has confirmed that the seeds are rich in linoleic (i.e. omega 6) fatty acid. Harakeke seed oil quite literally feeds your skin.
It also has the benefit of being sustainably sourced. The Harakeke seed oil we use in Ao products comes from small plantations in New Zealand, the country where Harakeke originates. Instead of relying on essential fatty acids from chemical processes or animal products, we select our seed oil from sustainably harvested plants.
Harakeke is robust, fast-growing, wind-tolerant, flood-tolerant, drought-tolerant, light- tolerant, frost-tolerant... all the attributes required of plants to take a lead in establishing a new indigenous/exotic farming matrix in lowland New Zealand.