Improved skin tolerance? Dewy glow? Free-radical protection? Botanical oils are potent workhorses, and broccoli seed is the latest iteration cropping up in hair care, skin care, and even makeup products. John Masters put it in his Green Tea & Calendula Leave-In Conditioner ($24), Sunday Riley has it in her Juno Hydroactive Cellular Face Oil ($90), while Marie Veronique, the chemist turned skin expert is spiking her products with it. "Not only does broccoli seed oil contain interesting and unique skin beneficial fatty acids, like eruric acid for a slick, almost silicone-like feel, and arachidonic acid to combat inflammation, it is high in sulforaphane, a phytonutrient that has been extensively examined in laboratories for its chemopreventive properties," says Veronique.
What's it made up of?
Pure broccoli seed oil has a pale greenish-yellow color, and an impressive fatty acid profile, yet it manages to be light and not greasy. "It even imparts some UV protection," says Veronique referring to her Protective Day Oil ($65). "Topical preparations for cosmetic purposes, where it is often used to give hair a sheen or as a makeup prep, don't require high concentrations of it. It's extracted from the seeds, but broccoli sprout seeds are preferred when the oil is used therapeutically, as this extract will contain more sulforaphane than extracts from broccoli seeds." FYI: I've found that if you use it neat, be prepared for pungent smells. If scents are your jam, this is not for you!
- Erucic acid (omega-9): 49 percent
- Oleic acid (omega-9): 13.5 percent
- Linoleic acid (omega-6): 11.4 percent
- Alpha-linolenic acid (omega-3): 9 percent
- Eicosenoic acid: 6 percent
- Palmitic acid: 3.25 percent
What's more, the research organization that studies chemicals in the gamut of consumer products, The Environmental Working Group's Skin-Deep Cosmetic Database lists 56 products using Brassica Oleracea Italica (broccoli seed oil) as an ingredient. The potent veggie oil also scores a low hazard score of 1 (least harmful), another reason it's been gaining traction.
You sure you just don't need to eat it?
Beauty is indeed an inside-out outside-in job, which is why getting in the emerald-green bushy crowns and tender stems are essential. Loaded with the aforementioned fatty acids and vitamins, one hundred grams contain 3g of protein, plus mineral-boosting potassium, magnesium, and calcium. Here are two ways to love your broccoli stems (turns out our mothers were right)—one is a garlicky tahini dip, and the second turns broccoli stem slices into unlikely mini pizzas! Get the full recipe here.