Safflower Oil

  • Base Oil
  • INCI: Carthamus Tinctorius (Safflower) Oil
  • Comedogenicity: 0-1
  • Composition: Linoleic acid (up to approx. 80 %), oleic acid (up to approx. 15 %), palmitic acid (up to approx. 5 %), stearic acid (up to approx. 3 %), tocopherols (predominantly α-tocopherol), phytosterols, vitamin A and K.
  • Cosmetic use: Normal, oily, impure skin.


The annual (or in cultivation, biennial) safflower is a member of the Asteraceae family. The upright stem with a pronounced taproot can reach a height of 60 – 120 cm. It has elongated leaves which are finely toothed at the edge. The flowers of the plant are initially reddish-yellow and later orange-red and contain 20 to 150 five-leafed tubular flowers. The safflower forms ivory-coloured archaenes. These nut fruits contain a yellow-grey to white seed enclosedin a shell with an oil content of 20% to 40% of the dry matter. In addition to the fatty oil, the safflower contains the coloring agent carthamine, also known as carthamus, which can be extracted from the petals.

Extraction of Safflower Oil

Safflower oil is obtained by extraction or pressing of seeds. From 100 kg of seeds, 25 kg of oil is obtained by pressing or 28 kg by extraction. The plant is harvested between August and September, when it has already started drying but is not completely dry yet. Before the oil is pressed, the safflower seeds must be dried for several months and the shells removed. An edible oil is obtained by subsequent cold pressing, while a technically usable oil is obtained by hot pressing.

Cosmetic use of Safflower Oil

Due to the high content of linoleic acid, the light oil is absorbed quickly and does not form a film on the skin. Therefore, it is very suitable for the care of oily skin.  The oil has anti-inflammatory and antibacterial effects, making it suitable for the treatment of acne and/or other skin diseases. The oil is often used in body care products because of its moisturising properties, cell-renewing effect and protective function.