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Brief Published: 24 Apr 2015

Cacay Nut: Sustainable Hero Ingredient

Kahai cacay oil

The Colombian cacay nut is emerging as a hero ingredient in skincare, offering sustainable farming options in the South American country as interest in natural oils continues to grow.

The cacay nut is in high demand thanks to its protein- and vitamin-rich formulation that has the potential to nourish, soften and repair damaged skin – perfect for the anti-ageing market. 

Beauty brands are exploring and experimenting with oils such as argan and jojoba as well as under-researched exotic plants, a response to rising demand for natural oils (see The Rise of Oil in Beauty). US sales of face oils have grown 24% to $42 million over the past year, according to data from market research company NPD Group.

Kahai, a Bogota-based brand highlighted in this year’s Cosmoprof report, is leading the trend, harvesting and processing cacay nuts from both wild trees and new plantations into oil. The brand is expecting to double sales this year, reports Bloomberg. 

Profits aside, the boom in interest offers sustainable and fair living opportunities to local farmers. Beauty brands can give back to the community and strengthen an ethical image by offering Colombians an alternative income source and ethically processing the nut (Kahai was founded on this philosophy).

The growing demand for wild, collected products is putting pressure on species and ecosystems. Thus there’s a need for FairWild certification standards, which ensure crops are both fairly traded and sustainably harvested. See Rethinking Beauty: Sustainability for more.