Secret Ingredient: Roucou Oil

We’ve heard about a lot of trendy ingredients used in beauty goods—agave, gold—but roucou oil?! When we found out that it’s the powerhouse behind the Davines’ Oi products that make your hair insanely vibrant and glossy, we decided to do our homework. Here’s what you need to know:

Pronunciation: ru ˈku

Provenance: The Amazon rainforest

Derived from: The fruit of the achiote, an evergreen shrub sometimes called the lipstick tree because of its pink flowers and spiny red fruit. Also known as annatto, bixa, and achiote, roucou oil is harvested from the seeds of the heart-shaped fruit.

History: Because of their intense orange-yellow coloring, the seeds have traditionally been used as a dye. When combined with coconut oil, the crushed seeds create a body paint that also provides a layer of defense against the sun and insects. In cooking, roucou is nicknamed the poor man’s saffron.

Useful traits: One hundred times richer in beta-carotene than carrots, roucou oil stimulates the production of melanin, which is responsible for your hair’s color. It also contains ellagic acid, which neutralizes free radicals and has antioxidant properties that protect against UV radiation.

Hair superpowers: The melanin keeps grays away and frizz at bay. Roucou oil also minimizes cellular damage from sun exposure and strengthens strands while stimulating hair growth. Finally, it hydrates and detangles for smooth, shiny locks.

Found in: Roucou oil is the key ingredient in Davines’ OI/All in One Milk, a multi-tasking leave-in-conditioner that can be used to comb through stubborn tangles, combat frizz, add body, and facilitate styling while protecting against heat and other stressors. It gives your hair a glossy sheen and smells gorgeous, thanks to tea and amber infusions. Roucou oil is also a major player in Davines’ OI/Oil, a lightweight tonic that conditions without weighing strands down. In OI/Shampoo, the ingredient teams up with rose oil for clean, super-shiny hair, while apricot butter builds on the oil’s moisturizing powers in the OI conditioner.

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