Baobab oil (INCI: Adanasonia digitata oil) contains quite a lot of unsaponifiables* at 2.8% to 3.8%, and that's where we find our lovely phytosterols! Phytosterols can be converted into cholecalciferol and Vitamin D, and they offer anti-inflammatory and skin barrier mechanism repair properties to our skin. Baobab oil contains 3457 ppm phytosterols, with the main ones being ß-sitosterol at 75%, avenasterol at up to 13%, and campesterol at 6%. You'll also find quite a lot of squalene in this oil, which penetrates our skin quickly and offers great moisturizing.
*Unsaponifiable matter is the part of the oil that won't turn to soap when you saponify it.
Baobab oil contains some Vitamins, with Vitamin E being found at 678 ppm. It contains Vitamin A in the form of ß-carotene. I have seen it said that it contains Vitamin D, but I wasn't able to confirm this. I've also seen it said that it contains Vitamin F, which isn't a Vitamin but the essential fatty acids of omega-3 (linolenic fatty acid) and omega-6 (linoleic fatty acid). It contains polyphenols in the form of catechins, which might be why it feels a bit drier than other oils.
So what do we have here? We have a drier, silkier feeling oil that is quite viscous and might be described as medium to heavy in weight. It contains a lot of wonderful phytosterols and vitamins, including Vitamin E and Vitamin A, and squalene.
How to use baobab oil? Anywhere you might use any other oil. Use it anhydrous products (those without water) or those with water like lotions, conditioners, and so on. It's not an inexpensive oil - 125 ml or 4.2 ounces is $11.40 at Voyageur Soap & Candle or $13.50 for 4 ounces from From Nature with Love (not affiliated with either company, just offering examples), so you might want to reserve it for things where the oils really make a huge difference, like a facial moisturizer or lotion with fewer oils.
Summary of baobab oil
INCI: Adansonia digitata seed oil
Palmitic acid: 18% to 30%
Stearic acid: 2% to 9%
Oleic acid: 30% to 42%
Linoleic acid: 20% to 35%
Linolenic acid: 1% to 3%
An updated view of Adansonia digitata: A commercially important African tree
Baobab phytochemistry (paper)
Baobab fruit company data bulletin
Join me tomorrow as we take a look at another ingredient, lupine amino acids!