The Amazon region is known for an impressive lineup of skin superfoods, from acai and cupuacu to murumuru and maracuja. Now it’s time to add another exotic skin-nourisher to your list of Amazon treasures: buriti. Buriti is a hot skincare ingredient with a host of natural beauty benefits.

Buriti, which is usually found in cosmetics in oil or butter form, comes from a palm tree that grows in the swampy jungle areas of South America. This particular palm tree, the moriche palm, is known as the ‘tree of life,’ since every part of the tree has a use. The buriti fruit (shown above) is covered in shiny brown scales, and is enjoyed as a common snack in the region. Inside, it’s a bright yellow-orange color, hinting at its concentrated carotenoid nutrition. The orange oil that’s cold pressed from the pulp of this fruit is extremely rich in vitamin C, carotenoid antioxidants, essential fatty acids, and tocopherols. It’s naturally anti-inflammatory and has UV-protective properties, making it a great choice for soothing and protecting skin.

Who should use buriti

Buriti oil is known to be very gentle and unlikely to cause allergic or irritant reactions, so it’s wonderful for use in baby products. It’s also quite high in oleic acid which makes it very nourishing, but may clog pores, so it’s not best for oily, acne-prone, or clog-prone skin. However, it makes it an excellent base for non-drying soap. You’ll currently find it used in products ranging from body butters to cream makeup and deodorants.

What to look for in buriti

To ensure that you’re getting the highest quality buriti, look for cold pressed, unrefined, and organic. Buriti oil will solidify below 75 degrees F. Though it’s sold as “buriti butter” in addition to the liquid oil, this is usually a blend of another butter from the Amazonian rainforest with the buriti oil. This makes it more shelf stable and easier to use in some preparations, and also promotes synergy among the phytonutrients in the oils. 

Did you know?

According to Nature and Culture International, there are 7.5 million acres of buriti growing in the Peruvian Amazon region.


Photo by Leovigildo Santos