Rare Cacay Nut is all the Rage in a Jungle Known for Cocaine
For decades, if not centuries, the Amazon dwellers of southern Colombia didn’t make too much of the cacay nut. They fed it to their livestock, used it to treat wounds and chopped down its trees for firewood.
But then, a few years ago, the global jet-setting crowd found out what the yellow-ish oil from the protein-rich nut could do for their skin. And suddenly, the cacay (pronounced kahk-ai) has become a red-hot commodity, providing the key ingredient to anti-aging facial creams that can fetch $200 an ounce in beauty shops in Los Angeles and London.
While most of the nuts come from wild trees in remote areas, new plantations are popping up in impoverished parts of Colombia that were better known for cocaine and anti-government rebel groups. Vitaliano Ordonez, a farmer who used to give the nuts to his cows, sold eight of the animals to buy 120 saplings. Because only a few are mature enough to produce this year, he’s scavenging every kernel from two old trees on his small dairy farm in Puerto Rico, Colombia, 300 kilometers (190 miles) southeast of Bogota.
“I won’t let even one nut go to waste,” said Ordonez, 70. Each apple-sized nut pod contains three seeds, each bigger than an almond. He expects to collect about 60 kilograms (133 pounds) of cacay kernels this year. That may generate as much as 300,000 pesos ($198), or the equivalent of almost half the country’s minimum monthly wage.
The boom is in part the work of Alberto Jaramillo. While scientists have highlighted the nut’s virtues for more than a decade, it was Jaramillo, the head of Bogota-based Kahai SAS, who found a market for the oil after attending trade shows and hiring a trial study of the oil’s use in skincare. Kahai, which buys nuts from growers and scavengers, including Ordonez, expects to double sales this year.
Jaramillo’s Kahai sends workers through the countryside on motorcycles and trucks, sometimes driving more than 250 kilometers to hunt for trees and pick up nuts. During the harvest season from February to April, one mature tree can yield 400 kilos of nuts. Kahai pays 1,000 pesos a kilo for whole nuts, so about 400,000 pesos per tree. He’s also encouraging farmers like Ordonez to plant more trees.
Native to parts of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Venezuela, the cacay nut was long used by indigenous people to treat wounds and light lamps. As those uses faded, trees that reached 40 meters (130 feet) high became appealing targets for loggers. That’s begun to change with the renewed appeal of natural oils as beauty treatments.
Sales of face oils are rising, sparking new products from cosmetics-maker L’Oreal SA and Procter & Gamble Co.’s Olay brand made of everything from grape and apricot seeds to lavender and marjoram. Beauty-oil sales at retailer Sephora SA tripled in three years.
In the U.S., where high-end facial skincare sales have largely been flat over the past year, face-oil sales surged 24 percent to $42 million, data from NPD Group show. They’ve more than doubled over the past two years.
The small but growing appeal of cacay in the $465 billion personal-care market has been fueled by the increased popularity of Morocco’s argan oil, which got picked up by hair-care makers such as L’Oréal and Unilever NV, and is now included in 14 percent of new hair treatments, according to market research from Mintel. Cacay contains key ingredients in anti-aging products, including antioxidants and retinoids, according to Kahai.
“It’s going to be the new little wave,” said Jamie Sherrill, who uses cacay in some of the Nurse Jamie skincare products she sells at her Santa Monica spa. “I was always a fan of retinol and argan oil, and we were initially searching for ways to improve on these two ingredients.”
Sherrill, who appeared with socialite Paris Hilton on the reality show “The Simple Life,” offers 1-ounce “facial elixir” with cacay for $198 and a men’s shaving oil version. A three-item set of anti-aging products with cacay retails for 1,060 pounds ($1,555) at Harrods department store in London.
The venture isn’t without risk for Kahai and small growers. While plant oils are hot now, cosmetics fads often change, and there is lots of competition from other plant oils.
“It’s more expensive than a lot of your regular oils,” said Judi Beerling, a research manager at the London-based consulting firm Organic Monitor. “As more becomes available, obviously the prices will become less of an issue.’
Jaramillo said some companies are holding off on using cacay because there isn’t enough stable supply. It could take another three years, he said.
Jersey Shore Cosmetics may be formulating new, Cacay Face Oil and Cacay Body Oil products, using pure Cacay nut oil, in the future. Jersey Shore Cosmetics, Cacay face and body oil products are expected to launch in the Fall of 2016. When formulated, Jersey Shore Cosmetics Cacay nut formulations will be 100% natural, cruelty-free and vegan.
Sun Smart with Jersey Shore Cosmetics Top Rated Sunscreens
Jersey Shore Cosmetics sunscreens are top rated and recommended by EWG.org, Skin Deep recommended list of safe sunscreens. Included in the top rated sunscreens at EWG.org, are Jersey Kids, All Natural Sunscreen, Jersey Shore Sun, Sans Tan Anti-aging sunscreen and Jersey Shore Cosmetics Anti-aging Mineral Sunscreen stick. Jersey Shore cosmetics sunscreens are the smart choice when choosing safe sunscreens for you and your family. All of Jersey Shore Cosmetics rated products have a top score of 0-1, reflecting zero toxins in all of our natural formulas. Until recently, the full dangers of unprotected sun exposure were not known. Now, we know how hazardous it can be spend too much time in the sun without the proper protection. One of the biggest dangers of too much sun exposure is skin cancer. The sun’s rays contain destructive UV light, which penetrate the top layers of skin, damaging cells in the under layers and creating the right environment for cancer to develop. All of Jersey Shore Cosmetics sunscreens have UVA/UVB tested, broad spectrum protection.
Overtime, as more and more cells are damaged, not only does the skin begin to look wrinkled and aged, it also begins to break down. Nothing on earth can break down collagen and elastin in the skin like UV light.
It was once believed that “getting some sun” was good for a person, and people would spend hours walking outdoors or at the beach, soaking up the rays. This led to a surge of skin cancer reports, especially among women who would suntan for cosmetic purposes.
In order to combat this growing trend, companies began developing sunscreen, which could be applied topically to the skin to protect it from the sun. While this was an important step forward, it introduced another danger into our environment. Many sunscreens are formulated with harmful chemicals and hormone disruptors which can often be as dangerous to our bodies as the sun’s rays. Just as it is important to protect our bodies from the sun, it is vital that we shield ourselves from these unsafe chemicals and ingredients.
The solution, however, is not to go without sunscreen. Instead, the solution is to find an all-natural sunscreen that contains only all natural and organic ingredients, that has been tested and approved by organizations like The Environmental Working Group, (EWG.org) Healthy Child.org, (HCHW.org) PETA and Livestrong.com, who are devoted to helping to bring only the safest, most effective products to the market. First and foremost, we recommend light, protective clothing and accessories.
Of the few sunscreens that has been approved by The Environmental Working Group (ewg.org), PETA, and Livestrong.com, Jersey Kids All Natural, Jersey Shore Sun, Sans Tan Anti-aging and Jersey Shore cosmetics mineral sunscreens tops the lists. Jersey Kids sunscreen is organic, vegan, petrochemical-free, and even safe for babies under six months old. Livestrong.com voted Jersey Kids, as the #1 All Purpose sunscreen, while at the same time, Jersey Shore Sun, Sans Tan was topping PETA’s 2013 “Summer Must Haves” list.
Jersey Shore Sun, Sans Tan sunscreen is as effective as Jersey Kids, but with the added benefit for being an anti-aging sunscreen with added vitamin D. Formulated with only all natural, organic and non-GMO ingredients, our sunscreens are of the few sunscreens on the shelves that are marketed as all-natural and actually is all-natural, without petrochemicals, hormone disruptors, or toxins.
All Jersey Shore Cosmetics sunscreens are formulated using only 100% natural, organic and Non-GMO ingredients and have UVA/UVB Broad Spectrum Protection.
Jersey Shore Cosmetics donates to various cancer organizations, cancer centers and cancer foundations.
Sans Tan Travel Size and JSC sunscreen stick minis are great for travel, Golf course or the Tennis court!
Happy, Safe Summer!