Babassu Acid

What Is It?

Orbignya Oleifera Seed Oil is the oil expressed from the seeds of Orbignya oleifera, also known as the babassu palm. Babassu Acid is the fatty acids obtained from Orbignya Oleifera Seed Oil, and Sodium Babassuate is the sodium salt of babassu fatty acids.

Orbignya Oleifera Seed Oil is used in a wide range of products including, soaps and detergents, make-up products, and skin and hair care products. Babassu Acid and Sodium Babassuate are primarily used in soaps.

Why Is It Used?

When used in cosmetics and personal care products, Orbignya Oleifera Seed Oil functions as a skin-conditioning agent – occlusive.

Babassu Acid and Sodium Babassuate function as surfactants – cleansing agents and surfactants – emulsifying agents.

Scientific Facts

Orbignya oleifera is a type of palm, called babassu palm, that is native to South America. The oil from the seeds of this tree is similar to coconut oil. Babassu oil contains approximately 44-47% lauric acid, 15-20% myristic acid, 10-12% oleic acid, 6-9% palmitic acid, 3-5% stearic acid and 1-3% linoleic acid.

Safety Information

The safety of Orbignya Oleifera Seed Oil, Babassu Acid and Sodium Babassuate has been assessed by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel. The CIR Expert Panel evaluated scientific data and concluded that these ingredients were safe for use in cosmetics and personal care products.

Botanical and botanically derived ingredients used in the formulation of cosmetics are generally mild and safe. Prior to marketing the finished cosmetic product, the safety of each ingredient must be substantiated in accordance with 21 CFR 740.10.

Safety substantiation of cosmetic ingredients may include tests for ocular and skin irritation as well as allergenicity, phototoxicity, photoallergenicity and mutagenicity, depending on the application or intended use.

There is a considerable body of information about the safety of botanical ingredients and a well-established history of use. These resources are consulted to ensure the safety of these materials as they are used in cosmetics.

CIR Safety Review:

Orbignya Oleifera Seed Oil, Babassu Acid and Sodium Babassuate were included in the CIR Expert Panel’s review of plant-derived fatty acids oils. Based on a history of safe use in food, the composition of the oils, and data indicating that these ingredients were not dermal irritants or sensitizers, the CIR Expert Panel concluded that plant-derived fatty acid oils including Orbignya Oleifera Seed Oil, Babassu Acid and Sodium Babassuate were safe as used in cosmetic products.

More information about botanical ingredients.

Orbignya Oleifera Seed Oil, Babassu Acid and Sodium Babassuate may be used in cosmetics and personal care products marketed in Europe according to the general provisions of the Cosmetics Regulation of the European Union.

Link to the EU Cosmetic Regulation:

More Scientific Information

In naming plants, botanists use a Latin name made up of the genus and species of the plant. For example, under this system babassu palm is known as Orbignya oleifera Burret., where “Burret. ” stands for the person who first described the type of plant specimen.

Attalea speciosa Mart. Ex Spreng. may also be used as the Latin name for babassu palm. Plants are also known by a common name that has been handed down through generations.

These common names may vary from country to country.

Therefore, Latin names, which are more likely to be recognized in many countries, are frequently used on the label of a product to identify an ingredient made from plants.


Cross Reference for Common Names and Latin names for Botanical ingredient:…

Find out more about the history of using plants to obtain beneficial materials:

Search the Code of Federal Regulations

EU Cosmetics Inventory