The Barbary fig or prickly pear is a skincare ingredient whose rejuvenating virtues are finding a growing number of fans around the world

What's the point of adding a multitude of products—often with incomprehensible lists of ingredients, some of which can even be harmful to our health—when we can take advantage of what nature has to offer for specific skincare needs?

Eye contours, anti-wrinkle, plumping creams and serums: what if we got rid of our thousand and one anti-ageing products in favour of the Barbary fig or prickly pear, whose rejuvenating virtues are finding a growing number of fans.

Why prickly pear?

With the prickly pear, you can transform your bathroom into a hammam for a moment of pampering. This fruit, very present in Mexico and North Africa, has a multitude of nutritional and cosmetic benefits. While rubbing the fruit on one's face is not advisable, it is possible to make use of its oil. This oil is not directly extracted from the fruit but from the seeds it contains, which are cold-pressed to preserve a maximum of benefits.

(Related: Profhilo is the New ‘Tweakment’ You Need for Youthful-Looking Skin)

What are the benefits? 

Rich in vitamin E, polyunsaturated fatty acids and sterols, prickly pear seed oil is mainly used in cosmetics for its anti-ageing and anti-wrinkle properties. It not only helps with tonicity, it also helps fight against premature ageing of the skin; which makes it ideal to use after sun exposure. In other words, it can replace many of the beauty essentials in your bathroom.

An added advantage?

Like many vegetable oils, prickly pear seed oil is not just a one-trick pony. As noted previously, it can be used after exposure to the sun, but it also has healing, moisturizing and regenerative properties, which can be applied to facial skin as well as to hair. A real Swiss army knife of skincare, and an indispensable ally for dry and/or mature skin.

How to use it? 

It's best to buy it in the purest version possible (which can be expensive), in a strong concentration, to order to get the most out of its benefits without having to spread thick layers of it on your face. With pure versions, a few drops are more than enough, preferably in the evening, and massaged on the face, neck and décolleté in a circular fashion as you would use a classic treatment. 

How much does it cost? 

The cost is largely dependent on the purity of the oil. It can range from about 10 euros per 10 ml for a slightly concentrated oil to about 100 euros per 50 ml for a pure oil, with a wide range in between. It's a significant investment in the short term but becomes economic over time because of the small quantity necessary to take advantage of its benefits.

Where to find it? 

Almost all brands and platforms dedicated to vegetable oils sell prickly pear seed oil. You may need to shop around to find the format, concentration and price that suits you best. Another option is to opt for products containing prickly pear seed oil, and many cosmetic brands have formulas that use it. If you follow that path however, the risk is once more multiplying the products according to the need or the part of the body.