Safflower Oil

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Our safflower oil is expeller-pressed from safflower oilseeds (Carthamus tinctorius) and lightly refined. Is less yellow and yellows less than linseed oil, so it is good for making pale oil colors. Learn more.

Our Safflower Oil is expeller-pressed from safflower oilseeds (Carthamus tinctorius) cultivated in North America and lightly refined. It is a clear, pale yellow oil that is odorless. As it yellows less than linseed oil it is good for making pale oil colors. Safflower oil dries faster than poppy seed oil and gives oil color paste better texture.

The primary fatty acid of this safflower oil is linoleic acid (C18:2). The linoleic acid content of high-linoleic safflower oil is typically over 70%. After extracting the oil from the seed, the oil is refined resulting in a clear straw-colored oil with a bland odor.

Most artists' color manufacturers today substitute poppy seed oil or safflower oil for linseed oil in preparing certain pale oil colors and whites. Poppy seed, sunflower, and safflower oil can be safely used to make oil colors, such as light or pale colors, but they are not recommended for use as a painting media and should not be expected to replace linseed oil. These drying oils have little or no linolenic acid, a binder that gives a yellow tint to oil paint. The only binder in these oils is linoleic acid, which is not only less yellow but also yellows less over time. However, some consider that linoleic acid by itself is a weaker binder and should not be used as a replacement for linseed oil in all cases.

Safflower oil was introduced into painting in the mid-twentieth century and was unknown to earlier artists.


Carthamus tinctorius L. is a highly branched, herbaceous, thistle-like annual plant. It is commercially cultivated for vegetable oil extracted from the seeds. Plants are 30 to 150 cm (12 to 59 inches) tall with globular flower heads having yellow, orange or red flowers. Each branch will usually have from one to five flower heads containing 15 to 20 seeds per head. Safflower is native to arid environments having seasonal rain. It grows a deep taproot which enables it to thrive in such environments.

There are two types of safflower that produce different kinds of oil: one high in monounsaturated fatty acid (oleic acid) and the other high in polyunsaturated fatty acid (linoleic acid). The predominant edible oil market is for the high oleic acid type. The high linoleic acid variety is used in painting.

Product Information
Natural Source:Carthamus tinctorius
CAS No.:8001-23-8
Typical Fatty Acid Profile
Linoleic Acid:74.5%
Linolenic Acid:0.1%
Oleic Acid:14.8%
Palmitic Acid:7.4%
Stearic Acid:2.4%
Typical Properties
Iodine Value:141.69
Refractive Index:1.46
Color (5.25 Lovibond):4Y/0.4R
Specific Gravity:0.900–0.925 @ 15 ºC
Drying Index:74.7
Unsaponifable Matter:1.5% maximum

Health and Safety

There are no acute or known chronic health hazards associated with the anticipated use of this product (most chemicals are not fully tested for chronic toxicity). Always protect yourself against potentially unknown chronic hazards of this and other chemical products by keeping them out of your body. Do this by avoiding ingestion, excessive skin contact, and inhalation of spraying mists, sanding dusts and vapors from heating. Conforms to ASTM D-4236.

For more information on how to handle artist's materials safely, please visit How to Safely Handle Art Materials and Pigments.


For best results store in a cool, dry place tightly closed.

More Information
BrandRublev Colours
VendorNatural Pigments
Processing TimeUsually ships the next business day.
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