Sea buckthorn. Let's face it, it sounds like a mythical berry from a multi-level marketing scheme. But O Magazine, Dr. Oz, Harvard Medical School and Cleveland Clinic beg to differ. 

Bruce McMullin, the founder of Utah-based company Sibu Beauty, says it only sounds mythical because no other company has mastered its harvest quite like Sibu.

"The problem with sea buckthorn is that it is so nutrient-laden, that when one harvests the berry, you only have 35 minutes to do something with it to preserve it before it starts oxidizing," McMullin tells Beauty Buff. 

So why would McMullin bother trekking to the Himalayas, paying locals cash on the spot to help him tediously process the berry into Sibu's organic, fair-trade line of supplements and beauty products? Well, it's all to capture Omega 7—which, according to reports, has a nutrient profile possibly even more advanced than Omega 3 (found in fish and olive oil). 

From real estate to real beauty: Utah's Bruce McMullin found his true happiness in the sea buckthorn berry.

"In the last six or eight years there have been many ground-breaking studies showing that Omega 7 goes beyond where Omega 3 helps," McMullin says. "The genetic fingerprint of sea buckthorn... delivers omega fatty acids, amino acids, flavenoids, carotenoids, sterols, plus vitamins and minerals to humans as food, and the body recognizes the nutrients as food."

So what else do we need to know about sea buckthorn, and the benefits of its allegedly rare Omega 7 content? McMullin tells us what we can expect in this Beauty Buff Q&A.

Is Omega 7 more beneficial than Omega 3?

"The Omega 7 fatty acid is not found nearly as readily as Omega 3. Sea buckthorn is the most plentiful supply of Omega 7 there is in the world. The pulp and the fruit oil are chock-full of the Omega 7 fatty acid, also know as palmitoleic acid. There are many human and animal studies that show compelling evidence that Omega 7 is beneficial for heart health (in a different way than Omega 3), excellent for diabetes and regulation of triglycerides, a very powerful antioxidant, great for skin, hair and nails, and very helpful for those who suffer from dryness of mucous membranes (mouth, eyes and urogenital tract). Also, according to Dr. Oz, Omega 7 is good for weight loss. And according to Dr. Michael Roizen, Chief Wellness Officer at Cleveland Clinic, 'Omega 7 is olive oil on steroids. It's mega olive oil.'"

Why do you choose to take the all-natural approach to beauty products?

"Sooner or later people come to the realization that isolates and concocted chemical formulations are not absorbed by your body fully and they often have side effects that do not compliment your health or wellness. So many products today are not innovative; they are just a look-alike product like those that have come before them. 'Natural' is the DNA of Sibu. We harvest wild-crafted berries at altitudes up to 14,000 feet. I know this because I go there every year during the harvest. The environment is pristine, pure, crisp. The berries are stressed with cold temps, little water, intense sun light and low oxygen. This stress is exactly what gives these (Turkistanica variety) berries extra nutrients that low-altitude berries don't have. The berries are harvested by local villagers and processed in our own factories. The people who assist Sibu during the harvest make enough money during the season that they can live comfortably for the rest of the year, until the next harvest. They love Sibu and we love them."



Fair trade is important to Sibu Beauty founder Bruce McMullin, who pays workers cash on the spot for harvest help.

What product from the line is currently the favorite of the lady in your life?

"Currently, my wife, Jean, and I love the Hydrating Serum. Jean puts it on right after she washes her face and before any makeup. She has noticed great results and loves the way it makes her skin feel. I use the serum as an aftershave. It conditions my face from the razor burn on contact and I have noticed that my skin tone is better now than it was 10 years ago. I figure that if I can get another 10 years of youth from Sibu, it's all worth it. Let's face it, we all love life and want to look and feel our best for as long as possible. I figure I'm good until I reach at least 110 years old."

Sibu Hydrating Serum (to put with founder's fave product answer), $39.95; sibubeauty.com

What else should people know about Sibu?

"I totally love what I do. After 30 years in real estate, I accidentally became involved in the world of sea buckthorn and Sibu. I consider this a great blessing in my life. There is nothing better in the world than providing the best products for health and wellness to mankind. To all of you, I say "Tashi." Tashi is Tibetan for 'pass along good health and fortune.'"

You can find Sibu's line of supplements and organic beauty products at sibubeauty.com.