Tea oil is cold-pressed from the seeds of the tea plants - the species Camelia sinensis, Camelia japonica, Camelia oleifera and others, which originated in China. It has a very high smoke point (252°C, 485°F), making it an excellent oil for deep-frying and is the main cooking oil in Yunnan province in China, and very popular in Japan as well (for deep frying tempura, for example). It has excellent shelf life, similar to that of both olive oil and grapeseed oil, and also has excellent nutritional value – being rich in antioxidants, and has no trans fats, and is very low in saturated fat. 88% of its fatty acids are monosaturated oleic acids (the same that are found in abundance in olive oil). Like grapeseed oil, it has a very pleasant yet neutral flavour, making it an excellent base for salad dressings, and also a perfect substitute to whatever other vegetable oil you ever used before in pancakes, waffle and cake batters. The downside is its high price (even higher than grapeseed oil). But it’s certainly better to pay that price than get a cheap vegetable oil from genetically modified source.
Tea seed oil is used in soap to produce high lather, and was also traditionally used in Japan to groom and set the elaborate hairdos of Geishas and Sumo wrestlers. Also, it was used to prevent rust in swords (a use that is hardly necessary now that the samurai days are over; and also the price of tea seed oil makes it rather unrealistic). It promotes hair growth and a healthy scalp, and was used for centuries as a hair conditioner in Japan.
Because tea seed oil has very little aroma or strong taste of its own, it is a very versatile oil for use in cosmetics and body care preparations. And to top it all - it also has the most light weight, fast absorbing texture next to fractionated coconut oil, while having much more beneficial for the skin as it’s packed with vitamin E and other antioxidants, preventing damage from free radicals and protecting the skin from toxins.
I’ve used it in both my facial serum Elixir, and in all of my anointing body oils, producing a very nourishing, yet non-greasy body oil that is a delight to use and indulge one’s skin in, as well as use in massage. Because it's very light-weight, you may want to add an oil such as almond or grapeseed oil for more lubrication when using for a massage.