The Trendy Avocado
Avocados have been somewhat of a celebrity in the health food world for a while now. The glamorous avocado is no longer a one note fruit used exclusively for guacamole. Now, it’s being used as a vehicle to bake eggs, put on toast, and even made into pudding!
Yet few have heard of the benefits of avocado oil. Like the multitude of benefits consuming avocado has for your health, avocado oil is just as generous in its benefit for the skin (and hair)!
How is Avocado Oil Made?
For an unrefined avocado oil, the process is rather simple.
The avocados are washed and the pits are removed, then the pulp is smashed into a guacamole texture. Once sufficiently smashed, the avocado mash is sent into a centrifuge. This centrifuge separates the water from the oil by spinning the mash at high speeds. The water sinks since it is more dense, and the oil slips out of the holes in the centrifuge. Pretty simple! (1).
The above method is the purest way to make avocado oil with the most nutritional benefit. You can also make avocado oil at home, although it will not result in as pure a product. If you’re interested in trying it, there’s a video below to show you how:
Below, I’ve included an infographic from Dr. Mercola’s blog that’s chock full of great information and fun facts on avocados! You can click on the hyperlink below the image to go to the original article and read more.
Discover interesting facts about avocado, including its uses and benefits, through the infographic “Avocado Uses and Health Benefits.” infographic (2).
Why Avocado Oil is Great for the Skin
“Almost 70% of avocado oil consists of heart-healthy oleic acid, a monounsaturated omega-9 fatty acid” (4).
Oleic acid is a great fatty acid that can actually help reduce topical inflammation. So if you have a tendency toward rashy and sensitive skin, avocado oil may help quell this irritation. The nature of oleic acid is that it is very ‘heavy’ and slow drying, which would explain why avocado oil works wonders for extremely dry skin and can help soothe sensitivity (5).
As mentioned in my post about Shea Butter, vitamin A is a key nutrient we all need to be healthy. Luckily, both shea butter and avocado oil are good sources of this vitamin!
“Vitamin A fights inflammation, which means it destroys free radicals that oxidize our cells. This process of oxidization is actually what causes us to look older! Vitamin A also produces more collagen in the skin. The combination of free-radical fighting and collagen production causes your skin to look younger, longer!” (6).
Vitamin E was also a mention in my article about shea butter. However, Avocado oil is a much richer source of this fantastic nutrient.
Vitamin E has been shown to absorb energy from UV light. This shows it has strong antioxidant properties which can protect skin from accelerated aging and also provide mild protection from the sun! It also possesses wound healing properties which make it a great remedy for burns (7).
“Interestingly, vitamin E levels in the dermis increase greatly after topical application, likely accumulating in the sebaceous glands” (7). Thus, it is important to regularly moisturize the skin with sources high in vitamin E to keep the levels within the skin elevated.
Carotenoids are the pigments that color fruits and vegetables. There’s many different kinds and they are the reason carrots are orange, bell peppers are red, orange, yellow, green, etc. These carotenoids are actually antioxidants and are extremely important for not only internal health, but external health as well (4).
What’s special about avocado oil in particular is its fat content. Avocado oil contains many carotenoids, but they are fat soluble. So the high fat content of avocado oil makes these carotenoids much more bioavailable than otherwise. You get the most value possible out of each use.
In fact, a study on the fat content of Hass avocados indicated that “The total content of carotenoids was highly correlated with total fat content (r=0.99, p<0.001) demonstrating a remarkable degree of constancy of carotenoid intake per gram of fat content in the California Hass avocado” (8).
Why Avocado Oil is Great for the Hair & My Experience
Within the hair care world, many people have begun to use plant oils to moisturize and strengthen their hair. Some have even reported increased hair growth by using plant oils and butters!
Each oil is great in their own unique way for the hair. Avocado oil’s fatty acid profile and high vitamin E content have deep moisturizing and protective properties that highly benefit the hair (9).
I have personal experience with using avocado oil in my hair. I make my own hair oil with avocado oil, horsetail infused olive oil, grapefruit essential oil, and rosemary essential oil. You can purchase it here. I chose this combination of olive and avocado oil because I have curly hair. Curly hair is particularly needy compared to wavy or straight hair in terms of moisturization. It dries out easily and needs extra attention to remain healthy. I chose avocado oil because of how rich this oil is. It is dense, heavy, and extremely nourishing. A great match for my hair type!
I completely discontinued use of all chemical hair products, opting for just my hair oil and homemade hair pomade (found here) instead. The first couple weeks, there was a transition period. My hair had been deprived of moisture for so long it fell flat because I didn’t use the chemical products to prop it up anymore. After that two week period, my hair really began to shine. Literally. It looks shinier, it feels softer, it feels healthier, my hair doesn’t get nearly as tangled as it used to. I truly couldn’t be happier with the results!
I don’t have a before photo, but check out this after photo! Pretty awesome, right?
What to Look for in a Good Avocado Oil
It’s simple to tell when an avocado oil is of good quality, but finding one to purchase can be insanely difficult! I’ve run into this issue for sourcing in my own products.
A high quality avocado oil should be a deep, grassy green. This shows that the carotenoids in the avocado have survived the oil making process and will be available to be absorbed into your skin and hair! The photo quality isn’t great, but this is an example of the hue you should be looking for:
My favorite source of avocado oil comes from Mountain Rose Herbs. It’s that characteristic deep green, rich and fresh. It’s even organic! Their avocado oil can be found here.
Another company I trust is Organic Infusions and their avocado oil can be found here.
Now, the above only applies if you intend to use avocado oil for your skin and hair. If you intend to use avocado for culinary purposes, be warned that unrefined avocado oil has a STRONG bitter flavor. I actually found out about this the hard way. One time, I tried to make mayo with unrefined avocado oil. It tasted AWFUL! Truly. It was bitter, grassy, just terrible. You can also purchase a refined version of avocado oil which has a more mild flavor, but I don’t recommend using refined oils at all. I’ll get into that on another post 🙂
Anyway, I hope you have enjoyed reading this post! Now you’re pretty much an expert on avocados and avocado oil!
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