In the search for nourished, healthy hair, we natural beauty lovers are always trying out various oils, be it jojoba, castor, argan, or others. These oils have been around for a long, long time—and various cultures and traditions have used them for a variety of hair-healing remedies. Avocado oil happens to be one of these deliciously rich oils that many simply love to coat on for shiny strands.
So, we spoke to experts to find out about all the benefits you can expect from this ingredient—a few might even surprise you:
- The oil absorbs easily.
So, we love avocados around here at mbg—and we’ve even encouraged you to DIY masks using the real thing. However, that’s not the only way to reap the benefits: Enter this oil, which can be formulated into hair and skin care items—or used straight. Either way, the golden elixir is able to seep into your hair and skin ever-so-effortlessly.
“Avocado oil is primarily processed for cosmetics because it can rapidly absorb into the skin,” says Muhga Eltigani, founder of NaturAll Club. “Fresh avocados are extremely rich in nutrients and vitamins but can’t be absorbed as easily. When you use cold-pressed virgin avocado oil, it maintains all of the fruit’s vitamins and nutrients other than vitamins B and C, as they are water-soluble and thus lost in the extraction process. But avocado oil is still a great source of vitamins A, D, and E, in addition to potassium and lecithin.”
- Locks in moisture.
Oils naturally have occlusive properties, as they are able to wrap around hair and trap in moisture. This way, water doesn’t evaporate out of the hair shaft, leaving you strands dehydrated and brittle.
So Eltigani recommends using avocado oil fresh out of the shower—and cocktail it with your other products, in the case of curly girls. “Use avocado oil as the ‘O’ of your LCO (liquid, cream, oil) or LOC (liquid, oil, cream). Apply lightly throughout your hair to lock in moisture, for curls that pop all day,” she says. For more info on the LOC method, read our guide.
- Nourishes hair with fatty acids.
But what makes avocado oil so cool is that it also has emollient properties thanks to the fatty acid profile. “Avocado oil is extremely rich in oleic acid and monounsaturated fats, making it one of few oils that can actually penetrate the hair shaft and moisturize your hair, rather than sitting on top and coating your hair,” says Eltigani. “These fats also strengthen the hair shaft and help prevent breakage.”
- Improves overall appearance—and won’t cause buildup.
So as much as we love natural oils around here, there are downsides when not used properly. One of the biggest downsides is buildup, as some oils solidify or are harder to wash off. This, in turn, can actually hurt the overall hair health. Using avocado oil can help you avoid this all-too-common trap.
“Avocado oil is fairly light and penetrates well, so it can be used by all hair types. The result is increased shine, elasticity, and strength,” says board-certified dermatologist Raechele Cochran Gathers, M.D. “It’s particularly good for dry and brittle tresses, as well as very curly hair types. Unlike coconut oil, which tends to solidify some, avocado oil stays liquid and has a mild aroma. Because avocado oil is so light, it spreads over your hair easily, without making it too greasy or heavy.”
- Protects hair with antioxidants.
If you’re a beauty fan, you likely know by now that your skin needs to be protected with antioxidants to neutralize free radical damage, manage oxidative stress, and so on. Guess what? Your hair needs some help too: “As an excellent source of antioxidants like vitamin E, avocado oil can help deal with free radicals generated by environmental damage like UV rays and air pollution,” says board-certified dermatologist Keira Barr, M.D.
- Manages scalp inflammation—and maybe even dandruff.
Scalp inflammation is a big issue: It can be triggered by buildup, stress, too-tight hairstyles, or conditions like dandruff. When your scalp becomes too inflamed, it can even trigger serious issues like increased shedding and hair loss. But the nutrients in avocado oil can help you manage the inflammation—even resulting in reduced flakes for some.
“The antioxidants and high levels of linoleic acid help support the integrity of the skin barrier, improving skin hydration, decreasing inflammation, and maintaining balance of the skin microbiome, which is helpful for conditions like dry, flaking, and irritated skin as seen in people with atopic dermatitis or seborrheic dermatitis,” says Barr.
- Encourages collagen production at the scalp (maybe).
Healthy hair starts with a healthy scalp; this we know. One way to help scalp health is to encourage collagen production in the area, which can help improve skin barrier function and dermal thickness. Avocado oil may help support collagen when used topically.
“Although more studies need to be done to explore whether avocado oil increases collagen production or not, research has shown an increase in soluble collagen production as well as inhibition of the enzyme lysyl oxidase that breaks down collagen,” says Barr.
- Great to pair with a stimulating scalp massage.
Scalp massages are not just a simple indulgence—they have real benefits for your hair, scalp, and even mood. See, massage encourages circulation and blood flow to the area, which brings with it loads of nutrients, like amino acids, vitamins, and so on. This has even been shown to encourage hair growth.
And because the oil is fast-absorbing and won’t cause buildup, it’s an ideal oil to work into your massaging routine. “Massage pure avocado oil into your scalp and on your edges, to promote blood circulation, moisturize the scalp, strengthen the roots, and encourage growth,” says Barr.