Why You Should Swap Your Coconut Oil For Avocado Oil

You know what they say: Never trust a person who doesn't like avocados. Okay, I made that up. But seriously, aren't you at least a little skeptical when someone passes on guac? Good fat, guys, good fat. And guess what: Avocados are more than just the hero in the ultimate party app, the star on an Instagram-worthy piece of toast, the saving grace in your desk salad — this wonder fruit (disguised as a vegetable) is also bomb for your hair and skin. When you eat it, yes, but even more so when you slather yourself in its oil.

Avocado oil is a deeply hydrating moisturizer for your face, body, and hair, just like coconut oil. But for those who find the latter too heavy and are averse to smelling like a piña colada all day, avo oil is much lighter in both texture and scent. It also has more of those healthy fats we’re always hearing about. “Avocado oil is high in monounsaturated fats, which are better for the body than saturated-fat heavy coconut oil,” says founder of Uma Oils Shrankhla Holecek. It's also deeply penetrative and absorbs more quickly and with less greasy residue than its coco cousin.

Holecek does not recommend avocado (or coconut) oil for people with oily skin — its greatest power is soothing dryness or adding moisture to parched skin during arid seasons, like the impending winter or non-East Coast summers. "It can replenish the skin and provide antioxidants, which fight off the signs of aging and damage brought on by free radicals and pollutants,” Holecek says.

It’s also rich in fatty acids and phytosterols — another plus in the anti-aging department. "It has been suggested that phytosterols can minimize signs of aging by preventing the slow-down of collagen production and even stimulating collagen production," says Holecek. Its high Vitamin E content (an antioxidant that helps fight off skin damage and signs of aging) means it's great for maturing skin or those concerned with lines and wrinkles. “It is [also] high in sterolin, which softens the skin and reduces the appearance of age spots, and lecithin, a lipid that helps deliver nutrients directly to the bloodstream and deeper layers of the skin,” she says.

Avocado oil can stand alone as a moisturizing treatment, but for an additional therapeutic element, you can use it as a carrier for a few drops of essential oil (one that is safe to use on skin). Need some guidance? We'd recommend using 12 drops of essential oil for every fluid ounce of avo, and Holecek says the hydrating and anti-inflammatory properties in rose oil will complement avocado and add an extra degree of hydration for dry or maturing skin. Lavender essential oil is another great choice as it soothes the skin (and mind!) and has been shown to speed the healing of wounds.
If you don't like the idea of slathering oil on your skin, or are not in the mood to play mixologist, you can still reap the benefits of avocado oil. More and more beauty brands are tapping into its nourishing qualities — you'll find it in night creams, face masks, even lipstick. It's also great for hair, whether in a product or on its own. "It’s especially effective at penetrating the hair shaft and imparting moisture, for a natural sheen and lasting softness," says Holecek. "It’s also an excellent leave in-conditioner for dry or brittle hair.” Just another point for Team Avo.

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Avocado Oil $7.69, available at GNC.

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