10 Beauty Oils For People Who Hate Coconut Oil

Illustrated by Mallory Heyer.
Coconut oil is often the be-all and end-all for most beauty lovers. You can use it in your hair, on your body, for oil-pulling purposes — the list goes on (including cooking, obviously). It's a holy grail product for some, but for others (including our beauty director), the multipurpose oil doesn't bode well for their skin. So, in honor of all of those not in love with the coco, we've rounded up some alternative carrier oils to use in its place.

But, first we wanted to give a little background on what exactly carrier oils are and how they differ from essentials. In layman's terms, carrier oils (like coconut) help to, well, carry nutrients into the skin. They're the lighter of the two types of oils — super gentle and very emollient, allowing nutrients to really soak into your skin. "They're often cold-pressed, which is when you take big seeds or nuts (like coconut, almond, olive, etc.) and put them in a crushing machine to get drops of oil," explains Shrankhla Holecek, founder of Uma Oils, a skin-care brand which produces 100% natural and organic oils. "It's not as intense of an extraction process [as essentials], which is why they tend to be cheaper, because they're created in much larger quantities."

While carrier oils are effective when used by themselves, they also work great in tandem with essentials (like lavender, frankincense, jasmine, etc.) says Adina Grigore, the founder of S.W. Basics and author of Skin Cleanse. "Because [essential oils] are the essence of a plant, and they've been extracted in a way where you're getting a really potent oil, they tend to be super strong...and can sometimes burn you," she said. "Carrier oils are there to dilute the essential oils, to make [them] gentle enough to go on to your skin." Makes sense, right?

So, now that we've gotten the basic "what's what" information out of the way, let's get to breaking down the best carrier oils you need to get your hands on. One thing to keep in mind, as with most beauty products, is that every oil isn't for everybody. "They're all so good for you, which is nice," says Grigore. "But, it's definitely about experimenting — it's kind of like being a chemist."

Keep clicking to learn about the best coconut alternatives — you just might find the perfect oil for your skin.
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Olive Oil
Yup, just like coconut oil, this is another cooking oil that can work wonders for your skin. And, it's not only good for you — it's loaded with antioxidants and a fatty acid known as oleic — but it's affordable, easy to find, and gentle enough for even the most sensitive of skin. Dr. Macrene Alexiades, the director and founder of Dermatology and Laser Surgery Center in New York, mentions that according to a study done on mice, it's also been shown to fight skin cancer by decreasing UV induced mutations.
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Argan Oil
For all of you not privy to the benefits of argan, listen up. It's a super luxurious, high-performance emollient that can be used on your hair, body, or face. "If you really want to hit your skin hard with a bunch of awesome stuff, go with argan oil," recommends Grigore.

Some of that awesome stuff includes loads of vitamin E and high levels of antioxidants. All of the acne-prone peeps out there, this is definitely the product for you. "This super light and non-greasy oil is hydrating to your skin, but also regulates your sebum oil, leaving you less likely to breakout with acne from over-active glands" says facialist Ildi Pekar, who caters to the beautiful mug of supermodel Miranda Kerr. "It also contains linoleic acid, which reduces inflammation in your skin and has antiseptic properties to help heal current breakouts." Win and win.
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Avocado Oil
Out of all the experts we spoke to, avocado oil seems to be the most beloved — and, probably gives coconut the most competition. "We all know how good avocados are for us, so the oil is going to deliver a lot of the same benefits," says Grigore. She also adds that it's fairly universal and can be used by all skin types.

What are those benefits, exactly? "Avocados are rich in oleic acids, nutrients, and antioxidants such as vitamin A and E, which can help protect from environmental damage and combat aging," says Susan Bard, MD, a dermatologist at Vanguard Dermatology. "It's also been shown to be beneficial in the wound-healing process by decreasing inflammation and promoting increased collagen synthesis."
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Prickly Pear Seed Oil
Prickly pear seed oil, also known as cactus seed oil, has the highest concentration of vitamin E (more than 1.5 times that of argan) than any other beauty oil on the market, according to Dr. Bard.

Pelkar mentions that, like all oils, it improves moisture and hydration, but it has other great benefits as well. "It works best for toning and firming your skin," she says. "It's [also] perfect for increasing skin protection when it comes to the pollution in our environment — particularly hot or dry ones."
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Grapeseed Oil
More on the lightweight side and chock full of omega 3s, beta-carotene, and vitamins D,C, and E, grapeseed is ideal for those with oily skin (as are the avocado and olive oils). "It plumps the skin from within," says Holecek. "It allows the skin to get the right fatty acids it needs, and is an excellent balancer."

Oil on oily skin seems a little off, right? As fellow members of the slick skin club, we hear ya, but Grigore says not to discount it just yet. "[Your skin] is usually producing oil because it's dehydrated, so it's definitely still good to use oils on oily skin," she says. "Just be really patient because what will happen is your skin will take a minute to realize 'oh, now I'm being given moisture that I need,' and it'll stop producing as much of its own oil."
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Rosehip Oil
Rosehip is becoming more and more popular with masseuses for its skin-healing abilities. According to Dr. Macrene, it works great as an anti-aging product of sorts. "It's rich in vitamin A, which helps to improve the skin's moisture levels and reduce wrinkles and fine lines."

Pekar adds that it helps heal dark spots, eczema, dry patches, stretch marks, rosacea, and sun damage. That's a multi-purpose oil, if we've ever heard of one.
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Jojoba Oil
Jojoba oil is another favorite amongst our experts. What makes it stand out from the others is that it's the closest oil in nature to our skin's natural sebum. What does that mean, exactly? "When it goes on your skin, it's giving the exact same nutrients that your skin gives itself," explains Grigore. "Your skin's not going to recognize it as foreign, but instead it's going to go into your skin like it's a part of you already."

Dr. Macrene also notes that it has an anti-inflammatory effect, making it great for the treatment of infections, aging, acne, and wound healing.
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Sea Buckthorn Oil
According to Pekar, sea buckthorn is also known as THE beauty oil for some of its amazing skin-healing benefits. It's traditionally been used for treating skin diseases in China and Russia, and is sure to pick up popularity in the U.S. "It contains over 190 nutrients for your skin — including vitamin C, E, omega 3, 6, 9 and protein for your skin," says Pekar. "This is one of the magic oils that can heal your skin of all impurities...it's everything you need in a beauty oil in one."
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Calendula Oil
"Calendula has high amounts of flavonoids, plant-based antioxidants that protect cells from being damaged by free radicals," says Dr. Bard. According to Pelkar, it's both very gentle and highly effective. "[The oil] promotes healing and cell regeneration...which helps prevent future blemishes and can be very soothing for your skin," she says. "The high levels of antioxidants help increase collagen production, as well as slow down the aging process."
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Hemp Seed Oil
Hemp seed oil has a long history of use in Eastern culture as a multi-purpose natural remedy. As Pekar points out, it's lighter than most of the other oils, which makes it great for providing hydration without clogging pores, even in the warmer months. Loaded with vitamins, minerals, amino acids, and essential fatty acids, it's "capable of delivering an even complexion and reducing the appearance of imperfections," she says.
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