By Stephanie Bird
I love avocado in all of its forms. I find it can boost an otherwise bland salad or sandwich, and I'll never tire of eating guacamole. But, it's also an amazing beauty elixir, especially good for curly hair.
As a beginning soapmaker and creator of natural products, I've found 1,001 uses for avocado oil. It's great for super-fatting soap, which means it remains a free, readily available ingredient that's unhampered by the cold-processed soapmaking process.
Avocado oil, added at the end of the process (right before pouring into molds), adds emollient and humectant properties. Of course, as a hot-oil treatment, it does much the same for the hair (DIY recipe here).
Avocado butter — what you have after processing the oil a certain way — has a rich, dense consistency, making it ideal for creating at-home spa products. In addition, the flesh itself can be mashed and prepared into an effective, easy-to-make deep conditioner for damaged or dry hair. I started making soaps and creams about eight years ago, and since then, a plethora of avocado-containing hair products have hit the market.
Nutritious Avocado Oil
An avocado contains 1.5-2.5% protein and 13-22% oil. Avocado oil is rich in vitamins A, B, C, and E. The amino acid content range is: palmitic, 7.0; stearic, 1.0; oleic, 79.0; linoleic, 13.0.
Avocado oil has a long shelf life (one of the qualities I appreciate the most with herbal formulations); it's been reported to last as long as 12 years when kept at 40ºF. I've found it to be very useful for kinky, curly, or wavy hair because of its viscosity. Like many tropical oils, it has some ability to filter out rays of the sun, it's non-allergenic and is similar to lanolin in its penetrating and softening abilities.
Because avocado oil is highly humectant, it draws moisture, which is especially good for hair. A nutritious hair and skin oil, avocado oil contains traces of B complex and iron, phosphorus, a varying range of calcium, and a decent amount of ascorbic acid — a natural preservative. Avocado halves average only 136 to 150 calories, and the oil contains a healthy variety of amino acids, saturated fatty acids and lipids (adding up to the kind of fat with lots of benefits).
Avocado Oil, Skin, And Flesh
For hair, avocado is used in hot-oil treatments and for deep hair conditioning; the skin is antibiotic and is used in folk medicine to kill bugs within the body and to treat dysentery. The pulp can also be whipped smooth and applied to the face or massaged into the hair for a quick and easy softening, conditioning and moisturizing mask.
Thankfully, today avocado is readily available just about anywhere you look. Either pick one up to condition your hair, or go for a hair-care product containing a high percentage of organic avocado. We like Burt's Bees Avocado Butter Pre-Shampoo Hair Treatment, Curl Junkie Hibiscus & Banana Honey Butta Leave-In Conditioner, and Jessicurl Oil Blend For Softer Hair.
You can also make your own avocado hot-oil treatment and avocado conditioner at home with just a few simple ingredients. Get those recipes here and begin enjoying the glory of the green fruit — outside of just lunch!