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Move over, almond milk. The controversial dairy substitute has paved the way for the healthy nut to be integrated into grooming products such as soaps, body oils, and hair treatments in oil form. It seems like every day the beauty industry claims to have discovered the latest “it” ingredient, from coconut oil to mushrooms. But the truth is, most of these trendy wonder products have been used for decades, if not centuries, and mass brands are just catching on or cashing in on the current fad. Our grandmothers were old school, applying oils directly to the skin, and it turns out they were on to something. Dr. Soheil Simzar, a Santa Monica dermatologist at Ava MD sees many benefits to almond oil-and not just in big brand products.
“Almond oil, coconut oil, and essential oils are hot topics because they are known to be multi-tasking beauty products and great for most skin types,” says Simzar. In fact, vitamin-rich almond oil is effective for the hair, face, and body, making it an inexpensive, all-in-one beauty treat. “Almond oil is hydrating and won’t clog pores. It works great as makeup remover, and the monounsaturated fats in the oil keep cell membranes healthy, reducing the appearance of aging,” says Simzar. Due to the oil’s gentle, nourishing nature, he says, anyone can benefit from using almond oil, even those with sensitive skin. It’s also a rich source of magnesium—a common ingredient in hair products—so it’s a natural way to repair split ends and make hair ultra shiny.
Because almond oil is all natural and organic, it’s in its purest form. “Synthetic ingredients may cause irritation to the skin and make matters worse,” says Simzar. “It’s always better to use Mother Nature’s ingredients.” You can pick some up in your local health food store or GNC—NOW Foods Organic Sweet Almond Oil ($15.64) is a great one to try and the big bottle will last a long time.
For the best application, Simzar recommends applying a dime-sized amount of organic almond oil directly to your skin at night. “You will feel a bit greasy, but the oil will penetrate into the dermis by morning,” he says. Simzar also recommends spreading a thin layer on chapped lips or dry heels. For your hair, try applying a tablespoon of oil to dry split ends. “You can leave it on overnight and rinse with shampoo and cool water in the morning.”
Many big beauty brands are incorporating almond oil into their products including Burt’s Bees Lemon & Vitamin E Bath & Body Oil ($8), Nivea Essentially Enriched Body Lotion ($7.29), Weleda Almond Soothing Facial Oil ($25.50), and L’Occitane Cleansing and Softening Shower Oil With Almond Oil ($25). Simzar thinks they’re worth trying and will be effective, but they’re not as great as the real thing. “There will be a lower concentration of almond oil and it won’t be in its purest form,” he says.
If you have allergies to almond and want to experience the silky, soft hair and skin the natural way, Simzar suggests trying coconut oil, which offers similar benefits. And for fans of almond milk, they can experience the same beauty benefits by drinking—or eating—almonds. For once it’s acceptable to go nuts.