I love the avocado in all of its forms. I find an avocado can give a decadent flair to an otherwise bland salad or sandwich, not to mention my affection for guacamole. But it's also an amazing beauty elixir, especially good for curly hair. This article will systemically explain "everything avocado" -- from its origins and history to its growth, distribution and uses -- both folk and commercial -- in health and beauty products.
As a beginning soap maker and creator of natural products, I have found 1,001 uses for avocado oil. It is great for super-fatting soap, which means it remains a free, readily available ingredient in soap, unhampered by the cold processed soap-making process. Avocado oil, added at the end of its 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 (there is a recipe at the end of this article). The oil can be used for manicures and pedicures as well. Today, avocado butter -- another way of processing the oil -- has a dense, buttery consistency, making it ideal for creating at-home spa products.
Apart from the oil, 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. Since then, a plethora of products -- especially hair products -- have popped onto the market-containing avocado.
Nutritious Avocado Oil
Chemically, avocado contains 1.5 to 2.5 percent protein and 13-22 percent 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 great shelf life (one of the qualities I appreciate the most with herbal formulations). It has been reported to last as long as 12 years when kept at 40ºF. I have found it to be very useful for kinky, curly or wavy hair because of its rich viscosity. Like many tropical oils, it has some ability to filter out rays of the sun, it is non-allergenic and is similar to lanolin in its penetrating and softening abilities.
Because avocado oil is highly humectant and emollient, it draws moisture, which is especially good for hair.
Because avocado oil is highly humectant and emollient, 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, varying a range of calcium, and a decent amount of ascorbic acid - a natural preservative. Avocado halves average only 136 to 150 calories. Avocado oil contains a healthy variety of amino acids, saturated fatty acids and lipids. As fatty as it sounds, it is a good type of fat recorded to help reduce (bad) cholesterol in some patients.
Avocado Oil, Skin and Flesh
For hair, it 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. Avocado pulp can be whipped smooth and applied to face or massaged into the hair for a quick and easy softening, conditioning and moisturizing mask. The fruit has the highest energy content of any fruit. It is high in its vitamin and mineral content, as well as a good source of mono-unsaturated fat and soluble and insoluble fiber. In poor areas of the world, it has been coined the “poor man’s butter.”
- Avocado leaves produce an oil, estragol, that is used in the cosmetics industry.
- The leaves are chewed to treat pyorrhea, a very serious gum disease.
- Leaf poultices are used to treat wounds.
- The leaf juice contains antibiotics.
- The powdered seed is used to combat dandruff.
- The seed is cut in pieces, roasted, powdered and used as a diarrhea or dysentery remedy.
- A piece of the seed, or a bit of the decoction, put into a tooth cavity is used in folk medicine to relieve toothache.
- Ointment made of the pulverized seed is rubbed on the face to draw energy to the area, reddening it and working as a natural blusher.
Products with avocado oil
Thankfully today avocado is readily available just about anywhere you look. Either grab an avocado to condition your hair with or pick up a hair care product containing a high percentage of organic avocado. Here are a few products that contain avocado oil:
- John Masters Lavender and Avocado Intensive Conditioner
- Ojon Hydrating Styling Cream
- Ojon Ultra Hydrating Conditioner
- MyHoneychild Olive You Deep Conditioner
- Curl Junkie Coffee-Coco Curl Creme
- Curl Junkie Hibiscus & Banana Deep Fix
- Curl Junkie Hibiscus & Banana Honey Butta Leave-in Conditioner
- Jessicurl Too Shea! Extra Moisturizing Conditioner
- Kynk Hair Honey
- Blended Beauty Natural Hair Oil
- Curl Junkie Curl Rehab Hair Treatment
- Jessicurl Oil Blend for Soft Hair
- Hair Rules Nourishment Leave-in Conditioner
- Burt’s Bees Avocado Pre-Shampoo Treatment
Avocado Hot Oil Treatment
Whatever the season, the hair can benefit from a little special treatment beyond the usual shampoo or conditioner. I recommend this dense, hot oil treatment to add shine. It has a minty, floral scent provided by the essential oils, which also help condition hair and scalp. Recommended for dry, damaged, color-treated or chemically treated hair.
- ¾ cup avocado oil
- 1/8 cup safflower oil
- 1/8 cup sweet almond oil
- 8 drops lavender
- 6 drops lemongrass oil and rosemary
- 4 drops geranium (essential oils)
Mix fixed oils (first three ingredients) in order given in a non-reactive bowl. Heat 40 seconds in microwave-safe bowl. Using individual droppers, drop in essential oils in order given; swirl to mix. Test on back of wrist to make sure temperature is acceptable (not too hot). Divide hair into small sections; secure with clips or bobby pins. Apply warmed oils to scalp and ends of hair. Massage in. Put on a shower cap or other plastic head wrap. Let oils continue to warm using body heat and sunlight if available for 45 min. Shampoo and style as usual.
- Flesh of a ripe avocado
- ¼ cup coconut cream
- ¼ cup coconut water
- 3 tablespoons mayonnaise containing egg
In medium-sized bowl mix avocado and coconut cream. In very small bowl whisk together coconut water and mayonnaise using a spatula to add this to the first mixture. Whisk all together until smooth. Divide hair into 6-8 segments. Slather green mixture on each segment working all the way into hair, from scalp area to the ends. Put on shower cap or other loose fitting plastic cap. Sit out in the sun if possible or under dryer on medium high setting, if available. Leave on hair for 45 min. Rinse thoroughly. Shampoo and style as usual.
- www.100pureessentialoils.com and www.libertynatural.com.
- Wholesale Supplies Plus
-  Dooley, Puerto Rican Cookbook, 109.