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Nourishing Natural Oils That Aren't Coconut
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Nourishing Natural Oils That Aren't Coconut

Picture of Esme Benjamin
Wellness Editor
Updated: 2 December 2016
In the past few years coconut oil has become so ubiquitous it’s difficult to recall a time when it wasn’t a household staple.

Lauded as a ‘miracle food’ that can help with weight loss, soothe skin conditions and even offer benefits for Alzheimer’s patients, coconut is dominating the natural oils market. But there are a whole range of alternatives out there.

We tracked down five — each with its own laundry list of nutritional and cosmetic attributes — that are worth a closer look.

Avocado Oil

If there’s one superfood that can give coconut a run for its money in terms of pervasiveness it’s avocado.

Rich in vitamins K, C, B5, B6 and E, with a high content of folate and potassium (more than a banana, in fact), avocado oil is a strong contender for your moisturizer of choice. It also contains omega-3s, phytotesrols and sterolin, a plant fat which may help heal and repair skin.

Smooshed on toast with a squeeze of lemon and sprinkling of salt flakes isn’t the only way to enjoy the avocado’s healthy monounsaturated fats. This fruit’s mildly nutty oil tastes great drizzled over salads, and thanks to its high smoke point (that’s its ability to stay stable at high temperatures instead of breaking down to form damaging free radicals) avocado oil is also a great option for frying and roasting.

Hemp Seed Oil

Yes, it comes from the cannabis plant. No, it won’t get you high. Hemp seed oil doesn’t contain significant levels of THC, the chemical that gives weed its psychoactive qualities.

It does however contain omega 6, omega 3, and linolenic acid — three fatty acids known to support the suppleness of both skin and hair.

Thanks to its comedogenic and anti-inflammatory properties hemp seed oil is non-pore-clogging and ultra soothing, making it an effective salve for conditions like psoriasis, eczema and acne.

Sweet Almond Oil

When you cold-press everybody’s go-to healthy snack, almonds, you get a light oil that’s great for nourishing and protecting skin.

Loaded with antioxidant vitamins K and E and high in fatty acids, sweet almond oil is a cosmetic multitasker. It reputedly helps dissolve sebum on the surface of the skin, forming an ideal cleanser, makeup remover and moisturizer for people with pimple-prone complexions.

What’s more, there’s evidence to suggest almond oil works like a natural sunscreen, helping to prevent cell damage and subsequent aging caused by ultraviolet rays. That being said, the effects are subtle, so don’t forget to apply your usual SPF.

Rosehip Oil

Chileans have been slathering rosehip oil on their skin for generations. Extracted from bushes grown in the Southern Andes, it’s a naturally potent source of vitamins C and A, antioxidants and those all-important fatty acids.

Evangelists claim rosehip is adept at reducing skin imperfections, making it a gentle alternative for treating sun damage, age spots, discoloration, acne scars, minor burns and stretch marks.

It’s a powerful emollient too, absorbing quickly and easily to deliver deep moisturization that’s great for smoothing fine wrinkles and hydrating dry patches.

Argan

Light and silky argan oil is a hair product mainstay. Produced from the nuts of the Moroccan argan tree (and often harvested by tree-climbing goats, bizarrely) this vitamin E-packed oil delivers suppleness without being greasy.

It’s this lightweight texture that makes argan a great facial moisturizer too, especially for skin types that produce excess sebum. Apply liberally at night and let the oil’s essential fatty acids work their magic.