Avocados might be the most revered fruit—and yes, it is a fruit—to hit produce stands ever. Just imagine a world without avocado toast or guacamole. However, aside from satisfying our taste buds, the superfood is also an incredible source of endless hair benefits. Packed with a slew of vitamins, lipids, and antioxidants, avocados (more specifically, the oils in avocados) are the haircare game-changer you've been looking for, one that can even including revive brittle hair. But don't just take our word for it. We tapped experts Paula Simpson, Gretchen Friese, and Dr. Michael Murray who gave us the 411 on this magic kitchen staple.
Meet the Expert
- Paula Simpson is a biochemist, beauty expert, and author of Good Bacteria for Healthy Skin.
- Gretchen Friese is BosleyMD's trichologist. She is also a hairstylist and salon director at Foushee SalonSpa in Denver.
- Dr. Michael Murray is iHerb's Chief Scientific Advisor.
Keep scrolling to learn all there is to know about the powers of avocado oil for hair.
- Type of ingredient: Moisturizer and protectant
- Main benefits: Soothes the scalp, repairs the hair shaft, and protects strands from UV and environmental pollutants.
- Who should use it: In general, avocado oil is great for most hair types as it penetrates deep into the scalp and shaft (perfect for damaged hair). It's not recommended for anyone with an avocado allergy.
- How often can you use it: It's safe to use up to two times a day, morning and night.
- Works well with: Vitamin E
Benefits of Avocado Oil for Hair
"Avocado oil is a potent dynamo of omega-rich oils and antioxidants for healthy hair," says Simpson. It's mainly composed of monounsaturated fatty acids, which seal hair strands, lock in moisture, and smooth breakage, she tells us. "In addition to the lipids, avocado oil contains fat-soluble antioxidants and bio-active phytochemicals, including vitamin E tocopherols, vitamin D, and carotenoids (lutein and beta carotene) that defend hair from UV damage, environmental aggressors, and pollutants that can make hair feel dry and look brittle." Below, more notable benefits:
- Nourishes and strengthens hair: Treating your hair with avocado can moisturize, repair, and strengthen your strands. "Avocados are rich in antioxidants, biotin, minerals, essential fatty acids as well as vitamins A, B-5, and E. All of these help to seal the cuticle of the hair and prevent breakage," explains Friese.
- Encourages hair growth: Avocados naturally contain biotin, a member of the vitamin B family that is believed to play a role in the growth of healthier, thicker, and longer hair. "However, the only clinically proven product for hair growth is one containing minoxidil like the BosleyMD Hair Regrowth Treatment ($45)," notes Friese.
- Promotes shinier hair: "Studies have found that minerals in avocado oil, including potassium and magnesium, may seal cuticle cells, which can help hair look smooth and shiny," Friese says.
- Penetrates hair on a deeper level: Avocados are praised for their non-greasy feel, and ability to penetrate the hair and scalp, as opposed to other oils that sit on the surface. According to Friese, "Avocado oil is extremely rich in oleic acid and monounsaturated fats (good fats), which makes it one of few oils that can actually penetrate the hair shaft and moisturize your hair. Rather than sitting on top and just coating your hair."
- Supports a healthier scalp: The cocktail of vitamins and lipids moisturizes and nourishes a dry, flaky scalp. "A healthier scalp also means no more dandruff or flaking," says Murray. Friese adds, "Avocado oil can help stimulate blood flow to the scalp and unclog blocked follicles. This can help create a healthy scalp environment for hair to grow. These effects may also help fight hair loss."
- Protects your hair from the elements: Carotenoid antioxidants beta-carotene and lutein are powerful antioxidants that help defend the scalp and hair against UV damage and pollutants. "Because it has antioxidant properties, avocado oil can protect hair against sun damage and other elements," says Friese. On top of that, Murray cites avocado polyphenols as a key factor in shielding both the scalp and hair from environmental aggressors.
Hair Type Considerations
Good news: No matter your hair texture—or hair woe—you can reap the benefits of avocado oil. Simpson says the non-clogging properties of avocado oil make it the perfect option for all hair types, including thicker, higher-density strands. "It can penetrate the hair and scalp, making it more effective than other oils that clog or sit on top of the hair strand," she explains.
Avocado oil is a natural alternative to store-bought hair products, but if you have an avocado allergy, it's best to consult a physician before trying it at home. If you're unsure, perform a skin patch test before applying it to your scalp and strands to rule out any allergies.
How to Use Avocado Oil for Hair
Now that you know the benefits of avocado oil, you might be wondering how to incorporate the ingredient into your haircare routine. Whether you have an afternoon to spare or you're looking for a quick addition to your hair care routine, here are our favorite ways to achieve healthy, shiny strands with the superfood.
- Use it as a styling serum: No need to shell out tons of cash for an expensive styling serum. The omega-3 and omega-9 fatty acids in avocado oil work to promote a healthy mane. Lightly apply it with your fingertips from the mid-shaft through the ends and use a natural boar brush to evenly distribute.
- Give yourself a scalp massage: "Using pure avocado oil as a scalp massage is great for the health of the scalp and hair. It is not only beneficial because of the fatty acids, but also because of the valuable antioxidant polyphenols that protect the scalp and hair from free radical damage," says Murray. "To use pure avocado oil to nourish the scalp and hair, it’s a very simple application." He instructs, "As you shower, just massage about a teaspoon of oil into your hair with your fingertips. Ideally, let it set into the scalp for a minute or two before rinsing out with shampoo."
- Try it as a shampoo: Regardless of your hair care product arsenal, having a good shampoo is essential. So the next time you're shopping for a new 'poo, Murray recommends reaching for one with avocado oil. It's a quick and convenient way to incorporate the ingredient into your routine.
- DIY a dandruff-busting scalp treatment: Everything from detergent shampoos to color treatments—and even the weather—can cause dandruff. The fat content, antioxidant, and anti-inflammatory properties in avocado oil nourish dry and irritated scalps, which, in effect, can help to minimize flaking.
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- 1 tablespoon plain yogurt
- 1/2 teaspoon honey
- Gently massage the mixture into your scalp to promote circulation and absorption.
- Leave on for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Rinse hair thoroughly.
- Make a shine-enhancing hair mask: The carotenoid antioxidants beta-carotene and lutein in avocado oil help defend the scalp and hair against UV and environmental pollutants. That, coupled with honey will leave you with super shiny strands.
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- 1 teaspoon honey
- 1 egg white
- Blend ingredients together and slather all over your hair and scalp.
- Let sit for 20 minutes.
- Rinse hair thoroughly.
The Best Products With Avocado Oil
If you only have room for one avocado oil product in your routine—or that you'll budget will allow—you can't go wrong with avocado oil, pure and simple. Sure, it might be no-frills, but it's still effective—and versatile, we might add. Use it as a serum, a DIY face mask, a scalp massage, or all of the above.
Superfoods have made their way from your plate and into your hair care products. This treatment, which Friese recommends (and uses often), hydrates and nourishes dry, damaged, and color-treated tresses. You could say that it brings hair back from the dead (metaphorically speaking, of course). Formulated with avocado oil and coconut oil, it not only leaves strands feeling silky-soft but smelling great, too.
If you're looking for a more accessible price point (that still manages to get the job done), Friese suggests trying out this moisturizing shampoo. With ingredients like oat, almond oil, and avocado oil, it's deeply nourishing, working wonders on thick, coarse, or curly manes, especially (read: no frizz here).
Whether you're looking to repair strands from heat damage, induce shine, or simply wash out dirt and grime, you can't go wrong with this nourishing shampoo. Murray tells us this is one of his favorite hair products where avocado plays superhero; meanwhile, moisturizing rosehip oil and antimicrobial cypress extract serve as the perfect sidekicks.
While there's definitely potential to make a DIY hair mask at home, if you're feeling lazy—and/or indulgent—this full-service mask won't disappoint. With ingredients like avocado, kiwi, and spinach, it sounds like it should be found in your kitchen rather than at beauty retailer Sephora. Regardless, it will define your waves, decrease frizz, and add some bounce to your step (and curls). Did we mention that it smells ahh-mazing?
Can avocado oil get rid of dandruff?
Avocado oil promotes a healthy scalp, meaning, it works to moisturize and nourish any dryness and irritation. This, in turn, helps to minimize flaking and dandruff.
How long should you leave avocado oil in your hair?
Avocado oil is incredibly versatile and how long you leave it in your hair will depend on how you are using it. Generally speaking, as a hair mask you can leave it in for five to 10 minutes. As a scalp treatment or shampoo, a minute or two will usually suffice. Of course, if you're unsure, it's always best to check product instructions.
Which is better for hair: coconut oil or avocado oil?
Both coconut oil and avocado oil pose a number of benefits for hair. However, whereas avocado oil is suitable for all hair types and textures, heavier coconut oil is not recommended for those with fine, thin, or naturally oily hair.
Nutrients. "Skin Carotenoids in Public Health and Nutricosmetics: The Emerging Roles and Applications of the UV Radiation-Absorbing Colourless Carotenoids Phytoene and Phytofluene." 2019
Plant Foods Hum Nutr. "Fatty Acid Profile, Total Carotenoids, and Free Radical-Scavenging from the Lipophilic Fractions of 12 Native Mexican Avocado Accessions." 2019.