Before paying a fortune for hair and beauty products, try some of the natural oils we usually reserve just for cooking. Alessandra Felice is your guide…
Who doesn’t like to give their skin and hair some well deserved love while pampering themselves?
And these days cruelty-free and natural brands are becoming increasingly popular, so it’s easy to get hold of great products that will do both you and the planet some good. Of course, sometimes these creams or serums can be a bit expensive, but luckily there are plenty of natural oils that you can use for homemade beauty treatments and face masks, which will offer amazing benefits because they don’t contain any harmful chemicals.
You’ve probably heard about a few of these already, but some could be totally new to you, so here’s a list of all my favourite ones…
Extracted from the nut of a Moroccan tree known as the “tree of life”, argan was traditionally used to treat skin infections. Ingredients include: squalene, a compound that promotes production of collagen; linoleic acid, an anti-inflammatory omega-6 fatty acid; twice as much vitamin E as olive oil, great to fight free radicals damage; and triterpenoids, anti-inflammatory compounds that may help heal and protect from environmental damage such as UV rays. It works well for moisturising skin, reducing irritation and inflammation due to its high fatty acid concentration. It can improve dry skin, acne, psoriasis, eczema and regulate skin’s sebum production, making it useful for oily complexions.
Argan oil also has great anti-ageing properties, as it restores elasticity, softens wrinkles and fine lines, and smooths stretch marks. And, of course, it’s well known to be a saviour for dry, damaged hair, thanks to its nourishing and moisturising properties. Argan oil boosts the shine and softness of hair, plus helps repair split ends, both as a treatment for deep conditioning or as a pre-styling product. It’s great to massage a couple of tbsp on the hair as a repairing mask for a few hours. Or just use it every day on your skin. It is very lightweight and penetrates quickly, without leaving a greasy feeling. It can easily replace your eye cream and be applied before or as your moisturiser.
Rosehip/Rosa mosqueta oil
This amazing oil is extracted from the seeds of a South American rosebush and penetrates to the deepest layers of the skin where it regenerates cells, increasing cell turnover and collagen production. It is rich in vitamin A, C, omega-3s and 6s fatty acids, all of which are known to help heal scar tissue. It’s also high in retinoic acid, which reduces the appearance of wrinkles, uneven pigmentation, scars, fine lines around the eyes and mouth and brightens skin.
Use it at night after cleansing your face and gently tap around the mouth, under the eyes or on acne and other skin scars, and you should notice improved elasticity and change in any dark spots, scars, or any other skin discolouration.
Perfect for sensitive, irritated, dry and ageing skin thanks to its great emollient properties. This oil is high in vitamin A, E, D, B1, B2, B6, K, and essential omega-3 fatty acids, which are extremely beneficial for your skin, as they decrease inflammation.
Whether you apply it topically or use it internally, maybe drizzled on your salad, it will hydrate and soften the skin, nourishing it with all its beneficial nutrients and vitamins, stimulating collagen production and fighting the ageing process. It will also protect both in the summer months from UV ray damage and in the winter months from the harsh cold weather.
Avocado oil easily absorbs into your skin if you use it as a body lotion, but it can also bring amazing benefits to your hair, thanks to the high concentration of monounsaturated fats, amino acids and B vitamins. It’s perfect to repair old damage and prevent future breakage and frizz, while making your hair feel nourished, shiny and soft.
Apply a couple of tbsp as a leave-in treatment for a few hours before washing your hair or pamper yourself by preparing an amazingly hydrating and nourishing face mask with avocado oil and a few more ingredients.
Mash the pulp of half an avocado, turning it into a soft paste and add 1 tbsp of the oil. Apply the mask to your face, leave for about 10 minutes and then rinse with lukewarm water. You could add some raw cacao for an extra antioxidant boost and some turmeric powder for added radiance. Your skin will feel soft, smooth, hydrated and glowing.
This oil is rich in vitamins E, K and essential fatty acids that can help protect your skin from free radicals and environmental damage.
Sweet almond oil smells amazing as well and can be used for softening and moisturising the skin on your face, body and hands. Besides, it can be used as a carrier oil for other essential oils to create fragrant homemade body lotions and masks.
You’ve probably also seen almond oil used as an ingredient in natural haircare products. It is in fact great to bring both nourishment and softness to your hair, while supplying essential nutrients to repair both your scalp and luscious locks.
This other amazing oil extracted from the seeds of the jojoba plant, has a chemical structure that’s very similar to our skin’s natural oils, so it’s easily absorbed and it can mimic the skin’s sebum, tricking it into producing less oil. Jojoba oil is high in vitamins A, E and D and contains minerals such as zinc and copper along with B vitamins, which help strengthen the skin.
Jojoba oil is perfect for moisturising your face and for reducing the appearance of fine lines on the sensitive parts of your skin, such as tapped around the eyes and mouth. Also, jojoba oil helps repair damage to your hair, bringing hydration and nourishment to them while promoting new and healthy growth.
Apply a few drops before your moisturiser in the morning or in the evening before bed. It will make your skin feel smooth and glowing.
Coconut oil is probably one of the most versatile and well-known beauty oils out there. It contains medium-chain fatty acids, especially high concentrations of antibacterial and antiviral lauric acid, which have a molecular structure that allows them to penetrate into both skin and hair.
It’s perfect to treat dry hair, prevent dandruff, itchy scalp and infections, thanks to the antimicrobial properties of lauric and caprylic acids, and it will make your hair thicker, stronger, shinier, and healthier-looking because of this ability to penetrate into the hair cuticle.
You could make a coconut oil hair mask once a week by warming up a tbsp between your hands and massaging into your scalp, spreading the rest on the length of your hair. Leave in from 30 minutes to overnight and then wash and condition your hair as usual. Your hair will feel unbelievably soft afterwards.
Of course, coconut oil works wonders for your skin as well. Great to soothe eczema, irritation, rashes and skin infections. Coconut oil can help prevent the ageing process, fighting free radicals and nourishing the skin from the inside out. Use it as a replacement for your body lotion and as a wonderful make-up remover or as a great base for a homemade body scrub.
Just mix some melted coconut oil with as much brown or coconut sugar as you need to form a paste and gently massage onto your body before showering. You could add a few drops of essential oils like uplifting orange or peppermint or relaxing lavender and ylang ylang to make your ‘home spa’ experience even better!
Yes, olive oil is not just for cooking, as it’s also extremely beneficial for both skin and hair. Olive oil is rich in vitamins such as A, B, E, D, K and powerful antioxidants that won’t just have a positive effect when it is taken internally.
Use olive oil as an after-shower body lotion for super soft and nourished skin or as a natural face moisturiser. Only a few drops of extra-virgin olive oil will be enough.
It can also provide great relief to dry, damaged hair supporting repair, moisture and hydration. Massaging your scalp with olive oil will improve circulation and promote hair growth, while leaving your hair smoother, shinier and softer.
Sea buckthorn berry oil
Thanks to its unique composition of fatty acids, amino acids, vitamins and minerals, sea buckthorn berry oil works wonders for improving skin, hair, and nail health. Its high concentration of omega-7s makes it great to replenish and moisten internal mucus membranes that relieve dry eyes and support digestive and urogenital tracts health.
All the nutrients contained in this berry promote faster cellular regeneration and they will gradually strengthen your skin and restore elasticity, preventing premature signs of ageing. Also, this oil has powerful anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties, so it’s ideal for preventing acne and treating skin conditions like psoriasis and eczema, as it reduces inflammation and redness.
You can take it internally as a supplement or use to help smooth out and fade fine lines, wrinkles and blemishes and repair damaged skin, prevent acne scarring and even fade existing scars by encouraging the regeneration of healthy skin cells.
Applied topically, maybe mixed into a carried oil like coconut or almond, it can relieve very dry skin by providing deep moisture.