Why almond oil is the ultimate skincare and hair care elixir

Almond is believed to have the same etymology as the word ‘amygdala’, referring to the part of the brain that controls the ability to make decisions, create memories and process emotions. This is perhaps because almonds help to enhance these exact functions too. If you have been having a small fistful of soaked almonds every day, do you need its oily variant? The answer is a resounding yes, especially for your beauty cabinet—it makes for an easy, non-toxic treatment that can lend a dewy, supple glow to the skin and luminous lustre to hair. While almond oil has two variants, bitter almond oil and sweet almond oil, it’s the latter that is most commonly used for cosmetic and medicinal purposes.

How to make almond oil part of your skincare and hair care routines

Even before the beauty industry was engulfed by the recent green wave, almond oil was a popular ingredient in skincare products. Dr Geetika Mittal Gupta, founder and medical director at ISAAC, New Delhi, explains why almond oil has been one of the most trusted skincare ingredients loved by dermatologists and naturopaths alike. “It’s popular because of its mild hypoallergenic nature, and is suitable for all skin types, including baby skin. It’s non-comedogenic, thus it is unlikely to clog pores. In fact, almond oil is best used during the rainy season, which tends to make our skin rough and dull. It soothes dry irritated skin and is not too greasy either, making it easy to use.” An extremely rich source of Vitamin E, almond oil is a power-packed nourishing elixir that keeps the skin hydrated and even-toned. In beauty editor language, this translates to super glowing skin that radiates from within.

Abundant with the goodness of Vitamins A, E and K, along with monounsaturated fatty acids, zinc and other minerals, it definitely has an edge over the other oils out there. Dr Gupta shares how it has scientifically been documented to have natural sunscreen benefits, as its powerful antioxidants fight the sun-induced free radical damage. And that’s not all. “Zinc in oil makes a great nail strengthening agent, thus making it a multi-tasking ingredient,” she adds, proving that the list of skincare benefits of almond oil is almost unending.

You can rub a few drops of almond oil after taking off your nail polish for a nourishing DIY cuticle potion. Almond oil moisturises, cleanses and also helps to keep acne at bay, because Vitamin A has a keratolytic action that reduces breakouts and removes dirt from the pores. This why almond oil makes for an excellent base for a moisturising makeup remover as well. It hydrates while cleansing, and is especially great for removing oil-based waterproof formulations. Dab some oil on a cotton pad and gently circle it around the lids—the toughest of liners and mascaras will come off in a minute. An added bonus is that it also helps to keep the fine lines, wrinkles and dark circles away.

Almond oil can be applied anytime. However, Dr Gupta advises using it in the night—just warm it up and apply all over the face, including under-eyes and lips. This helps in better penetration of oil into the skin.

The uses of almond oil in Ayurveda

Almond oil is a light and gentle conditioning treatment with the delicate sweet smell obtained from the ripe seeds of the sweet almond tree. “In Ayurveda, sweet almonds are considered a nutrient for the brain and nervous system, and are also said to induce high intellectual levels and longevity,” states Vivek Sahni, CEO and co-founder, Kama Ayurveda. The Ayurvedic brand is the first company to have commercially explored the rarest wild variety of Indian almonds from the hills of Kashmir, known for their distinctive flavour and nourishing efficacy. Sahni is excited about the brand’s feat to achieve organic status for their Sweet Almond Oil, which is extracted from Indian almonds instead of from imported ones. These are collected by local farmers and a NOC (No Objection Certificate) is issued by the Forest Department for them. “The sweet almond oil is prepared by cold-pressing. This method ensures that the extraction doesn’t take place beyond a certain temperature, so the purity and healing properties of the oil remain intact,” elaborates Sahni.

Talking about the Ayurvedic properties of almond oil, Dr Neena Chopra, director (beauty and technical), Just Herbs, explains, “The energetics of almond oil are listed as madhur (sweet), ushna (hot) and snigdha (oily). Being sweet and nourishing in nature, almond oil strengthens all body tissues. It softens and soothes the skin and muscles and readily penetrates to the deeper tissues. It also fortifies the hair follicles for healthy and glossy growth. Almond oil is very beneficial when applied independently on skin or scalp, but if one wants to alter the properties of the oil for a specific skin type or condition, it can be done by using herbs of various therapeutic qualities.”

Its warming qualities make it ideal for abhyanga (Ayurvedic massage), especially for Vata (dry) skin. “The presence of the essential fatty acids, oleic and linoleic acid, helps to decrease inflammations. Almond oil also helps to maintain healthy cellular functions, which further aid in sustaining skin elasticity and suppleness,” states Chopra, who holds the dual distinction of being an Ayurvedic expert and biochemist. Regular use of almond oil reduces the appearance of wrinkles and stretch marks. That’s why almond oil is found in most anti-ageing skincare formulations, especially night creams and serums. “While shine in your hair can also be obtained by using silicon, almond oil is a natural alternative,” adds Dr Chopra. It softens the scalp and makes the hair look shiny, silky and healthy. It reduces breakage, split ends, itchy scalp, dry roots and flat hair, and is useful for lightening dark circles, spots and marks. It can be used even for delicate, irritated and sensitive skin types.

The uses of almond oil in aromatherapy

Aromatherapy is the science that combines the soothing, healing touch of massage with the therapeutic properties of essential oils. “These oils have to be mixed with a carrier oil or base oil, since they can cause skin irritation if applied directly,” explains reputed aromatherapist, Dr Blossom Kochhar. “Carrier oils are the base oils of vegetable origin, which have excellent skin penetrating properties. These oils do not have a very strong smell of their own, and when mixed with an essential oil, they get absorbed by the skin much slower than other oils, providing longer, more complete assistance for skin issues and concerns. One of the best oils recommended for this purpose is almond oil.” A unique way to use almond oil is as a bath oil. When mixed with water, it forms a thin layer on the top and is beneficial for those with dry skin, as it completely penetrates in the skin and improves the texture. It also moisturises in a way that doesn’t require the application of a cream or a moisturiser later during the day.

The feeling of tightness and wrinkled skin is most hated by the people with dry skin, and this is where almond oil comes to the rescue, states Dr Kochhar. “Almond oil helps prevent irritation, and restore skin’s natural balance. This oil can also be used to make soaps, since it provides complete nourishment to the body without leaving the skin dry—which is a normal condition after using soap. Not only this, it works as an exfoliator and helps in removing dead skin cells. It is an essential element used in aromatherapy, as it is one of the most effective carrier oils without which essential oils won’t work at their optimum level.” All great reasons to order yourself a bottle right now, we think.

The article was first published in vogue.in


  • Aparrna Gupta

    Transitioning from crafting stories for The Asian Age and Bombay Times to setting beauty trends in Verve, Aparrna Gupta’s journey has always revolved around resonant storytelling. Her prowess in content creation is unparalleled, with articles featured in renowned publications like Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, L’Officiel India, Lifestyle Asia, Elle, and Femina. She also excels in content ideation, trend identification, mood board creation, and product styling. Her expertise has proven invaluable to homegrown brands, enabling them to authentically connect with their audience.

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