We already know all about the benefits of using almond oil for skin: It's moisturizing, soothes irritation, prevents stretch marks, and may even reduce the appearance of dark circles. But what about almond oil for hair? Can it offer our scalp and strands similar benefits?
Almond oil has been popping up in all manner of haircare formulas that highlight it as a main (not to mention miracle-working) ingredient. Is it possible that almond oil is the buzziest new beauty ingredient, replacing coconut oil as the beauty buff's gold-standard, do-it-all ingredient?
We checked in with experts to learn all about almond oil—what it does for the hair and scalp, who it's best for, and how to reap the most benefits.
Keep scrolling to learn why almond oil is the new hero ingredient for all hair types.
- Type of ingredient: hydrator
- Main benefits: conditions and moisturizes dry hair, improves scalp health, prevents hair breakage
- Who should use it: In general, it's suitable for all hair types but best for dry and/or damaged hair; those with very fine hair should apply it sparingly.
- How often can you use it: a few times per week
- Works well with: other hydrating, plant-based oils
- Don't use with: There are no known interactions with almond oil and other haircare ingredients.
Benefits of Almond Oil for Hair
Almond oil is produced by ripe almonds—typically sweet almonds. The oil is extracted by either pressing the nuts, which yields unrefined almond oil, or coaxing it out with heat and chemicals, which creates refined almond oil.
As it turns out, almond oil in haircare has been a thing for a while now, long before hair oils started having a moment. That's because almond oil is nourishing and moisturizing without being very, well, oily. "Almond oil is incredibly rich in nutrients but still lightweight in texture," says cosmetic chemist Krupa Koestline of KKT Consultants. "It's rich in omega fatty acids (oleic, linoleic, and palmitic acids), vitamin E (an antioxidant), as well as squalene, polyphenols, vitamins, and minerals."
Not only does almond oil work well with a variety of hair types, but it also works well with other haircare ingredients, enhancing their effectiveness. "Almond oil is often used as a carrier oil because it has shown ability to help increase permeability of other ingredients," Koestline explains. "It works well with other hydrating and plant-derived oils. It doesn't really negatively react with ingredients typically used in haircare formulas."
According to experts, almond oil:
- Hydrates dull, dry hair: If your hair has lost its luster, almond oil can help restore Disney-princess-level shine and manageability. "Because it's so rich in fatty acids, it really moisturizes dry hair," Koestline affirms. "Almond oil is thick and nourishing and can assist in moisturizing overprocessed and dull hair, making it smooth and silky," agrees Annie Gonzalez, M.D., a board-certified dermatologist with Riverchase Dermatology in Miami.
- Smoothes hair texture: Dealing with baby hairs that just won't lie down? Trying to keep your hairstyle sleek in humid weather? Almond oil is ideal for calming frizzy texture. "People may see a decrease in frizz and damaged hair when applying almond oil as a leave-in treatment," Gonzalez says.
- Strengthens hair: By infusing hair with moisture and nutrients, almond oil protects against routine damage like brushing, heat styling, and coloring. "Well-conditioned hair always helps prevent breakage," Koestline explains. Almond oil "helps improve [hair] against dryness and brittleness."
- Fights inflammatory scalp conditions: Almond oil is awesome for skin health, Koestline advises, especially unhappy scalps. "Almond oil is also antibacterial, making it a great scalp treatment for those suffering from dandruff caused by excess yeast growth," Gonzalez adds.
- Promotes hair growth: When applied directly to the scalp, almond oil bulks up hair and reactivates dormant hair follicles. "Almond oil contains a substantial amount of the vitamin B7, or biotin," Gonzalez explains. "Biotin can help thicken and grow thinning hair, as it assists in follicle regrowth and keratin production."
Hair Type Considerations
Unlike more intense, heavyweight oils like argan or coconut oil, almond oil is a versatile hair oil that meshes well with most hair types—thick, fine, curly, wavy, straight, and natural. "It's great for all hair types, as it's a very lightweight oil," Koestline says.
Gonzalez agrees—mostly. "Frizzy and unruly hair likely will see the most benefit from almond oil being applied to dead ends," she says. "Thin hair may feel weighed down or greasy."
Not sure if almond oil will overwhelm your thinner-textured hair? Start by applying just a drop or two to your hair's mid-lengths and ends just before you plan to wash; if the effect is too greasy, you won't be stuck with it for long.
How to Use Almond Oil for Hair
Almond oil is used as a moisturizing ingredient in countless hair products, including shampoos, conditioners, masks, scalp scrubs, and styling products.
Because almond oil is so nourishing and inexpensive—decent-quality almond oil costs only about 50 cents an ounce—it's also great to use in DIY hair treatments at home. (We'll get to those in a minute.)
Tempting as it may be to slather on an almond oil hair mask and let it marinate for hours while you binge-watch Netflix, don't allow almond oil to sit on your hair for more than a few minutes if you've applied a large amount.
"I don't recommend leaving any kind of oil on the hair for a prolonged period, as it can harden and coat the hair's cuticles," says HairClub hair health expert and certified trichologist Shab Reslan. "Too much of any foreign substance on your hair removes it from its natural and shiny state. This type of buildup can not only cause dullness but also create tangling."
Here are some ways to play around with almond oil in your haircare routine:
- Use it as a hair oil: According to Mariska Nicholson, Olive + M founder and plant-based oil expert, almond oil can add luster and manageability to hair in mere seconds. Place a couple of drops of almond oil into your palms, rub them together to distribute the oil evenly, then run them down the length of your damp hair "to promote shine and smooth flyaways."
- Apply it to the scalp to treat flaky skin: Almond oil is a natural, soothing treatment for inflammatory scalp issues like psoriasis, Gonzalez says. If your scalp feels raw and irritated, try mixing almond oil with some anti-inflammatory chamomile oil and working the mixture into your scalp, Reslan suggests; if dandruff is your bugaboo, mix in lemon oil instead. Shampoo afterward.
- Use it for a relaxing scalp massage: "Nothing beats the personal touch of a scalp massage," Reslan says, noting massage's ability to relieve tension, stimulate hair growth, and encourage penetration of haircare products. She recommends working almond oil into the scalp with an electric massager for a few minutes before washing it out in the shower.
- Combine it with olive oil for a wash-out hair treatment: To treat severely damaged or brittle hair damaged by heat styling, coloring, or bleaching, try combing a homemade almond oil-olive oil mixture through your hair for "extra luster and softness," Nicholson advises. Follow the recipe below.
- 1 part almond oil
- 1 part olive oil
- Apply the mixture from roots to ends with a wide-tooth comb.
- Allow it to sit for several minutes.
- Rinse out the oils, then shampoo and condition your hair as usual.
- Make a hair mask with avocado: Fresh out of deep conditioner and feeling the frizz? Stir together almond oil and avocado for a moisturizing hair mask, Nicholson suggests. Try this recipe.
- 1 avocado, peeled and pitted
- 1–2 tablespoons almond oil
- Using a fork, thoroughly mash the fruit of the avocado.
- Add the almond oil to the avocado; mix well.
- Apply the mixture to dry or damp hair and leave on for several minutes.
- Rinse out the mask, and shampoo and condition hair as usual.