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Avocado oil

Dec 29, 2023 | Ingredients

AVOCADO OIL

1. WHAT IS AVOCADO OIL AND WHERE IS IT USED?

Avocado (Persea Americana) is a medium-sized tree that is native to the Americas. It grows in tropical and subtropical areas and mainly is grown in Mexico, the USA, South America, Indonesia, Africa, Spain, Australia, New Zealand.

Avocado oil is obtained from the pulp of avocado fruit or from the seed. However, oil from the flesh is more common than the oil obtained from the seed. There are several varieties of avocado grown around the world and the most widely known are Haas, Fuertes, Gwen, Bacon, Pinkerton and Lamb Haas. The majority of avocados that are used in the world is of Haas variety and it is a high chance that the avocado oil also is obtained from Haas avocado.

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Avocado oil can be used as a cooking oil as it has a high smoke point (over 250°C/ 482°F). It is also used quite a lot in cosmetics, especially in products dedicated for dry, delicate (eye, neck areas) and mature skin. It is mainly used as an emollient to moisturize and smoothen the skin. Avocado oil is beneficial for sensitive skin, anti-wrinkle preparations, curative stretch mark care.

In hair care avocado oil is used mainly for dull, dry hair and for hair growth. It brings shine and vigor to the hair.

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2. FATTY ACID PROFILE OF AVOCADO OIL

The majority of avocado oil is made of oleic fatty acid (monounsaturated fatty acid) and some linoleic and palmitic fatty acids. The composition may vary due to the variety, ripening stage, growth location and extraction method. If you would like to know more about differences of extraction methods, I recommend reading this and this article.

Avocado oil has quite a lot of unsaponifiables such as carotenoids (mainly lutein), tocopherols (mainly vitamin E) and phytosterols (mainly beta-sitosterol). There are also quite a lot of chlorophyll in a virgin avocado oil which comes from the flesh and skin of avocado fruit. Chlorophyll gives the oil that deep green color, but it may cause faster photo-oxidation when the oil is exposed to light and oxygen.

The number near the C shows the amount of carbon atoms in a fatty acid and the number after “:” shows how many double bonds there are.

Oleic acid (C18:1) – 67.7%,

Linoleic acid (C18:2) – 13.5%,

Palmitic acid (C16:0) – 12.8%,

Palmitoleic acid (C16:1) – 3.3%,

Alpha-Linolenic fatty acid (C18:3) – 1.2%,

Stearic acid (C18:0) – 1%.

I have to mention that the quality of avocado oil is very dependent on the initial avocados. They should be still of good quality, without any dark and rotten places. Also, the extraction method is also very important for getting all the nutrients. So, look for avocado oil that is extra virgin (like olive oil) for the best quality.

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3. Basic properties of avocado oil

INCI Persea Gratissima Oil
Function It is an emollient that is suited for dry, delicate, mature and sensitive skin
Usage rate 1-100%
Origin From the pulp of avocado fruits
Appearance Viscous dark green liquid. May have some sediments if kept in a cooler place.
Scent Fruity, reminiscent of avocado
Iodine value 75-95
Solubility Oil
Skin type All skin types, but mainly dry, delicate (neck, eye area), mature, sensitive
Shelf life Store somewhere in a cool, dark and dry environment. Should last 1-2 years depending on the storage conditions.
When to include it Can be processed cold or hot
How much do you need it? 100-250 ml (3.3-8.45 oz.).
Alternatives The closest to fatty acid profile is olive oil. It is a unique oil with a lot of unsaponifiables that is hard to match.

4. APPEARANCE AND SKIN FEEL OF AVOCADO OIL

Avocado oil is in a liquid state, though it may have some sediment if it was kept at lower temperatures. The color of the oil varies a lot and it depends on several factors such as extraction method and if the oil is refined or not. Refined oil is pale yellow in color while unrefined will always have some green color.

The highest amount of green color is obtained when the skin of avocado fruit is also used in the extraction process. If the skin is not used, then the color will be lighter and will only come from the avocado flesh.

Avocado oil quite quickly absorbs into the skin. It feels rich, oily It also goes quite deep and could help to deliver other oil soluble ingredients better into the skin. However, it does not spread very easily on the skin. So, for easier application it should be combined with lighter oils.

If you are interested in formulations with this oil, you can check these:

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5. SHELF LIFE AND HOW TO WORK WITH IT

Avocado oil is a stable oil and should be good for at least a year if kept somewhere dry, cool and out of light. The oil could be used in cold and hot process formulations, so you do not need to worry about heating it for longer periods of time.

It can be used alone for example as a face oil (if you like it) or as a hair mask. However, as this oil is a bit heavy I suggest to dilute it with lighter oils or esters.

In lotions and creams you can use it at lower rates – 3-5% will be enough. But, you can use more if you want. Everything depends on the formulation and other used ingredients.

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6. WHAT CAN YOU MAKE WITH IT?

As avocado oil has high amounts of unsaponifiables – tocopherols, carotenoids and phytosterols – it is good for dry, sensitive, mature skin. It is also very beneficial for stretch marks and wrinkles. Here are some ideas what can be made with it:

  • Eye lotion
  • Neck lotion
  • Anti-wrinkle preparations for mature and dry skin
  • Creams for dry hands
  • Massage oils
  • Body balms
  • Oily hair masks
  • Mask for brittle hair

7. WHERE TO BUY THIS OIL?

You can buy this oil in most of the supplier shops. It is a common carrier oil and it is easy to find. Try to look for unrefined, extra virgin version as it has all the nutrients and has a nice fruity scent. The ones that I have tried are from Aroma-Zone and Alexmo-cosmetics.

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