Natural oils have long been a staple in the beauty industry–and for good reason! Not only do they soften your skin and promote healthy hair growth, but they contain essential vitamins and minerals that offer incredible health benefits.
Many plant-based oils also act as carrier oils–which dilute essential oils and aid in their absorption. However, almond and coconut oil are by far the most common. And while they both offer some phenomenal beauty benefits, there are some notable differences between almond oil vs. coconut oil.
Curious about what those are? Our experts are revealing everything you need to know about almond oil vs. coconut oil in today’s article. Keep scrolling to discover their nutritional benefits and healing properties, as well as which oil is right for you.
Coconut Oil vs. Almond Oil for Hair Care
While coconut oil is made from the fleshy meat of coconuts, almond oil comes from almonds. And because they both contain vitamins and minerals that support hair health, both almond and coconut oil are popular choices in the grooming industry. Here’s why:
Almond Oil Hair Benefits
Almond oil comes in bitter or sweet forms, and the latter is recommended for use as a hair product. Unlike more intense, heavyweight oils (read: coconut oil), sweet almond oil is versatile and beneficial regardless of hair type. (Note that people with frizzy or unruly hair will likely see the most benefit, and people with lighter hair texture might feel weighed down or greasy.)
Below are some benefits of almond oil for hair health:
Almond oil is an emollient, meaning it fills the gaps in your hair at a cellular level. Therefore, it gives your hair a soft texture that’s noticeably smoother to the touch. Many people will also find that almond oil detangles the hair and makes it easier to comb through.
Strengthens and Repairs Hair
The lubricating properties of nut oils—almond oil, included — minimize friction when styling, which makes your hair less prone to breakage and split ends. Additionally, sweet almond oil contains oleic acid and linoleic acid, which have been shown to elevate hair’s resilience.
Encourages Hair Growth
Unrefined almond oil contains significant amounts of vitamin E–which is a natural antioxidant. By combating free radical damage and oxidative stress, almond oil encourages hair growth.
Treats Scalp Conditions
Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine practitioners have been using almond oil to treat dry scalp conditions for centuries. Not only does rubbing a small amount of oil onto the scalp increase blood flow, but it infuses powerful antioxidants into the skin.
Coconut Oil Hair Benefits
Just like almond oil, coconut oil contains essential fatty acids that improve hair and scalp health. Here are some of the significant benefits:
Fights Fungal Infections
A lab study found that coconut oil eliminates certain types of fungal infections. Therefore, women can use it to prevent dandruff and other fungi from appearing on the scalp. (And because healthy hair begins at the root, this consequentially supports hair growth.)
Coconut oil contains ample omega-3 fatty acids (aka healthy fats) that help calm irritation, itching, and flaking. Additionally, they help lock in moisture.
Treats Split Ends
A 2015 review revealed that coconut oil trumps mineral oil when it comes to hair absorption. Therefore, it’s a great option for preventing hair breakage and split ends. Additionally, research found that coconut oil reduces protein loss in hair–preventing dry, brittle, or broken hair strands. For optimal results, use it as both a pre-shower hair mask and a leave-in conditioner.
Protects Against Heat Damage
Hyral fatigue refers to the damage of hair follicles caused by excess moisture. And repeated swelling from hygral fatigue weakens the hair over time, causing it to become brittle. However, coconut oil acts as a heat protectant, and applying a small amount to wet hair can prevent water or heat damage from occurring.
Almond Oil vs. Coconut Oil for Skincare
Although different, both coconut oil and almond oil have phenomenal skin health benefits. Keep scrolling to discover what those are.
Almond Oil Benefits for Skin
Almond oil is bursting with essential vitamins and minerals for skin health. Here’s a glimpse of what it will do for you:
Contains Essential Nutrients
Almond oil contains many essential nutrients that encourage healthy, radiant skin:
- Vitamin A. The retinol contained in vitamin A stimulates the production of new skin cells and minimizes fine lines.
- Vitamin E. This fat-soluble vitamin is a natural antioxidant, preventing cell damage and reducing damage caused by UV rays.
- Omega-3 Fatty Acids. These healthy fats combat signs of premature aging and sun damage.
- Zinc. Zinc is ideal for healing acne and facial scars. However, it’s worth noting that zinc is generally more effective when taken orally.
Reduces Under-Eye Circles
Thanks to its anti-inflammatory properties, almond oil eases skin swelling. That makes it ideal for reducing puffiness and under-eye circles.
Evens Skin Tone
Because it contains high concentrations of vitamin E and magnesium, almond oil improves the skin’s barrier. Additionally, its emollient properties enhance the skin’s complexion, even the skin’s tone, and combat sun damage.
Treats Dry Skin
Almond oil has been used for centuries to treat dry skin conditions like eczema, psoriasis, and dermatitis. Because it offers an instant boost of moisture, this oil is known for giving cracked, dry skin a rejuvenated glow.
Reduce Scarring and Stretch Marks
Ancient Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine practitioners used almond oil to reduce the appearance of scars and smooth the skin. And a study found that a 15-minute almond oil massage reduced the development of Striae Gravidarum and stretch marks in pregnant women.
Because almond oil is chock full of fatty acids, it may help dissolve excess oil on the skin. Additionally, the retinoids contained in almond oil reduce the appearance of acne marks and increase cell turnover.
Coconut Oil Skin Benefits
Like its almond counterpart, coconut oil contains many nutrients that are beneficial to skin health. Here’s what it will do for you:
Kill Harmful Microorganisms
Coconut oil contains significant amounts of lauric acid, and one study found that lauric acid is the most effective fatty acid at blocking the growth of bacteria. This is especially important for skin health, as many skin infections — including acne, cellulitis, folliculitis, and athlete’s foot — are caused by fungi and bacteria.
Chronic inflammation plays a major role in skin disorders like psoriasis, contact dermatitis, and eczema. However, coconut oil has anti-inflammatory properties. In fact, this study found that — out of many different types of oils — coconut oil improved antioxidant status and prevented oxidative stress to the greatest extent. (If you didn’t already know, antioxidants stabilize free radicals in the body by neutralizing the reactive atoms contributing to inflammation.)
Inflammatory conditions like acne are treated with coconut oil, which has anti-inflammatory properties. Aside from that, the antibacterial properties of the medium-chain fatty acids contained in coconut oil (specifically lauric acid) kill the strain of bacteria that causes acne.
Moisturize Dry Skin
A two-week study found that coconut oil significantly improved skin hydration and was just as effective as mineral oil. Similarly, another study compared the effects of olive oil and coconut oil and found that applying coconut oil significantly reduced dryness in patients with eczema. And of course, keeping your skin hydrated supports the skin barrier, heals scars, and maintains overall skin integrity.
Almond Oil vs. Coconut Oil for Nutrition
At first glance, almond and coconut oil have similar caloric, fat, carb, and protein content. Similarly, they both contain ample antioxidants and other essential vitamins. However, when you dig a bit deeper, you notice their subtle differences:
The key difference between coconut oil and almond oil is the type of fat they contain and their taste. While both oils contain monounsaturated fats, coconut oil contains more saturated fat than unsaturated fat. (If you’ve ever wondered, that’s precisely why coconut oil is solid at room temperature.)
In the culinary world, coconut oil adds a sweet, somewhat nutty flavor to dishes. Therefore, it’s a popular choice for sauteed dishes and baked goods. And if you’re looking to replace butter or ghee with oil, coconut will be your best option.
Unlike coconut oil, almond oil contains mostly monounsaturated fats. And instead of tasting sweet, almond oil adds an exclusively nutty flavor to dishes. Therefore, it’s a fabulous addition to baked goods, soups, salads, and veggies.
So, Which Oil Should I Use?
Almond oil vs. coconut oil: which one should you keep in your bathroom cabinet? Because everyone is different, whether almond or coconut oil is right for you depends entirely on your skin and hair needs.
Because coconut oil has a higher comedogenic grade, clogged pores and blackheads are two potential side effects. Therefore, if you have oily or highly sensitive skin (and are not allergic to nuts), almond oil might be better suited to your skincare needs.
However, the only way to know how your skin or hair will respond to almond or coconut oil is to conduct a patch test. We recommend applying oil that is in its most natural form, then monitoring your body’s response and adjusting accordingly.
Similarly, almond oil is best suited to women with frizzy or unruly hair, as women with thinner hair might find that it becomes greasy. But again, the only way to know how your hair will respond is to try it and see.
Want more beauty tips for moms? Head to the self-care section of our website, where our experts dive into all things beauty, body, hair, and skin.