Almond oil is all the rage these days among people looking for natural health-boosting supplements to improve their inner health and outer appearance. This versatile oil has many uses including as a healthful alternative to vegetable cooking oils and salad toppers, a wonderful skin and hair moisturizer and conditioner, mild pain reliever, and potential disease preventative.
Keep reading to learn everything you’ll ever need to know about this superfood product including health benefits, how to select the best quality, its many uses, and our list of some of the best and most affordable almond oil currently available on the market today.
What is Almond Oil
Almond oil is the oil extracted from almonds. Almonds are tree fruits, called “drupes”. They grow best in Mediterranean climates and are considered an extremely sustainable food source, since an almond tree starts to produce nuts a mere 3 years after it’s planted (this compared to 5 years for most other fruit trees).
Because of their hard texture, almond oil needs to be extracted using an expeller press machine, which uses heat combined with spinning blades to grind the nuts into a liquid consistency. A fine mesh screen located under the expeller blades allows the oil to flow out of the press without allowing the fiber from the nut to pass. Because of this, there is very little residual fiber left in the oil.
There are two different kinds of almonds available, sweet or bitter:
1. Sweet Almonds:
Sweet almonds have twice the available oil to be extracted from them. They’re about twice the size of a bitter almond, and have a more distinctive “almond taste”. Before they go to fruit the blossoms of the sweet almond tree are easily identified as they have distinctively white petals, sometimes lightly tinged with purple/pink flecks.
2. Bitter Almonds
When eaten raw or roasted, bitter almonds are bitter to taste. Surprisingly, once extracted, bitter almond oil isn’t bitter. In fact, it’s almost tasteless, making it preferable to some people, especially for cooking and food topping purposes. The tradeoff is that it doesn’t offer as much in the way of health benefits – less healthy fats, and lower levels of B-complex vitamins and vitamin E. It does have about 50% less oil than the sweet variety and when growing in the wild before going to fruit, bitter almond flowers are easily distinguished from the sweet by their gorgeous pink petals.
How it’s Made
Almond oil is made by pressing the oil from raw or roasted almonds. Unlike vegetable oils, a traditional cold press (preferred method) cannot be used to press the oil from almonds, so some nutrients found in the nut itself are compromised during the manufacturing process. The nuts are placed into the press which heats the almonds up to approximately 100 – 120 degrees then presses them into a high tensile steel mesh and pushes the oil out the other side.
Can You Make Your Own?
Yes and no. You can’t make pure almond oil at home unless you have an expensive expeller press handy in your kitchen, which most people do not. You can blend some almonds at medium speed in your blender or food processor, adding olive or vegetable oil until the almonds are completely liquified. Use a sieve, cheesecloth, etc., to separate the oil from the fiber of the almond. This method works, but you can’t get all the oil this way, and the added vegetable oil upsets the true flavor and aroma you’d get from the store-bought variety.
Top 9 Almond Oils
|NOW Foods Sweet Almond Oil
|Life-Flo Oil, Pure Almond Oil
|L’Occitane Almond Shower Oil
|Aura Cacia Natural Skin Care Oil Sweet Almond
|Almond Oil Spectrum Essentials
|Weleda Almond Soothing Facial Oil
|L’Occitane Almond Supple Skin Oil
|Now Foods Sweet Almond Oil
|La Tourangelle Roasted Almond Oil
Benefits of Using Almond Oil
1.Contains Healthy Fats
Much of the fat found in almonds and almond oil is in saturated form, which often leads to the mistaken belief that this nourishing food and skin care treatment is somehow bad for us. “Fat makes you fat and leads to heart disease” is something we’ve all heard uttered by nutrition experts and healthcare professionals. Before you read on, it’s important to make a distinction about “how much” of any fat one can get away with. Fats are calorie dense and if you eat more calories than you burn, you’ll get fat – obesity can increase your chances of getting heart disease by up to 72% (source).
Now that we understand how important it is to stay within our recommended daily caloric intake (see calorie calculator), it’s important to note that no two fats are created equal and science is now finding that most natural fats (either plant or animal) are perfectly healthy for us; actually helping to balance cholesterol levels and lower triglycerides in the bloodstream. Almond oil contains 62% monounsaturated oleic acid, 29% polyunsaturated linoleic acid, and only 9% natural saturated fats.(source)
A study combining research from 72 clinical studies involving over 600,000 people from 18 countries showed that healthy people and even those already suffering from heart disease demonstrated no increases in heart disease or to their existing heart condition from consuming monounsaturates, polyunsaturates, or saturated fat in healthy amounts. The study did however show that people who consumed trans fats, found in fried foods and commercial baked goods, did have a higher incidence of heart disease due to this nasty fat’s disruption on the ratio of good vs. bad cholesterol in the participant’s blood (source).
2.Natural Skin Moisturizer
The natural oils, fatty linoleic and oleic acids, and vitamin A and E in almond oil help to moisturize and repair skin when applied topically. It’s important to be careful about applying it to your face or other parts of your body if you’re prone to acne. Being a very fat-rich oil, almond oil can leave your skin greasy if over-applied and may worsen your acne.
Linoleic and oleic acids are both excellent exfoliators. They penetrate to the deeper dermis layer of the skin, helping it to mature more quickly which causes the aged epidermal layers to flake away faster. Adding fine sea salt or sugar to almond oil and using it as a scrub is another way to make your skin more refreshed even faster.
4.Reduces Dark Circles and Fine Lines
Almond oil is an age-old cure for ridding yourself of dark under-eye circles and also helps to nourish and exfoliate to erase fine lines around the eye too. Rub the oil on the afflicted area in the morning and evening and watch the magic happen!
5.Softer, More Manageable Hair
The rich plant fats, amino acids and vitamins in almond oil help to nourish and strengthen hair. Many cultures use it to make hair grow faster and you’ll find that several expensive haircare products also contain almond oil as an ingredient.
Almonds have one of the best amino acid profiles of all plant foods. When ingested, the proteins in almond oil are very easy for the body to process, since the fiber of the plant has been removed. Tree and ground nuts are essential to any vegetarian diet in order to make sure you’re getting all the essential aminos you need for muscle, skin, and hair growth and maintenance.
Almond oil is rich in folic acid. This B-complex vitamin is essential for all over health. Deficiencies can lead to poor brain function, degenerative mental conditions (like Alzheimer’s and dementia), eye disease, hearing loss, liver disease, nerve disorders, kidney problems, and ulcerative colitis. It’s also essential for heart health as folic acid is a homocysteine regulator which keeps levels of this dangerous protein low. Pregnant mothers who do not get enough of this vitamin are putting their infants at risk for a host of conditions including neural tube defects, spina bifida, premature birth, and low birth weight.
8.Heart Health (Blood Pressure Regulation)
Aside from regulating inflammatory homocysteine levels the monounsaturated fats in almond oil help prevent arteriosclerosis and other forms of cardiovascular disease. The healthy plant fats in almonds and almond oil have both been shown to keep the vascular walls of the heart and arteries soft and pliable which reduces blood pressure. A diet healthy in monounsaturated fat helps to reduce fatty triglyceride levels in the bloodstream, when combined with a low sugar diet.(1)
The 66% monounsaturates found in almond oil help to boost HDL (good) cholesterol levels, which results in lower LDL (bad) levels. HDL’s job is to shuttle LDL out of the blood and into the liver where it’s processed and later excreted by the colon. Excess LDL in the blood leads to the narrowing of our arteries known as “arteriosclerosis”.(2)
10.Diabetes Care and Prevention
Diabetes is the result of several factors, mainly though due to the effects of consuming too much sugar which causes the cells of the body and liver to become insulin resistant. When consumed, almond oil has a mild estrogenic effect which actually boosts insulin sensitivity in healthy people and diabetics alike, lowering blood sugar. Type 1 and type II diabetics have trouble regulating their triglyceride and cholesterol levels, putting them at greater risk of developing heart, kidney and liver disease. The cholesterol/triglyceride lowering effects noted by consuming almond oil helps to bring those affected back into balance.(3)
The fats in almond oil are easy for the body to convert to instant energy. The complex B vitamins that are found in the oil are also great for an energy boost. Instead of grabbing a sugar and caffeine laden energy drink, put a tablespoon or two of almond oil into some water or a protein drink.
Many cultures rub almond oil on their achy muscles and joints. It’s unknown why it works so well as a topical pain reliever and antiinflammatory, it just does.
Whether you ingest it or rub it into your skin and hair, the anti-aging benefits offered by almond oil are many: reduces inflammation and oxidation damage, keeps bowels regular, reduces liver stress, moisturizes skin and hair, and boosts immune function.
14.Faster Healing of Wounds
In addition to the increased moisturizing benefits, vitamins and fatty acids it contains, almond oil also has vitamin K. Vitamin K is essential for healing wounds inside and outside the body. When applied to wounds, healing time can be reduced by days or even weeks.
Vitamins A, B, E. Few people need extra vitamin A, but vitamin B is another story altogether and can lead to poor brain function and feeling tired and dragged out all the time. Most of the B-complex vitamins such as riboflavin, thiamin, pantothenic acid and B-6 are obtained from these nuts. Vitamin E is essential for the health of our skin. We need to consume it for best benefit, but topical treatment is also helpful for improving skin health. One tablespoon of almond oil provides 26% of our daily consumption needs for Vitamin E.
There are loads of minerals in almond oil including: calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron and zinc. Calcium, being the main mineral our body needs to keep bones and teeth healthy, as well as keeping our muscles looking toned and healthy.(4)
Top 20 At-Home Uses for Almond Oil:
1. Carrier Oil and Perfume:
Use almond oil as a carrier oil for homemade mentholated rubs, or add in your own natural and store bought fragrances. Almond oil is very effective at penetrating the upper and middle layers of skin, allowing the ingredients you add to it to enter more effectively. Adding non-allergenic perfumes will leave your skin smelling amazing for days.
2. Skin Moisturizing:
No plant oil is more effective at moisturizing skin, other than perhaps olive oil which tends to leave a more greasy feel to the skin and a very non-neutral odor that doesn’t agree with everyone. It’s extremely non-allergenic, even if you have allergies to consuming almonds. It’s loaded with vitamin E for skin health and vitamin K for healing, in addition to loads of restorative amino acids.
3. Finger and Toenail Health:
Almond oil is rich in skin and body-essential amino acids and vitamin E. Because it’s an oil, it won’t diminish entirely the first time you wash after applying it, leaving your finger and toenails moisture-infused for hours.
Almond oil can be used as an antiseptic for mild wounds. After washing the cut or scratch with soap, apply a light layer of almond oil. Reapply as needed, as many times as you want. It also helps to heal the cut faster because of its moisturizing properties and vitamin E content.
5. Internal Cleanse:
The fatty acids, B-complex vitamins, folic acid and excellent mineral profile in the oil all help to cleanse the liver, kidneys and digestive tract. You’ll find almond oil as a main ingredient in most natural liver cleanse recipes and products. It’s also a popular natural laxative in many Mediterranean climates.
6. Massage Oil:
Almond oil works as a relaxer and analgesic, making it a wonderful massage oil. It absorbs body heat and will warm from the friction of moving hands over the skin.
7. Psoriasis and Eczema Care:
The moisture-infusing benefits and high fat and protein profile of almond oil help to ease the discomfort of many skin conditions including psoriasis and eczema.
8. Exfoliating Scrub:
Add your favorite exfoliating ingredients to almond oil such as sea salt, sugar, crushed almond shells, etc.
9. Shave Cream and Aftershave Moisturizer:
Nature often gives us all we need to care for ourselves. Shaving and moisturizing after with almond oil gives your skin all the protection it needs from nasty razer burn and shave bumps.
10. Stretch Mark Prevention and Treatment:
Use almond oil to prevent stretch marks and to treat “mild” stretch marks after pregnancy and weight loss.
11. Hair Care and Dandruff Treatment:
Because it absorbs so cleanly, with little-to-no residue, almond oil makes for a perfect dandruff preventative and treatment.
12. Eyelash Extender:
In India, Greece and other parts of the Middle East, almond oil is a very popular eyelash extender.
13. Healthy Natural Cooking Oil:
Low in omega 6 and high in healthy omega 9 fatty acid, almond oil is much healthier than vegetable cooking oils which are abnormally high in omega 6 and trans fats.
14. Healthy Salad Dressing:
Add it by itself to top your salads or make a vinaigrette using apple cider or regular vinegar, along with your favorite herbs and spices.
The high healthy fat content makes almond oil excellent for tenderizing steak and pork in an overnight marinade. Add your other favorite marinade ingredients too.
16. Food Preservative for Baking:
Add a few teaspoons of almond oil to your favorite baked recipes (cookies, cakes, breads, pastries, etc.), and they’ll stay fresher for 3 – 5 days longer. The fats in the oil also add a more moist, sometimes fluffy texture to baked goods.
Vegetable and/or ground nut oil isn’t very healthy, but are still the most common oils used in commercial store bought mayonnaise. Olive oil, though healthy, leaves a very distinctive and unpleasant taste to the finished mayo. Use almond oil in your homemade mayo recipes to really bring out the taste of the egg yolks, vinegar and spices you use.
Use almond oil as a base for your aromatherapy oils and put it into a diffuser for a pleasant, non-toxic and all-natural smell in your home or office.
19. Pet Care:
Dry skin is common in dogs and cats who live indoors, particularly in the winter months when artificial heat is used to keep us warm. Place a few drops of almond oil at three or four points along your pets skin (on their back) as you would when applying a flea/tick treatment like Advantage, and the oil will spread naturally to all parts of their skin and fur.
20. Leather Conditioner:
Use almond oil to condition all your rubber belongings including shoes, coats, chairs, wallets, purses, etc. Use sparingly, as you can over-soften the leather if you go too crazy with it.
Side Effects of Using Too Much
There are no real side effects to using almond oil on your skin or hair, other than perhaps using too much too often and causing your skin or hair to become greasy.
Over-consuming almond oil can lead to excess triglycerides in your blood and weight gain. We all have to consume a healthy diet, though, and you’d practically have to drink the stuff (not pleasant!) to encounter these health-related side effects.
Only buy food-grade almond oil from trusted companies with a solid reputation, as poorly cared for crops are at risk of developing dangerous aflatoxins which when consumed can cause a host of auto-immune diseases and may harm babies if consumed by pregnant or breast-feeding mothers.
2.Note about allergies:
Obviously if you have allergies to tree nuts, specifically almonds, then the oil is going to cause a reaction. Some people report having an allergy to raw or cooked almonds, while they can cook with the oil and apply it topically without any side effects. If you have an allergy to almonds, proceed with caution! As an alternative, coconut oil offers most of the same benefits, without the potential for an allergic reaction.
How to Select the Best Quality Almond Oil
Sweet almond oil is the most common type you’ll find. In fact, bitter can be quite elusive and often costs more because it takes twice as many bitter almonds to make an equal amount of sweet (due to their size and oil content). Sweet almond oil does have a mild-to-strong flavor and scent profile (depending on the brand and genetic strain of almonds used). Sweet offers maximum nutrition, so if you’re looking for the health-boosting benefits, always stick with sweet.
Bitter has almost no taste or smell whatsoever, making it ideal for cooking with, but not so great for aromatherapy or as a base for perfumes and scented skin conditioners. Bitter can be hard to find and, as mentioned, it’s usually more expensive.
If you’re going to be cooking with the oil, adding it to your food as a topping, or consuming it as a healthy supplement every day; check the label to ensure it’s 100% almond oil and food grade. External-use only products such as skin conditioners and perfumes will have a variety of other ingredients that make them unsafe for consumption.
Almond Oil Reviews
1.NOW Solutions Sweet Almond Oil, Moisturizing Oil,
This almond oil from Now Foods is manufactured for external use, but is labeled as food grade if you want to use it for cooking or as a health-boosting supplement. It has a very mild almond flavor and scent, perfect for applying to the skin or hair. Since it’s so affordable, this moisturizing almond oil is also perfect for use as an inexpensive aromatic massage oil!
2.Life-Flo Oil, Pure Almond Oil
This 16-ounce offering from Life Flo is all natural in every way. They don’t use chemical lab-made preservatives, but instead add some extra vitamin E to the mixture, which only offers more skin and hair-boosting benefits when used topically. This is a hexane-free “sweet” almond oil that’s also designed for topical use, even though the minimalist ingredients used would lead one to believe it’s perfectly fine for consumption too. It doesn’t smell much of almonds, so this might not be the best product to use as a standalone perfume or aromatherapy oil. This non-GMO almond oil is the perfect alternative to expensive moisturizers and massage oils.
3.L’Occitane Almond Shower Oil
L’occitane en Province is another almond oil-containing formulation made for skin and hair applications only. It’s an all-body foaming shower cleanser that’s safe for use on the hair and face. The list of ingredients is a lot larger than many of the food grade almond oils listed on this page and includes Sweet Almond, Shea Butter, Grape Seed Oil, Glycerin, Honey Extract, Fruit Extract, and other natural ingredients. It doesn’t contain any parabens, phthalates, triclosan or synthetic fragrances. This is great for people with dry skin and skin conditions like eczema and psoriasis, as it really does leave your skin feeling moist and silky when compared to other commercial products that claim to do the same but really don’t.
4.Aura Cacia Natural Skin Care Oil Sweet Almond
Aura Cacia is a company built on quality skincare products. They’ve made this 4-ounce almond oil and vitamin E blend specifically to absorb quickly into the skin without leaving an oily residue. You’ll note the price per ounce is much higher with this product than with the others, but this popular almond oil doesn’t have millions of sales worldwide because it doesn’t deliver on quality and value! Users claim it to absorb much faster than dual-use food grade almond oils do.
5.Almond Oil Spectrum Essentials
This almond oil from Spectrum Essentials is exactly what the label says it is: 100% almond oil with no natural or unnatural preservatives added. Use it on hair, skin and for cooking. Like other cheap nut and vegetable oils, this product is expeller pressed, but the low price tag makes it well worth the buy. Keep in mind that the lack of preservatives means the nutritional value will degrade quickly upon opening and will go rancid (as all natural oils do) approximately 6 months after opening the bottle. Each bottle is loaded with healthy monounsaturated fats. Approximately 100 almonds are used to make every 16 ounce bottle.
6.Weleda Almond Soothing Facial Oil
This facial moisturizer and soother is labeled 100% organic and isn’t made for consumption. It’s a facial moisturizer and soother containing organic sweet almond extract and blackthorn blossom extract. The sweet almond oil offers deep moisturizing benefits while the blackthorn flower is used throughout the world for its soothing and skin toning characteristics. This is perfect to apply to the face before going to bed so your face looks toned and refreshed when you wake up. This combo is much more effective at removing dark circles under the eyes too.
7.L’Occitane Almond Supple Skin Oil
This is another premium skincare product that includes an almond oil base. Made by L’Occitane, this spray on oil is made to penetrate the skin quickly and provide moisture for up to 48 hours. The price makes this a product that consumers set high expectations for, and it doesn’t fail to deliver on its promises. Ingredients include: sweet almond oil, capric triglyceride, parfume/fragrance, oleyl alcohol, camelina seed oil, rosa canina fruit oil, sunflower seed oil, bergamot fruit oil, carrot seed oil, tocopherol, dioleyl tocopheryl methylsilanol, limonene, linalool and citrol. With a near 5-star rating on Amazon, you can’t go wrong with this little dry skin curative. It can last for months, even with daily use. This product does contain synthetic fragrance, so be forewarned if you have any scent allergies.
8.NOW Foods Almond Oil
This affordable little 4 ounce bottle of almond oil from Now Foods is great for those who want to see how almond oil feels on their skin, but don’t want to buy a large bottle just yet in case it isn’t for them. This is 100% pure, expeller pressed almond oil is marketed for use on skin and hair, but perfectly safe for human consumption too. Use this product for dry skin, or as a base for an exfoliation paste or muscle relaxer.
9.La Tourangelle Roasted Almond Oil
La Tourangelle offers up this wonderfully affordable, food grade, sweet almond oil. They hand roast each almond before using an expeller press to extract the oil. The roasting process gives the finished oil a wonderful aroma and flavor that you won’t find in the other products on this page. If you prefer an odorless and tasteless almond oil product, this roasted product isn’t for you. Give this one a try for a unique nutty taste explosion in your stir fries, salads and meats.
Hopefully we’ve provided you with all the comprehensive information you came here to find about almond oil. This versatile product is classed as a superfood because of its nutritional benefits. It’s also a premium natural skin and hair conditioner, that’s a much safer alternative to many of the over-the-counter products out there containing lab-made ingredients – most of which none of us can even pronounce!
Despite the fact that it costs a little more than olive oil to buy, almond oil is much easier on the pallette and less oily when used on the skin and hair. Try one of the brands recommended on this page, or use the information you’ve learned today to buy some quality almond oil at your favorite health food store.