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Natural Plant Oils for Skin and Hair

by Sherrie Strausfogel |

Photo by Tyler Panagiotu

Winter weather can take a toll on your skin and hair, removing moisture and leading to breakage or cracking. Adding natural oil ingredients can help to reverse the harsh effects of seasonal damage.

Until recently, the belief was that oil clogs pores. In truth, natural plant oils can help regulate and restore balance to your skin's oil production, as well as heal, protect, and nourish dry skin, scalp, and hair.

Nut oils moisturize and soften fine lines and wrinkles on your face; give glide for massage; alleviate dry skin from scalp to toes; and add a healthy shine to hair. Here are four of our favorites:

Marula Oil

Best for: Face

Marula oil, cold-pressed from the East African marula nut, is an extremely soothing oil. Because the oil has a high concentration of oleic acid-an essential fatty acid that your body produces naturally-it absorbs easily into the skin. Also high in antioxidants, marula oil helps defend skin from UV rays and pollution.

Cherry Seed Oil

Best for: All Over

Although harder to find in products in the U.S., cherry seed oil is poised to become a sensation in skin- and hair-care products in the States. This antioxidant-rich oil, which is cold-pressed from sour cherry kernels and packed with skin-nourishing oleic acid, is thought to help boost collagen production, ease acne flare-ups, and promote skin healing.

Sweet Almond Oil

Best for: Body

This oil is rich in skin-saving vitamins A and E, monounsaturated fatty acids, proteins, potassium, and zinc. Almond oil is light, hypoallergenic, and can be used on sensitive skin. It's gentle enough for babies and can even help treat eczema.

Argan Oil

Best for: All Over

This nourishing oil is produced from the kernels found in the nut of the Moroccan argan tree. The oil contains a high concentration of vitamin E and fatty acids, and it's more stable in sunlight than other antioxidants, so you can wear it during the day. Massage your scalp with argan oil to loosen dandruff and encourage hair growth, or add a few drops to your shampoo or conditioner to repair dry, damaged hair. You can also apply a few drops to wet or dry hair to tame frizz, smooth hair, and add shine.

5 Beauty Trends to Watch for

What's hot this year in health food store beauty sections? To answer this question, we asked Mo Payette, CEO of Mother's Market & Kitchen, a Southern California chain of health food stores with seven locations. Mother's has gained a reputation for being on the cutting-edge of natural products and for carrying an exceedingly diverse and wide selection of products. Here, Payette shares trends in natural personal care products:

1 Beauty Products Go Non-GMO. "Non-GMO ingredients are still gaining momentum in the body care category, along with gluten-free skin care products" says Payette.

2 Stem Cells Take Center Stage. "Fruit stem cells are definitely being used in more products," says Payette. Fruits and plant stem cells are thought to increase the longevity of your skin's own stem cells, while renewing dormant cells and regenerate healthy cells. They also defend against ultraviolet, oxidative, and environmental stresses.

3 Everything's Coming Up Roses. "Products with rose and rosehip seed are in demand," says Payette. Adds Strausfogel, "Rosehip seed oil, which is rich in vitamin C and other nutrients, is an excellent moisturizer for dry skin."

4 Glow With It. Payette lists coconut, argan, sea buckthorn, tamanu, and avocado as some of the most in-demand ingredients in beauty products right now. Each of these oils is revered, in different ways, for nourishing hair, skin, and nails and giving skin a natural glow.

5 Essential oils are among the most popular trends in the beauty world today. The best way to use essential oils is by diluting them in almond or jojoba oil for topical use, or by using them in the bath, in beauty products, or with a diffuser.

Written by Sherrie Strausfogel for Better Nutrition and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to

If you're feeling dry from Winter winds, give natural oils a shot! These ingredients tare easy to absorb into the skin, boosting elasticity and moisture to keep you glowing no matter what.

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