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Natural Living

Oh-So-Soft Hair, Skin, & Nails

A few drops of organic nut oils might be all you need to treat dry skin, frizzy hair, and ragged cuticles.

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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 three 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.

TRY:Derma EHydrating Facial Treatment Oil. Give dehydrated skin a boost with this lightweight, moisture-boosting blend of organic marula oil, organic argan oil (rich in antioxidants and other skin-replenishing properties), and kukui oil (helps soothe rough, itchy skin). Use alone or mix a few drops with your favorite moisturizer or foundation.

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.

TRY:Aura CaciaShield & Hydrate Sweet Almond + Cherry Seed Skin Care Oil. Infused with cherry seed oil and sweet almond oil, this luxe natural oil makes an ideal alternative to conventional body lotions and massage oils. Cherry seed oil is balanced in omega-6 and -9 fatty acids and shields skin’s water evaporation. Sweet almond oil provides smooth glide and hydrates skin.

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.

TRY:FarmHouse FreshAgave Nectar Ageless Body Oil. Sweet almond, agave nectar, and soybean oils are paired with extracts of sandalwood, barley, and Phellodendron amurense bark help skin retain moisture more effectively. Use immediately after showering for soft, scented (and nongreasy!) skin.

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.

TRY:AcureMoroccan Argan Oil. This multitasking formula can be used as a facial serum, massage oil, and hair serum, as well as to treat rough cuticles and dry elbows and heels. Rich in vitamin E, essential fatty acids, and proteins, argan helps reduce lines, imperfections, scars, and stretch marks. The lightweight oil is easily absorbed and benefits all skin types-even oily skin.

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. -Nicole Brechka