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Just about everyone knows that avocados can improve heart health, promote weight loss, and help you stock up on essential nutrients like potassium and vitamin B.

And that's only when you eat them. As a beauty aid, avocados and avocado-based products also have a well-earned reputation for keeping hair and skin looking young, beautiful, and soft.

Still, most people have only scratched the surface of what avocados have to offer. Here are five ways to rethink the avocado and reap the benefits, both inside and out.

Eye therapy
Ever noticed bags under your eyes and reached for an expensive cream, only to be disappointed by the results? Next time look no further than your kitchen. Yes, avocados can rid you of your eye luggage. Simply peel an avocado, remove the pit, and slice one of the halves into quarter-inch crescents. Then lie down and place a few slices under each eye. After about 20 minutes you'll be able to skip baggage claim!

Hair mask
It's not even winter yet, but your hair is probably starting to feel dry and straw-like already. An avocado hair mask may be just the thing you need. These do-it-yourself masks work wonders for all types of hair, including color-treated, dry, and heat-damaged locks.

Take this recipe from YouTuber prettyglamtv, who uses it to moisturize her thick, curly, and color-treated hair: In a mixing bowl, combine one ripe avocado with extra virgin olive oil (1 teaspoon) and melted shea butter (1/4 cup) until smooth. Apply sparingly to roots and ends, leave in for 30 minutes, and rinse out completely. Your hair is back on track!

Exfoliating mask
Now get your skin back on track as well. Yep, avocado can work wonders for your skin, too. Use it as an exfoliating mask for dry skin: Mix together one avocado, one egg white, two tablespoons of oatmeal, and one teaspoon of lemon juice. Apply liberally to face, leave on for 15 to 20 minutes, then rinse with warm water. Do this twice a week and you'll have softer, supple skin.

'Whipped cream'
Guacamole is so passé! There's way more you can do with an avocado, like this "whipped cream" recipe from the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. It's great as a spread for sandwiches, or a topping on salads.

The best part? You probably have most of the ingredients in your kitchen right now: avocado, lime juice, red onion, garlic, cumin, olive oil, vegetable oil, and salt and pepper. (Get the full recipe here.)

Baby food
New baby in your life? Avocado is a great transitional food for babies at least 4 months old. Not only will your baby love the smooth, velvety texture and the mild flavor, but avocados are also loaded with healthy unsaturated fat.

Try this recipe from Parents magazine: Take an avocado (portion depends on how much your baby will eat) and purée until smooth, adding water, breast milk, or formula as needed to achieve the desired consistency. You can also add a banana for a little sweetness and an extra punch of potassium. (Of course, you should always check with your pediatrician before introducing your child to new foods.)

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