Natural Beauty: Coconut Oil

A first in a series where I share natural ingredients that I have found to work remarkably for beauty purposes, far better than any expensive concoction you can buy.

Coconut Oil is a great for a lot of reasons. It is said to be anti-fungal, antibacterial, antimicrobial, antioxidant, antiviral, as well as having soothing properties (this can be attributed to the presence of caprylic acid, capric acid, lauric acid, etc. found in the oil).  And you can use it for everything! I keep a jar of Coconut Oil on my bathroom counter with a little spoon tied to the lid for easy scooping, and I never bother putting it away in a cupboard because I use it so often.

Here are my top Coconut Oil uses

As a face-wash 

I have had the most problematic skin, let me tell you. I'm about as sensitive as you can get in the skin department, and my skin likes to overreact to the smallest things. So when I had problems with acne as a teenager, everything I tried only made the problem worse. That's because most topical acne treatments are full of some real nasty, harsh chemicals. Salicylic acid, benzoyl peroxide, they all even sound awful. And they ate at my skin. Now that acne isn't much of an issue for me, I've finally found something that my skin, and all skin loves. That's how life works, though, right?

Because it is gentle, but also antibacterial, Coconut Oil is great at fighting acne. And yes, oil is great for cleaning your skin. When you use a store-bought cleanser or soap on your face, it strips your skin of it's natural oils. When you clean with oil, all that junk in your pores will be absorbed by the oil, while letting you hang on to your natural skin-produced oils that are so so so good. No more dry skin! And because you are no longer stripping your skin oils, you won't over-produce oil to compensate. No more oily skin!

Since I've been using Coconut Oil, my skin has been very happy. It is no longer dull, I have a nice natural glow and evened out skin tone. My redness and irritation have reduced drastically. And I rarely ever have to use a moisturizer anymore. Coconut Oil is also great at removing makeup, especially stubborn eye makeup (water proof mascara anyone?).  Most days I wash my face by simply rubbing a nickel-sized amount of Coconut Oil all over my skin and then rinsing it off. On days when I need a little exfoliating, about twice a week, I do the following:

When exfoliating, I like to begin with clean skin; usually I'll do this right out of the shower, but if I have any makeup on or just worked out, I do rinse it with some coconut oil and water first. Other wise, begin with dry skin. Mix equal parts baking soda and Coconut Oil together in you palm. I do a quarter-size amount of each, which gives me enough mixture to exfoliate my face, neck, and chest. Once you mix the two together, the coconut oil will melt from the temperature of your hand, so work cautiously and gently rub the mixture all over your skin in a soft circular motion for a few minutes (rub it on your lips too! they'll get so nice and smooth). Once you're done, simply rinse of with warm water really well and pat dry with a towel. You want to make sure you rinse thoroughly, if any baking soda stays on your face, it could dry out your skin. Your skin should feel a little oily, but don't worry, your skin will quickly drink it up, and it will love it!

As a deep condition for hair

My other favorite way to use this great stuff is in my hair. I'll take a big old glop of it and work it all the way through my hair, paying special attention to the roots. I personally don't like putting it right on my scalp, because I don't use shampoo (more on that later) it would stay a little too oily for my liking. But if you do wash your hair, go for it! It is great for your scalp, especially if you ever get a dry, itchy scalp- it will be very soothing. It's great at kicking dandruff's ass too! For a deep conditioning mask, leave coconut oil on for at least 30 minutes (I tend to go for an hour or even more) and then shower as normal. Oh how my dyed ends thank me.

Other things I use Coconut Oil for
  • As my saving grace against dry cracked skin in the winter. Especially my hands. It's my favorite because my skin soaks it up pretty fast. Rub a bit on your skin just like you would body butter. Just not too much! A little goes a long way.
  • As a lip balm
  • A a defrizzer/detangler for my hair. Put a tiny bit on the tips of your fingers and smooth that hair out!
  • The ONLY THING that can tame my dry cracked heals, with the help of one of those foot cheese grater looking things
  • As  body scrub (mixed with sugar)
  • As an eye makeup remover
  • As a "primer" under my "makeup" when I wear some
  • And of course, you can eat it/cook with it! Silly.
I recommend this list for more ideas of how to get all of the wonderful benefits from Coconut Oil. Next, I want to try making my own deodorant from it!