DIY Beauty: The Benefits of Coconut Oil for Hair and Skin
I've been called a hippie a lot lately. But if using natural products for my hair and skin makes me a hippie, then so be it.
Actually, no. I will not be called a hippie for refusing to smear chemicals on my hair and skin. I like to call it "old fashioned." Think about it - before we had all of these huge beauty companies pop up in the past 100 years pushing a product, what did people use? The raw, natural things they found.
Maybe I'm crazy, but I think part of the reason all of these allergies and intolerances are popping up nowadays is related to the amount of chemicals we intake.
But, I digress. Regardless of your thoughts on hippies and allergies, going natural in your beauty routine can be one of the healthiest decisions you make. Luckily, there's one master product that is beneficial in nearly every area of natural beauty: coconut oil.
Coconut oil is a mega-moisturizer. It works wonders in conditioning and smoothing hair, helping it to grow longer and stronger by minimizing breakage. Here's a list of many other benefits coconut oil provides for hair:
- Prevents hair loss
- Reduces damage
- Prevents dandruff
- Retains moisture
"SCIENCE!" - mad scientist in Thomas Dolby's 1982 hit, "She Blinded Me With Science"
Coconut oil decreases the amount of protein loss in hair between washes, creating healthier and stronger locks. It also has antibacterial properties, and is excellent at retaining moisture, conditioning your hair from within.
Using Coconut Oil in Hair
Interested? Here are several options.
Coconut Oil Spray. You can purchase this stuff for under $5 at your neighborhood sto'. Walmart, Target, and even drugstores tend to carry coconut oil spray. Check in the hair care section for this one.
I spray in coconut oil on dry hair daily. I usually use about six spritzes on my ends and gently rub it in, to avoid breakage. It leaves my hair smelling great, feeling soft, and looking smooth and shiny.
Coconut Oil Conditioner. Mix a bit of oil into your own conditioner, or just use straight up coconut oil for this one. Shampoo your hair if you're into that sort of thing, and then hop out of the shower. Use a t-shirt to soak up excess water from your hair, and then rub in about a quarter of a teaspoon of oil. Focus on your ends rather than your roots. Be sure not to use too much, as your hair may end up feeling oily rather than moisturized when it dries.
I have sensitively dry skin. I deal with some eczema, which means bonding agents in store-bought lotions (cough cough... cetyl alcohol) can serve to irritate and dry my skin out even more.
That means sticking to natural, one-ingredient products is the way to go for me! Regardless, coconut oil works wonders on most skin types. Here are the benefits of coconut oil for skin:
- Reduces aging/wrinkling
- Naturally protects against sun
Disinfects? What? As mentioned earlier, coconut oil is antimicrobial, due to the fatty acids it contains. In addition, coconut oil contains vitamin E - which promotes healthy skin growth and repair. This leads to smooth and moisturized skin, reducing the effects of aging and wrinkles. Not to mention, coconut oil is proven to have sun-protecting benefits.
Using Coconut Oil for Skin
Of course, you can just purchase straight coconut oil and use it however you please. It can be found in both the food and beauty sections of stores, but I find it to be cheaper from the food section. Check the ingredients and make sure it's 100% coconut oil, and you're good to go.
Coconut Oil Lotion. You can take a palmfull of coconut oil and rub it in as you would any other lotion. It melts quickly, so be careful not to get it everywhere. It can also be mixed with other healing products like shea butter and aloe for maximum moisturization.
Coconut Oil Lip Balm. Coconut oil is excellent for dry and chapped lips, so rub it on alone or add in some other oils. A simple lip scrub can be made using sugar, coconut oil, and peppermint oil (or any other type that you see fit).
If you're interested in adding some color to create coconut oil lipstick, check out my how-to on making non-toxic crayon and coconut oil lipstick.
There's really no sense in buying all sorts of different lotions (foot, body, face, hand, etc.) when you can use one product to treat all areas. Coconut oil can even be used as a face cream, but be aware of your own body chemistry and do not apply too much.
For Oral Health
Unbeknownst to many, coconut oil even has benefits to dental health. Among them:
- Whitens teeth
- Fights bacteria
- Lessens tooth sensitivity
- Improves gum health
I have yet to try it myself, but there is many a success story online about using coconut oil to fight cavities and promote oral health. The oil is able to cut through plaque and remove toxins, as proven by Dr. F. Karach's practices in the 1990's.
Using Coconut Oil for Oral Health
Oil Pulling. Oil pulling is an age-old method involving swishing coconut oil for about 15-20 minutes daily. Use pure coconut oil, which can be found in the food section of almost any supermarket.
Swish 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil in the mouth for roughly 20 minutes. Make sure to spit in the trash can rather than the sink, avoiding the ingestion of any oil (it contains all of the toxins and bacteria you just got rid of!). Then, rinse with warm water.
How do you use coconut oil?
Obviously, coconut oil is amazing for nearly all aspects of health and beauty. Good for shiny, strong hair, moisturized skin, and even white teeth. Why waste hundreds of dollars on specialized beauty products, when you can get all or most of it done with one? And, a relatively cheap one at that.
So even if people think you're a hippie, the benefits speak for themselves. Take a shower and wear an NRA shirt, and all of the hippie accusations should be dispelled.
If you're interested in more DIY health and beauty, check out some of my other articles: