Today we welcome our guest blogger Jessica of the website Delicious Obsessions!
Thank you, Liz, for allowing me to stop by today and share some of my coconut oil love! I have a confession. I am a bit of a coconut oil addict. Yes, yes I am. I keep jars of coconut oil all around the house and use it for pretty much everything. While it is my go-to oil for cooking and baking, it is also my go-to oil for skin and body care. Coconut oil has a long history of being used for skin care. It has been used not only as a staple dietary oil in tropical cultures for hundreds (if not thousands) of years, and it is also a primary ingredient in many of the skin care products in these regions. When it comes to skin health, we have to look at both internal and external health. Improved skin health begins on the inside and radiates outward. Since coconut oil is also a dietary staple in these tropical regions, it is obvious that their skin is reaping the benefits of internal consumption. That is why I eat my coconut oil first and foremost, but I also use it in my daily body care routines as well. Today, I am here to share with you my top 5 favorite ways to use coconut oil for body care.
My Top 5 Favorite Ways to Use Coconut Oil for Body Care
1. Deep Hair Conditioning
Coconut oil is a fabulous hair conditioner. In India, there is an entire industry based around coconut oil for hair care. As the popularity of coconut oil continues to spread around the world, more and more people are finding that it is a great alternative to expensive (and often toxic) deep conditioning products. Using coconut oil for hair conditioning is very easy. The amount you need will depend on how much hair you have and if it is course, dry, thin, soft, etc.
- Take a small amount of coconut oil (1 tsp. to 1 tbsp. depending on your hair) and apply to your hair. Make sure you get your entire head covered. Not only is it great for helping smooth dry hair, but it is an excellent scalp conditioner too.
- Leave the coconut oil in for anywhere from 1 hour to overnight.
- Shampoo your hair and then dry and style as normal.
I try to do a deep conditioning treatment once a month. You could also add in a couple drops of rosemary essential oil, as rosemary is well known to help stimulate hair growth and improve hair health. Tip: Some people find that coconut oil makes a great styling aid. My sister has very thick curly hair and she uses it to help style her hair. She just rubs a tiny bit on her hands and runs her fingers through her curls. Her hair is bright, shiny, and soft (not greasy at all). This would not work well on my fine, thin hair, but for those with thick hair, especially if it’s curly, you may like to experiment with it! You can also use a touch of coconut oil to tame frizzy flyaways too!
2. Oil Cleansing
This method of cleansing your skin is all the rage right now. Most people cannot fathom how rubbing oil all over your face actually cleanses your skin, but it does. This is because of the simple principle that like dissolves like. And, unlike harsh soaps and other cleansers, your skin’s delicate acid mantle is not disturbed. I was introduced to the oil cleansing method several years ago through one of my friends. I started doing it and never looked back! Oil cleansing is simple and here’s how to do it:
- Take a small amount of oil (coconut oil is always my go-to, but you could use jojoba, avocado, castor, argan, tamanu, etc. Just stay away from toxic, rancid vegetable oils). You really don’t need much oil – 1/2 tsp. to 1 tsp. is probably sufficient.
- Rub the oil around in your hands and then start spreading it on your face.
- Massage your skin in gentle, circular movements for a minute or two.
- Run a wash cloth under hot water until it is soaked and gently lay over your face. Let that sit for a minute or two (this helps create some steam to help with removing dirt from your pores).
- Gently start wiping off the oil with the damp washcloth. Your skin should be left feeling soft, supple, and hydrated.
I recommend doing this daily. It may take a week or so for your skin to adjust. I personally never experienced any issues when I started oil cleansing, but I think that may be because I never really used any type of skin cleanser, other than a little organic soap every once in awhile. If you want to experiment with mixing various oils together, you can do that and store them in a small squeeze bottle. Sometimes I like mixing equal parts coconut oil and avocado oil. Jojoba is also great. Just remember that coconut oil will harden during the cooler months, so keep that in mind when making your blends.
3. Oil Pulling
Have you heard of oil pulling? Like the oil cleansing method, oil pulling is also very popular right now. Oil pulling is an Indian folk remedy that has been practiced for at least 1,500 years (if not longer) as a way to clean your mouth and improve dental health. There have even been modern scientific studies that confirm this method actually works. Sesame oil is the oil that is traditionally used, though I prefer to use coconut oil. Not only does it taste better (I’m not a huge fan of sesame oil), but coconut oil offers antimicrobial properties that no other oils offers. This is due to the high levels of lauric acid in the coconut oil. I wrote a detailed post on oil pulling and my 30 day experience here. Oil pulling is easy to do. Here’s how you do it:
- Take 1 – 2 teaspoons of coconut oil and place the it in your mouth.
- Start swishing the coconut oil around like you would mouthwash. It may be a little hard to do at first, but once the oil mixes with your saliva, it should start moving around easily.
- Keep swishing for as long as you can. The duration recommended by experts is 20 minutes per day on an empty stomach, but 20 minutes is a LONG time when you’re first starting out. I found that I had to start with 5 minutes at a time and work myself up to a full 20 minutes.
- When you’re done swishing, spit the coconut oil into a trash can. DO NOT spit it into your sink or toilet. It contains all sorts of toxins, bacteria, and other nasties. You might call it hazardous waste!
4. Base for Exfoliating Scrubs
The practice of exfoliation has been around for thousands of years. The Egyptians are given credit for inventing exfoliation for cosmetic purposes. It is beneficial for everyone to exfoliate once or twice a week and gentle exfoliation helps remove old skin cells and allows the skin to rejuvenate. You can buy fancy sugar and salt scrubs in stores, but they are often filled with all sorts of unsavory ingredients like artificial colors, fragrances, and rancid oils. Plus, they’re expensive! I prefer to make mine at home, which not only saves me money, but it allows me to control the quality of the ingredients. I also prefer to use sugar instead of salt, because I find salt to be very drying to my skin. I recommend experimenting with both and see which you like best. Basic Scrub Recipe
- 1 cup organic sugar (or sea salt if you prefer)
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- Essential oils of your choice
Mix all of the ingredients together and store in an airtight container. To use, simply scoop out a little bit and massage around your body, paying close attention to areas like elbows, knees, and feet where skin tends to get a little rough at times. I use my sugar scrubs once a week in my shower, starting with my face and working down. Just be careful to wash down the tub when you are done to prevent anyone from slipping. I also don’t worry about the coconut oil clogging the drain, as it is long gone by the time I am done showering. If you are concerned, you could just run some super hot water down the drain when you are done. I’ve been using coconut oil-based scrubs for years and have never had any problems. For a few sugar scrub recipe ideas, check out this post.
5. Moisturizing the Skin
Coconut oil is a fantastic moisturizer. You can use it on its own, or you can use it as a base for homemade lotions and body butters. Despite what many people think, coconut oil tends to soak into the skin pretty fast, so you’re not left with a greasy residue that stains your clothes. I do recommend using less than you think you need because a little goes a long way. To use coconut oil as a moisturizer, simply take a small amount in your hands and smooth over your body. Allow the oil to soak into your skin before dressing. If you’re feeling a bit more adventurous, you can make your own lotions and body butters with coconut oil. There you have it! My top 5 favorite ways to use coconut oil for body care. What are your favorite ways to use coconut oil?
About Jessica of Delicious Obsessions
Jessica is a real food nut, coconut everything enthusiast, avid reader and researcher, blossoming yogi, and animal lover. She has had a life-long passion for food and being in the kitchen is where she is the happiest. Jessica started Delicious Obsessions in 2010 as a way to help share her love for food and cooking. Since then, it has grown into a trusted online resource with a vibrant community of people learning to live healthy, happy lives through real food and natural living. Delicious Obsessions features a wide range of articles on natural living topics including easy real food recipes, herbal remedies, health and wellness, fitness, DIY tutorials, and lots of coconut oil information! You can stay in touch with Jessica on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, and Instagram.