If You Haven't Been Using Coconut Oil in Your Beauty Regime, Here's Why You Should
It feels as though most of the world has been alerted to the great benefits of consuming coconut oil. This superfood can benefit heart health by lowering cholesterol, and makes a great cooking and baking substitute for butter. But how many of us have stood there, scraping out a tablespoon of the decadent smelling oil and thought, "I bet this would make a great moisturizer"? Well it turns out you were right.
The benefits of coconut oil can be applied externally as well, and oftentimes the result is better than any pharmacy-bought lotions, salves, cleansers or treatments. If you have sensitive skin, you're all too familiar with perfumed night creams that promise total facial regeneration in a matter of weeks, but actually just burn your old face off, or cleansers that suck any natural moisture out of your skin causing it to go into panic-mode. With coconut oil, the same product can do both with two hands tied behind it's back. Coconut oil is known for smoothing the skin by retaining a layer of moisture on the surface, but it also works deep within the skin by drawing on a supportive mixture of vitamins, antioxidants and saturated fats. The vitamin E found in coconut oil even allows it to act as a natural sunscreen!
Use it as a cleanser
As a cleanser coconut oil makes a great emollient and can break down the most stubborn waterproof makeup while still being gentle on the eyes. And though its texture makes it great for sluicing off a days worth of makeup, it also cleans out pores and exfoliates lightly in the process. To use as a cleanser warm a small amount of coconut oil in your hands, and massage over your face. Then using a warm wash cloth, wipe away any leftover makeup and oil residue.
Those with oilier or more acne prone skin can also add in their own preferred soap-based cleanser to this step, if the idea of using oil to clean your face makes you uneasy. I like this method of cleansing because it allows me to ditch the moisturizer I'd apply afterwards, and my skin doesn't suffer such a shock to its pH balance. As a bonus, I like to think my eyelashes and eyebrows are getting the deep conditioning treatment every time I wash my face. Which leads to my next point, coconut oil as a deep conditioner.
Apply it to your hair!
Coconut oil is great for taming frizzy flyaways, ramping up shine, and it also makes an effective hair treatment. Those of us with fried split ends, or flaky, dry scalps can nourish top to bottom with coconut oil. Simply apply the oil to whatever area you feel could use a little moisture, apply a liberal amount of coconut oil to your ends (or scalp), and let sit for approximately an hour before rinsing off as usual in the shower.
Some might find they need to shampoo twice to wash out the oil, but you probably won't need to condition after. The finished result is soft shiny hair. The reasons that make coconut oil so beneficial for scalp health also make it a compelling alternative treatment for mild skin problems as well.
Our favourite beauty secret
One of the most significant benefits of coconut oil is due to the fact that almost half of the fats found in coconut oil are Lauric Acid, a medium-chain fatty acid that helps kill harmful viruses, bacteria and fungi, such as Candida. Since Candida overgrowth can be a contributing factor for sufferers of Dermatitis, Psoriasis, and Eczema, coconut oil has revealed itself to be a powerful natural treatment for rashes or dry patches on the skin.The additional presence of vitamin E helps speed the recovery time of any wounds, as well as fade scarring. However, everyone's skin responds differently to different treatment methods, so if you suffer from an extensive skin condition, test the oil on a patch of skin first to check for reaction, or speak to your Doctor first.
How to get started
When selecting a coconut oil, make sure to skip refined, go for virgin coconut oil, preferably organic. When first introducing coconut oil to your beauty regime, a little goes a long way, and it's best to err on the side of caution while you get a stronger sense of how well your skin tolerates it. But in the meantime, the next time you're examining your cuticles or rubbing your sore calloused feet and wondering "can I use coconut oil for that?" the answer is probably yes.
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