Coconut Oil is becoming ever more popular in both food and beauty applications, due to increased research into its benefits over more commonly used oils such as olive and sunflower. Vitamins and minerals including Choline, Vitamin E, Vitamin K, Iron, Stearic and Lauric Acid are all contained within Coconut Oil, which help to nourish the body both inside and out in a way unique to the substance. Available in both tubs and jars, Coconut Oil can be bought in most large supermarkets and health food shops – however, if you’re making a purchase look for the words ‘virgin’, ‘organic’ and ‘cold pressed’, rather than ‘pure’ or ‘100% natural’ to ensure you’re getting the best quality; non-virgin oil is refined through a process that removes most of its beneficial components. (As a quick guide, if your oil doesn’t smell or taste of coconut, then it has been refined and isn’t virgin.) While providing a sweet and nutty flavour to food, it also has a whole host of benefits for the body; take a look at the fun beauty uses and benefits of Coconut Oil below, for ideas on how to get the most from your virgin oil.
For the Skin: Coconut Oil is solid at room temperature, but melts when in contact with the skin. It therefore works as a great dryness-banishing body moisturiser that’s quickly absorbed and won’t leave skin feeling slippery. The Lauric, Capric and Caprylic Acids increase skin hydration by adding to already present natural lipids, rather than just forming a barrier film like many moisturising lotions. It can also be used in a larger quantity on the legs as a shaving oil that, when washed off, leaves skin soft and glowing. If you find your fake tan is clinging to your elbows and knees (or if they’re just feeling a little rough), make an olive and coconut mix to soften the areas and create a barrier – just heat a few tablespoons of Coconut Oil in the microwave, add in a third of the amount of olive oil and leave to cool before transferring to a bottle. The olive oil prevents the Coconut Oil from soaking quickly into the skin, while ensuring the mix stays liquid at room temperature so it’s easy to splash onto a cotton pad when needed.
For the Lips: A great alternative to your usual balm or petroleum jelly, the oil provides a glossy shine while helping to repair chapped lips. Because it’s solid, until it hits your skin it can be easily carried around in a little pot without causing a mess. Try crushing and mixing in an unused powder eyeshadow shade, or melting and mixing in the last of your favourite lipstick, for a sheer colourful splash to the lips.
For the Eyes: Coconut Oil is able to dissolve even waterproof mascara when massaged over the eyes and removed with a cotton pad. Not only is it a substitute to make up remover or cleansing oil, it also has the reported benefit of strengthening and lengthening the lashes when used regularly.
For the Hair: Used as a deep mask over the whole head, or just for 15 minutes on ends to help dryness, Coconut Oil can help to leave hair looking soft, shiny and healthy. A little goes a long way, and the oil is able to penetrate into hair fibres to reduce protein loss, strengthen the cuticle and help prevent breakage – especially when used as a pre-wash conditioning treatment. To use as an overnight mask, work the oil evenly from root to tip then wrapping hair in cling film and/or a towel to protect your pillow while you sleep. It’s easily washed out and won’t leave your hair feeling greasy either.
This oil has so many advantages and is definitely a must-have for the face and body. You can get a 250g tub for only £8.00 (with free delivery) from Feel Unique, so what have you got to lose? What other uses do you have for Coconut Oil?
Written by Kirsty Paterson