For those of you who aren’t already au fait with the sheer joys of coconut oil, fret not. I’m here to break down some of its many magical uses and why exactly it’s so effing great. Whether mixed with baking soda and arrowroot and swiped under your arms as deodorant, used to silkify your pet or used in your kitchen, coconut oil seems pretty close to a miracle substance and is surprisingly cheap to procure.
Until recently, coconut oil was deemed to be quite the nutritional scoundrel, with vegetable oil and (shudder) margarine being the so-called ‘healthy choice’ for a robust ticker. Various ad campaigns against topical oils aimed to convince the consumers that palm and coconut oils would clog arteries due to chloestrol-raising saturated fats – when, in fact, the partially hydrogenated replacements were the real offenders. Luckily, this raging hyperbole has been dispensed and now coconut oil is everywhere.
Why not use to as car polish? Guitar string lubricant? Or perhaps as a casual, tropical scented stress reliever? Coconut oil possesses an unusually high percentage of lauric acid (more than 50%), which is both anti-viral (ergo, a natural treatment for warts, acne and boils) and found in breast milk. It’s whopping content of vitamin E is the dogs for keeping our skin in prime condition and it’s antibacterial properties are said to help in preventing UTI’s and yeast infections. Also, it’s small molecular structure allows for deep penetration into your hair follicles for moisturizing and it increases cell turnover rates, making it an ideal candidate for rejuvenating the skin.
So how can we employ it in our quotidian skin care regimes? Although slathering our visages with a thick oil may seem like a crazy thing do, cleansing with coconut oil is ideal for sensitive skin. Simply melt in a small amount of oil and wipe off with a damp, warm washcloth. It will totally obliterate even the most stubborn of mascara and eye liner and leave your skin feeling soft and smooth, not greasy. RMS Beauty offer a raw, unrefined coconut cream that can be used as a cleanser, moisturizer or healing balm. Due to it’s unheated, untreated nature, the lauric acid content hasn’t been diminished making it te super potent and effective choice.
Coconut oil contains medium chain triglycerides, a type of fatty acid that absorb quickly and efficiently and help transport nutrients to the cells. It’s a natural sunscreen, high in antioxidants, prevents free radical activity (the primary casue of ageing) and lessens skin spots and other blemishes caused by aging/over-exposure to sunlight. Earth Tu Face’s coconut and cardamon body butter is a dream because it also doubles up as a tasty addition to healthy pancakes or stirfries…seriously. If you’re more Whole Foods inclined, buy a big jar and use it wherever. There are two different types: refined and unrefined. Refined is gross, devoid of tropical aroma and is normally bleached. Unrefined is considered ‘virgin’ and is made from fresh coconuts and the better brands will offer a raw and organic product.
Tiana Extra Virgin Coconut Oil is organic, cold pressed and raw and is my #1 all rounder product and Biona’s variety is also an excellent contender and somewhat smoother than the former. Both melt immediately into a fast absorbing fluid, which your skin soaks up sans residue and, contrary to my fears, without a lingering Bounty bar smell. Personally, I’m loving this deeply moisturized, au natural, salt of the earth type glow that a decent coco oil will proffer.
Whichever type strikes your fancy, just apply liberally, be silky and smell like a sunny, Tahitian day…