The taste and smell inevitably make me think of the sea and vacation. Coconut ice cream, coconut scented sunscreen, coconut chunks buried in ice water waiting for you at the bar – the ideal fresh, quick snack – and also, my mother’s favorite: coconut shampoo. As a Proustian petite madeleine moment, coconut awakens my special senses, sweet memories and relaxation. That’s why there is never a shortage in my kitchen, and why, when I choose a dessert after my meal, I most often go for a delicious coconut treat.
What I have ignored all this time about coconuts, specifically about coconut oil, are all the benefits in health and beauty, not to mention the immense and diverse ways to use this miracle oil. In many countries it is one of the most used ingredients in the kitchen, and here in Italy is super easy to find a bottle of coconut oil on a vanity table or in a beauty case. And after I am done explaining the many ways to enjoy the benefits of coconut oil, you will understand why it is a no-brainer.
I’ll begin with a brief list of health advantages from coconut oil. Perhaps the most notable is that coconut oil is a great ally in the battle against fat (which is a bit unexpected because it’s quite rich in lipids, usual an enemy of weight loss). Coconut oil contains a chain of medium triglycerides that help to stimulate the metabolism, and therefore burn more calories. A study found that the consumption of three spoons of coconut oil a day for 12 weeks creates a reduction of abdominal fat. Also beneficial for your heart, coconut oil can help reduce cardiovascular risks by reducing your cholesterol levels.
The second advantage – less sexy but also important – is coconut oils antimicrobial properties. The merit of lauric acid (it makes up about 50% of the fatty acids of the oil) makes it ideal for fighting yeasts, fungus and candida. Fantastic, right?
If I still have not convinced you to go out and buy a bottle, here are some other reasons to implement this ingredient into your beauty routine.
As Sun Protection
Ok, don’t make the mistake of substituting your sunscreen entirely with coconut oil, but do bring it along with you to the beach and apply it to your hair. It is useful in reducing sun damage to your strands, blocking about 20% of ultraviolet rays.
As Moisturizing Cream
Thanks to the presence of vitamin A, C and E, coconut oil can be used as a hydrating face cream. Also, some studies have shown improvement in the moisture and lipid content of users skin. The same goes for your body. Slather on a nice spoonful, but be sure to let your skin fully absorb the oil before getting dressed.
As Hair Removal Cream
Remember the lauric acid I was telling you about earlier? Thanks to this element, the oil is an antiseptic, even for cuts. Apply a thin layer on the zone of hair removal.
What a multitasking product! Maybe you did not know this one, but rinsing your mouth with coconut oil can help protect your gums and prevent bad breath. The concept, also called Oil Pulling, has become popular in the last few years for its whitening and antibacterial effect.
As Makeup Remover
An A+ habit that we are definitely all getting an F in. Dab a cotton pad with coconut oil and pass it over your skin. Remove in a delicate manner, nourishing your skin at the same time. The oil can be used can used around your eyes, unlike many facial products.
As a Scrub
Mix a spoonful of cane sugar with coconut oil and massage it on your whole body for an amazing exfoliant!
Here is my recipe:
1 glass of cane sugar
½ glass of coconut oil
4 tablespoons of kitchen fine salt (or even pink salt)
3 tablespoons of almond oil
1 tablespoon of pure Vitamin E oil
2 drops of lavender or rose essential oil
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl. Transfer the contents into a clean and sterile glass bottle. It is recommended to use the scrub before a shower.
For Your Hair
There are numerous benefits to applying coconut oil to your strands. Other than sun protection, it can also be used as a pre-shampoo treatment; just apply a little on your dry hair and leave it to rest for about an hour before your normal wash for an extra brightening effect. Mix it with three tablespoons of honey and two egg yolks to transform it into an awesome mask. Apply it to the humid ends and let it work for a half hour before you shampoo your hair. Finally, in small doses, it can be used to substitute brightening hair spray for curly hair.
As a Toothpaste Replacement
Mix together a tablespoon of coconut oil and baking soda to create a creamy paste, and conserve in a well-sealed jar. Don’t worry about the expiration date – the Vitamin E is a natural preservative.
If you’re less of a DIY-er and would like to try some skincare products with a coconut oil base, here are my suggestions:
Vegan and organic, this gentle face wash effectively diminishes dryness and dehydration with a coconut oil-infused formula that brings out the best in your skin.
Fake Bake Coconut Oil Exfoliating Wipes
A unique blend of coconut and palm oil moisturizes the skin as it cleans. It’s the perfect exfoliation for ultimate tanning experience.
Ultra nourishing, hydrating and 100% natural and bio, it can be used as a moisturizing cream, lip balm, makeup remover or treatment for your hair.