I tried every use for coconut oil so you don’t have to.
Remember: everyone reacts differently to products, so make sure it’s right for you.
Coconut oil is being hailed by beauty gurus everywhere for its magical beautifying properties. Where there’s a problem, there’s a solution likely involving coconut oil. Here’s some of the most common uses for coconut oil, tried and tested by yours truly.
1. Hair mask
I’ve been using coconut oil as a hair mask for about four years now, and olive oil for two years prior. Basically you heat the coconut oil until it’s liquid but not hot, and rub through the ends of your hair before washing. The recommended time to leave it in varies, some say 20 minutes and some say overnight but around two or three hours is generally thorough enough. As someone with thick, dry curly hair which suffers straightening on the daily, coconut oil has been a saviour due to its intense hydrating and softening properties. Coconut oil also contains protein which strengthens and repairs damaged hair. Just be careful—sometimes in order to wash out the oil, you use so much shampoo your hair can actually end up dryer! Use small amounts of a clarifying shampoo to cleanse out the oil and always follow with conditioner.
2. Hair growth
In the same vein as a hair mask, the inversion method is a way of using coconut oil to rapidly promote hair growth wherever you apply it. It’s recommended you only practise this twice a week for three weeks every six months, otherwise your body will become immune to it. Start with dry hair, and apply liquid coconut oil liberally through your scalp and ends, then (standing over a shower or bath tub) flip your head upside down and give yourself a scalp massage for four minutes exactly—no more, no less. After you’ve done this, feel free to let the coconut oil sit in your hair for a while just to soften it up before washing. I know some people find the oil a little slimy to the touch, but once my hair is washed and dried, it’s noticeably about an inch longer each time. Make sure you wash your hair as many times is necessary to get it out or use a clarifying shampoo, you don’t want to be walking around with oily hair. You can also rub coconut oil onto eyebrows or comb through eyelashes at night for a similar effect.
3. Shaving cream
Because coconut oil is hydrating and mildly antibacterial, it makes for an amazing shaving cream. Never again have razor burn, shaving rash or nick yourself! Just apply the liquid oil to wet skin wherever you’re planning on shaving and go for it. It will be the smoothest, gentlest shave of your life. Just make sure to clean your razor extra thoroughly—the oil makes the hair stick to the blades a little more than usual.
It’s no shock that natural oils do a great job of hydrating and restoring moisture to your skin, so using coconut oil as a moisturiser isn’t really a ground-breaking idea. Be aware that you’re applying straight oil onto your skin, so it will feel greasy and maybe even a little gross while you wait for your skin to absorb it. For this reason, I recommend only doing this right before you go to sleep and only on your arms, legs and body—this is not a facial moisturiser! The skin on your face is so much more sensitive than the skin on your body, and while coconut oil as an ingredient will do wonders for people with dry skin on their face, applying it directly can clog pores and actually cause you to break out in pimples!
5. Lip balm
This one’s fairly simple; if you have dry or chapped lips then you can just rub a small amount of coconut oil onto your lips and it’ll soften them right up, in theory. I’ve tried this a few times and honestly? I see no difference. The oil sinks into my lips pretty quickly which is nice, but it doesn’t do much to hydrate them. Instead, I recommend exfoliating your lips
either with a lip scrub or by brushing them with a toothbrush, and following with an actual manufactured lip balm. In this instance, natural doesn’t win out!
6. Oil pulling
Heads up, this one may seem a little gross. Oil pulling involves swishing oil around your mouth for 20 minutes in order to draw out toxins and impurities from your system. It’s not a new practice by any means, and it has amazing detoxifying properties but the biggest reason people do it is to whiten their teeth. It’s best done right after you wake up, before you ingest any food or water. Technically you can use any oil, but coconut oil has antibiotic properties which makes it a favourite—I like to heat the coconut oil until it’s liquid which makes the experience more pleasant. Most sources recommend using a tablespoon of liquid, however your mouth will salivate and produce more liquid so starting out with a teaspoon is a good idea. Just make sure you don’t swallow any of the liquid—it will be drawing impurities out of your mouth and teeth and swallowing it will just take those germs and bacteria and put them in your stomach. Overall, I quite like oil pulling because it vaguely flavours my mouth like coconut, it makes my teeth whiter each time I do it, and gently moving the liquid around can be quite relaxing. Just don’t spit it into your sink as it will clog your pipes, spit into a bin
7. Bulletproof Coffee
Many daring individuals are taking their morning cup of joe with an interesting new twist: 2 tablepsoons of grass-fed butter and two tablespoons of coconut oil per glass of black coffee. Although the original recipe calls for the specific brand of Bulletproof Coffee beans, like many others, I substituted in my own regular black coffee. The idea is that the medium-chain-fatty-acids in coconut oil with fat burning, while the butter provides Omega-3 and Omega-6. The whole combination supposedly stops the post-caffeine crash which leads to longer endurance and more energy, which sounds like a win-win. Even Harry Styles is said to be a fan! When I tried it, I found that the oil separated from the water in the coffee (go figure), which left me drinking little pockets of straight oil which tasted alright, but did make me gag a little. I didn’t notice any difference in my energy or endurance throughout the day, so I was a little annoyed I’d consumed so many calories (200-300) and exceeded the recommended daily fat intake for little to no pay-off. Many are divided as to whether or not this is a good idea, so make sure to do your research!
Feature image via Instagram. Credit: @polynesiancoconutoil