If I close my eyes and think about my childhood, it’d take me less than a minute to spot a blue jar of coconut oil in my bathroom. Growing up in India, coconut oil was an important part of our skin and hair regime. Both my sister and I owe waist-long hair and problem-free skin to coconut oil.
So what makes coconut oil good to use? Not only is it antibacterial and antifungal in nature but its unique composition makes it a good oil to eat, and apply. Coconut oil also has lauric acid, a fatty acid that is considered good for skin and also has a soothing fragrance. Coconut oil also has oleic acid, a monounsaturated Omega-9 fatty acid, which is what makes olive oil amazing too. There are many variations to the type of organic oil which is usually determined by the way it's extracted but it's best to use organic oil for beauty benefits (refined variety is better for cooking amongst other purposes). Since its uses are plenty, we thought it’s best to list a few ways you can make the most of it.
COCO FIXES FOR YOUR HAIR
1. Use It for a Scalp MassageExperts agree that scalp massage helps boost blood circulation which in turn can promote hair fall. Take a few drops of coconut oil onto the tips of your fingers. Place your thumbs firmly on your forehead and move your fingers onto your scalp. Use this technique and give yourself a relaxing (and useful) scalp massage.
2. Hydrate and Deep Condition Your Strands
Growing up, there weren’t too many serums till I started college. So we made the best of coconut oil: swipe a hand of coconut oil through the length (like we did) before braiding your hair or styling it into a bun. To deep condition your hair, start with taking about 1-1/2 tablespoons of coconut oil in a bowl. It should go liquid upon the touch of your palms (you can also heat it up). Divide your hair into 4-6 sections and coat each section with coconut oil (root to tips). Use a wide tooth comb through the strands and then clip your hair. Cover it with a hot towel for about 60 minutes. Shampoo as usual.
TIP: Stop your hair from graying. Combine coconut oil with castor oil and a handful of curry leaves together in a saucepan. Let the concoction to a simmer in a double-boiler. Let it cool down and strain the mix. Store in a spray bottle and apply it religiously.
COCO FIXES FOR YOUR SKIN
3. For Feather-Soft SkinAs much as I love my creams and lotions, oils are a different league altogether. Growing up, I was taught one simple thing that keeps your skin soft and moisturized the whole day. Apply and massage coconut oil onto your body before you take a shower. The ingredients help lock in moisture. Plus, if you have any cuts or infections brewing in any corner, the miracle oil will take care of it. Trust me, you won’t feel the need to slather on any lotion post shower.
4. To Shave Your LegsI was waxing till I was 25. A happy accident made me realize that coconut oil is THE BEST shaving agent they’ll ever be. The shave is as good as it is with shaving foam—minus the foamy mess. Oh, and your legs are going to feel so soft, you’re going to love it! If I am not able to use it as a shaving agent, I use it after my shave just so any cuts don’t lead to infections!
5. To Erase Sun Spots and MarksSince it a cooling effect, coconut oil is a great fix to soothe sunburns and lighten sun spots you may have been through over the years. It also helps fade burn marks. I had a burn mark on my thigh (courtesy a coffee spill) and applying coconut oil took care of it (after the burn had healed of course). Of course, this is gradual and consistency is key when it comes to using coconut oil.
6. As a Makeup RemoverSelf-explanatory. Dab some coconut oil on a cotton ball, pad, or q-tip, and gently remove even the toughest makeup. This will simultaneously moisturize the delicate skin around your eyes!
7. It Doubles Up as a Great Scrub and Soap Agent
Thanks to all the good acids we discussed earlier, coconut oil is a safe base to make soaps and even whip up a great scrub. In fact, you can make your own. Combine ½ cup coconut oil (preferably organic) with 1 cup brown sugar (grated) over low heat. Let it cool down and add your favorite essential oil. Use it once a week on your face and body for gentle exfoliation.