Coconut oil is quite popular these days thanks to alternative health and wellness trends. After reading a few articles about the wonders of coconut oil, I grabbed a jar and started experimenting.
I won’t discuss the practice of ingesting coconut oil because research has yet to substantiate the testimonial claims made by many about its benefits. I’m not saying the ingestion of coconut oil is bad or that I haven’t tried it. I am saying you should research the practice, and talk to your doctor before trying alternative therapies. Coconut oil has been attributed to curing everything from infections to brain disorders. Those are some lofty claims, so be sure to use good judgment. Keep expectations reasonable.
I will tell you about the topical uses I’ve tried. The first time I heard about using coconut oil — for everything from shaving to oil pulling — I was unsure. But I’m pretty open to trying natural alternatives to chemically laden products. So I decided to explore all that coconut oil can do.
Face Wash – I love coconut oil as a facial cleanser. Just warm a small amount in your palms and apply it to your face, including makeup-filled eyes. Gently wipe your face clean with a warm cloth, and you’re done. It sounds strange to wash with oil, but it’s the best thing I’ve ever done for my face. It feels smooth and soft, and once I tried it, I never turned back to traditional face cleansers.
Moisturizer – Coconut oil gets another hit as a moisturizer. Right after I cleanse with coconut oil, I apply an even smaller amount as a leave-in moisturizer. Just be careful not to get the oil in your hair, or you’ll have quite a greasy mess.
I also use coconut oil as an all-over moisturizer, and I love it. I don’t know how much it’s improved my skin’s elasticity, but I don’t think it’s going to hurt anything. It smells nice, too.
Oil Pulling – I am a fan of oil pulling. I first swished with coconut oil. But when I read that sesame oil is three times more effective at killing bacteria, I switched. I’d recommend trying the practice for yourself whether you use coconut or sesame oil. It feels all wrong the first time you try it, but hang in there. You’ll notice how much cleaner your mouth feels in only a few days.
Now, I’m not sure I’m buying all the claims of oil pulling. Detoxification seems like a stretch to me. But there’s no denying the benefit to oral health based upon my experience. FYI – spit coconut oil in the trash instead of down the drain to prevent a plumbing catastrophe.
Lip Gloss – You can use coconut oil for lip gloss, and there’s an easy recipe for making your own tinted lipstick/gloss that’s worth trying. All you need is coconut oil and your favorite crayola crayon colors. I’ve even used the same recipe as an eye shadow and blush.
Relief for Bites/Stings – When I was stung by fire ants, I tried to make it through the itch and sting by applying coconut oil alone. It didn’t work. Truth be told, nothing did except for a baking soda and water paste, so that may not be entirely fair. Coconut oil might work to ease the irritation caused from less severe insect bites, but I don’t generally treat those at all.
Healing Minor Cuts/Scrapes – I tried dabbing a bit onto a bandage to help heal cuts and scrapes faster. I ended up using an antibacterial cream in the end. This one was kind of a miss, but I’m sure no damage was done.
Shaving – I didn’t care for coconut oil as a shaving barrier. On top of that, you’ve got to be careful about how much coconut oil washes down the drain because it can clog pipes. I decided to pass.
Conditioner – I couldn’t get behind coconut oil as a conditioner because I couldn’t find the right balance. Too much, and you look like an extra from the movie Grease. And again, you’ve got to be careful not to clog your drains, so this one’s a pass for me, too.
Coconut oil has hundreds more uses, but these are the ones I can and can’t get behind. Feel free to try your own coconut oil experiment, but don’t fall for everything you read online. If it sounds too good to be true? Well, you know what they say.
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