The wonders of coconut oil have been widely recognized in our part of the world for centuries. And now, in the wake of big names like Priyanka Chopra and Jennifer Aniston claiming the ingredient as their holy grails, even the West is beginning to sit up and take notice of it.
From scientists and dermatologists to lovers of natural skin and haircare, everyone agrees coconut oil is an indispensable beauty tool. Its versatility is one of the most admirable aspects of coconut oil, suitable as it is for a variety of purposes.
But its benefits are probably most potent in skin and hair. Not only is it a powerful natural moisturizer, but it also has protective, antibacterial abilities too, thanks to the presence of lauric acid in it. And by dint of its vitamin E content, coconut oil can even slow down ageing. If you’re an enthusiast of DIY (do it yourself) skincare and haircare, there are a number of coconut oil concoctions you can whip up all on your own, for both hair and skin.
If you have coconut oil at home, you can use it to deep condition your hair to give it an unmatched lustre. Apply it thoroughly to each strand of your hair 30 minutes before you shower, then shampoo it off. Alternatively, you can also choose to leave the coconut oil in your hair overnight -- just remember to detangle your hair before you start oiling it.
If you want a mini spa treatment right at home, why not try a coconut oil and aloe vera hair mask? All you have to do is mix together some coconut oil and aloe vera gel into a light, smooth paste, and voila, you have your mask. Your hair will be shiny, flowing and smooth with regular application of this.
But don’t just save the coconut oil for your hair; your skin deserves some love too. Did you know that combining coconut oil with coffee grounds can help you produce an excellent exfoliator? While the coconut oil hydrates your skin, the coffee grounds gently remove dead skin cells and boost blood circulation. You can also add some brown sugar along with a little bit of vanilla essence for an irresistibly delicious aroma.
Cleansing follows exfoliation. Coconut oil can even be used to make your own cleanser! Combine coconut oil and baking soda, then mix in lavender, tea tree and lemon essential oils. After it's mixed well, you can use this concoction just like any other cleanser. Another option is to make a blend of coconut and olive oil in order to make a soap, although this process is a lot more time-consuming.
After you cleanse, don’t forget to moisturize! Whisk together some coconut oil, honey, shea butter and almond oil for the beginnings of your very own body butter. Heat the mixture, then let it solidify before whisking again. Use it whenever you want, and as much as you want!
If you struggle with discolouration, an uneven complexion, or ageing skin, then you can make a face mask using coconut oil and turmeric, which you should use after you cleanse your face. This mask keeps your skin from drying out and keeps acne at bay while helping preserve the elasticity of your skin.
You will no doubt want to celebrate your luscious new skin by adorning yourself with makeup. But don’t forget to take that makeup off when you come home. Don’t worry, because coconut oil can help with that too! Just gently massage it on your face to get the makeup out. This is an especially recommended tip for those with dry skin.
With its generous helping of fatty acids, antioxidants, and antibacterial properties along with its automatically moisturizing capabilities, coconut oil should be a natural addition to any beauty arsenal. Don’t be scared to try these concoctions at home. Good luck and we wish you glowing skin and shiny hair for days!
Shehrin Hossain is a freelance writer