When people (well, women anyway) hear I'm a beauty editor, their eyes light up and they want to know what advice I have specifically for them. Many times they ask what my biggest beauty secret is. I have a few, I tell them, but perhaps my best secret is extra virgin coconut oil.
It's the perfect beauty product because it's organic (no more putting sketchy ingredients on your skin that could get absorbed into your bloodstream, causing who-knows-what to happen to you a few years down the line), it's super moisturizing, it can used for a variety of purposes and it smells great.
You can get coconut oil in most grocery stores and any health food store. Look for "extra virgin" on the label. You want the pure stuff. Here are 5 amazing things you can do with it. And trust me, one jar will last a long time.
Use it as a Body MoisturizerStore-bought moisturizers tend to contain a lot of water. When it goes on, you'll feel moisturized, but as soon as the water evaporates, your skin feels parched again. Not with natural oils. My all-time favorite use for coconut oil is as a moisturizer for dry, parched skin. I use it in the winter, when my skin gets dried out from furnace heat and I use it in the summer when my skin gets dried out from spending a lot of time in the ocean and basking in the sun. Coconut oil tends to solidify below 75 degrees and it liquifies above it. In winter, I like to keep a couple tablespoons of coconut oil in a screw-on container in my purse. I dab a bit on my hands when they get dry. It's also an amazing massage oil. Put your partner on a towel on the bed (again, coconut oil can be MESSY) and massage away. It smells delicious and will feel great on him, too.
Exfoliate Your Face With ItAfter I turned 35, my skin turned dry and flaky which means I have to exfoliate weekly and moisturize daily. I have pricey moisturizers and a $60 facial scrub in my bathroom cabinet that I love. But lately I find I rarely touch these products because coconut oil and a washcloth works just as well to exfoliate and moisturize.
It's so much more convenient and much less expensive.
Here's how I use coconut oil as an exfoliator: I take a dime-sized amount of coconut oil and rub it into my palms and then over my face. I then wet a washcloth and scrub my face in a circular motion starting at my forehead and working clockwise around my face.
I'm left with baby soft, fully moisturized skin. No questionable man-made ingredients soak into my skin and I've spent pennies for amazing skin, instead of dollars.
You can make facial scrubs using coconut oil and sugar that rival store-bought scrubs. Try my recipe for Brown Sugar & Coconut Oil Scrub for the Face.
Coconut Oil is a Great Hair ConditionerI have fine hair that tends to get oily quickly so I keep my jar of coconut oil far away from my hair. But for women with dry, coarse hair, coconut oil can be an inexpensive, natural way to condition your hair. Women in Southeast Asia and India have used coconut oil for years. It's that brilliant. Simply rub a dime-sized amount (a little goes a long way with this stuff) into your hands and then palm the coconut oil onto your dry ends. You can run your palms down your hair to tame frizzy flyaways as well.
Coconut milk is also great for hair. Check out my recipe for a Coconut Milk Mask for the Hair
Use Coconut Oil to Treat Acne and Heal WoundsI had no idea that coconut oil can treat acne until I did research for this article. According to dermatologist Jeannette Graf in Allure Magazine, coconut oil contains lauric acid which naturally fights the bacteria that causes acne. Graf says it "has potential" for treating acne, which says to me it's not exactly proven. I figure if you have acne it wouldn't hurt to try it.
Graf says coconut oil also contains anti-inflammatory fatty acids which is great for wound healing. So if you have nicks and scrapes on your legs, it's just one more reason to moisturize with coconut oil.
Use it as a Makeup RemoverFor years I used Vaseline as an eye makeup remover. Turns out it's not such a great idea to use Vaseline near the eye. Still, I never had any problems and still use Vaseline in a pinch.
Coconut oil, however, is a great eye makeup remover. It even removes waterproof mascara. Simply apply a bit to a cotton ball or tissue paper and press on your eyelid. Wipe away the makeup once the oil soaks in. Wipe up excess oil with a fresh tissue.
Use it as a Foundation PrimerIf you use a foundation or tinted moisturizer you may notice how much better it goes on when you've applied a primer beforehand or moisturizer. Coconut oil works as the perfect primer for foundation. Simply put a pea-sized amount on face, let it soak in and then apply your tinted moisturizer or foundation. You'll notice how much smoother your makeup goes on.
Use it to Fight DandruffCoconut oil can help keep dandruff at bay. Simply massage coconut oil into scalp, shampoo, then rinse. Keep this up until the dandruff clears up. My instinct says this will cause really greasy hair, but some people swear by coconut oil. I suggest avoiding this if you have oily hair and trying something else. It might be great for people with dry hair.
Check out my article, Coconut Oil to Fight Dandruff
Coconut Oil as a Body ScrubI like to exfoliate my body with special exfoliating gloves that I wear in the shower. You can get them in any drugstore or health food store. They work like magic to get rid of the dead skin that tends to collect year-round. I'm always left with soft and supple skin. They work even better when used with a body scrub.
You can buy a body scrub from a store or make your own using coconut oil and sugar or salt. I prefer sugar because I find it is easier on the skin that salt which can tear.
To make your own body scrub, use 1 part coconut oil to 2 parts brown sugar or table salt. Put the coconut oil in a pot on low heat. Once it's warmed, pour in the brown sugar or table salt into the pot, stirring it in. I like to add a few drops of vanilla extract so it smells really yummy. You don't want all the sugar or salt to melt or you'll lose the exfoliating benefits, so take your mixture off the heat after a couple minutes of stirring.
Get more recipes in How to Make a Body Scrub Using Coconut Oil
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