When did coconut oil become the latest trendy health product to buy in bulk? Maxabella finds out why coconut oil is so popular and exactly what people are doing with it.
It’s safe to say that coconut oil is the latest ‘must have’ product for home, health and beauty. It’s in hair products, it’s in face cream and people are even glugging it down by the cupful as a morning pick-me-up.
Hang on a minute … wasn’t it just a couple of years ago that coconut oil was the junk food villain that made cholesterol levels hit the roof? Isn’t it 90 percent loaded with dreaded saturated fat? Why the sudden change from baddie to good guy?
It all started with the paleo people. Not as far back as the real paleolithic people, you understand, but rather a few years on from the days of woolly mammoths and cave-dwelling, when various friends, neighbours and colleagues elected to bring out their inner cavemen and eat only what cavemen used to eat. Apparently that includes coconut oil. (Incidentally, if you want to find out more about the paleo way of life, click here.) As the paleo diet grew in popularity – and certainly in media attention – so did the reputation of coconut oil as a medium chain fatty acid (MCFA) oil with potential health and wellbeing benefits including:
- increased metabolism and weight loss
- lower cholesterol levels
- improved immune system
- improved tissue healing and repair
- blood glucose level stabiliser
- improved digestion and nutrient absorption
- improved skin function (especially for psoriasis and eczema sufferers)
- a reduction in epileptic seizures
- protection against kidney disease
Of course, as with any health claim of a single ‘miracle food’, the jury is still out on the credibility of coconut oil. Many swear by it and the internet is flooded with good news stories, but the medical and research boffins are quick to point out that claims are anecdotal only and further research is needed to establish its benefits.
Still, it all sounds very promising, doesn’t it? Worth a try? If you decide to get into coconut oil, here are 21 weird and wonderful ways to give it a go.
1. Oil pulling
Not quite the strangest use for coconut oil, but certainly up there, oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic practice that involves swishing coconut oil around in your mouth for about 20 minutes a day. Apparently the oil absorbs toxins held in the salivary glands, turning it viscous and white in the mouth. Sound yummy? Among loads of other things, oil pulling is said to detoxify your body, whiten teeth, prevent insomnia, reduce arthritis inflammation and reduce the severity of migraines. Surely worth a try …
2. Remove make up
Dab a little coconut oil onto a cotton pad and wipe off make up effortlessly. It even works on waterproof mascara and red lipstick. Rinse your face with warm water after using the oil.
3. Condition your hair
Use coconut oil as a leave-in mask prior to washing your hair and notice the difference. Hair will be softer, shinier and more manageable. Apply about a tablespoon of oil and massage well into the hair and scalp. Leave to work for at least 10 minutes (longer if you can), before washing as normal.
4. Condition your skin
Use the coconut oil as a mask for your face and body too. Apply a small amount and massage into the skin, focusing on needy areas like knees, elbows and the back of your hands and neck. Leave for at least 10 minutes before washing with your regular cleanser.
5. Tame the frizz
Slick a little coconut oil on flyaway ends and frizzy curls. The oil tames the frizz and adds a nice shine.
6. Scrub yourself nice
Combine a tablespoon of coconut oil with a tablespoon of demerara sugar (the nice, grainy stuff) and rub, rub, rub it into your skin. It exfoliates and moisturises simultaneously, leaving skin feeling blissfully smooth. You can also try adding it to salt for extra scrub-power on feet.
7. Scrub your teeth clean
Add coconut oil to bicarbonate of soda to make a thick paste. Scoop some up with your toothbrush and shine those teeth back to white.
8. Smell fresh
Rub coconut oil into your armpits or feet as a natural deodorant. You can also mix it with arrowroot, shea butter and essential oils for added pong-busting power. Find out how to do it at Wellness Mama.
9. Soften your cuticles
I’m quite fascinated by our society’s pressing need to soften cuticles, but if softening is your goal, coconut oil is your striker. Rubbing coconut oil into those pesky cuticles twice a day does the trick.
10. Get a smooth shave
Use a light basting of coconut oil as a shaving aid and not only will you achieve smooth legs, but you’ll also save some cash as the coconut oil helps your razor last longer.
11. Soothe sunburn
After the initial heat of sunburn has abated, a gentle stroke of coconut oil will assist the skin to heal faster and help prevent peeling.
12. Soothe nappy rash
Coconut oil gently relieves nappy rash. Stroke it over the rash and wrap as usual. Use at each nappy change as a preventative, but remember to do a small patch test first to check that it’s suitable for your baby.
13. Soften cradle cap
After doing a patch test to ensure your baby tolerates coconut oil (most do), massage a generous amount of coconut oil into the head, leave for a few minutes and rinse away.