The Very Many Benefits of Coconut Oil - Outside of Facial Skincare!
As temperatures rise and summer swells, coconut water is undoubtedly one of the most popular drink options for its sweet, refreshing taste. However, did you know that this refreshing, buoyant fruit can also be transformed into an oil that has numerous health and beauty benefits? Now, we've talked about how we don't love coconut oil as a facial moisturizer or facial oil due to its high comedogenicity - but that doesn't mean aren't other incredible uses for it! Here, we break down the basics of this amazing, versatile oil to demonstrate why it is a must-have part of your daily routine.
For Conditioning and Strengthening Your Hair
Next time you take a shower, bring your coconut oil with you! Coconut oil has a variety of beneficial properties for your hair, and its application is so simple that you’ll wonder why you haven’t tried it out sooner. Here are three ways you can use coconut oil to moisturize, condition, and strengthen your hair.
As a rinse-off conditioner: To use coconut oil as a rinse-off conditioner, first warm up some coconut oil to melt it into liquid form. Then, apply a teaspoon or two throughout your hair—but avoid the scalp area to prevent clogging. Comb through your hair to distribute the oil evenly and coat all the strands. Leave it in for at least 15 minutes, or even overnight for deeper conditioning. Shampoo off with warm water. Do note that you may have to shampoo your hair repeatedly to get all the oil out.
As a leave-in conditioner: Coconut oil can also double as a leave-in conditioner! To use, apply a small amount to your hair after your regular conditioner. It will act as an occlusive and help lock the conditioner into your hair, retaining moisture for silky smooth locks. You can also use it to tame baby hairs and flyaways for a more sleek and put-together look.
As a protectant against chlorine: If you’re an avid swimmer, you’re definitely no stranger to rough, chlorine-damaged hair. To avoid this the next time you head to the pool, use coconut oil as a protectant! To use, apply it before swimming to create a barrier between your hair and the harsh water.
For Cleansing and Highlighting Your Skin
If you are a fan of cleansing oils, balms, or highlighters, you will be pleased to find out that you can use coconut oil in their place. Here are a few different ways you can use coconut oil to enhance, cleanse, and beautify your skin.
As a makeup-removing cleanser: You can use coconut oil as a first cleanser in the double-cleansing method to remove makeup and sunscreen. A powerful cleanser, it removes even the most stubborn makeup—including waterproof mascara and eyeliner—with ease. Before following up with a second cleanser, we suggest using a washcloth after application to remove the oil in order to prevent clogging. A word of caution: coconut oil is comedogenic, which means that it clogs pores, so those with acne-prone skin should exercise care when applying it to the face.
For Moisturizing and Exfoliating Your Body
Because coconut oil has a lightweight consistency, it sinks into the skin quickly, allowing it to effectively moisturize and refresh the body. Incorporate coconut oil into your general skincare routine to reap its moisturizing, exfoliating, and softening benefits.
As a moisturizer: Used in combination with lighter ingredients, coconut oil makes an excellent moisturizer. We recommend finding a moisturizer that uses coconut oil alongside other soothing elements, like grapeseed oil and lavender oil for calming benefits, or peppermint oil for energizing benefits. You can also create a DIY moisturizer by combining several essential oils in this way. To use, massage your chosen moisturizer into your skin after showering, concentrating on the elbows, feet, and hands. Coconut oil will provide relief for hard and cracked elbows and feet, helping to soften and return them to a healthy state.
As an exfoliating DIY scrub: You can also use coconut oil to whip up a simple, yet powerful DIY body scrub. Simply add salt or sugar and mix to your desired consistency, and there you have it—an instant, affordable, and effective exfoliant. Gently rub the mixture against your body or lips to slough away dead skin cells. When applied to the lips, you can follow up this treatment with a light layer of coconut oil to seal in the moisture.
As a shaving cream: If you didn’t think all of these applications were enough, you can even use coconut oil as a shaving cream! To use, apply a layer of coconut oil to the skin you’d like to shave. The oil will moisturize your skin, enabling the razor to glide over your legs effortlessly. Fearful of the occasional razor cut? With coconut oil, you don’t have to be! Because the oil lubricates the razor, the chances of any accidental nicks and cuts are reduced. You won’t have to worry about applying moisturizer post-shave, either, because your legs will already be well-moisturized.
For Buffing Up Your Oral Health
Coconut oil can also provide a host of benefits for your oral health, as it is one of the most commonly used oils in the ancient Ayurvedic practice of oil pulling. It is favored over other vegetable oils for its pleasant taste and lauric acid content, which helps whiten teeth. In a nutshell, oil pulling helps to detoxify the body, promoting better oral health, fresher breath, and general wellness. If you would like to learn more about oil pulling, we have a variety of resources on our blog, including here and here. UMA also recently released our own Pure Detox Oil Pulling Treatment that you can use as an effective and simple introduction to oil pulling!
How to oil pull: Before brushing your teeth in the morning, gently swish 1-2 tablespoons of oil in your mouth for 10-20 minutes. You can continue with your daily routine as you do this, whether you’re taking a shower or preparing breakfast. Make sure the oil comes into contact with all areas of the gums and the sides of the cheeks. When you’re finished, spit the oil into a trash can, rinse your mouth, and brush your teeth as you normally would. Use a tongue scraper after brushing your teeth to detoxify your mouth even further.
Pro Tip: Since coconut oil is solid at room temperature, it is ideal to melt it beforehand for an easier application. Your first instinct is probably to head to the microwave, but don’t! Avoid microwaving or heating your coconut oil directly because this can potentially deplete its nutrients. Instead, use the “double boil” method. Fill a bowl with hot water, then sit the jar of oil into the bowl. It will soon turn from a white solid into a clear, transparent liquid.
Have you been convinced to head out and grab a jar of coconut oil yet? Before you do, here’s one last tip: you do not need to buy an expensive coconut oil that is marketed for skin or hair. The coconut oil that you find in the food aisles of the grocery store will work just as well, if not better! Just make sure to pick a cold-pressed, unrefined coconut oil to reap the maximum benefits.