Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Coconut Oil: Benefits for Hair and Beauty

Hi everyone!

These days people are more aware of what products they are putting on their bodies. A lot of cosmetics have been linked to breast cancer among others, so many people are switching to organic, natural products. As a result, coconut oil has come to the fore front and has become the holy grail in this natural lifestyle, though it is not a new phenomenon at all, having been used in the US well before World War II.

There are literally hundreds apon hundreds of uses for coconut oil, to everything from cooking to adding in yoghurt and smoothies to putting on your dog! I personally prefer not to use it in food as I'm not sure would the taste be that great and also it is high in saturated fat, increasing your risk of heart disease, so this blogpost will just focus on its hair and beauty uses. As you might also expect, there are hundreds of hair and beauty uses too for this little gem! I'm obviously not going to talk about all of them as I don't want to bore you to death, and I didn't want to talk about things I haven't personally tried out myself.  I felt it wouldn't have been right to you guys, my readers, if I just paraphrased people's other work off the internet, saying it did this that and the other, you to try it out and it doing the opposite of what I was claiming it to do! My aim in writing this blog has and always will be about being really honest in what I did, so you'll know for sure about the product you're buying, the good and the bad bits. I got this big jar containing 500ml of coconut oil in my place of work, Home Bargains for £3.99 (about five euro), but I've seen it in Tesco and Holland and Barrett too.

Body Oil
My main reason for trying out this product was because of its moisturising properties I have heard so much about. I have mild to moderate eczema (a skin condition meaning my skin becomes itchy, red, dry and cracked, which fluctuates, hence why I have referred to it as mild to moderate, due to a number of factors, such as stress, detergents), plus sensitive skin, and contrary to what you might imagine, I have a difficult time finding moisturising products that suit! Many which tie the both together and soothe my skin are either ridiculously expensive or smell horrible! Simple is a good brand I have been using for years, but sometimes I want something that's slightly scented (being the girl I am).  Coconut oil is a natural product, inexpensive (see above) and smells like a beach holiday, meaning I'm always happy to slather it on everywhere after a shower or bath, and it doesn't irritate my eczema one bit! When I posted a photo of this on my Instagram HERE, I had a comment from one of my followers saying it helped calm down her psoriasis a lot, so if any of my readers have that, coconut oil is worth trying out!

Makeup Remover
Even the most waterproof mascara doesn't stand a chance against this guy! Apply some directly to your face to act as an oil cleanser or let it sit with a cotton pad, and voila! Your makeup will melt away. As it's a natural product, it suits even the most sensitive of skins. Garnier micellar water, you  have some stiff competition!

Lip Balm
In this winter weather, chapped lips are a common problem, which ain't great when you wear as many lipsticks as I do. I always used to use Vaseline as a lip balm, but I haven't used it in a while as I have read many articles claiming it to be linked to cancer. Coconut oil is a much more natural alternative, especially as it is semi-solid in room temperature. It makes lips super super soft - perfect coming up to Valentines' Day!

Under Eye cream
The skin under your eyes is delicate and thin, making it prone to fine lines, puffiness and wrinkles. Eye creams can be expensive (many retailing at £20 plus!), so save your pennies and invest in some coconut oil instead for a fraction of the cost. It's light enough for even the most delicate of under eye skin. Just rub a tiny amount between your fingers to warm it up before gently patting it underneath your eyes.

Frizz Tamer
I have naturally very curly hair so means whenever I try to straighten it in an attempt to look polished it ends up looking frizzy, ugh. The fact that my hair is dyed bleach blonde at the ends doesn't really do anything for the cause, to be fair! I've tried a lot of smoothing serums, from Tony and Guy to L'Oreál in the past, but this works just as well (and again, is a lot cheaper). Rub a pea-sized amount of coconut oil (any more and it will make your hair appear greasy), between your fingers to warm it up, then apply it to the bottom couple of inches of hair for all day frizz protection. If you're blessed with thicker, coarser hair, apply the oil in the same way but from mid-shaft to end for frizz control. The bonus with this is that it also leaves hair extra shiny and soft, plus smelling fabulous!

Shaving Cream
Whoever said shaving cream has to lather? Use this oil as a base to get a closer shave and a positive of this is that it results in smooth legs instead of legs that are dried out. Believe it or not, this actually works! It's less messy than using shaving foam, too. I didn't use it to shave my underarms as I feared it may be a little harsh on that sensitive area, but following shaving I did put a little under my arms to soothe it. I then lathered loads over my legs following shaving to lock in the moisture.

Dandruff Treatment
Dandruff and dry scalp often go hand in hand. Moisture is needed at the roots, which comes in the shape of this baby! Apply each night lightly to the roots, and massage in, which will also stimulate hair growth (bonus).

Leave in hair conditioner
Following shampooing, apply a tiny amount throughout your hair (breathe in that fabulous smell!). Then wrap your hair in a towel and allow it to dry naturally. I can really see the difference in my hair after using this. It smells better, feels better and created beautiful natural curls on myself. Love it!

Hand cream
Like many products mentioned, hand cream is another product that can be expensive. This multi-tasker helps here too! Apply some coconut oil to your hands and let it absorb (you can pop on some gloves to speed up the absorption process, but you don't have to). Result: silky soft hands. Yay!

I am in the process of growing my nails (so very determined to stop biting them for good now, but with placement just around the corner, we'll see how long that lasts!).  I had many torn cuticles caused by biting my nails and they were rather unsightly. I applied some coconut oil and it has greatly reduced their appearance. My nails look in better shape (well as good as a shape as can be expected!).

Some need to knows:

  • As it's an oil,  it does take it's time to dry, and so therefore can be slightly messy to work with. So wait a while before dressing yourself or covering a certain part of your body. When I applied it I wore shorts and a light vest top.
  • Coconut oil has a shelf life of 2 years, so don't worry about having to use it up really quickly. Just as well, I would struggle to use that big jar up in a short length of time!
  • You can store coconut oil in the fridge or at room temperature, the choice is completely up to you. It may be slightly more soothing on skin to have it slightly chilled; either way it melts in your hand straight away so it doesn't make too much of a difference.