We all know how fantastic coconut oil can be for cooking purposes. However I was recently introduced to its fantastic health benefits. I would like to preface this article with the statement that you need to experiment with it yourself and what works best for your body. The same product never works exactly the same for every person, so try it out and see where the fantastic properties of coconut oil take you!
I've always thought I had pretty soft hair, and when a new girl started working in our office with the shiniest hair I had ever seen, we were all fawning over it. When asked what her secret was, she simply said, "coconut oil!"
When I began to dig a little deeper into the hair mystery, I found out my office manager -- who is very into holistic medicine -- has been using coconut oil for years and absolutely loves it. I immediately went out to my local "healthy food store" and bought myself a United States Department of Agriculture-approved organic bottle of coconut oil, the biggest I could find. Needless to say, my health care regimen and life have not been the same since.
To start off, we'll talk about hair.
Coconut oil has fantastic natural oils that make your hair really shiny and soft, especially if you use it often. It melts at 76 degrees (which it says right on the bottle) so you can just run it under your hot faucet or scoop out little by little and run it through your hands.
Now, these were my instructions: For the first several weeks, you want to put it in your hair twice a week. You can put it in right before you shower and after you wash your hair, walk around with it in your hair for a day up in a bun, or put it in your hair before you sleep and wash it out when you shower in the morning. I really enjoy letting it sit in my hair for several hours. Often I will do the last option and sleep with coconut oil in my hair.
You have to be careful doing that though -- the oil will get onto your pillow case, which can cause you to break out. After several weeks of my coconut oil regimen of twice a week, you may notice a difference in your hair and want to switch to only once a week. I've been doing this for several months now, and my hair has been so soft several of my friends have bought their own bottle.
For your skin!
For your skin, you want to melt the coconut oil and pour a little into the cap. Then, you begin pouring it into your hands and using it as a lotion. It's a fantastic moisturizer and can make your skin look really great and young. I've always had little red bumps on the backs of my arms which have almost completely gone away since I started putting coconut oil on them. If you have a dry patch of skin, continuously putting coconut oil on it can help. Chapped lips? Coconut oil. Dry elbows? Coconut oil. Massage? Coconut oil. It's definitely a little messy, so be careful you don't get it onto everything.
This last part is not for everyone.
Now, we're going to talk about face and teeth.
I love the way my skin looks after I shower and put a little coconut oil on instead of facial moisturizer. The typical mistake people will make is that they will just leave the excess coconut oil on their face and they will break out. For best results, after you've put the coconut oil on your face, you let it sit for five to 10 minutes, then pat your face with a towel. This can carefully get rid of the excess oil while still allowing time to moisturize your face.
Again, this is not for everyone, as it might cause you to break out depending on your skin. Be careful here -- I wouldn't suggest starting this right before a big event. Also, coconut oil can be a great whitening agent for your teeth. If you gargle with a coconut oil-water mixture, you should see some improvement. Of course, you're not going to see the automatic results that professional whitening kits will give you. Over the next couple of weeks you'll notice your teeth getting whiter. I suggest brushing your teeth in the morning to get off plaque, gargling with the mixture, then re-gargling with a minty mouthwash for the best results. It's absolutely not the best tasting mixture, and you want to make sure it's completely melted.
I highly suggest using the organic products -- those are the safest, but slightly more expensive. They'll be the most gentle on your skin without any of the preservatives you might find in non-organic coconut oil.
Of course, find whatever suits you best. That also goes for the health care regimen you find works well for your body. Nobody knows your body better than you. I've found what works for me, I hope you find the same!