Coconut oil has been around forever, but it's gained a ton of popularity in the health and beauty world over the past couple years. It's one of those magical products (and ingredients) with a list of uses that never ends. From slathering it on dry skin to oil pulling to using it as a gentle makeup remover, coconut oil has proven itself as an all-star beauty product that deserves a permanent spot in your bathroom cabinet, but there's another member of the coconut family that could bring even more benefits to the table.
Coconut milk is being touted as the new go-to for a slew of natural beauty solutions. Its super hydrating, calming and soothing properties make it a solid choice as a cleanser, moisturizer and treatment for irritated skin, and it can also seriously improve the health of your hair. Made from the meat of coconuts and rich in anti-aging properties, coconut milk packs a ton of hydration, acts as a gentle cleanser and is a life-saver for sunburned skin -- you can think of it as an extra-soothing, intensely moisturizing version of coconut oil. Here's a breakdown of how to swap out coconut oil for creamy coconut milk in your skin, hair and makeup routines.
The proteins and fatty acids found in coconut milk work wonders on your skin. Using a coconut milk-based cleanser (or just washing your face with raw, unrefined coconut milk by itself) can help fight against wrinkles, tighten up your skin, calm irritation and give a healthy dose of hydration. Coconut milk is also an all-natural way to deal with a nasty sunburn, thanks to its highly soothing properties. While coconut oil will definitely hydrate parched (and sunburned) skin, coconut *milk* will take moisturizing to the next level. Get your DIY on and experiment with creating good-for-your-skin recipes by mixing in ingredients like aloe vera, honey, avocado and cucumber.
Good news: Creamy coconut milk drinks are another way to reap its benefits, especially for your skin. Think of it as improving your skin from the inside out. It helps retain elasticity and keeps your skin supple and smooth.
Remember those fatty acids found in coconut milk? They're basically like deep conditioners on overdrive for your locks, adding in essential proteins that keep your hair strong, shiny and healthy. Coconut milk also acts as an invigorating scalp treatment -- it has a refreshingly cool sensation that makes you feel like you're at the spa -- that can actually jump-start hair growth and nourish your hair follicles. You can also create a coconut milk conditioning mask by adding avocado and letting it sit on the shaft of your hair for about 20 minutes -- that is, if you can manage not to eat it first ;)
While we're all about drinking this yummy stuff, it's also a great topical product for removing your makeup in a really gentle, non-irritating way (AKA you won't be rubbing your eyelashes off in the process). Mix it with an equal amount of coconut oil and apply it to cotton balls, then let those cotton balls rest on your closed eyes for one minute until your makeup dissolves. Not only will you be left with mascara-free eyes, but you'll be giving your entire eye area (lashes included!) a healthy dose of hydration that'll show in the improved strength of your lashes.
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