Coconut oil has got to be the ONE product, a natural resource that can easily replace many of your other personal care and household products. It has so many benefits and new uses for coconut oil are being discovered every day!
The reason I’m sharing all of this info about coconut oil with you is because I’m becoming increasingly more aware of the importance of getting rid of the chemicals I use on my body and in my home. Having a special needs child has me more aware of that more now than ever.
Before going into coconut oil’s various benefits and ways you can use it, let’s first look at what coconut oil is and how it’s derived.
What is Coconut Oil?
Coconut oil is a fatty oil derived from the meat or kernel of mature coconuts. It’s high in saturated fats and has the ability to remain fresh for months before spoiling or going rancid. It also contains Caprylic acid, Capric Acid and Lauric acid, which are medium-chain fatty acids (MCFAs) that convert fat into natural sources of energy.
Coconut oil is extracted in one of three ways: Cold pressed, Expeller pressed or Heated. It’s difficult (if not impossible) to extract the oil from the coconut without some form of heat being generated. Expeller pressing involves the extraction of the oil from the coconut using high pressure. This in turn generates heat naturally.
The term “cold pressed” is used much like expeller pressing, with the pressing and grinding of the coconut. Heat is also generated but during processing, it’s kept well below 120 degrees Fahrenheit to preserve as much of the nutritional value of the oil as possible.
BENEFITS OF COCONUT OIL
Being a special needs mom, I find that using coconut oil in place of all those chemical products has greatly benefited my life and my son’s life. It’s such a precious oil from the fruit of the coconut and it’s benefits are numerous:
- Helps to seal moisture into hair and skin
- Protects hair from hygral fatigue (damage caused from expanding/contracting during the wash cycle)
- Impacts many health conditions in a positive way
- Maintains household items
This may seem like a short list of benefits after I just said that the benefits are numerous but these are only a broad list of the benefits. The micro list of coconut oil benefits is found in its many uses.
Coconut Oil Uses
Because of the many ways you can use coconut oil, it’s best to categorize them individually:
A girl’s hair is her crown. Taking care of it is a top priority and coconut oil can help you get it done in more ways than one:
- Having a very small molecular weight, coconut oil is able to penetrate the hair strands to go deep within the cuticle. It then helps to protect the protein integrity (simulating a protein treatment) along with the moisture levels of the hair. Use coconut oil as a pre-poo to help your hair benefit in these ways.
- Gives your hair a small amount of protection from the sun’s ultraviolet rays. You can apply coconut oil to throughout your hair before going outdoors to spend short periods of time in the sun.
- When used as a base combined with specific essential oils, it’s been found to kill head lice.
- Can be used as part of a whipped hair butter or other DIY hair recipe.
- To prevent frizz when added to hair regularly.
- To add shine to dull looking hair.
- To give your hair a hot oil treatment. I’m IN LOVE with this here Coconut Hot Oil Hair Mask from St Tropica. It’s all natural and all organic.
Since coconut oil is solid at room temperature, it may be a little more difficult to work with during the colder months because it can solidify in your hair. While coconut oil has many benefits for your hair, you can’t readily enjoy them when your hair feels crunchy when the oil has turned solid while you were out in the cold! Therefore, it best to use coconut oil solely for pre-pooing in the colder months.
Using Coconut Oil on Your Skin
Beneficial for giving your skin the nutrients it needs along with keeping your skin hydrated can be done by using coconut oil on your skin in these ways:
- Massage into your scalp for conditioning and lubricating. It helps to alleviate dry, itchy scalp.
- Add 1/4 cup to your bath water
- Replace your lotion with it and lather the coconut oil all over your body after a shower
- To remove makeup
- To treat your under eye area, helping to combat premature wrinkles
- To use as part of an oil cleansing regimen
- To condition your cuticles
- Use as a massage oil (you can also combine it with essential oils for use as a carrier oil)
- Use as a personal lubricant
- To soften rough lips. Can also be used to make a lip balm combined with beeswax
Using Coconut Oil to Improve Your Health
Even though coconut oil is high in saturated fat, it’s been discovered that the body actually processes it differently than other sources of saturated fat. Here are some of the ways consuming this precious oil can improve your health:
- To aid with weight loss
- For heart health (studies show that coconut oil can increase your HDL or “good cholesterol” level)
- Balance blood sugar
- Support normal thyroid function
- Fight Alzheimers (research has found that the ketones in coconut oil can repair or prevent damage to the brain
- To improve dental health when used for Oil Pulling. This is an age old practice of swishing a tablespoon of organic coconut oil in your mouth for 15-20 minutes every morning as soon as you wake up (and before brushing your teeth). It helps remove bacteria from the mouth and improve the condition of teeth and gums. There are other benefits such as boosting your immune system. Check out this article: Coconut Oil Pulling and How to Guide
- To support a healthy immune system
It’s recommended to consume 1-2 tablespoons a day for full benefits.
How to Use Coconut Oil in Your Home
Not only is coconut oil an excellent resource for skin care, hair care and improving your health, it can be used all throughout your home:
- Eat it! You can cook with coconut oil or add it to smoothies or other dishes. It’s a great way to meet your daily consumption if you are looking to use coconut oil to improve your health. I love frying eggs and sautéing chicken and green beans in coconut oil. It’s so delicious! It’s also great on toast in place of butter.
- To make soap or homemade laundry detergent. Check out some of these Pinterest recipes.
- Clean makeup brushes. Add a little coconut oil to an antibacterial soap for your own makeup brush cleansing and conditioning solution.
- To season new cast iron cookware. Simply rub it all over all surfaces of the cookware and wipe off the excess with a paper towel.
- To shine furniture. This is a great way to restore and maintain the look of wood furniture without chemicals. Check out this simple Coconut Oil Furniture Polish recipe from Living Traditionally.
- To buff wood floors. Combine with a little apple cider vinegar and buff away dull scratches.
The best thing about using coconut oil in your home is that it is chemical free, making it safe for your family and pets. Plus, it can save you money since it can replace a lot of the other personal care and household products you use like:
- Furniture polish
- Wood floor cleaner
- Make-Up removal wipes
- Makeup brush cleaner
- Lotion or body moisturizer
- Under eye serum
- Lip balm
- Certain health supplements
- Laundry detergent
Choosing The Right Coconut Oil
The best coconut oil by far is Organic Unrefined, Cold Pressed Virgin Coconut Oil. You’ll also find refined, expeller pressed and even bleached deodorized brands of coconut oil on the market. I would never suggest using the latter.
For internal consumption, it’s best to stick with the best. If you’re using coconut oil for cleaning around the home or even for your hair and body concoctions, expeller pressed refined oil is sufficient. The expeller pressing process does not use any chemicals during the extraction of the oil.
Additional Sources of information and Uses for Coconut Oil: