Coconut oil is a must you should bring from Thailand or other Asian countries. It’s both a good present and rescue for skin after winter spent in humid Asian climate. Applying coconut oil on wet skin after shower will help you manage dry skin problem better than other moisturizers (the advice based on my experience after 5 years spent in tropics). As you understood, this post will be devoted to coconut oil and different ways of using it.
Coconut oil is received by cold-pressing dehydrated coconut meat, and it can be refined or not. Oil contains lauric acid (unrefined up to 50%) that speeds up metabolism.
Visual characteristics: cream-coloured liquid with light coconut scent, gets solid at a temperature below 25°C.
Composition: lauric acid, myristic acid, palmic acid, caprylic acid, oleic acid, capric acid, stearic acid, linolenic acid, eicosatetraenoic acid, caproic acid.
Where to buy coconut oil
You can find coconut oil everywhere in Asia: in pharmacies, markets, shops and supermarkets. At Thailand markets you can often come across unrefined raw oil in glass bottles — in used redbull bottles, for example. This kind of oil costs ~50 Baht for 150 ml, but its smell won’t make happy both you and people around. In addition, cosmetologists criticize its clarity level saying that unrefined oil can make things worse. Sometimes I use it on my skin before sunbaths.
Refined coconut oil costs 100–300 Baht for 100 ml, its price depends on a manufacturer and clarity level.
Those who are not in Thailand may order coconut oil on ebay or different online stores. Now their prices are reasonable and comparable to Asian.
Thailand coconut oil is not the best. For example, oil produced is Sri Lanka is considered much better.
Now let’s continue with the information how to use coconut oil.
How to use coconut oil for hair
For two years, coconut oil was my only way to get rid of brittle hair and split ends. It was a real discovery I made in Thailand. But thanks to my hairdresser’s advice I stopped using oil after getting a permanent hairstyle.
The problem is that you should apply any kind of oil only on healthy hair. If your hair is damaged because of coloring or permanent hairstyle, oil may damage it even more. At least, you should test it on your hair before using on a regular basis. The reason in oil slick that covers dry hair, so that hair can’t get moisture from the outside.
Hair mask with coconut oil
Apply it before going to sleep or 2 hours before washing. Indians always put it on hair, and following their example, I sometimes leave oil on hair overnight or even for 24 hours.
How to apply oil on hair? You may spread pure coconut oil through your hair avoiding roots; 1–2 tablespoons will be enough for long hair. For this mask, it’s better to use unrefined oil, but you can use any oil suitable for hair.
Quick hair masks
Quick masks are left on hair only for 30–40 minutes before washing, they may consist of pure coconut oil or oil mixed with honey.
Even good and expensive shampoos deprive hair’s shine and «wash off» its structural protein. Coconut oil applied before shower protects hair from shampoo harmful effects, and thanks to it hair gets damaged less while drying and combing.
Shampoo or conditioner. You can also add oil to your shampoo or conditioner (few drops when washing, or a couple of spoons right in a bottle). Try not to apply conditioner on roots, only on hair, as it congests pores.
After washing. Coconut oil not only nourishes and adds shine to your hair, at the same time it makes hair a bit dry — that’s why applying oil after washing (2–3 drops, avoiding roots) won’t lead to greasy looking hair, but ends will be satisfied. Trimming hair and removing split ends will make the effect more visible — using coconut oil will keep them healthy longer.
But again, coconut oil doesn’t work for everyone! It’s perfect for body but eventually I decided to switch to Che and argan oil — I order them on ebay.com or find in countries I visit. In Russian shops with professional cosmetics you can find moisturizers, shampoos and conditioners with argan oil. The oil itself should be applied on wet hair.
Using coconut oil on face
Refined coconut oil is helpful for all skin types. It smoothes skin and not deep wrinkles, increases general tonus and improves skin elasticity. It’s a good remedy for flaccid and aging face skin.
I know that Indians apply coconut oil on face everyday and consider it a secret to keeping their skin young.
Pure coconut oil has drying effect, but it doesn’t dehydrate skin — it controls skin fat production and will be irreplaceable in greasy skin treatment. It’s also helpful in wound healing, dermatitis and long-healing eczemas treatment.
However fair-skin people should avoid excessive use of pure coconut oil on their face — it may lead to comedones that block sebaceous glands duct. But you can apply oil from time to time, mix it with something else, or add to your creams. Mixes for face there should contain not more than 10% of coconut oil, mixes for body and hands — not more than 30%.
Before using coconut oil on a regular basis, make sure that you’re not allergic to it. Any discomfort may be also caused by oil quality.
Coconut masks for face:
- To prepare cream-mask with coconut oil, mix 1 table spoon of sour cream or milk, 1 table spoon of honey, and 10–15 drops of coconut oil. Apply this mix on face for 20 minutes, then wash it off with warm water.
- Apply mix of coconut oil and baking soda with massaging movements on face, then wash it off with warm water.
- Apply mix of coconut oil and honey on clean face for 15 minutes, then wash it off with warm water. *Don’t use this mask too often as honey enlarges pores and, what’s more, it’s considered antimicrobial.
- Use pure coconut oil for neck wraps, leaving them for 20–30 minutes. After these wraps your neck skin will be more moisturized and smooth.
- Mixed coconut and cow milk is another good mask for face and body.
- You can also use coconut oil as makeup remover or shaving cream (I haven’t tried the latter but heard it’s good for sensitive skin:)
Coconut oil for body
Researches show that our skin absorbs coconut oil quickly; it perfectly moisturizes, tones up and smoothes skin, leaving it soft and velvet. Oil slick on your skin protects it from environment hazards, that’s why coconut oil is often used in creams (or independently) as sun protection component. Using it before and after sunbaths will prevent sunburns and will help you get beautiful, even tan.
Coconut oil may be also used for sensitive, inflamed and irritated skin, as it has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and soothing effect, so you may use it even after depilation.
Moisturizing dry body skin
The most important thing for me is moisturizing dry skin after taking a shower. And it’s important for people who turn back to Russia after spending a winter in Thailand (you’ll understand if you have such experience). Take a table spoon of oil and apply with massaging movements on skin after taking a shower, then dry body with towel.
You can also add a table spoon of coconut oil in a bath.
None of moisturizing creams are comparable to the effect I get after using coconut oil, it works perfect in the struggle against dry skin during rough Siberian winter.
Skin cleansing and moisturizing
Mixing coconut oil with salt or brown sugar you’ll get a great moisturizing body scrub.
You can use it either on the whole body or on rough skin areas like elbows.
Coconut oil for cuticle
Rubbing oil around nail plates moisturizes and saves cuticle from dry and peeling.
Massaging and cleansing feet with coconut oil makes skin softer and smoother.
Coconut oil in candidiasis treatment
Yeast infections treatment. As I mentioned, coconut oil has antimicrobial effect and may be used as adjunct therapy in yeast infections treatment. You may soak tampon with a little coconut oil or apply on skin as ointment once or twice a day.
Coconut for internal use
Researches show that lauric acid in coconut oil contributes to maintenance of healthy cholesterol level.
Coconut oil has a great number of health properties and it’s recommended to use in the treatment of absolutely different diseases: it improves your digestive health and mental activity. Taking it orally reduces risk of atherosclerosis, heart and oncological diseases; organism becomes resistant to virus and infectious diseases because oil fortifies the immune system and at the same time reduces bacteria’s ability to adapt to antibiotics. Coconut oil contributes to calcium and magnesium absorption and unlike many other oils it doesn’t lead to fat deposition.
Natural coconut oil is one of the most harmless registered food supplements, and it doesn’t have side-effects.
How to take it?
Coconut oil has different levels of clarity and may be taken orally only if it has the appropriate indication on a bottle — there should be written that oil is suitable for internal use.
- Add coconut oil in salads instead of sunflower or olive oils.
- Use it for frying.
- Add to tea, coffee, smoothie (few drops).
- Blend coconut oil with nuts (using blender or coffee-grinder) to get home-made butter.
Internal use of coconut oil for health
- You can take pure coconut oil inside starting with 1 tea spoon and increasing quantity up to 2–3 table spoons per day (before meal). Wash it down with water.
- Tea with few drops of coconut oil relieves irritation in throat if you’re coughing.
- For mouth cavity cleaning, it’s recommended to keep 1–2 table spoons of coconut oil in mouth for 10 minutes (if you tried it, share your experience in comments, I still can’t venture to this:)
How do you use coconut oil? Please, share your favorite recipes and results you got after using it!
© Olga Saliy. All rights reserved. No part of this article may be reproduced without prior written permission of author.