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One Ingredient Wonder: Coconut Oil

Looking for the natural, toxin-free simplicity of DIY personal care solutions without all the mixing and measuring? Enter the one ingredient wonder — a single, natural ingredient with many applications. Our second ingredient in this series (check out our earlier article on tea tree oil) is coconut oil.

Coconut oil is produced using the meat, milk, or residue of the coconut, primarily from Indonesia, the Philippines, India, Brazil, and Sri Lanka. This tropically derived oil has increased in popularity in the last few years as we’ve become increasingly aware of both its internal and external benefits, ranging from promoting liver health to healing eczema. These benefits have a lot to do with the high content of saturated fatty acids, including lauric acid, caprylic acid, and capric acid, which boast antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and antimicrobial properties. 

Aside from being a great oil to use for baking, stir-fries, or even as a tasty substitute for coffee creamer, we’re particularly in love with all of its many topical uses. Here are some of our favorite ways to use it:

  • Speed up the healing process and reduce scarring of burns, bug bites, and cuts with a dab a coconut oil twice a day. 
  • Use as a simple, plastic-free face or body moisturizer.
  • Soothe angry acne and dark spots by using as a spot treatment. (Note: test first to see if it works well on your skin as coconut oil can clog pores on some skin types.)
  • Keep athlete’s foot at bay by rubbing into feet after showering.
  • Treat eczema, psoriasis, and contact dermatitis by using coconut oil topically, which reduces inflammation.
  • Use as an alternative to shaving cream.
  • Reduce frizz, dryness, and split ends by applying as a hair mask. Or you can use a little bit as a styling cream to tame flyaways and frizz.
  • Apply warmed coconut oil to the scalp for 30 minutes to help minimize dandruff.
  • Use as an eye makeup remover or apply to the entire face as the first step in a double cleansing skincare routine. 
  • Use as a natural alternative to lubricant.
  • Dab a little on your cheekbones to use as a natural highlighter.
  • Apply directly to treat dry cuticles.
  • Mix with tea tree oil to make an all-natural, moisturizing hand sanitizer.

We recommend using virgin, unrefined coconut oil for topical uses, which has higher levels of antioxidants than the refined version for maximum benefits.

Let us know your favorite ways to use coconut oil in the comments below!

Sources:

  1. https://www.worldatlas.com/articles/the-world-leaders-in-coconut-production.html
  2. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/food-features/coconut-oil/
  3. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/coconut-oil-and-skin#section2

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