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Coconut Oil

You often see aisle upon aisle of beauty products made up of indecipherable, “scientifically-proven to be effective” lists of ingredients with high price tags. It’s at once intimidating and convincing, and a complete turn-off for a self-proclaimed beauty junkie and health nut on a budget like myself. When you add that with the proliferation of questionable, cheap — and often imitation — products that exist without regulation, it only makes sense to make your own products at home. Like my food, I like things to be healthy and safe for the environment, as well as effective.


What goes into beauty products is just as important as what you eat because your body naturally absorbs everything you put on your skin.
I don’t generally consider rubbing edible plant grease over my face, hands and body as a beauty treatment, but countless experts and natural-beauty devotees swear by the miracle substance for just about everything. Coconut oil, beyond its beneficial properties as a food, is actually one of the most versatile, inexpensive and easy to use beauty products.


The Miracle Oil

It possesses an unusually high percentage of lauric acid and vitamin E, which are naturally antiviral, antimicrobial and antibacterial, and even useful for treating acne. It’s high in antioxidants and prevents destructive free-radical activity (the primary cause of ageing), and is a natural sunscreen. It’s an excellent moisturiser, powerfully hydrating and rich in minerals and nutrients, and gives skin a soft, smooth, not greasy texture sans residue. Not to mention it smells delicious, like cookies or summertime.

There are a myriad of cosmetic uses, including homemade deodorant, shaving cream, face masks, lip balms, body scrubs and more. Used alone, or combined with other easy to find ingredients, you can use it for pretty much anything. Here are my favourite beauty-related uses for it:


1) Makeup remover. It’s hands down one of the best makeup remover, even for waterproof products. The oil does a great job breaking down waxy, inky eye makeup and leaves the delicate eye area hydrated. Just add coconut oil to a cotton ball and swipe it gently over your eyes.


2) Face and body moisturiser. It’s great for moisturising sensitive skin because it’s naturally antibacterial, and antifungal. It can help with wrinkles, acne or other skin issues like keratosis pilaris, the small white bumps some people have on their upper arms. It is also helpful in increasing hydration and reducing water loss in seriously dry skin.


3) Deep conditioner. It’s a great replacement for hair mask treatments that are full of chemicals. It makes your hair delectably shiny and soft. Massage the oil into your scalp and coat your hair from root to tip. Leave on anywhere from 30 minutes to overnight (if you do this wear a shower cap or tie your hair into a bun gently and cover your pillow with a towel). You may have to wash your hair twice to get all the oil out.
I recommend using high-quality, pure coconut oil, which replaces the other products you’d be using for a fraction of their cost — both for you and the planet. — Kathryn Cardenas

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