Updated: Jul 13
Before "quarantine" began, I was starting to think more and more about how to be more waste-free and environmentally friendly.
Not only that, but I was getting sick of constantly buying beauty products and toiletries. I've also started becoming more and more conscious about what I'm putting onto my skin and into my body, so naturally I started researching lots of DIY beauty products using natural ingredients that I could make at home.
I recently wrote a post about how to make a rice treatment for your hair using just rice and water - you can read it here.
Following on from my rice water escapades, I found loads more make shift recipes, but there was one ingredient that was recurring for pretty much all of them - coconut oil. It seemed that you could use it for pretty much anything and everything.
I decided to give it a go, and heres 8 uses that I found to be fuss free and effective:
I've been using coconut oil on my hair for years, I love how soft it makes my hair feel, and it's pretty lightweight compared to thicker oils like castor oil which is gloopy and sticky. It helps to prevent protein loss in the hair and it contains a unique structure of lauric acid (the main fatty acid) which can penetrate the hair shaft in a way that most other fats can.
I like to use coconut oil mostly as an overnight treatment/on top of a hair mask to seal in the moisture. I also made a conditioning spray to refresh my natural hair if I'm wearing it curly by mixing one part coconut oil and two parts water and putting in a spray bottle. Works a treat!
Now this one really had me like hmm, really? But out of all 8 uses, this has to be the one that impressed me the most. Now of course it doesn't give you that "minty freshness" that toothpaste does, however it is a BOSS at cleaning your teeth! Your teeth will feel soooo squeaky clean and don't even get me started on using it to brush your tongue - incredible. It's definitely a secret weapon for teeth cleaning.
Coconut oil as a toothpaste is a powerful at fighting bacteria, including streptococcus mutans (the bacteria in your mouth that causes dental plaque), tooth decay, and gum disease. It's a yes from me!
Yep, you read right. Not only can you use coconut oil to brush your teeth, you can use it as a mouthwash too. Again, I found myself thinking 'really...how effective actually is it? Isn't mouthwash meant to contain fancy chemicals to help kill bacteria?' Well, according to one study, swishing with coconut oil for 10 minutes (known as oil pulling) reduced the streptococcus mutans bacteria as effectively as rinsing with an antiseptic mouthwash.
Another study revealed that swishing daily with coconut oil significantly reduced inflammation and plaque in teenagers with gingivitis (inflamed gums). To use as toothpaste and mouthwash, I decanted it into a smaller pot and I'm thinking of adding some peppermint essential oil to give it that minty freshness...I will report back!
MOISTURISER FOR FACE AND BODY
This one may seem obvious, but coconut oil makes a great face and body moisturiser. As mentioned before it's not a heavy oil so it tends to sink in pretty well on the body.
Research shows that coconut oil improves dermatitis and other skin disorders - result. As for the face, I've heard it's meant to be good for those with acne prone skin? However I haven't tried it on my face when I've been spotty so I can't confirm that myself.
I would say if you're super oily then this may be too heavy on your skin, I have oily skin myself and I would only really be able to use this at night or if I'm at home as it would be too oily for my skin.
Quarantine has seen my nails BARE for the first time in 8 years...and while I thought I would be reduced to tears for not having my regular manicure, I have slyly been enjoying the bare nail life as it's allowing me to get a bit of strength back in them.
A great nourishing treat for your nails is rubbing coconut oil into the cuticles and nail bed, this helps soften any hard cuticles and also moisturises and helps protect the nail.
I have definitely noticed that my nails are a lot stronger after removing my acrylics - they were literally like paper when I first took them off!
Now this one confused me, and I'm still on the fence however as a waste free and environmentally friendly alternative to regular deodorant - it ain't half bad!
I've been wanting to swap out my deodorant for ages and find one that contained natural ingredients, vegan, cruelty free and waste free - and coconut oil definitely ticks all those boxes! Another advantage is that it moisturises your armpits so goodbye itchy shaving rash!
I will say, it's definitely not as effective at stopping the sweat as my normal deodorant choice, but it's a start. I'm still going to look into some other options for plastic free, eco-friendly deodorant - theres loads on Etsy that I have favourited so I will probably give one of those a go!
In the meantime, please leave me a comment below if there are any good ones that you have tried - I would love a recommendation!
FACE CLEANSER/MAKE-UP REMOVER
Now this one is old school for me - I have been using coconut oil as a cleanser for the longest and it just doesn't get any better as far as make-up removal and deep cleansing go. You can go from a full face of make-up to zero product on your face in a couple of minutes - it even removes waterproof make-up and it does it with ease.
I don't use a make-up wipe or an alternative make-up remover, I simply grab a generous amount of coconut oil and massage into my skin for a minute or so, concentrating on stubborn areas like my eyes, then wash off with a warm flannel. Done!
It smells amazing and it leaves your skin feeling sooo soft after. You can even use it for a double-cleanse if your make-up is particularly heavy, and you can use it just to cleanse if you aren't wearing make-up/don't wear make-up too.
Ok last one, and it's a sensitive subject. I put off researching into it for soooo long, and I finally bit the bullet. It hurt. It really hurt...I found out that my beloved 'Blistex Relief Cream' isn't vegan *dramatic ugly cry*. It's ok, I think I'll get over it.
In the meantime I've been enjoying using coconut oil as an alternative until I can find a new beloved ("don't cry because it's over, smile because it happened" and all that jazz).
It does the job and feels nice, but again if you have any recommendations for a vegan and cruelty free lip balm that is HEAVY DUTY, please let me know in the comments below! (If you recommend a good one I'm likely to send a bouquet of flowers to your house in appreciation, just a pre-warning).
So thats it, 8 different beauty hacks for coconut oil - a miracle holy grail product that I've become very fond of in the last few months. There are tons more ways to use coconut oil too - it really is the gift that keeps on giving!
What is your favourite use for coconut oil? And what other beauty posts would you like to see? Let me know!