• Tips + Tricks: Coconut Oil

    By now, you've most likely heard someone extolling the virtues of coconut oil. Whether it's been from a beauty guru on the internet, your best friend's aunt, or that cool Instagram teen you follow, everyone has an opinion on coconut oil. While we've all dipped our toes into the vast pool of coconut oil uses, here at UO we decided to round up a few of our favorite, most-used tips and tricks, along with the science behind each of them. (For example, coconut oil works so well as a moisturizer because of the saturated fats contained within it: applying it to skin helps trap in water, leading to hydrated, baby-soft skin.) Want to learn more about everyone's favorite oil? Read on!
    Photos by Michael Persico

    For hair:

    There's plenty of uses to be had for coconut oil when it comes to hear! For one, you can mix coconut oil with honey for a hair mask that hydrates hair. To use, simply rub onto the ends of your hair to keep it hydrated. You can also use the same mixture as a frizz tamer, or massage into scalp as a dandruff fighter (coconut oil works fantasically as a dandruff fighter because of its anti-fungal properties). You can make as much as you'd like, but make sure to have an even ratio of coconut oil to honey.

    Did you know coconut oil can also be used as a shampoo? If mixed with apple cider vinegar, coconut oil works well as a non-sudsy shampoo, perfect for the "no poo" crowd. A chemical-free option, this mixture is great for color treated hair. Simply mix equal parts apple cider vinegar and coconut oil to make a suds-free hair wash.

    For health/hygiene:

    There's a lot to be said for coconut oil and health, too. For example, coconut oil is a great resource when it comes to oil pulling due to the health benefits (whitens teeth and freshens breath!) and the simple fact that it tastes better than some of the other oils out there. While we're on the subject of mouths, did you know that you can also make all-natural toothpaste out of coconut oil? Since it helps clean mouths so well, adding in baking soda and a few drops of peppermint oil make it a great toothpaste to have in a pinch. We like this recipe the most, but you'll be able to mix and match the ratios to make one that has a consistency you like.

    Since coconut oil is also anti-microbial, it's good to have on hand for bug bites since it helps heal them quickly and gets rid of the itching. It's like calamine lotion in that way, except it's a lot less noticeable and will also keep your skin hydrated. This means it's also good for treating minor scrapes and fading any stubborn scars. (Yes, you're going to have a jar of coconut oil in every room of your house by the time we're done with this post.)

    Coconut oil can also affect your cortisol levels, which means it literally has the power to make you chill out. While we don't recommend eating straight coconut oil from the jar when you're stressed (that's what ice cream is for), adding a spoon of coconut oil to your coffee or tea in the morning helps ensure that your body gets the good fats that it needs to help keep it functioning in tip-top shape.

    For beauty:

    When it comes to makeup, you can use coconut oil as a makeup remover - it melts makeup right off, including tricky eye makeup. Simply rub onto your face and then wipe off with a damp towel. It's also incredibly simple to make an exfoliant with baking soda (use 2 parts coconut oil and 1 part baking soda), or a lip scrub mixed with brown sugar (again, 2 parts coconut oil and 1 part brown sugar will suffice - but play around!). Both are moisturizing and all-natural, so they won't irritate sensitive skin.

    Dry cuticles? Treat them with some coconut oil!

    Dry lips? Combine coconut oil with a little lipstick for a lip tint that won't leave lips dry, cracked, or flaky!

    For skin:

    Yep, the list goes on! When it comes to skin, coconut oil works as a natural sunscreen, believe it or not. It only has anywhere from 4-6spf, so it's not going to keep you pasty-white on a scorching hot day, but it's great to put on as a moisturizing base in the morning to help keep the sun's rays at bay.

    Since coconut oil is a natural antiseptic, coconut oil is also a great option for face lotion/oil. It's deeply moisturizing but still manages to combat any pimples or irritation, and the antibacterial and anti-fungal properties of coconut oil help stop further infection, while the lauric acid helps your skin regenerate faster. (You might also need a mattefying primer if you're planning on slappin' this on in the morning, though, since it'll leave you shining like the top of the Chrysler building.)

    For body/spa:

    Again, coconut oil is great as an exfoliant, and can be made into one best for body when mixed with sea salt, oatmeal, and essential oil. You can also add a scoop of pure coconut oil to your bath for amazing, silky soft skin. (Just make sure to thoroughly rinse the tub afterwards!)

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