The beauty multi-tasker…
Mix brown sugar and sea salt with coconut oil till it forms a thick paste. Use this mix in the shower as a gentle scrub — the sugar/salt exfoliates, while lauric acid acts as a natural anti-inflammatory agent. Add used coffee grounds to this mix to combat cellulite.
“Swishing a mouthful of cold-pressed organic coconut oil absorbs toxins from your mouth, teeth and gums. It promotes overall heath because of its intense antibacterial, antifungal and antiviral properties,” explains Dr KP Sreekumari Amma, a practising Thiruvananthapuram-based Ayurvedic, who calls the practice by its Ayurvedic name, Gandusha. Oil pulling takes some getting used to, and beginners might not be able to swish for 20 minutes. Build the time up by a few minutes every day. Do this in the morning and on an empty stomach. Just don’t swallow the oil.
The oil’s low molecular weight allows it to penetrate the hair shaft, while the fatty acids bind the protein in the hair, protecting it. Try this: beat two eggs with a quarter cup of warm coconut oil and massage into your scalp. Leave on for 30 minutes and rinse with cold water. The oil’s lauric acid, Vitamin E and capric nourish the hair, while the eggs’ protein strengthens it.
Swap your shaving cream for coconut oil, which supports the skin’s pH balance and reduces inflammation, making it ideal for sensitive skin. Using coconut oil in the place of a foaming cream results in a silky shave sans the razor burns or bumps. Plus, the fatty acids eliminate that dry sensation you get post-shave, leaving your skin feeling luxurious.
The high levels of Vitamin E in the coconut oil protect the skin from free radicals and reduce the appearance of wrinkles and fine lines. Arnett recommends using it to cleanse and remove make-up. “Use coconut oil to gently loosen make-up and it will slide right off,” adds Arnett. The high levels (92 per cent) of fatty acids in it break down the make-up so it slips right off, while antioxidants protect, nourish and allay signs of aging.
Once perceived as unhealthy fat, new studies prove that it’s really good for you. “Coconut oil is a good source of MCTs (medium-chain triglycerides), a fat that require less energy and enzymes to be digested,” says Kerry Bajaj, health coach at the Eleven Eleven Wellness Center founded by Dr Frank Lipman, an integrative and functional medicine expert. “Unlike other dietary fats, MCTs don’t get stored as fat in the body; they get burned for energy, leading to an increase in metabolism,” she says. Cook with it or add to your diet — in your smoothie or salad.
Coconut oil’s tiny molecules allow it to melt into your skin and high levels of Vitamin E nourish from within. Simran Lal, CEO, Goodearth, suggests applying after a shower to create a moisture-locking seal. Kristen Arnett, an eco and sustainable beauty believer, is also a fan. “Most commercial moisturisers have a mineral oil or petroleum base, which can block pores and cause breakouts. Coconut oil has none of these side-effects.” To avoid smelling like a Bounty bar, apply it after dry brushing and pre-shower.
Choose the organic cold-pressed variety. Lal explains, “Regular coconut oil is extracted from dried coconut (copra) and chemically processed, resulting in a loss of vitamins and minerals. Virgin coconut oil is naturally extracted from fresh coconut. It retains a light aroma of coconut and its vital nutrients.” We love the ones by Forest Essentials and Amritam (Goodearth).
This article appears in the June 2014 issue of Vogue India. Subscribe to the print edition or get the single digital copy now.