While coconut oil has been a staple for many centuries, it's been brought to the public eye more recently as a beauty fix-it-all. Damaged hair? Coconut oil. Chapped lips? Coconut oil. Dry skin? Coconut oil. Seriously, what can't coconut oil do besides help you perfect that winged eyeliner? With its extensive shelf life and low price point, this natural ingredient is a must-have in your beauty pantry. Here, we've compiled a list of ways to incorporate it into your routine so you too can reap its many benefits.
Photo by Kateryna Ivanova
NOURISH DAMAGED HAIR
Coconut oil has been found to substantially reduce protein loss in damaged hair when used as a pre-wash or post-wash treatment. It can also nourish your scalp to help grow thicker, full-bodied hair. It's as easy as heating up coconut oil, applying it to damp or dry hair, and leaving it in overnight by covering it with a shower cap. Once morning rolls around, just rinse it out using your preferred shampoo, and let it dry.
SHRINK THE LOOK OF STRETCH MARKS OR SCARS
Although there hasn't been much scientific evidence associating coconut oil to the reduction of stretch marks or scars, there have been a multitude of studies on plant oils and their impact on skin health. While coconut oil can't actually remove stretch marks or scars completely, it may improve the appearance of them on your skin. Since coconut oil also promotes collagen turnover, it can speed wound healing and reduce inflammation due to its anti-inflammatory properties.
Photo by Jonas Dücker
KILL GERMS AND FRESHEN UP YOUR BREATH
Since coconut oil has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties, it can help rid your mouth of germs, while giving you fresh breath and healthier gums in the process. You can gargle it just like regular mouthwash. This method is called oil pulling, an ancient Indian remedy that's been used for thousands of years, and claims it can greatly improve oral health. Swishing one tablespoon around for 15 minutes can significantly reduce the hundreds of harmful bacteria that live inside your mouth.
RELIEF FOR IRRITATED SKIN
Using coconut oil as a topical balm may help soothe dry skin and relieve symptoms like itchiness and irritation. However, it can’t cure eczema (no matter what the internet tells you). While coconut oil isn't an antidote for this skin condition, it can provide great relief to those who experience side effects from medicated creams and ointments. If you have sensitive skin, coconut oil may help appease symptoms and lower the risk of infection.
MOISTURIZE CHAPPED LIPS
This is probably one of our favourites as coconut oil remains semi-solid at room temperature. All you need to do is mix it with a bit of shea butter or beeswax, pack some into a small container, and you've got yourself a natural lip balm. Since coconut oil is also considered an emollient, it's an ideal remedy for those dry or chapped lips.
Photo by Kyle Topping
Have you benefited from using coconut oil as a natural remedy?