A couple of years ago I began to seek out more natural ways of living. Harsh chemicals are in everything from cleaning supplies to the food we eat. Since I have multiple auto-immune disorders, it’s been a mission of mine to get rid of all of that junk and stick with the basics. I have a few natural staples for our home that we use for multiple purposes. One of those staples is coconut oil. Too many people are completely unaware of just how useful this stuff really is. From soap-making and personal care to wood polish to cooking, coconut oil is truly amazing. I ran out today, and that’s a big no-no around here. After scouring several stores this afternoon, I was finally able to get my hands on some more. I use only organic virgin coconut oil because it’s being used both on our bodies and in cooking, and who wants to risk impurities?
I keep several jars. Usually at least one in the kitchen for cooking, one in the bathroom for my body, and another for general purpose use. Eventually I suppose I should just buy it in bulk because we use so much of the stuff!
On your body: One of coconut oil’s most amazing uses is as a whole-body moisturizer. I’m one of those people who is sensitive to just about everything, especially anything artificial. Almost every lotion and moisturizer on the mass market contains alcohol and other irritating ingredients – even the ones marketed for babies! Coconut oil is less expensive and pure. One simple ingredient. As soon as I’m out of the shower, I moisturize with it straight from the jar. (It can also be whipped with added vitamin E and essential oils, if you like. Instructions for that can be found here.) It soaks in very quickly, so you won’t have a greasy, oily feeling after using it. Be aware a little really does go a very long way, so you only want a dime-sized amount at a time.
On your face: You might be surprised to find that coconut oil can also be used as a facial moisturizer! I know you’re thinking, “Oil? On my face?” Yes, but coconut oil is different. I have very oily skin that’s prone to irritation and breakouts, as well as issues with redness. Coconut oil has proven to be the best thing for even my sensitive skin. I’ve used it for almost two years and have not once had a breakout from it. Even better, I experience less irritation and redness in my t-zone when I use it regularly.
On your hair: Coconut oil is a wonderful hair conditioner, just be aware you should use less than a pea-sized amount for even very long hair. You’ll want to rub it between your hands until it’s liquefied completely and then smooth it into your hair, starting at the ends. If you use too much it’ll look oily. If that happens, just rinse your hair thoroughly to get some of it out. You can use in while in the shower, if you prefer. Your hair will love you for it.
For sun damage: This year I took my kids to a music festival and oops! I forgot sunscreen on myself. Really dumb, I know. I’m blonde and pale-skinned and of Irish descent, so you can imagine the sunburn I had. I was out of aloe, so I just put coconut oil all over the burn. It took half as long to heal, and didn’t peel very much at all.
As a natural deodorant: I’ve read fantastic things about natural, homemade deodorant made with coconut oil. I got all the ingredients today and will make up a batch tonight. I’ll post the recipe (with proper credit, of course) and tell you how well it works within the next few days.
On wood furniture: Last year a friend of mine brought me a couple of old bookshelves he’d had sitting in his barn for quite some time. They were handmade and very primitive, and covered in cobwebs and dust. After cleaning them up with some orange vinegar solution (I’ll go into that in another post), I grabbed the coconut oil and rubbed it in well. They looked good as new, and really looked completely different from when they’d been dropped off. A year later, and they still look fantastic.
For cooking: If you’ve heard coconut oil isn’t a healthy option, you’ll want to read this. That claim is completely false, and coconut oil is a very healthy food product. It’s pure, and it even has some wonderful healing properties. You haven’t lived until you’ve had homemade pancakes cooked in coconut oil. I don’t use it in everything, though, because you can taste it in the food. I like it in both sweet and savory dishes, so just be creative with it and figure out what works best for you.
Coconut oil has myriad other uses, which you can read more about here.