coconut oil

Beauty benefits of coconut oil

If you’re looking for an “all in one” beauty product, peek inside your pantry and you’ll likely find your solution: coconut oil. Coconut oil is derived from the dried fruit of Cocos nucifera and has many uses from cooking to massage oil, from furniture conditioner to being a popular ingredient in many cosmetics including fragrances, skin and hair products, toothpaste and deodorant. Coconut oil is composed of up to 95 per cent saturated fats and has a low molecular weight, which allows it to penetrate deeply through the skin’s barrier and hair shaft to moisturise, nourish and provide its therapeutic actions. Coconut oil has been shown to possess anti-inflammatory, antioxidant and antimicrobial properties, making it the perfect balm for ageing, red, inflamed, dry, irritated or acne-prone skin and dry, brittle hair. Before heading out to purchase another beauty product why not try your hand at making the simple hair masks and moisturiser below?

Coconut oil for Hair

Topical application of coconut oil as a hair mask has been shown to enhance moisture and promote hair growth. The effectiveness of coconut oil mixed with herbs to promote hair growth can alleviate dandruff and a dry scalp and reduce eczema flares. This is due to one of the saturated fats in coconut oil, lauric acid, which has been shown to possess antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and moisturising properties in addition to having a low molecular weight, which allows the oil to penetrate deeply and easily into the hair shaft.

Try these three easy hair masks at home for dehydrated, brittle or dandruff-prone hair.

Hair Mask for Dehydrated Hair

2 tbsp organic coconut oil

If not already a liquid, gently heat coconut oil in a bowl until it is melted.

Apply to damp or dry hair evenly.

Wrap your hair in a towel or shower cap and leave overnight while you sleep.

Wash your hair in the morning with shampoo and conditioner.

Hair Mask for Dandruff

2 tbsp organic coconut oil
1 tbsp apple-cider vinegar

If not already a liquid, gently heat coconut oil in a bowl until it is melted.

Add the apple-cider vinegar and stir until well combined.

Once the mask is cool apply to dry or damp hair evenly.

Leave for 20 mins then rinse out.

Wash hair thoroughly with shampoo and conditioner. Rinse.

Hair Mask for Hair Breakage

2 tbsp organic coconut oil
1 tbsp honey
1 egg

If not already a liquid, gently heat coconut oil in a bowl until it is melted.

Whisk the egg in a separate bowl.

Combine the egg, honey and coconut oil and whisk until combined.

Apply mask to hair evenly and massage into scalp.

Wrap hair in a towel and leave for 30 mins.

Wash thoroughly with shampoo and conditioner.

Coconut oil for Skin

Anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties

Coconut oil can also be used on inflammatory and bacterial skin conditions such as eczema, atopic dermatitis, psoriasis and even nappy rash for its antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and wound-healing properties.

A double-blind randomised control trial showed topical application of coconut oil decreases Staphylococcus aureus colonisation on the skin, which is associated with atopic dermatitis.

Furthermore, studies suggest that coconut oil may be able to modulate immune cell proliferation, which is why it shows promise in treating psoriasis, which is both an inflammatory and an autoimmune-mediated skin condition.

Moisturises and fights premature ageing

The high content of saturated fats make coconut oil highly moisturising for the skin. From a microscopic level these fats work as an emollient, flattening dry, dehydrated edges of the skin’s cells and filling the gaps between them, locking moisture in and leaving skin more even and hydrated and with an enhanced barrier function.

Coconut oil contains phenolic acids, which are antioxidant compounds that fight against free radical damage in the skin and body caused by toxins and chemicals in the environment. Antioxidants are one of the best mitigators for reducing premature ageing and wrinkles, making coconut oil a great natural anti-ageing balm.

DIY Coconut Face Moisturiser

½ cup organic coconut oil
¼ tsp organic vitamin E oil
1 drop lavender or your choice of essential oil (optional)

If not already a liquid, gently heat coconut oil in a bowl until it is melted.

Add the vitamin E oil and essential oil and stir well.

Pour into a sterilised glass mason jar.

Apply directly to face and body and store in a cool place.

Ema Taylor

Ema Taylor

Ema Taylor is a naturopath, clinical nutritionist and certified fertility awareness educator. For more, visit emataylor.com or @emataylornaturopathy on Instagram.

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