Coconut oil is the hard-working, multi-tasking tropical oil which is an absolute must-have for summer. Jam-packed with skin and hair-loving nutrients such fatty acids, vitamins C, E, B1, B3, B5 and B6, carbohydrates, essential amino acids, and minerals including iron, selenium, sodium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorous, coconut oil has antioxidant, antiviral, anti-fungal, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Here’s just twenty ways this versatile oil can come to your rescue this summer:
1. Make-up remover
Forget harsh make-up remover or wipes which can strip away the skin’s natural oils. Coconut oil is a gentle effective alternative, and the omega 3 fatty acids will melt away cosmetics, including stubborn mascara. Furthermore it will help to restore the moisture levels.
To use: simply add a few drops to a cotton pad and gently wipe the make-up away.
2. Cleansing face wash
With natural antibacterial, antifungal and moisturising properties, coconut oil is a superb cleansing face wash. The omega-3 fatty acids will get to work breaking down dirt and make-up, whilst the lauric acid is able to inhibit acne causing bacteria and repair the skin.
To use: Massage a few drops of the oil into the skin with gentle circular movements to break down dirt. Wipe a damp muslim cloth over the face to rinse.
3. Facial moisturiser
When applied to the skin after washing in cool/lukewarm water it helps to trap in the moisture. Coconut oil further hydrates the skin, stimulates collagen to prevent/resolve premature ageing, and restores the skin’s protective barrier.
To use: Gently massage a few drops into the face morning and evening.
4. Eye cream
Those long summer days and rising temperatures can disturb our circadian rhythms (body clock), causing disturbed sleep and resulting in dark circles under the eyes, whilst over-exposure to the sun, sea or chlorine can cause the skin around the eyes to become dry, irritated or sensitive. Coconut oil with its anti-inflammatory properties can come to the rescue and help to diminish dark circles, puffiness, dryness and any sensitivity.
To use: Before bed, apply a light layer of oil, gently dabbing it on using your ring finger. Take care not to pull the delicate under-eye skin.
5. Lip balm
If the sun and sea leave your lips feeling dry, flaky, chapped or cracked, coconut oil is your go-to product. High in lauric acid, it has nourishing and antibacterial properties to prevent infection and promote wound healing. It hydrates, restores moisture and and provides a protective barrier, helping to protect against or repair dry, flaky, cracked or chapped lips.
To use: Apply to the lips as and when required. You can also make a tinted balm/gloss by heating any left over pieces of lipstick and mixing into some coconut oil.
6. Prevent bad breath from dehydration.
A consequence of hot summer weather is dehydration which can cause bad breath as the bacteria in the mouth multiplies without an adequate amount of saliva to remove debris from the mouth. Try oil-pulling with coconut oil to attract and trap pathogens which may cause plaque, gum disease and bad breath.
To use: Swish a tablespoon of oil around your mouth for 15-20 minutes, forcing it between the crevices in your teeth, to dislodge any debris before spitting it out. Since coconut oil becomes solid when it gets cold, it is recommended to spit into a bin to avoid the possibility of blocking the pipes/drain.
7. Pre-sun treatment
Coconut oil has a natural SPF of 4-5 and is full of antioxidants to prevent damage from harmful UV rays, and reduce dehydration of the skin. Use in conjunction with SPF protection to reduce sun damage.
To use: Massage into the skin before applying a SPF lotion.
8. All over body moisturiser/after sun treatment
Packed with healthy fatty acids and vitamin E, coconut oil can nourish the skin and seal in moisture to help prevent dryness and peeling, and renew skin cells, thus reversing sun damage and improving the skin tone. It can also help to relieve eczema and psoriasis.
To use: Massage into the skin after a shower to trap in the moisture. You can also add some coconut oil to a warm bath.
9. Shaving lotion
During summer it’s likely that you will be shaving more, so throw out your chemically laden shaving lotion, and use this 100% natural product which adds hydration, minimises ingrowing hairs and razor burn, and lets you achieve a close, smooth shave.
To use: Smooth gently over the skin prior to shaving.
10. Create a body scrub.
Perhaps your skin is starting to look a bit dry or dull. Exfoliation can resolve this. It will also create the perfect canvas for an even and longer lasting tan. For best results do twice a week.
How to use: Mix slightly warmed coconut oil mixed with brown sugar (ratio 1:2). You can add some essential oils too, if you have any to hand. Apply to wet skin, and gently massage over the skin in circular motions, applying only gentle pressure. Rinse off with warm, not hot, water.
11. Treat your feet.
Summer is tough on our feet. Open backed shoes and inadequate hydration can lead to dryness and painful cracked heels. Coconut oil can come to the rescue to help soothe and hydrate, and protect against infection.
To use: Soak the feet before bed. Apply a generous layer of coconut oil and cover with cotton socks.
12. Nail and hand treatment
Nails can become dry and brittle in the summer, particularly if you spend a lot of time in the sea or pool. Nourish and rehydrate the cuticle and nails, diminish peeling, and add flexibility and strength to the nails to prevent breakage.
Touse: Soak the nails for a few minutes in warm water and then massage coconut oil into the cuticles, nails and hands.
13. Scalp Health
Hot weather can be a haven for bacteria and yeast, and can cause or exacerbate scalp infections. Whilst an overabundance of sebum caused by the heat, can cause a build-up of dead skin on the scalp, or cause the scalp to become dry and flaky. Treat dandruff or a dry flaky scalp. Coconut oil has anti-inflammatory, antimicrobial and antifungal properties to help treat dandruff, and will nourish the skin and help to lock in moisture to alleviate a dry scalp.
To use: Gently warm two tablespoons of coconut oil and massage into the scalp. Leave for 30 minutes, before washing out with a gentle shampoo.
14. Protect hair against chlorine/salt water damage.
Oils don’t wash away as easily as leave-in conditioners, so if you’re headed the pool or beach and want to protect against chlorine and salt water damage, coconut oil can be your saviour. It can act as a sun protector too.
To use: Massage coconut oil along the length of the wet hair and don’t wash out.
15. Deep conditioning overnight hair treatment.
Sun, salt water and chlorine can be damaging on the hair, causing dryness, splitting and breakage. Treat your hair to a deep conditioning overnight hair treatment with coconut oil.
To use: Warm 2-3 tablespoons of coconut oil and apply to hair. Comb through the hair with a wide tooth comb to allow even distribution, cover with a shower cap and leave overnight. Shampoo out in the morning. Use 1-2 times a week.
16. Tame frizz/add shine.
Heat and humidity oftens equates to frizz, but it doesn’t need to be this way. Keep frizz and flyaway locks under control.
To use: Rub a small amount of oil in the palms of the hands and gently smooth over the hair to leave it looking smooth and polished. Use sparingly to prevent hair looking greasy.
17. Dry/split end reviver
During the summer the ends of the hair can dry out, or worse still you can suffer from split ends. Use coconut oil as a remedy to revive dry or split ends between washes.
To use: Warm a little in the hands to apply to dry ends, and smooth over the ends sparingly.
18. Heat protector
During summer the hair is being stressed enough by the heat and humidity, so try to keep heat styling to a minimum, and allow hair to dry naturally, and embrace your natural hair type, be it straight, wavy or curly. But if you really can’t live without the use of heated styling tools, coconut oil can act as a protectant.
To use: Melt one teaspoon of coconut oil and mix with ¾ cup of water. Add to a spray bottle. Shake well before use and apply to damp/wet hair from mid strand until the ends, before styling with heated styling tools.
19. Insect repellent
The fatty acids in coconut oil act as a repellent against a number of insects including flies, mosquitoes and ticks. For added protection mix in a couple of drops of essential oil with insect repellent abilities, such as tea tree oil, lemongrass, or peppermint.
To use: Massage over exposed skin.
20. Massage for muscle pain
Gotten a little over-enthusiastic with beach sports, cycling or even gardening? Coconut oil has anti-inflammatory properties, and can help to relieve pain and inflammation from aching muscles.
To use: Warm a little in your hands and gently massage into the affected area.
Coconut oil is one of the most versatile oils available, but it really comes into it’s own during summer. If you haven’t tried it yet, do yourself a favour a try some this summer – you’ll wonder how you ever coped without it. If you’re already a coconut oil disciple, don’t forget to stock up now.