So what’s all the hype about anyways? Read below to get the scoop on coconut oil.
But first, to refine or not to refine?
That is the question. And completely up to your own preference. But if you are a health nut like me, you might want to go with the unrefined aka ‘virgin’ or ‘extra virgin’ coconut oil. What’s the difference you may ask? Typically, virgin and extra-virgin coconut oils are made from fresh and raw coconuts that are pressed without the use of chemicals. Refined coconut oil has been processed and is typically tasteless and odorless. So if you want that coconutty smell, unrefined is the way to go.
Coconut oil is great in the kitchen. Many oils (even the healthy ones) tend to break down and release harmful toxins when they are heated beyond their “smoke-point.” Coconut oil fares better at higher temperatures making it one of the
healthier alternatives to other cooking oils. I’ve heard that the secret to this is to warm up your oil slowly, you don’t want it to bubble. When oil bubbles that is usually when it starts breaking down and releasing the harmful stuff. If you are going to use the unrefined coconut oil for cooking, note that your food will have a hint of coconut flavour in it. It is a bit of an acquired taste on your eggs for example, but it’s a trade off I am personally willing to make in order to get the raw benefits of the coconut. If you prefer a tasteless/odorless option, go for the refined.
Ok, so besides cooking, what else can you do with it?
For a deep conditioning, scoop out some oil and rub it in between your hands (you’d be surprised at how quickly the solid coconut oil melts), and then apply to your hair and scalp. Make sure to work the oil throughout your locks paying extra attention to the ends which usually require a little more moisture action. No need to overdo it, just enough to coat all of your hair. You can tie your hair back or braid it, leaving the oil in for about 20-30 mins and then wash or rinse out. (This will vary based on your own hair texture). When you are done, your hair will have a nice shine to it and feel silky smooth.
Hand + Body Moisturizer
Coconut oil contains fatty acids (triglycerides) which help your skin retain moisture by preventing moisture loss through your pores. Think of it as a healthy and natural antibacterial coating of moisture, as opposed to (non-natural) body lotions which are made from mineral oil or petroleum that also coat your skin, but with an impenetrable coating that does not allow your skin to breathe.
If your skin is very dry, you could probably get away with moisturizing with the coconut oil directly, however if you find that too greasy just mix half and half with an unscented body lotion which you can purchase from your local health food store. You can also tweak the 1/2 to 1/2 ratio depending on just how much moisturizer you actually need.
For nails and cuticles, apply the coconut oil directly and massage into your nails.
Apply directly to your lips as required. I like to scoop some out of the jar and keep it in an old lip gloss container for ease of use.
Make Up Remover
If it’s in a solid state, liquify first (which I do by rubbing between my palms) then apply to a cotton pad and wipe away! I have heard that this will also remove waterproof mascara however I have yet to try this one.
Self explanatory. When you’re done you will not only feel soft and smooth but you’ll also smell yummy like you just stepped off a tropical beach somewhere.
Unrefined = least processed (as close to natural as you can get)
Storage: Keep your coconut oil at room temperature, no refrigeration required! In fact, if you do refrigerate, the oil will solidify and become quite difficult to work with. I keep mine in the pantry all year round, in the summer it tends to be more liquid like (like you would expect an oil) and in the winter it’s in a halfway liquid-solid state (think Nutella) at which point I scoop it out with a butter knife. In the summer the oil will liquefy and separate, if that happens just be sure to mix it prior to use.
Coconut Oil Popcorn Recipe
Next time you’re making popcorn, try this to spice things up a bit. Instead of butter or cooking oil, pop your kernels using coconut oil. We have a popcorn maker at home so we’ll melt our coconut oil on the side and then drizzle over the freshly popped kernels. Sprinkle with cayenne pepper and paprika (to your liking), and that’s it. Just be careful with the cayenne pepper, a little bit goes a long way.
That’s all that I’ve used my coconut oil for…so far. Let me know how it goes or if you know of other uses for it.
Happy Wellness Wednesday!