If there’s one beauty ingredient that has been a part of our collective childhood, it’s coconut oil. Our grandmothers raved about it, our mothers always kept it handy on their dressers, and at some point in our lives, we’ve all used it as our go to hair or body oil to beat the cold, dry winter.
However, calling coconut oil simply a beauty ingredient is selling it short. The sheer number of benefits that good quality extra virgin coconut oil has, makes it one of the most versatile and fail-proof sources of nourishment for your skin, hair and even your body! Beauty experts, both with traditional and modern approaches, find it easy to arrive at a common ground when it comes to coconut oil benefits, it’s just THAT universal.
Coconut in itself is such a gift to mankind. When you think about it, almost every part of coconut seed is useful in some way or the other. There is also an innately therapeutic and relaxing connotation attached to this wonderful fruit: think palm-lined beaches, refreshing pina coladas and flavourful coconut curries! Here’s what makes it so special:
Read the full article to know all the ways coconut oil can come to your rescue, especially in winters and the different types of coconut oil available in the market.
Virgin Coconut Oil, or Extra Virgin coconut oil is essentially the same product from the same raw material; however, the method of extraction used makes a huge difference in the quality and properties of the end product. Virgin coconut oil has useful signature properties as it is produced using the cold-pressed method with no external heat.
The liquid or milk from which the oil is extracted is gained from fresh coconut pulp unlike the dried coconut kernel used in case of regular coconut oil. The best part about virgin coconut oil is that it is purely natural because it isn’t tampered with standard procedures such as bleaching or refining. For this reason, virgin coconut oil is slightly milky in appearance and you can immediately tell it apart from regular coconut oil.
Other signature properties of virgin coconut oil include stronger aroma and taste and a shorter shelf life.
When coconut oil is produced using high levels of heat, the output is maximised but the nutrients of the oil gets completely destroyed in the process. Cold pressed virgin coconut oil is produced using minimal or no heat, solely by mechanical pressure methods, and is thus able to retain its useful properties. Cold pressed coconut oil is the best one to use on your skin and hair for the best results.
Coconut oil benefits for your skin are no secret! It is an oil revered by beauty experts and dermatologists around the world as one of the best natural moisturizers that gets absorbed by the skin very easily and penetrates deeper layers, keeping your skin hydrated for long hours. Extra virgin coconut oil comes with natural antioxidants that help relieve skin inflammation,cuts and wounds, rashes and other skin conditions.
Here are some benefits of using coconut oil for face:
Coconut oil is a very versatile and multi-purpose oil that can help your skin in many different ways. Here are some excellent uses of coconut oil for face and for your skin, particularly in winter:
Coconut oil with its fatty acids has the power to fix dry skin and flakiness with just a single application as it is easily absorbed by the skin.
Dry lips are a big concern during winter, coconut oil can work as a natural lip balm that keeps your lips hydrated and prevents them from getting chapped.
Coconut oil for the face can easily break down dirt and makeup and work as a fantastic natural cleanser.
It can work as a gentle exfoliator that removes dead skin and makes your skin soft and supple.
With its natural anti-inflammatory properties, coconut oil can come in handy to treat rashes, wounds and burns and also help soothe skin after shaving/waxing.
Coconut oil is great for massaging your body as it helps increase blood circulation and induce relaxation.
The short answer is yes, extra virgin coconut oil is great to apply on your face but it depends on how you use it, the frequency and what your skin type and issues are. It must be noted that while coconut oil is a good supplement to your moisturizer, it also has comedogenic properties which means that it can clog pores.
If you have normal to dry skin, you can use coconut oil as an overnight moisturizer as it will help treat dryness and itchiness. But it can also clog pores for some people and might not be an ideal choice universally.
Because of its comedogenic properties, it is not recommended for very oily skin and works better for normal to dry skin.
The anti-inflammatory properties of coconut oil not only helps treat acne and acne marks but it can also help prevent breakouts. Coconut oil is high in medium-chain fatty acids that can kill the acne causing bacteria called Propionibacterium acnes.
However, if you have extremely oily skin, coconut oil can clog pores and make acne worse so it is better to avoid it on your face.
Time and again, coconut oil has proved to be effective in making hair healthier and thicker. It also helps improve hair strength and encourage new hair growth by penetrating the hair follicle and removing sebum-buildup that may be restricting growth or causing hair fall. However, you must use virgin cold pressed coconut oil for hair to utilise the full benefits of this miraculous oil.
Here are some ways coconut oil can help your hair:
Coconut hair can work as a great natural hair conditioner that smoothes your strands. It can be used pre or post wash.
Dry scalp can cause a variety of issues like itchiness, dandruff, flaky skin etc. A scalp massage with coconut oil encourages blood circulation and prevents these conditions.
Your hair needs additional pampering other than just shampooing and conditioning. Once a week, make a DIY hair mask for your hair with coconut oil and other hair-friendly materials like yoghourt, lemon and curry leaves paste. This helps in deep conditioning and encouraging hair repair.
A good hair massage not only induces growth by increasing blood circulation to your follicles but also has de-stressing and relaxing effects on the mind.
Coconut oil is good for hair and this claim is backed withmany studies and experiments. When applied prior to hair wash, coconut oil has been shown to reduce protein loss more than sunflower and mineral oils. This is because it is made of a medium chain fatty acid (lauric acid) that allows its easy absorption into the hair shaft and gives it protection from environmental damage.
The main cause of dandruff is fungus or yeast growth on the scalp or dryness. Coconut oil takes care of both these factors: its antimicrobial properties reduce the chances of this fungus or yeast growth on the scalp and its moisturising properties keep your scalp hydrated.
Using coconut oil once a week with gentle massaging is actually good for hairfall. However, over-usage of coconut oil on the scalp can cause this problem. Friction caused due to over massaging can cause hair fall. Also using coconut oil too often can repel moisture that is needed by your hair, making it dry and brittle and more prone to breakage.
Mahima Agarwal is a writer and content creator with 7 years of experience in the digital and lifestyle content industry. She supports clean, environment-conscious fashion and beauty products and also recognises the power of ayurveda when it comes to skincare. Mahima loves to gather inspiration for her writing travelling the world.
Certified Ayurvedic Doctor (Central Council of Indian Medicine) working in Kama Ayurveda as an Assistant Training Manager.