This winter has been the most brutal winter we have seen in a while, at least on the east coast. I for one struggled with keeping my skin hydrated. I was constantly putting on lotion, but no matter how often I reapplied, my skin was still very dry… and I never had this problem in previous winters. I started looking for other things to that could help with my skin woes. Coconut oil has been named as a “cure-all” for these types of issues. Can it be true? Can this oil be the solution to all our problems?
It is said that Coconut oil helps with digestion, heart disease, immune system, weight loss, etc. I am not suggesting to start eating spoonfuls of the stuff (that would be just gross), but can this oil really have these many benefits? And if so, what about the other oils? I set out to do some research on the Google machine and a little experimentation of my own….
Cooking and Baking: I bought coconut oil on a whim last year. Not having a lot of knowledge on the product, I decided to use it to sauté veggies one night for dinner. I used a couple of tablespoons with veggies and put them with some pasta. My boyfriend and I found the end result…. interesting. It didn’t have a coconut taste exactly but it definitely created a different taste to the veggies. I then started substituting it for butter and vegetable oils when baking and, as you have seen in my previous posts, I have loved the end result.
Coconut oil can also sustain a higher level of heat and not have a negative effect like extra-virgin olive oil which will lose its taste if heat is used.
Skin Care: Coconut oil is found in certain chapstick ingredients, soaps, etc. I tried some coconut oil on my hands, especially on dry areas, and it worked! It leaves your skin slightly oily and eventually dries, but the dry patches were gone later that day and lasted a couple of days until it eventually came back.
We have heard olive oil is a good moisturizer as well. It is also used in a lot of lotions and soaps. When I gave olive oil a try, it left my hands oily and saturated. My hands definitely felt soft but I didn’t like touching things after using the olive oil and leaving oily fingerprints.
Replacement for coffee creamer (source: well&goodnyc): I put about a tsp into my coffee and swirled it around. It left an oily line on top of the coffee, and didn’t add any additional flavor to the coffee (good thing I don’t mind it black). I later read you need to throw it in a Nutribullet or blender for it to take effect…
Kitchen uses (source: well&goodnyc): Spread a bit on your knives and scissors, and slicing will go a little more smoothly for sticky ingredients. Wipe some oil on your pans and skillets instead of non-stick spray or use it instead of Crisco when greasing a baking pan/muffin tray.
Hair Care (source: refinery29):
Protect Your Strands From Summer Fun Stylist Mark Townsend says be sure to pack some coconut oil in your bag. He tells his clients to coat their hair in coconut oil before a dip in the pool or ocean. “The oil will coat your hair and protect it from the damaging effects of chlorine [and saltwater].” Townsend swears the oil will absorb into the hair, so you don’t have to worry about it looking like an oil spill when you get into the water.
Supercharge Your Conditioner Townsend’s favorite trick with oils is to make customized conditioners for his clients. “Oils with small molecules, like macadamia and almond, penetrate into the hair, so they can replace lost lipids and fatty acids inside the hair shaft,” he says. His Recipe: Take a bottle of moisturizing conditioner, pour it into a big bowl, and then add in 1/2 cup of unrefined coconut oil and two tablespoons each of vitamin E, almond, macadamia, and jojoba oils. Mix all of this together, and pour it back in its bottle for the most hydrating, reparative concoction around.
A good reminder: you don’t need to completely switch to coconut oil, because then you will lose the other benefits of more traditional oils and dairy products. In fact, I would go so far in saying that it should be used in moderation just like everything else. Other oils, such as olive oil, also help prevent heart disease and may help in weight loss (palm oil).