Monday, March 18, 2013

Coconut Oil: First Impressions


Yesterday, my favorite friend came over to my house to do a bit of planning for our joint blog (808duo - click to take a gander). I mentioned that I'd seen a youtube video (thanks, shaaanxo) and read some articles about the benefits of coconut oil and how it could be used as a moisturizer. D was equally as excited as I was so we decided to go buy some. I called my nearby Trader Joe's to see if they had any in stock, which they did, so we drove over and bought some (for $5.99 per 16 oz. jar). Okay, so now that I've gotten that long-winded, slightly unnecessary story out of the way, let me talk to you a bit about coconut oil and why it's awesome.

  1. Coconut oil is edible. It's squeezed out from the meat of matured coconuts and it's a saturated fat (a.k.a. solid at room temperature). It's awesome for cooking because it is v. heat-stable, meaning it has a high smoking point, meaning you can use it for high heat cooking like deep frying or sauteing or stir frying without the oil burning and not only ruining the taste of your food but becoming toxic. The heat-stable and high saturated fat characteristics also means that it's slower to oxidize and won't spoil for years. It's also got some antimicrobial, antioxidant, antibacterial properties that aid in digestion and immune system strengthening.
    There are many articles out there debating the health benefits of coconut oil vs. other oils but let's face it - fat is fat. You shouldn't be consuming too much of it in the first place so just be wise and aware.
  2. Coconut oil makes a great moisturizer for body and face and it makes a great lip balm. It's solid at room temperature but melts really nicely in the warmth of your hands.
  3. Coconut oil is great for your hair. It restores moisture, makes it soft and shiny, and reduces protein loss, which helps your hair to be stronger and grow a bit faster. This applies to eyebrows and eyelashes too, people.
  4. Coconut oil is great for your nails too. Rub some onto your cuticles to soften them and onto your nails to strengthen them.
  5. It can help heal wounds faster and prevent major scarring. Rub a little onto papercuts and scrapes in lieu of Neosporin.
Like I said, I only bought the coconut oil yesterday but so far I LOVE it. I haven't had a chance to cook with it yet, but I'll share on my food blog when I do.

I scooped a bit out with a spoon, rubbed it back and forth in my hands a bit and used it all over my body after I showered, while my skin was still a bit damp. It smelled lovely - just lightly coconutty, not overly so. I also slathered it on my face and at first, it looked like I'd slapped myself in the face with a greasy pizza but once it soaked in (which took about 5 minutes), my face looked dewy and healthy and glowy. I rubbed some on my eyebrows, eyelashes, and lips as well for good measure. And I used it again this morning, in lieu of my regular morning moisturizer, and my makeup went on so smoothly.

My skin is combination - I have dry patches (especially around my nose, chin, and between my eyebrows) but I do get quite shiny and oily throughout the day. I'd love to see if moisturizing my skin a bit more helps my body to stop producing as much oil. I used to have really acne-prone skin but these days, it's calmed down quite a bit and I only get 1 or 2 scary pimples every few months (during "that time"). I do have a bit of concern that the coconut oil may clog my pores and cause breakouts - there are definitely horror stories out there on "the internets" - BUT, I use my Clarisonic daily so I'm hoping that will keep the status of my pores in check. Plus, like I mentioned above, coconut oil is antimicrobial, antibacterial, and antifungal so I don't see how that could be a bad thing.  We'll see! But usually, if a product is going to break me out, the result is rather immediate and so far, so good.

By the way, since coconut oil is solid at room temperature, I'm thinking I can pack this in my carry on with no problem. Obviously, I wouldn't bring the entire huge jar with me but I don't have to worry about shoving it into my liquids ziplock baggie.

I'll try and update about the status of my skin from time to time, but no promises.

Cheers!

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