By Samantha Papesch
Ahh, coconut oil. Where have you been all my life?
Never in my wildest dreams did I expect a voguish foodstuff to bring me such pleasure, but for the past four months it’s been championing simplicity for me, and fulfilling my minimalistic desires in oh, so many ways.
But, not in the place you might think. Like the kitchen.
No, no, no. This seductive natural extract is the hero of my everyday beauty routine.
Apparently, I’ve been oblivious to the growing reputation of coconut oil and its myriad of purposes. But, thanks to my friend Lou at The Beauty Foodie, I was enlightened, and I’ve been experimenting ever since.
The results have been impressive.
And, because I’ve replaced many of my existing products with it, my bathroom is practically clutter-free, taking my love for this salubrious substance to a whole new level.
So, why is this stuff rocking my minimalist world?
1) First up, the ultimate test: waterproof mascara. Nothing gets rid of that stubborn bugger easily. But, after a big night out, coconut oil gently removed it, and the rest of my makeup like a boss.
2) Despite being as parched as the Sahara the next morning, my skin felt incredibly hydrated, so I took that as a great sign and began substituting it for my moisturiser and hand & body lotion.
Coconut oil is already used in many beauty products. With its high level of vitamin E it’s just as effective as any other brands I’ve tried, and a little goes a long way. The best part is that it dries really quickly, so there’s no greasy residue.
3) With equal parts of salt / brown sugar to coconut oil, I was able to create a quick and natural body exfoliator / facial scrub (and said good riddance to those minuscule plastic beads in commercial products that can harm marine life and pollute our oceans).
4) A thin layer of coconut oil easily rivals shaving cream. Also, thanks to its antibacterial properties and the barrier it creates between my skin and the (oft blunt) blade, ingrown hairs are virtually non-existant.
5) Mmmmassage. It’s a perfect carrier oil to dilute essential oils. Lavender is my favourite for all-over body massage, and peppermint for a relaxing foot rub.
Note: coconut oil is solid when cool but will easily melt when warmed between your hands. (It will also turn to liquid above room temperature, but there’s no need to refrigerate it).
6. Best makeup primer, ever. A small amount of coconut oil provides a nice even surface for applying makeup, and it creates a barrier on my skin so my makeup lasts much longer.
7) Whatever remains on my hands after mosturising, I run through my hair as a smoother. It keeps my dry ends in check, and as long as I steer clear of my roots, I avoid the Danny Zuko look.
8) Every now and then my tresses need some extra love, so I apply a generous amount of coconut oil and leave it in overnight as a treatment. After washing my hair the next day it feels healthy and soft.
9) Incidentally, through all the coconut oil application my fingernails are now hard enough to cut glass. So, for the first time ever I’ve been able to grow them to a decent length without breaking.
10) And last, but not least, I use it regularly as a lip balm to prevent dry and cracked lips. Or, if I’m in the mood for some lip gloss, a quick dash over my lipstick does the trick.
There are literally hundreds of uses for this versatile product, and I don’t intend to stop there. (Fortunately, my love affair can continue without any marital friction because it recently remedied my husband’s ‘chafe’ after an extended period in wet boardshorts).
There’s no need to settle for second best either, because by comparison to other beauty products, coconut oil is extremely economical. My pick is Niugini Organics. It’s 100% organic virgin coconut oil (no preservatives), is fair trade and sustainably farmed.
But, as always, it’s important to make a choice that’s right for you (especially with a long-lasting relationship like this 😉 ) so, here are a few more options.