Need a multitasking beauty product for your skin? Then coconut oil has you covered.
And how about your hair? Yep, that too.
And that space just between your toes? It’ll also fix that.
This deeply moisturising, all-natural – straight-from-the-earth – oil of the moment, comes pretty close to a miracle cure in a jar.
So join us, for a little investigative journalism, to see if it really lives up to its multitasking status.
The beautiful benefits
Coconut oil looks solid but melts immediately into a fast-absorbing fluid, which your skin soaks up, sans residue – it’s powerfully protective, antioxidant-rich, and extremely hydrating.
The molecular structure is so small, that all those lovely saturated fatty acids absorb quickly and efficiently, transporting important nutrients to the cells, giving it a soft, smooth, non-greasy texture.
It is fabulously rich in antioxidants, preventing destructive free-radical activity – the primary cause of ageing – and can reduce age spots caused by photo-ageing.
Coconut oil is also really great to slather on your hair, allowing for easy penetration into the follicles for extreme moisturisation…..hallelujah.
Anti-ageing properties: Coconut oil offers many wonderful polyphenols like ferulic acid, a really effective antioxidant, thought to be more powerful than vitamin E. It also contains caffeic acid another great antioxidant, so it will ward off premature ageing for many years to come.
Skin softening and anti-inflammatory: Virgin coconut oil contains 7 times more polyphenols than the regular oil, in the form of ferulic acid and p-coumaric. Both of these are calming and soothing, relieving wind-chapped and sunburned skin – literally taking the fire out the itch.
Antiviral and anti-bacterial: Virgin coconut oil possesses an unusually high percentage of lauric acid around 50%, which gives the oil its interesting anti-viral properties – so it’s a great ingredient for treating cold sores, herpes, boils, acne, and even warts.
Avoid if you have oily or combination skin.
Here’s the bad news – it’s considered comedogenic and acnegenic as well, this means not only can it clog pores, but it can make acne breakouts worse.
So this isn’t the best choice if you have oily-combination skin or suffer from breakouts and associated inflammation.
There are two kinds used in skincare
- virgin oil
- refined, deodorised and bleached
What sets the two apart is how much processing is involved during extraction. True virgin coconut oil is found in its most natural form and is taken from the flesh of the coconut, or meat as it is often referred to; this meat is then wet-milled and dry pressed.
This gentle form of extraction means that all of the important natural phytochemicals remain intact. No artificial filtering method or expeller pressing is used, so the oil retains its lovely rich smell and sweet taste.
Sadly, many unscrupulous manufacturers sell refined oil like virgin coconut oil to make a quick buck. They use the cheapest refined oil possible and run it through the centrifuge machine which cleans up the oil, enabling them to sell it as virgin coconut oil falsely.
Centrifuge extraction strips the oils of its smell and flavour, creating thick oil rich in trans fats. It is a redundant oil with no valuable properties, unlike the virgin oil it is not readily absorbed into the skin and can potentially clog pores.
So how do you recognise virgin coconut oil? A big give away is the smell, basically ‘true’ oil, will retain its lovely fragrance for many months.
You can test to see whether you have a good quality virgin coconut oil because it will readily melt upon contact with the skin, if it remains solid, you know you have thick inferior oil.
So whichever type you fancy keep it unrefined and organic, please. Aside from that feel free to apply it liberally, all over—seriously, wherever—whenever, if you want the most god damn, gorgeous glow-ification around, seriously, you will be the talk of the town.
For more information, this article is an interesting read on the different types of coconut oil.