We live toxic lives. So many of us do. And believe it or not, most of the toxins and chemicals we absorb are done so through the products we use on our skin. Most people’s bathrooms are filled with pricey and ineffective beauty products claiming miracles will happen if you use them, however most of the time they are causing more harm than good. The cosmetic industry uses thousands upon thousands of synthetic chemicals in everything from shampoo and lipstick to moisturiser and cleansers and most of these products when applied to your body go more then skin deep.
I was a sucker for clever marketing by the cosmetic industry for many, many years and my bathroom cabinet was often full of toxic and completely unnecessary products. There has been many times in the past when i’ve looked in my cabinet and gone, wow, holy crap i’ve got some junk in here. It took me years to slowly learn about certain ingredients, their toxicity levels and the impact they were having on my health. I still look at the ingredients on some of the bottles in my house and go, what on earth is that? It’s a slow and often expensive learning curve.
Coconut oil is not only fantastic for your outsides, but also your insides. Your skin is your biggest organ and it absorbs everything you put on it, so when you are applying the chemicals found in most everyday products, those bad boys are soaking straight through to your insides. Gross! Coconut oil is antibacterial, anti-fungal and anti-inflammatory. It is primarily composed of saturated fats (approximately 90%) and contains medium-chain fatty acids, which add a layer of protection to the skin and trap water, therefore keeping skin hydrated. It also has the additional bonus of smelling like a tropical island and the ability to send my imagination to Pina Colada hour. No complaints there.
To add another tick to coconut oils claims, if you are someone like me that spends half their time packing, going through airports and travelling (most of the time NOT to tropical islands), then one little jar of this natural magic has got your back. It is the first thing I pack. It cancels out the need for cleanser, eye makeup remover, eye cream, hair masks, lip balm and so on, and by doing so, gives you a ton of extra luggage space and weight (for shopping, booyah!).
Coconut oil is the most universal product to have in your bathroom cabinet. You can pick up a jar for around $15 from most health food stores and it will last you for months. Ditch the nasties and replace them all with a jar of organic extra virgin cold pressed coconut oil with no additives. It is cheap, convenient and much better for both your insides and out.
TIP: Go for a jar with a wide mouth. It makes extracting the coconut oil a hell-of-a-lot easier. And, always make sure you have some paddle pop sticks or even a spoon on hand in your bathroom cabinet to get the coconut oil out of the jar when it goes hard. You don’t want to be constantly contaminating the oil with grubby fingers.
Here are 21 different products you should be ditching in favour of the almighty coconut oil:
When my hair is feeling more like the tail of a horse then that of a puppy, I tend to use coconut oil (or the Hello Hair mask which has a coconut oil base) on my hair before it is due for a wash. Lather it on the roots through to ends, put in a hair clip, leave it in for half an hour or more and then wash your hair as per usual. Coconut oil rebalances the proteins in your hair and penetrates the hair shaft to moisturise and protect against external damage. If i’m really bored and just pottering around at home, i’ll sometimes leave it in for half a day (i’m so crazy).
Frizz and Fly Away Tamer
Take a tiny, tiny amount (pea size) of coconut oil, work it between your hands to liquify and smooth over your hair to tame annoying fly aways and frizz.
Eye Makeup Remover
Most eye makeup removers are full of nasty ingredients including sulfates and synthetic fragrance and are a complete waste of money. Seriously, don’t waste your cash. They’re crap! Coconut oil literally melts your makeup off and even takes waterproof mascara as a victim. Make the switch and you will notice a remarkable difference in the appearance of the delicate skin around your eyes and a remarkable difference in the appearance of your bank balance because you won’t be spending cold hard cash on crap eye makeup removers.
I apply coconut oil to the skin around my eye area every. single. night. Coconut oil is a wonderful eye cream and much cheaper (and more effective) than most of the products on the market. Lather it on as you would regular eye cream and watch it work its magic.
Coconut oil is fantastic at softening your cuticles whilst at the same time making your nails super strong. Put some on every night before bed.
Coconut oil is rich in medium-chain fatty acids so it makes an excellent moisturiser as it forms a layer over your skin and traps moisture in. You can mix it with a small amount of your favourite essential oil and lather it all over your body to make it extra luxurious. The best time to use this concoction is straight after a shower when your pores are already open from the steam. If i’m doing it before bed, I use lavender oil as I find that the most relaxing before clocking up some zzzzz’s.
NB: Therapeutic grade essential oils are always best.
Using coconut oil to shave your legs (or wherever) gets rid of those nasty little bumps that can appear after shaving. The coconut oil softens your hair cuticles making for a closer and smoother shave. Your skin is also left feeling soft and hydrated.
Soothing and Softening Foot Gel
Coconut Oil is incredibly effective at softening your hands. I have used it on my partner’s rough ‘bowling’ hands many a time and it has worked a treat in transforming his hands from the texture of an echidnas back to something as smooth as a babies bottom. Simply lather coconut oil over your hands and sit back and relax. It absorbs relatively quickly.
Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic practice that involves swishing a teaspoon of coconut oil around in your mouth for 15-20 minutes first thing in the morning. It fights against bad breath, bacteria build up, gingivitis and plaque and is fantastic if you can get into the habit of doing it regularly. I used to not be a fan of oil pulling, but now I ‘pull’ every so often and notice a big difference in my oral health. Sounds dirty.
NB: Don’t spit the oil down the drain because it can clog up the pipes. Spit it straight into the garbage bin.
I keep a little container of coconut oil next to my bed and lather it over my lips (the lips on my face, dirty minded people) before I go to sleep (this is when you should do your cuticles too). You can also make a lip scrub by mixing it with sugar granules. Careful, it’s delicious.
Once you’ve used coconut oil in the shower or bath, there is no looking back. You won’t be wasting your money buying the pre-made versions loaded with fragrance and microbeads which damage and pollute our waterways. Coconut oil scrubs leave your skin glowing and feeling hydrated and nourished.
I make my own using coconut oil, sugar and/or celtic sea salt and a few drops of lavender essential oil. It is absolutely delicious and your skin is left feeling super soft afterwards. To make it more detoxifying, you can skip the sugar or salt and use coffee grains instead.
When it is cool, coconut oil solidifies. However, as soon as it makes contact with body heat, it melts and glides effortlessly over the skin. Add a few drops of a relaxing essential oil to some coconut oil and you have a simply divine massage oil.
Place a big dollop of coconut oil in your bath and let your skin soak up its goodness. You will actually think you’re floating in the water on a tropical island.
I’m not one to like leaving oil on my face for too long because it causes me to break out, much to my disappointment. However, using it in something like a scrub which you wash off straight away is fine. I mix coconut oil with some bicarbonate soda as my exfoliating facial scrub. If you are one of the lucky ones that never breaks out, use it on your face a bit longer for a moisturising and hydrating mask.
Mix coconut oil with raw cacao butter and some filleted fresh Aloe Vera gel and you have an incredibly effective and soothing sunburn cream. Most of the after sun products you buy in stores use water as the main ingredient, which does absolute squat. Call in the big guns and deal with sunburn the right way.
Rashes and Cuts
Coconut oil forms a thin antibacterial layer over wounds and rashes and stops germs, dirt and dust from potentially causing infection. It also speeds up the healing process by increasing cellular turnover and reducing the chance of scarring.
Itching and irritation be gone! Coconut oil also calms the redness of insect bites and repels future ones.
Coconut oil is unbelievable at removing makeup. It’s incredible. Cleanse as you usually would with your cleanser and watch makeup slide off to leave your skin with a beautiful, glowing appearance. If you have acne-prone skin, make sure you remove all the oil thoroughly after cleansing.
Thanks to its antibacterial properties, coconut oil can reduce the ‘tang’ under your armpits. Mix it with some pure essential oils and bicarbonate soda and you’ve got an incredibly effective deodorant. NB: This can be messy.