Coconut oil is an amazingly versatile, therapeutic, and very economical substance with a mild pleasant scent. Coconut oil, like butter, is a solid substance, melting to a liquid form when it reaches about 76 degrees. Insoluble at room temperature, it takes on a creamy consistency when blended with water using a whisk. As long as it is not treated to processes such as bleaching, refining or deodorizing (always buy organic), coconut oil exudes the mild fragrance you would expect — like coconut.
Since around the mid-1990s, coconut oil has become increasingly popular among the health-conscious for a number of personal applications, such as cleansing, deodorizing and healing. In fact, there are a plethora of benefits and applications for raw, organic coconut oil in the bathroom…
2 Kinds of Coconut Oil — Commercial Grade and Virgin
First, it helps to understand how your coconut oil is produced. Regarding its production, there are two basic types: Commercial-grade and virgin coconut oil.
1. Commercial grade coconut oil
This product is made from copra, which is the dried meat of the coconut. It’s usually smoke, sun or kiln-dried or a combination of the three. But when standard copra is used to make coconut oil, it’s not sterile and therefore unsuitable for human consumption.It’s “purified” or refined through a process known as RBD — refined, bleached and deodorized. According to Coconutdiet.com:
High heat is used to deodorize the oil, and the oil is typically filtered through (bleaching) clay to remove impurities. Sodium hydroxide is generally used to remove free fatty acids and prolong shelf-life.
This is the most common way to mass-produce coconut oil. The older way of producing refined coconut oil was through physical/mechanical refining. More modern methods also use chemical solvents to extract all the oil from the copra for higher yields.
2. Virgin coconut oil
In comparison, like olive oil, coconut oil is best when “first-pressed” and “virgin.” Like pressing a teabag that’s been steeping in boiled water a few minutes, the first water released will contain the most actual extracts.
The second time it’s pressed, as in the teabag analogy, the result isn’t as concentrated.
Virgin Coconut Oil can only be made by using fresh coconut meat or what is called non-copra. Chemicals. High heating is not used in further refining, since the natural, pure coconut oil is very stable with a shelf life of several years. There are currently two main processes of manufacturing Virgin Coconut Oil:
Quick drying of fresh coconut meat which is then used to press out the oil. Using this method, minimal heat is used to quick dry the coconut meat, and the oil is then pressed out via mechanical means.
Wet-milling. With this method, the oil is extracted from fresh coconut meat without drying first. ‘Coconut milk’ is expressed first by pressing. The oil is then further separated from the water.
Methods which can be used to separate the oil from the water include boiling, fermentation, refrigeration, enzymes and mechanical centrifuge.
Raw, organic coconut oil, besides being good enough to eat has a plethora of benefits – apart from actual ingestion. Here’s a list of 15 benefits of coconut oil (in no particular order):
1. Deep Condition your Hair
You can use coconut oil instead of your customary conditioner, which is full of chemicals. So, you should add 1 tablespoon of coconut oil to your roots, and then massage it down toward the ends of your hair. Let it act for 30 minutes before washing your hair. Then, rinse it with warm water. Moreover, you can leave it overnight and wash it the next morning.
2. Oil Pulling
Try to use coconut oil for eliminating oral bacteria and toxins from your mouth. All you have to do us swish 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth for 10-20 minutes. Do this every morning and then spit it out. Finish by rinsing your mouth out with water.
3. Makeup Removal
Use coconut oil as a natural makeup removal. It will eliminate the makeup and moisture the skin at the same time.
4. Body Moisturizer
You can moisturize your face, hands, and body with coconut oil. Use it on a daily basis or after a shower.
5. Protect the Lips
Coconut oil will protect your lips from environmental pollution and toxins and hydrate the lips. Use it as part of your daily routine.
You can use coconut oil instead of antiperspirants, which are full of synthetic chemicals. Simply mix a pinch of coconut oil and a drop of an essential oil and use it on a daily basis.
7. Smooth shave
If you’ve been plagued by red, irritated and razor-burned skin after shaving, coconut oil is both soothing and antibacterial.
8. Rash recovery
Other rash problems from diaper rash to mild allergic reactions can be remedied using coconut oil. Propylene glycol is one chemical found in commercial moisturizers that can cause skin irritation and dermatitis.
9. Treat your cuticles
Massage coconut oil in and around your nail beds a few times per day to treat and prevent dry, flaky cuticles.
10. Wash your face
This treatment is known as oil cleansing. You should mix equal parts of coconut oil and castor oil, massage it into your skin, and then wipe it off with a warm washcloth.
11. Fight foot fungus
Apply coconut oil to the bottoms of your feet after you shower to help nix fungal infections like athlete’s foot.
12. Add to a luxurious bath
Mix a spoonful of coconut oil and a few drops of your favorite essential oils into the tub for a luxurious, fragrant, and moisturizing bath.
13. Make a homemade toothpaste
Make an all-natural, bacteria and plaque-fighting toothpaste by combining ½ teaspoon baking soda, 1 teaspoon coconut oil, and 2 drops of peppermint essential oil in a small dish. Put it on your toothbrush and brush as usual!
14. Whip up a body scrub
Mix equal parts of coconut oil and sea salt (or sugar or baking soda) to make body scrub that’s both exfoliating and moisturizing. Apply while you’re in the shower, and then rinse off.
15. Fight frizz
Apply a few drops of coconut oil to wet or dry hair to fight frizz throughout the day.
As you can see, coconut oil’s usefulness spreads far beyond cooking; it can also be used in a ton of other ways to support greater health and beauty.