Friday, May 16, 2008

If you don't know you better ask somebody - Coconut Oil

Hi Ladies!

Hope everyone is enjoying the summer-like weather we've been having lately. I laid out on Sunday trying to even out my tan (the front of my legs are baked and the backs are still a sickly yellow) but it was too hot for me! I've been doubling-up on my sunless tanner applications on the back of my body but so far it's not working.

So I'm thinking of starting another series called "If you don't know you better ask somebody", which will be all about regular items that you can use on your quest for fabulousness on the cheap. You can do a lot with regular items like lemons, aspirin, avocados, yogurt, honey, and fruit and they tend to work even better than their drugstore counterparts.

That said, let's talk coconut oil. Obviously it is derived from coconuts and has many uses; cooking being the most common I believe; especially in the islands. It's also used in manufacturing to make margarine, soap, and cosmetics, was historically used in oil lamps, and has been tested for use as a feedstock for biodiesel to be used as a diesel engine fuel. In this manner it can be applied to power generators and transport using diesel engines. A Nigerian study also found that it has antimicrobial effects and is effective in killing some strains of candida, which causes the bane of female existence - the yeast infection. (The source for all these wonderful facts is Wikipedia). But also and most importantly coconut oil is a very common - and very inexpensive - beauty product that can be used in multiple ways.

Sidebar: Coconut oil is also an excellent lubricator for sexual intercourse; but it's not safe for use with condoms. Those of you with sex lives should take note. I don't have that problem, but that's another story for another blog lol.

First and foremost coconut oil makes a great skin moisturizer. I keep a big ole bottle in the shower (it solidifies when it's cold so I keep it there to warm up and turn liquid) and when I'm done I just gently pat myself dry and then slather myself with it - a little goes a long way. This is literally the only moisturizer that alleviates my winter itch. Cold Canadian winters + steaming hot showers = itchy flaky skin six months of the year. It also works as a pre-moisturizing treatment for the skin. If you apply it and then shower your skin is smoother and softer.

My second favourite use for coconut oil is on my hair. It makes an awesome pre-poo treatment. Just warm it up, apply to your hair and let it sit - anywhere from a half hour to overnight. Then wash/condition/style as usual. It makes your hair so much softer and shinier that I've pretty much stopped using anything else. It can drip a little if you over-apply though so beware. Those of you who are wary of using the straight oil should try Bumble and Bumble's Creme do Coco Masque - it's being raved about all over the beauty blogosphere.

You can also use coconut oil as a serum on dry hair - it helps to smooth out frizzy ends, but I can't stress enough that it must be used sparingly or you will be sorry. I also hear that it's extremely effective in eliminating dandruff, but I can't attest to that personally.

Ladies out there with digestive issues (myself included) can take comfort in the fact that the medium chain fatty acids in coconut oil are digested and absorbed more easily than other oils. That means you should be looking to use it in your cooking.

My pet-loving ladies should try putting a teaspoon of coconut oil into your pet's food every day to help with issues like underactive thyroid, or use it as a swab or a drop for ear mites.

Coconut milk also has many beauty uses, but I don't like it as much as the oil so I'm not going to speak on it.

The moral of the story is, if you don't have coconut oil in your life, you should get hip to it. It's dirt cheap - I get a big bottle in Kensington Market for like $2.99 - and it works wonders.

Check out a quick YouTube Video about the various uses of coconut oil here. To learn more about the many uses for coconut oil, go to

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