Coconut Oil: from your hair to your toes (and in your kitchen)

Coconut oil is certainly on the list of essential ingredients for the Savvy Student as it is one of those multi-use products which works from your hair to your toes, as well as in your kitchen.

Miranda Kerr said in an interview with Huffington Post 

“I cook with it, use it in my hair, it’s great to remove makeup … really good for eye makeup if you’ve got sensitive eyes. If you have a burn, like if you’ve burned yourself with a curling iron, you can put a bit of that on there to help. Sometimes I sleep with coconut oil in my hair”.

Miranda Kerr  An unrefined virgin coconut oil is best if you can afford it, but being a poor student, I’ve gone for the cheaper option at Tesco. This is a refined coconut oil and isn’t organic or virgin, so isn’t as healthy if you are cooking with it. Amazingly it is on offer until 31 October at just £1.50 so worth stocking up.  The unrefined virgin versions are £6 upwards, which is still remarkably affordable when this one ingredient saves you buying a myriad of products.

Cooking

Use Coconut oil for baking, stir-frying or as a dairy free replacement to butter. It has a high smoking point and so is better for high-temperature cooking than olive oil. Mumma made my Nigella’s Lemon Polenta Cake http://www.nigella.com/recipes/view/LEMON-POLENTA-CAKE-5308 using coconut oil instead of butter and it was completely delicious.

Aspall's apple cider vinegar with Tesco's KTC coconut oil

Skin Moisteriser

For that dewy, just got out of bed but still look absolutely fabulous look, use coconut oil as an intensive moisturiser at night for the face, body and particularly any dry areas such as feet or elbows. Not only does the fatty acids in the oil make it antimicrobial, it also contains a large amount of Vitamin E which is renowned for its ability to help the skin repair, resulting in a smooth, nourished complexion.

Coconut oil can also help sooth psoriasis and eczema.

 Hair Conditioner

Rub a tablespoon or so into dry hair, depending on length, and leave for several hours or overnight. If you live in a freezing cold student house you may need to melt slightly first, either in your hands or for a few seconds in a microwave on low heat.  As a hair model, my hair is often subjected to all types of abuse, from straightening irons to backcombing.  An overnight treatment of coconut oil sorts out both my hair and my scalp. If difficult to wash out with warm water try using a little conditioner (no shampoo) to help get it out.

On a photoshoot for Fashion Revolution, by photographer Keiron O'Connor

On a photoshoot for Fashion Revolution, by photographer Keiron O’Connor

Make-up remover

Thanks to Rebecca Pearson’s blog Model Typeface, I discovered that you can also use coconut oil to remove your make up. It works brilliantly for eye make-up and removes all trace of mascara.

 

In the sun

Coconut oil contains a natural sunscreen. It is only around SPF4 but it still means it is worth your while using coconut oil as a body moisturiser. At £1.50 a jar, it is cheaper than just about any option in a High Street Chemist and doesn’t contain a huge list of chemical preservatives, synthetic additives & artificial fragrances.

If you do get sunburnt, which inevitably happens from time to time, try my apple cider vinegar tip, and then follow up with coconut oil moisturiser and you’ll be amazed at how fast the burning sensation disappears.

Scrub

Mix 50% Coconut oil with 50% sugar to make a body scrub. Best to use in the bath or shower as a little messy. My feet are definitely not my best asset, so I like to mix coconut oil with salt and use as a pumice scrub to remove dry skin from my feet.

Lips

Rub coconut oil on your lips as a natural lipsalve. I would definitely recommend an organic, unrefined virgin coconut oil for this if you can afford it.

I can’t forget the statistic I heard about how much lipsalve an average person swallows over our lifetime: over 2.5kilos!   Lipsalves are also addictive!   Petrolatum and Paraffinum Liquidum are byproducts of petroleum and actually dry your lips out in the long term and create a false sense of dependency. Despite feeling as if it is moisturising your lips, you lipsalve may actually be doing the reverse. It may also contain parabens, definitely something to avoid, as well as camphor, phenol, aluminum salt and menthol.

Deodorant

Coconut oil is apparently an effective natural deodorant. This sceptical blogger on xovain.com gave it a trial run.

Insect bites

I react really badly to insect bites, and seem to get bitten frequently. Coconut oil can help to reduce the itching from bites.

This is only just skimming the surface of the many uses of coconut oil.  Definitely an indispensable store cupboard and kitchen cabinet ingredient for the Savvy Student.

In your coffee

This may sound weird but apparently it gives you an extra kick of natural energy on top of the caffeine from your coffee, something all students need when they have a 9am lecture. You only need about 1tsp per cup of coffee and it is better to blend it in, rather than just stir, so you don’t get oily coffee.

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