I just have to take a moment to rep my new obsession - coconut oil.
Best kept secret as far as beauty products are concerned in my opinion. I bought mine a while ago and can't get enough of it! I use it as a body and face moisturizer along with the oil cleansing method which I posted on a while back. Coconut oil is just fabulous all around, but what I like most about using it is knowing that it's super healthy externally and internally. Our skin is our largest organ after all, and slathering chemicals on it day after day can take a tole on our over all health.
SO, let's get down to business, shall we? You can purchase coconut oil at your local whole foods or health food store, although some grocery stores are starting to offer it in their organic section. I found mine at Earth Fare (is that an east coast thing?) for $8. It comes in a jar and will most likely be stocked in the food section. You want to get the raw, extra virgin kind. If you don't like the smell of coconut, fear not. Some brands are known to be less fragrant, just ask at the store. You can also add in essential oil to make it smell like peppermint or lavender or whatever else you fancy. When you get it home and crack the top off you'll notice it's a bit like lard. That's okay. Once you touch it, it will start to soften and melt with the warmth of your skin. The first time you rub it into your skin it might seem a bit oily. Don't worry! It will quickly soak into your skin like a good moisturizer is supposed to. I only use a small amount on my face, but even with my oily skin it doesn't feel heavy or greasy.
This is also a great product for mamas and babies. Consuming 3 1/2 tbs. of coconut oil a day will enrich a breastfeeding mother's milk supply. It's a great moisturizer for babies as well as a great natural remedy to many skin problems- diaper rash, cradle cap, etc.
Here are some concoctions you can make using coconut oil to change up the consistency and better fit it for a specific use-
[s a l v e]
The general rule when making salve is 1 part beeswax to 3 parts oil. But you can always tweak it depending on how you want it. Melt up the beeswax, add in the coconut oil, mix well then pour it up into a container and let it harden in the fridge. You would think that adding beeswax would make it harder, but it should give it a thicker, more pliable consistency. Obviously, coming straight from the fridge it will be hard, but it should soften up at room temp.
[l o t i o n]
Lotion can be made by blending up salve, aloe vera juice, vitamin E oil and essential oil of your choice. Combine 2 cups salve, 1/4 cup aloe vera juice, 1 tsp. vitamin E oil and blend on high for 1-2 minutes. You can control the thickness of the lotion by adding more or less aloe vera juice. For body butter, alternate the 1/4 cup aloe vera juice for 1/2 cup aloe vera gel. This can be stored at room temp, although it will last longer in the fridge. You can add 1/2 tsp. grapefruit seed extract as a natural preservative to keep it fresh even longer.
[i n f u s e d - o i l]
Basically you can make infused oil the same way you make loose leaf tea. The herbs should steep directly in the melted coconut oil and for much longer than your average tea. Place the herbs in a canning jar, pour the melted coconut oil over the top and screw on the lid.
For a lightly infused oil, place a thick rag in the bottom of a tall pot. Place the jar in the pot on top of the rag and pour in water so that 3/4 of the jar is submerged. Cover the pot and cook on low for 3-4 hours. Remove jar, let cool then strain the oil using a cheesecloth or thin t-shirt material. Discard the herbs and bottle up your infused coconut oil.
For a super rich oil you would do the same thing only using a crock pot and cooking on the lowest setting for 3-4 days.
[h e r b s]
Here are some herbs that are known to be good for the skin. Click on the herb to read up on it.
calendula flower- skin soothing
rose petal- skin soothing, astringent properties
lavender- natural soap, antiseptic
comfrey- healing, knitting herb
horsetail shave grass- high in silica for skin elasticity
Coconut oil can be used for so many different things, and we didn't even go into it's many functions in the kitchen. Let me know if you give it a try or if you're already a fan!
p.s. I made a new label for mine so it wouldn't look like a pantry item sitting in my bathroom. You can download these pretty labels here for free.