Earlier the name coconut oil would make me scrunch my nose and bring back the not-so-good memories of using Parachute coconut oil when I was in school. As it was presumed to make your hair strong and healthy, Parachute coconut oil was/is common household name in India.
In my mid teens I stopped using it all thanks to the greasy and frizzy effect of it on hair. Furthermore I felt it was because of using this oil, dandruff started.
My assumptions were right as my dandruff considerably reduced after I stopped using it.
According to hearsay, Parachute coconut oil available then was admixed with mineral oil, paraffin wax and other chemicals.
No wonder, the greasy effect and smell, by which one can guess from a distance if someone had used this oil or not. And on top of that we get to see Deepika Padukone endorsing it where they show her going to photo shoots after applying this grease fest.
Because of this experience I never bothered to do add coconut oil to the list of natural oils I was experimenting.
But every time I surf about natural oils, Coconut oil is always the most raved about.
So, this made me embark on the goodness of coconuts and made me realize problem lies in the brand we choose. For testing of any natural oil’s suitability for your skin or hair the foremost prerequisite is to get 100% pure oil.
So go for Cold pressed oils or Virgin oils.
Before I present my review I would like to mention few findings on Coconut oil-
Coconut oil is mainly composed of Lauric acid, Myristic acid, Palmitic acid, Capric acid and Caprylic acid which are saturated fatty acids. These constitute around 91% of oil.
Lauric acid has antimicrobial activity stronger than benzoyl peroxide ( Benzoyl peroxide ointment is commonly prescribed for acne).
Myristic and Palmitic acid are natural emollients and enhance absorption into the skin and therefore Coconut oil can be used as carrier oil for Essential oils.
Clinically Coconut oil has shown remarkable improvement in people having extremely dry, rough, scaly, itchy skin (Xerosis) and also patients suffering from Atopic dermatitis which is more common is younger children.
Though many people claim its use as natural sunscreen it is still not yet proven if it can be used as standalone against harmful UV A/B rays of sun.
Nevertheless it is used as tanning oil for spending a day at beach.
Coconut Oil For Hair When Compared to Mineral oil and Sunflower Oil:
We come across different Hair oils, shampoos, leave in conditioners and serums claiming to stop hair fall. Invariably most of these products have mineral oil.
Therefore, when Coconut oil was tested along with Mineral oil and Sunflower oil, it was found that only Coconut oil reduced the protein loss remarkably for both undamaged and damaged hair when used as a pre-wash and post-wash grooming product.
The reason for Coconut oil’s superiority over other hair products is due to its high lauric acid content.
Coconut oil, being a triglyceride of lauric acid (principal fatty acid), has high affinity for hair proteins and therefore, easily enters inside the hair shaft.
So this research finding confirms what our ancestors have been saying on using coconut oil for getting stronger and healthy hair provided, we use 100%pure oil.
Coconut Oil- La Flora Organics:
I was looking for cold pressed or extra virgin coconut oil. After checking all available brands I choose Coconut oil from La Flora Organics.
As you could see in the below images, label mentions that it is Organic, Certified, Cold pressed coconut oil. With No mineral oil, Hexane, Preservatives and perfume.
The packaging and labeling seems pretty impressive. Bottle seems travel friendly with no leakage issues. I bought this from www.firstcry.com
The oil has faint odor of coconuts and with absolutely no greasy feel.
I started using it as my after shower moisturizer for body.
I suggest you apply it on moist or damp skin immediately after shower by this it absorbs pretty fast into the skin.
You won’t even feel like you have applied any oil as it absorbs well into the skin.
You can replace your body lotions with Coconut oil.
As I have acne prone skin I was very cautious with regard to its usage.
But now after using it for a while I am confident enough that coconut oil doesn’t exacerbate your acne or cause any breakouts.
Instead if you use it in moderation it helps restore skin’s vitality.
On daily use it imparts a natural shine to your skin.
As I have combination skin I avoid using it on face directly.Instead I prepare a mask:
1 tbspoon grounded coffee powder (do not use instant coffee) + Coconut oil 2 tbspoon. This mixture you can apply it on your face and body and leave it for around 15-20mins. And then rinse it off. No matter what your skin type is, this mask helps in exfoliating and nourishing your skin. So far, I am loving it. There is no overnight miracle but I could sense a change in my skin texture.
For hair: I have been using it as pre-bath massage oil. And also as after shower leave-on serum on scalp and hair.
When compared to skin this seems to work wonders on my hair and scalp.
Even in peak winter my dandruff seems to be in control. And this has never happened earlier.
My frizzy hair seems to be more tamed. In fact it is so light and non-greasy that you can use it and go to work or college without having to worry about how your hair looks.
Apply moderate to minimal amounts on your wet, dripping hair and then you can blow-dry or air dry your hair and then you are good to go. If you blow-dry your hair opt for cool settings. Ever since I have been using Coconut oil I have less hair whirling down the shower drain .
So my final verdict is thumbs up. If you have dry skin or dry scalp condition then this oil is a must have in your toiletries. Even though you have no skin or hair issues go for Coconut oil massage as often as possible or else you are surely missing out on a great deal of nature’s Well springs!! If you are searching for a face oil that can be used as makeup primer as well as imparts skin care then include tamanu oil.
Falling in love all over again with Coconut oil after I changed the brand – August 2018 Update:
Ever since, I started using Coconut oil in 2016, I have been trying various brands of Coconut oil.
Recently while touring folsom, CA markets, I finally got my hands on other brands of Coconut oil.
This time I bought Coconut oil exported from Thailand. You can find Coconut Oil from Thailand at Walmart or any other retail stores. Just what you need to check on label – Unrefined, Virgin, Cold pressed or Expeller pressed oil.
Hands down when it comes to Coconut water and Coconut oils, Thailand takes the winning trophy.
The best part of coming across this high quality Coconut oil – I have started using this oil for my oil cleansing skin care regime.
Oil Cleansing Regime: My way
I’d prefer coconut oil any day to cleansing balms. Most people say it breaks them out. If you have faced the same with coconut oil then try fractionated coconut oil. Not-so-surprisingly, most of the cleansing balms are formulated with fractionated coconut oil. A little something on cleansing balms:
Paula begoun, the founder of Paula’s Choice recommends mixing 2 or 3 oils for cleansing than using a single oil.
You can use a mix of Coconut oil (Use fractionated), Rose hip oil and Argan oil. You can play around with the ratios to determine the best suited for your skin type. If you prefer Almond oil, then keep its amount low compared to other oils. This because Almond oil is high in oleic acid. If you have sensitive skin then go for oils high in linoelic fatty acid such as Rosehip oil. On other hand, Argan oil has near equal amounts of both oleic and linoelic fatty acids with additional vitamin E.
Take the mix of your oils and then add little amount of your cleanser to the mix. Then massage this mix to your face and then rinse it with water and voila!
My quest for finding a natural way out to cure my acne and other skin troubles brought me to the world of natural oils. Now you must be wondering how can an oil treat acne, which is something correlated to oily skin. Reasons and causes for acne presumed by many are mostly misconceived notions. Over the years I have received all sorts of suggestions like avoid oily/fatty foods to give up your love for makeup!! For me makeup is an art which I would like to explore. Enhancing your best features, trying different shades for eyes and lips , highlighting , contouring and the list goes on.. It is altogether a different world for someone who loves it.
So, the nerd in me would like to present to you some facts not myths:
No, oily food doesn’t cause you acne. In fact your dehydrated skin cells produce sebum to compensate for lack of moisture in your skin. This sebum produced is often in excess making your skin oily. Now you must be wondering what about people who have dry skin. People with dry skin have very low sebum production that causes loss of moisture when they get exposed to mild dry, cold air.
Whether you have oily or Dry or Combination skin the most important factor is skin has to be well hydrated. Moreover dehydrated skin is responsible for premature aging of skin. Linoleic acid content in the epidermal layers of skin is responsible for hydration of skin.It is an omega 6-fatty acid. It’s deficiency is correlated to the following: overactive sebaceous glands producing excessive sebum , impaired epidermal barrier allowing inflammatory substances that clog pores thereby causing acne. To put in simple words it’s deficiency has to be corrected to get an even skin tone and flawless skin which is every girl’s dream.
IF you check every available moisturizer in market the ingredients list consists of synthetic substitutes of naturally available emollients like lauric acid, myristic acid, Palmitic acid, Oleic acid. All these benefits can be reaped by using natural vegetable oils rather than going for products that have synthetic substitutes. Moreover the main moisturizing ingredient added in marketed products is mineral oil, Glycerin, or Silicone substitutes (dimethicone or cyclopentasilioxane). Usage of such Products on long term basis will be anything but beneficial to the skin.
Olay moisturizing cream :mineral oil and Cyclopentasilioxane (silicone)
Garnier Essential care daily moisturizer: Cyclopentasilioxane
Garnier Moisture rescue cream for dry skin : Glycerine, Dimethicone
Lakme Peach Plum Moisturizer : Mineral oil
If you are looking for skin care product not a makeup cosmetic then the moment you read mineral oil in ingredients’ list i suggest you keep the product back in the counter.
I didn’t come across any Indian marketed moisturizer that has incorporated the goodness of linoleic acid. The best natural way to get the benefits of linoleic acid is using vegetable oils. These oils used for skin are often referred to as carrier oils. Depending on the composition of oils its usefulness varies depending on the skin types and the need. Oils higher in linoleic acid that are good for the skin : Rosehip oil , Grapeseed oil . These two oils can be used irrespective of the skin type.
You can check these links to purchase..
Ladies instead of using lotions and moisturizers i suggest you to try these natural oils.Now that it is winter season I believe it is best time to experiment the oils best suited for your skin. You can start with jojoba oil.
My personal favorites are Grapeseed oil, Coconut oil, Tamanu Oil, Jojoba Oil.I am in complete love with these oils!! And each of these deserves a separate post and review.
US based people please check : Pure Jojoba Golden Oil-cold pressed
Essential Oils are complex mixtures of volatile substances bio synthesized by aromatic Plants and also animals (civet, musk etc) and microorganisms. These volatile substances are chemically terpenoid or non-terpenoid origin existing in form of esters,acids,alcohols, aldehydes, Ketones, Sulphides, amines. They are not to be confused with Fixed oils or fatty oils which are naturally occurring mixture of lipids
|Essential oils are extracted from the flowers, seeds, leaves, stems, bark, trunk and roots of various plants. There are three basic ways for extracting essential oils. 1)Cold pressed 2) Steam Distillation 3)Solvent extraction|
|Most of the essential oils marketed for skin and hair care are extracted by steam distillation and cold pressing. Oils extracted by solvent are usually of poor quality unless otherwise the method opted is Super critical Carbon dioxide extraction. The oils obtained by this method are of highest purity and expensive compared to those extracted by cold pressing and steam distillation.|
Essential oil benefits come from their antioxidant, antimicrobial ,anti-inflammatory and anti-depressant properties present in the active constituent of respective oils.
Below are few uses of essential oils:
Peppermint oil to feel more alert
Lavender, chamomile, and neroli to ease stress
Eucalyptus to stop sniffles and for sinusitis
Cedarwood oil for anti-inflammatory properties
Sandalwood oil as astringent, emollient, and has mild sedative effects
How to Use?
Steam inhalations: Place 3-7 drops of essential oil into boiling water. Some essential oils to consider include: Eucalyptus , Thyme , Lemon (Citrus limon), Peppermint. This is very effective for sinusitis ,respiratory infections, headaches.
- *Caution:prolonged inhalation of concentrated essential oils can cause headaches, vertigo, dizziness, nausea, and lethargy.
Aromatic baths: The oils that are generally considered mild and safe for bath are Lavender, rose, Geranium, Sandalwood Oil, Frankincense , Eucalyptus. Aromatic baths are excellent for skin problems, circulatory problems, respiratory symptoms, stress and nervous tension, insomnia, muscular, and menstrual pains.
Body Massage: Essential oils are very powerful, so start low and go slow. They are to be diluted before use. Usually a 2% dilution is preferred. A good rule of thumb when seeking to make a 2% dilution is to add 12 drops of essential oil to each fl. ounce (30 ml) of cold pressed carrier oil, lotion, vegetable butter or other natural lipid/moisturizer . Excessive use of essential oils may increase the risk for adverse reactions.
In my next Post I’l be reviewing the essential oils i have been using for quite sometime.
To read about Lavender Essential Oil (check the hyperlink)