Coconut oil is touted by celebrities and wellness bloggers as the almighty, all natural beauty staple. While some health claims about coconut oil, in that it improves heart health and facilitates weight management, are yet to be validated by further research; used as a personal care product, this sweet-smelling oil can help to improve dental health, moisturize the skin, nourish the scalp and condition hair, in addition to a range of other benefits.
Many people who have used coconut oil for oil pulling have experienced remarkable results. Oil pulling, which is now a trending practice in modern homes, was an ancient Indian medical practice supported by scientific research that helps against gingivitis, plaque and microorganisms, in protecting our oral health. Using coconut oil for oil pulling is particularly effective in removing bad breath and whitening teeth since coconut oil contains lauric acid, which is well-known for its antibacterial properties.
Not only is oil pulling effective but it is also quite a simple procedure. Just pour a tablespoon of extra virgin cold-pressed coconut oil into your mouth and swish it around gently. The optimal time of swishing is 20 minutes, though when starting out, one can try it for 5 to 10 minutes and still expect at least some benefit. The longer the oil stays in your mouth, the more bacteria it has the potential to pull.
To prevent swallowing the oil, you can try pouring a small amount of oil initially. You will feel the volume of fluid gradually build up in your mouth as your saliva increases, making it easier to swish the oil around. When time is up, spit out the oil into a disposal receptacle (not the sink, as oil may cause clogs overtime) and rinse your mouth with water for a few minutes until you can no longer taste any coconut flavour.
Coconut for skin and hair care
There is a good reason for many skin and hair care products to include coconut as a super ingredient. Since coconut is naturally antibacterial, antifungal and moisturizing, people suffering from dry skin are able to benefit from products infused with coconut, such as coconut soap, coconut oil scrub and coconut body butter, to re-hydrate and smoothen skin. Coconut-infused shampoos and conditioners are great for people with frizzy and dry hair, since coconut can easily penetrate and nourish the individual hair strands, preventing protein loss while infusing a natural shine.
Plenty of coconut-oil-infused DIY recipes exist online that claim to work wonders for different skin and hair conditions. Some women like to use mildly heated coconut oil on the scalp and hair as a pre-shampoo moisturizing treatment to remove dandruff during winter months. Others swear by coconut oil as a lip scrub, lip balm, facial cleanser, makeup remover, shaving oil, even lubricant… the list goes on. When testing out these coconut recipes, remember it is always safer to use certified organic coconut oil, meaning the coconuts from which the oil was made were grown without the use of pesticides. It is also better to use unrefined coconut oil, which retains all of the health benefits of coconut oil with no chemicals added.