Words: Jodie Duddy
To firstly explain the ‘miracle’ products background, coconut oil is extracted from the flesh of mature coconuts harvested from the coconut palm, also called the Cocos Nucifera, and has been available in the West for the majority of the 20th Century. Over the last few years it has hit the mainstream with every major fashion magazine testing its credentials, but, in the native landscapes where coconuts grow, it’s been used far longer.
It’s essential to understand some key coconut oil vocabulary to know exactly how to use the product for your individual benefit:
‘Refined’ means that the oil has undergone a process to make it more commercially attractive to the consumer, i.e. it has been bleached refined and deodorised. There are a lot of essential nutrients that are lost in this process and it may also contain preservatives.
‘Virgin’ means the oil is unrefined and is the purest form of coconut oil that is widely available.
‘Organic’ means that the coconut tree has not been treated with pesticides and has not been genetically modified to produce a crop more with desirable traits.
Overall, the oil is a multitasking ingredient and has a variety of cosmetic uses, such as: to soften and soothe the skin, moisturise hair, and to naturally whiten teeth. Moreover, For hair, coconut oil works as a helpful ingredient in conditioners and serums as it stimulates hair growth alongside its naturally sweet scent and nourishing properties. And for teeth, ‘oil pulling’ is the process of teeth whitening through swishing coconut oil in the mouth for 20 minutes in order to kill some of the harmful bacteria that reside in the mouth, this leads to healthier gums, a reduction in bad breath and an overall improvement oral health. Oil pulling sachets are available with added flavour but the effect is the same if you take a spoonful of the oil straight from the jar, however you must always choose pure Coconut Oil over the refined variety as the latter is dangerous to ingest.
Due to its high fat content more research is being published everyday on the negative effects o the body when coconut oil is consumed. However, this does not impede on the beneficial properties on coconut oil for cosmetic use, and, 2018 has seen a continuation in mainstream usage. It’s a delight to see on a product ingredient list instead of its synthetic counterparts, with manufacturers opting for more natural ingredients that are also very effective.