Clarissa self-cares: 5 ways to use coconut oil

Clarissa Davies

It is the wonder oil, and it is not a new trend. People have been using the benefits of coconut oil for centuries due to its anti-bacterial and extraordinary health properties, and it can be incorporated into your daily routine.

There are countless health benefits associated with coconut oil. It contains fatty acids that can positively benefit you. If you are concerned with using all-natural alternatives in self-care, try adding it to your health care routine.

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For the following suggestions, if you use refined oil, it won’t have the coconut flavor. And, importantly: Do not put it down your drain. It will solidify. The best bet is the trash can.

1. Mouthwash

This is my favorite way to use coconut oil – in a process called oil pulling.

Oil pulling with various oils has been in practice for thousands of years. It is an effective way to reduce harmful bacteria in your mouth, whiten teeth and improve overall oral health, which in turn benefits your whole body, since much of the bacteria in our mouth travels throughout our body. It is called oil pulling because you are swishing, or rather “pulling,” oil through your teeth and around your gums. Unlike traditional mouthwash, bacteria particles stick to the oil.

To do it effectively, take one spoonful of coconut oil (it can be either in solid or liquid form), and swish it in your mouth for 15-20 minutes (I watch an episode of “Parks and Recreation” while I swish). Once you spit it out, think of all the gross germs being removed from the hotspot of germs and bacteria – your mouth.

Be sure to brush your teeth or rinse out your mouth afterward. Bonus: It cuts through plaque and is great for your gums. Try it for 14 days and see the difference. If you find the taste unpleasant, try adding a drop of peppermint essential oil.

2. Moisturizer/Lip balm/shaving cream

When it is in a solid form, you can use coconut oil as a lip balm. Coconut oil will melt easily, especially in your hand, and can then be used in place of shaving cream, or rub it on your body as body lotion. You can also use it as a makeup remover, and it also works to lighten dark spots and other blemishes – this can be useful for those of us who have suffered from acne and acne scars.

3. In cooking

There are so many benefits of ingesting coconut oil, and it is surprisingly easy to incorporate into your diet. It actually improves your mental alertness. You can put it into your coffee, in a smoothie or use it in place of olive oil in cooking, such as frying and baking. You can even try it spread on toast instead of butter. There are so many recipes that coconut oil can replace butter and oil.

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4. As a hair mask

Since it contains vitamin E and is amazingly moisturizing, it will leave your hair shiny and healthy. You can either apply it to your scalp and wet hair and leave it in for a half-hour before shampooing. You can also shampoo normally, and apply a little to your ends as a form of conditioner to help the damaged or dry ends.

5. Skin relief

Do you suffer from eczema? Have dry skin on your elbows or feet? Or do you have an awful sunburn? Even if you came in contact with poison ivy or have a wound, look no further than coconut oil. Its relief and healing properties will really help.

If you need more convincing, consuming the oil also aids in weight loss. It is truly the wonder oil of all, and it can help with almost anything.

Collegian A&E Reporter Clarissa Davies can be reached at entertainment@collegian.com or on Twitter at @DaviesClarissa