I never turn down a chocolate candy. I just can’t. It’s part of my DNA or something.
Well, almost never. The only circumstance in which I will shake my head at a sweet, chocolatey treat is if said treat contains coconut. That’s how you know my hatred is STRONG.
Or, at least it was. Growing up, I despised it. Almond Joy? Mounds? What, am I some kind of sociopath?
Then, in college, the whole coconut water trend took over. It seemed like campus was flooded with it – literally. One of my best friends was a rep a coconut water brand, so I decided to give it a try. I have to say I didn’t hate it. Plus, when you’re in college, you will take just about any free substance that’s offered to you.
I’m no longer repulsed by the idea of a smoothie with coconut flavoring in it (here’s lookin’ at you, Life Alive). I even ate a macaroon the other day, by choice. (Not to be confused with macarons – those I could eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner.)
In my quest for healthy baked good recipes, I constantly come across coconut oil on ingredient lists. I was skeptical initially, because I surely didn’t want my brownies tasting like tanning oil. Save that for the beach. Or for Malibu Rum. Whatever floats your boat.
I finally decided to give it a shot, and I’m so glad I did. It turns out there are endless uses for coconut oil. A quick Google search will fill your screen with hundreds of suggestions. And I don’t just mean food suggestions. While I have yet to try any of the super out of the box uses, I did start with a few more common tricks.
Had to start with this one. I’ve found that coconut oil spreads a bit more easily in a pan than other oils. It’s also less disgusting if and when it gets all over you and your kitchen. But most importantly, I feel less guilty about overdoing the oil when it’s coconut rather than olive or vegetable. That’s probably completely scientifically/medically incorrect, but my conscience is not a doctor. FYI: coconut oil comes as a solid, but melts faster than you can say ‘pancakes, please.’
2) Sunburn relief.
I know, right? I found this trick online recently when I was searching for tips to prevent a sunburn from peeling. I know the best way to avoid peeling is to avoid the burn in the first place, but sometimes these things just happen. My sunburns don’t tend to last long, but the peeling makes me want to crawl in a hole and never go out in public. After cooling my burn down with some aloe earlier in the day, I lathered myself up with coconut oil. Warning: it’s super greasy and drippy once it hits your warm skin, so have a towel ready. Also, make sure you press “play” on your Netflix episode first so you don’t have to move a muscle.
The next morning, my burn was barely noticeable and felt amazing! Best part? It never peeled. I’ve tried this twice now, so I know it wasn’t just a fluke. MAJOR warning though: Do not put this on a serious burn, or a burn that is still hot to the touch! Oil and heat are obviously a bad mix and can cause blistering. I’m no dermatologist, so take my advice at your own risk. I’ve just had great success with it myself!
3) Silky skin.
Pretty much goes along with the sunburn relief step, but coconut oil is so moisturizing that your skill will feel amazing after just one use. As I said, it can get messy, so be careful. The best solution that I’ve found is to apply the oil shortly before showering. Somehow, your skin holds in the benefits of the oil without the mess. Your skin will feel like silk when you get out of the shower, and will last quite a while. It’s the perfect way to get that spa feeling for free!
4) Luscious locks.
I had read that the moisturizing effects of coconut oil are great for hair. I applied it straight from the jar to my locks and left it on for about an hour before rinsing it off. I definitely made a bit of a faux pas. It didn’t feel like the oil was getting on all of my hair, so I kept applying and applying. I apparently put WAY too much on, because it took two days worth of hair washing to totally get the oil out. Part of the problem is that I put it on my scalp as well, because that’s one of the spots I had sustained an unfortunate burn. HOWEVER, my hair did feel amazing. I think if I had followed the Pinterest community’s tip of simply sticking to the ends and used just a dollop, it would’ve been smooth sailing. Pun intended. The comb went through my hair like a knife through butter, which never happens. Just ask my best friend, Rachel, who had to comb my hair when I broke my wrist. Yikes.
I will be sure to keep you guys posted as I venture further into my new relationship with coconut oil. I’d love to try some of the weirder uses I’ve come across, but baby steps, people.
Stay nutty, my friends.
(PS: photo cred in this particular post goes to Google Images. I am not a renowned, world-traveleing photographer. Yet.)