You will hardly ever find an Indian home without coconut oil. It is widely used for both cooking as well as for skin and hair. This versatile oil is a great moisturizer for your skin and hair, has antimicrobial properties, and also helps in the cases of inflammation and itchiness. The ancient Indian science of Ayurveda also considers coconut oil as a great massage oil to improve blood circulation in your skin cells and body. But should you trust any and every coconut oil available in the market?
With a growing awareness about using organic and natural products, cold pressed coconut oil (which is richer in nutrients and better in quality) is having a huge moment. This oil is also referred to as virgin coconut oil or extra virgin coconut oil to denote the cold-pressing extraction method used and grade of purity. In this article you’ll read about the benefits of using organic virgin coconut oil and the best way to use it on your skin and hair.
Regular vs virgin coconut oil: what’s the difference?
Virgin Coconut Oil, also referred to as VCO has the following signature properties:
– It is produced using the cold-pressed method with no external heat
– The liquid or milk that is processed is gained from fresh coconut pulp from which oil is separated later
– It is a natural product without involving processes like bleaching or refining that meddle with the purity of the oil. This is also why virgin coconut oil has a milky appearance.
– It has a stronger aroma and taste and is more nutritious with powerful antioxidants, vitamins and fatty acids.
– It also has a shorter shelf life than ordinary coconut oil
Regular coconut oil on the other hand is produced by involving high levels of heat. Though it gives more output, the majority of nutrients get destroyed in the process. Unlike VCO that uses fresh coconut milk as the raw material, organic coconut oil is made using dried coconut kernel (known as ‘copra’) and during the process it gets bleached, deodorized and filtered to get rid of impurities. It also has preservatives like sodium hydroxide to give it a longer shelf life.
What is virgin coconut oil good for?
There are several benefits of using virgin coconut oil on skin and hair. Some of them are listed below:
1. Deep conditions your hair: When left on for a couple of hours before your shower, coconut oil can work as a natural conditioner that deeply moisturizer your scalp and hair strands.
2. Aids in hair growth: The vitamins and fatty acids in coconut oil penetrate the hair follicles and help in strengthening the roots of your hair and encourage growth of new hair.
3. Fights friziness and split ends: Coconut oil makes your hair more manageable and less frizzy. It is also a great agent to tame curly hair.
4. Prevents dandruff: Coconut oil helps in preventing dry, flakey scalp and helps greatly in managing dandruff over time.
5. Natural moisturizer for the body: Being thick in consistency, coconut oil is able to create a barrier on your skin that prevents moisture loss through the day.
6. Works as a natural cleanser/ exfoliant: Being rich in omega 3 fatty acids, organic coconut oil is a great lubricant to break down dirt and makeup effectively. However, do follow it up with a gentle face wash to prevent clogging of skin pores.
7. Cures dry lips: Virgin coconut oil is an excellent natural lip balm that heals chapped lips and also keeps your lips hydrated and less prone to dryness.
Can coconut oil be used daily on skin?
Cold pressed coconut oil is an excellent treatment for dry hair and dry skin. It can be used as an overnight moisturizer for dry, chafed or inflamed skin. It is also ideal to use a bit of coconut oil on your body, post-shower on damp skin to really lock the moisture in your skin. However, it is not a complete replacement for your moisturizer and should only be used as an additional source of hydration. Another thing to note: it is a thick, weighty oil which can also clog your pores with over-usage. So, it is advisable that people with oily or acne-prone skin use it occasionally or not at all.
How do I use virgin coconut oil for hair growth?
It is best to use coconut oil on dry and damaged hair once a week before hair wash. Apply a small quantity all over your scalp and on your hair from root to tip. Tie your hair in a loose bun and cover your head with a heated towel for 20 minutes. You can leave the oil on for 30 minute to a couple of hours before washing it off with a mild cleanser and lukewarm water. Repeat this every week one or two times for the best results.
Which virgin coconut oil is best?
With the growing preference for natural and pure products, many brands are using the term ‘virgin’ and ‘cold-pressed’ loosely and as a marketing gimmick. Hence, it is important to choose natural, cold pressed coconut oil for your skin and hair from a trusted brand. Kama Ayurveda’s extra virgin coconut oil ticks all the right boxes: it’s 100% natural and cold pressed with all the vitamins and fatty acids intact. Being a natural, authentic product, this extra virgin coconut oil has no side effects and is completely safe to use on highly sensitive skin. Here are some ways you can incorporate this organic virgin coconut oil in your skin care routine:
1. As a conditioner for dry and damaged hair for bringing its lustre and shine back
2. As an overnight moisturiser for dry skin
3. As a post-shower daily moisturizer
4. As an Ayurvedic massage oil on hair for healthy hair and relaxation
5. As a lip balm in winters
6. As an anti-aging treatment on dry skin to prevent wrinkles
7. As a natural treatment for stretch marks
So now you know the best way to use extra virgin coconut oil and all the benefits that can be achieved with its regular usage. Go get yourself this wonderful and versatile oil today!