Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Coconut Oil: Holy Grail or Holy Fail?

Coconut oil is often mentioned to be a household "must-have", as it supposedly holds the key to many unanswered questions. What can I use to cook with that's healthier? What's a good hair mask? How can I remove makeup without harsh chemicals? If you're like me, you've asked these exact questions and have probably been pointed to the aisle of coconut oil. I know I have multiple times. 

I'll be honest, I've been a skeptic for quite a while, as I just simply didn't see myself rubbing something on my face as a moisturizer and then use it for my morning French Toast. It just didn't seem plausible, but after having close friends tell me the modern-day miracles it preformed for them, I decided I had nothing to loose and possibly a ton to gain. So I took it upon myself to test out a few of the "hacks" coconut oil is said to provide. While I haven't tested all of them - there are more than I can complete with one jar - I've decided to narrow it down to the ones I was most curious about. I may even do a part 2, because I am a little intrigued to test it out a bit further. For now, I'll tell you my 4 experiences with the beloved coconut oil.

1. Cooking. 
Let's cut to the chase. Yes, yes, yes. I've been looking for a better oil when cooking a sweet breakfast or baking, as the other oils just weren't doing it for me. I do use olive oil for pastas, meat, and hearty meals, but using olive oil for French Toast wasn't doing me justice. Coconut oil has completely made-over my cooking. I absolutely love the subtle taste it brings, I love how a little REALLY goes a long way, and I love how I can add it into all of my smoothies for added health benefits AND a great taste! Obviously this is what it's truly made for, but I really doubted it's abilities to transform my cooking into something extra delicious. I feared it would over power anything and I'd be stuck with the taste of pure coconut. Don't get me wrong, coconut is delicious, but I don't necessarily want my chocolate chip cookies to just taste like coconut. That was SO not the case with this. I completely label it a holy grail for cooking!

2. Hair mask/de-frizzer.
This one is a bit tricky for me. After dying my hair turquoise - which I had to bleach my hair in preparation for - my hair was a little dry. My natural hair is a tad wavy, so brushing it gives me "Mufasa Hair" (a lion's mane). The dryness wasn't exactly helping any, but I didn't feel like dishing out a crap ton of money for expensive products that may or may not work. Yes I could just return the one's that suck, but to be honest, I just don't see the need for a small bottle of oil that costs $20. Granted I may eventually cough up the money, but I decided to test out this theory. Supposedly coconut oil can be used as an all over hair mask, to replenish and hydrate dry hair. It's been talked and raved about for as long as I can remember. Simply apply it to your hair and wash with Shampoo/Conditioner. Seeing as how I'd already purchased the Trader Joe's coconut oil ($5.99 for a 16 ounce), I decided to scoop out a little and head to the bathroom. I proceeded to do just as I'd been told numerous times before. I applied it every strand of hair, massaged it into my scalp, put it up with a clip, left it in for an hour, and then rinsed it out. I did this around 9am and my hair was fully dry by 10am-ish. I didn't blow dry it, but I did brush it. I wanted to know if this would leave me with more manageable hair or just slightly smooth. While I wasn't completely aw-struck, I was a little shocked. My hair was indeed easier to deal with. How long it will last, most likely until I was my hair again, but I'm pleased with the idea that I have a way to treat my hair without spending gobs of money. Holy grail status? Probably not, but it's a great alternative. I just need to see if it will benefit my hair with more uses over an extended period of time. 

3. Makeup remover/moisturizer
I've already found something that is absolutely fantastic at removing every inch of makeup without a smudge left (see HERE for my true holy grail makeup remover) and it doesn't harm my sensitive skin AT ALL. I did however want to test this out, because some people also use this as a moisturizer. Seeing as how removing your makeup with coconut oil - and assuming it would remove everything - would give you a moisturized face. So I decided to simply put some makeup on the back of my hand (same products I'd use on my face) and attempt to remove with a cotton ball of coconut oil. While it did remove a lot of my makeup, my eyeliner took a little extra effort. Seeing as how I'm not too sure how comfortable I'd be rubbing my eye a little rougher than usual to clean everything off, I don't see this working out for me. Now as a moisturizer, that's a different story. I went ahead and applied a thin layer to my clean face for a good idea on how my skin would react. I applied the moisturizer this morning and I stayed semi-shiny practically all day. By dinner time - 5pm - I was mostly clear of any residue. I don't see this being a moisturizer BEFORE you put your makeup on, but for a nighttime thing, I completely commend this product. I really liked how refreshing it felt and how when I wiped off any excess coconut oil, my face felt really smooth. No redness, pop-up acne, or agitation. I normally go for Jojoba oil for my nighttime routine, but this may be an excellent alternative to buying a separate moisturizer. Being a germ freak, I'll have to separate the oil into different containers, as to not cross contaminate. Holy grail? As a moisturizer, I think yes! As a makeup remover, I think Holy fail. 

4. DIY Bronze polish.
I've had these two beautiful, bronze candle holders from Italy for quite some time. I found them for free in a box, begging to be loved. So I brought them into my home and did just that. Until I realized I had no place for candles with a little one running around. So they were stored back into a box, candle wax and all, in my storage closet. Fast forward a few years and now that I have my bookcase all set up, I decided to add them as decor pieces on one of the shelves. They may not serve as candlestick holders, but they will be just as beautiful. Problem was, they needed some added loving. I had read about coconut oil being a supposed bronze polish - which reminded me of my beauties waiting to be shown off - and led me to immediately pull them out of their holding cell. I cleaned them up and proceeded to polish. To better see if coconut oil truly was a better polish, I whipped out a cheap bronze polish I already had, and decided to compare the two. I provided pictures to give you accurate representation of the differences. In the first, you see two dirty candlestick holders, yearning for a hug. In the second, you can see the two lovelies for what they are! On the left, I used coconut oil. On the right, I used my regular bronze polish. It's a subtle difference in the photograph, but it person it's quite noticeable. The coconut oil brought new life to my pieces. The last photo in the collage shows a close up photo of the candlestick holder that was polished with coconut oil. You can see the features much clearer and I was thoroughly impressed. Slightly concerned that bugs would mistake them for edibles, but not too concerned. Again, germaphobe. I deep clean once a week. Holy grail? Definitely! 

So as you can see, I've tested it to a few degrees. I didn't necessarily go out of my way to push coconut oil to it's limits - and possibly true potential - but as I previously mentioned, I may just have to do a part 2. That's where I think I will really get into the deep discovery of what coconut oil could do. Perhaps test it as deodorant, coffee creamer, chapstick, crayon remover (from walls), along with a few others I'd seen coconut to supposedly be triumphant in. Until then, you have 4 new possible uses for coconut oil! So go out and pick yourself up a heap of this stuff and see what it can do!

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