There are gazillions of personal care products you can buy in a store. Aisles and aisles are dedicated to moisturizers, shave creams, hair care, cosmetics, and the like. If you pick up any one of these, you will see a long list of unpronounceable ingredients, many of them with capital letters or numbers, along with the vague “fragrance”.
As your skin is porous and the largest organ of your body, whatever you put on it gets INTO your body. You might as well eat the stuff. Dihydroxypropyltrimonium chloride doesn’t sound like something we’d want to eat.
The upscale versions of personal care products with designer names can be tremendously expensive, a small tube of Giorgio Armani shave cream going for $32.00!
They have the same chemicals as the less expensive brands—they just smell different. Some of these chemicals can be hazardous; studies have found many of the ingredients pose risk for allergy, respiratory problems, and even contain carcinogenic properties.(1)
As with any other organ, skin needs to be nourished properly in order to function well and remain youthful. Coconut oil has been found to be a versatile substance with healthful benefits for your skin—and you can eat it.
Taken internally, coconut oil is an anti-inflammatory, analgesic, and antipyretic.(2) Topically, coconut oil is effective in the treatment of dermatitis, killing fungi, bacteria, and viruses that can develop with this condition.(3) Its moisturizing effects are apparent as soon as you apply it to your skin.
Cheaper–and you can add your own fragrance.
Coconut oil-based personal care products are inexpensive and easy to make at home—look for the virgin, cold-pressed variety (preferably organic). They are a healthy replacement for the chemically-laden mass-produced kind and they smell good, feel good, and nourish your skin.
Here are five recipes your body will thank you for. Store in a glass or ceramic container in a cool, dark, dry place. If creams are looser than you like, you may put them in the refrigerator to firm.
1. Cellulite Cream
A bane for many women, cellulite is very difficult to eradicate. Fat build-up just under the skin can cause a lumpy effect. The scent of grapefruit oil has been shown to stimulate the sympathetic nervous system, increasing metabolism and burning fat.(4) Beeswax is a rich emollient. Rosemary oil improves the metabolism of fat and decreases inflammation and oxidative stress.(5) Massaging with cypress oil reduces subcutaneous fat.(6) Witch hazel is effective for reducing skin inflammation.(7) Juniper oil contains strong antioxidants that limit fat production.(8)
- 3/4 cup coconut oil
- 30 drops grapefruit oil
- 2 tablespoons shaved beeswax
- 10 drops rosemary oil
- 30 drops cypress oil
- 3 tablespoons witch hazel
- 10 drops juniper oil
Mix all essential oils and witch hazel. Melt beeswax over low heat and add coconut oil. Once liquefied, add the essential oils and blend everything together. Massage into the affected area.
2. Night Cream
Tea tree oil is an antibacterial that is effective in small doses for treating and preventing acne.(9) Vitamin E is an antioxidant readily absorbed by the skin; it is, however, sensitive to sunlight, which greatly reduces its potency.(10) It’s therefore perfect in a night cream.
- 1 cup coconut oil, solid
- 1/4 teaspoon tea tree oil
- 1/2 teaspoon vitamin E oil
Whip the coconut oil in an electric mixer until it is fluffy and light. Add the tea tree and vitamin E oils until well blended. Apply to clean face before sleep.
3. Hand Cream
Called “the plant of immortality” since ancient times, aloe vera infuses the skin with vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. It’s also often used to treat burns.(11)
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1/8 cup cocoa butter
- 1 tablespoon aloe vera juice
- 1/8 cup shea butter
- 1 tablespoon liquid oil of choice (e.g., jojoba, sweet almond)
- 5-10 drops essential oil (optional)
Over low heat, melt coconut oil, cocoa and shea butters. Remove from heat and add liquid oil, aloe vera juice, and essential oils if desired.
4. Hand Soap
The antibacterial properties of coconut oil make harsh chemicals and that nasty hand sanitizer irrelevant. When vitamin E is added, coconut oil increases the absorption rate of this important nutrient.
- 1 cup virgin coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon vitamin E oil (optional)
- 2-4 drops of essential oil(s) of choice for fragrance (optional)
Melt coconut oil on low heat. Stir in vitamin E and essential oils, if desired. Whip the mixture in a blender or use electric mixer for 6-7 minutes on high speed. It’s ready to go!
5. Shave Cream
Baking soda adds cancer-fighting properties and a mild exfoliant. Olive oil has been shown to have protective effects from ultraviolet radiation.(12) Grapeseed oil protects collagen and elastin, keeping your skin youthful.(13)
- 2/3 cup coconut oil
- 2/3 cup shea nut oil or shea butter
- 2 tablespoons baking soda
- 1/4 cup olive or grapeseed oil
- Contents of 2 vitamin E capsules (optional)
- 10-20 drops of your favorite essential oils/oil blend (optional)
Melt the shea nut oil (or butter) and coconut oil together on low heat. Turn off heat. Stir in olive or grapeseed oil. Add essential oils if desired and pour the mixture into a glass or ceramic container. Stir well and refrigerate until solid.
Once solid, add baking soda (and contents of vitamin E capsules, if desired) and beat with electric mixer until the desired consistency is reached.