With all the effort the beauty industry puts into scientific advances for your hair, face, and skin, it's hard to tell what products to trust to deliver results without harsh chemicals. Thousands of years of natural beauty has an answer: the delicious-smelling, multi-purpose powerhouse that is coconut oil.


The Science Behind Coconut Oil

Not only does coconut oil feel and smell fantastic, it also has science on its side. In its pure form, it has anti-fungal and antibacterial properties that help protect and heal skin and prevent infection. Studies show it boosts the function of atopic dermatitis sufferers' skin barriers.


It's also hypoallergenic, so it's safe for most people, including those with tree-nut allergies, to use as-is. That's because the "nut" in coconut is a misnomer. Coconuts aren't tree nuts but fruit. An allergic reaction to coconut is possible, however. Always test skin remedies before applying them all over to make sure you aren't allergic.


How to Melt Coconut Oil

Naturally, coconut oil has a very low melting point of 76 degrees Fahrenheit. If you store your oil in an environment cooler than the mid-70s Fahrenheit, you need to melt it to a liquid. Avoid microwaving or otherwise heating the oil quickly, so you maintain its antimicrobial qualities and viscosity. Instead, use a clean, dry spoon to scoop (preferably organic) extra virgin coconut oil into a glass or small glass bowl. Then, pour about a cup of hot water into a slightly larger bowl. Place the first bowl into the hot water, then wait as the oil slowly melts.


Condition Hair and Control Flyaways

There's a reason popular hair-care companies are integrating coconut oil into their formulas -- it penetrates hair follicles better than traditional ingredients such as mineral oil. It also gets rid of dandruff, prevents and helps eradicate lice and battles frizz even in humid conditions, all without extra chemicals. Here's how to make your own conditioning serum.


First, melt 2 or more teaspoons of oil, based on how long your hair is. Once it melts, apply it to your dry or damp hair and, for dry scalp or follicle issues, work it into your roots. Be aware of your hair's natural oiliness, and avoid applying extra oil if you're prone to greasy hair. Comb the oil through your hair to distribute it evenly. Then, wrap your hair as necessary and tuck it under a shower cap. Leave the oil for at least half an hour and up to overnight, depending on how deeply you want to condition your hair. Shampoo your hair to remove the oil. If your ends are still dry or flyaways need extra attention, apply a tiny amount of oil and rub it in thoroughly.


Combat Facial Aging with Coconut Oil

Locals in areas where coconuts grow have used the oil for centuries as a cleanser to keep their faces looking young. Use the same concept at home by adding a touch of oil as a step in your nighttime cleansing routine. Start by massaging just a touch of oil into your face and neck making small circles as you go. Then, use your normal cleanser to wash off any leftover oil. It's that simple. (If you're concerned about the oil your face produces naturally, start with a minuscule amount of oil and work up to more once you know how your skin reacts.)


This oil also works as a natural makeup remover and highlighter for your cheekbones. For the latter, remember to apply oil after you finish your makeup, not before. A little goes a long way.


Get Glowing Skin

Thanks to its many healing qualities, coconut oil is a wonderful solution to dry skin issues year round.

Here's how to exfoliate your legs, feet and other trouble spots.


Fill a small bowl or jar halfway with oil. Then, pour in 2 tablespoons of honey and stir. Next, mix in a tablespoon of sugar, stirring as you go so the sugar sinks completely into the oil. Rub this scrub onto your feet, elbows, legs and anywhere else that needs smoothing.


When you use coconut oil to treat your hair and skin, you enjoy nature's solutions to your beauty conundrums without concern about chemicals. Indulge in total-body moisture and the sensational scent of this all-natural restorative treatment.


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