With summer just around the corner, we're starting to see the return of coconut products grace the shelves of beauty counters and recurring in advertising. What isn't there to love about the multi-purpose tropical fruit?

In 2016 I travelled to the Coral Coast in Fiji and stayed in a resort surrounded by a multitude of coconut trees that bore this delicious fruit. I spent a day with the local Fijians who lived nearby and learnt all about the history of this amazing fruit and its uses.

In Fiji, coconut trees are referred to as trees of life and the coconuts themselves as gifts from God. The Fijians in the South Pacific have been harvesting coconuts for centuries and use every single part of the fruit in their daily life. The exterior shell of the coconut is used for crafting homewares, building materials, making rope and much more. The interior of the coconut - the flesh, water, oils, milk - is used for consuming, personal care and cleaning. The Fijians were known to lather their bodies in coconut oil after bathing, which left their skin glowing and looking youthful, even in a climate with harsh sun.

Apart from smelling amazing, coconut oil has been found to have a ton of benefits for our skin and hair. It's no wonder there are plenty of companies out there that have utilised this miracle fruit in their products.

So what is coconut oil?

Coconut oil is a type of highly saturated fat which is extracted via four methods. The first is by cold pressing dehydrated coconut chips to extract the oil, the second is by centrifuge which is pressing the white coconut flesh to form a cream and then spinning in a centrifuge unit to seperate the oil from the other components. The third method is called expeller-pressed, which is also known as RBD - refined, bleached and deodorised. The last method is by chemical extraction using harsh solvents - avoid, avoid, avoid!

5 benefits of coconut oil for your skin and hair

I love using coconut oil for my hair and body so these are the top 5 reasons why I'm a big fan of coconut oil!

1. It contains a lot of antioxidants and vitamins, especially vitamin D, and protects your skin from damage. It also contains the antimicrobial lauric acid which can help fight acne-causing bacteria.

2. You can add coconut oil to your hair to leave it looking healthier and feeling softer. Apply a few tablespoons to dry hair before bed and wake up with luscious and less frizzy hair.

3. It's fantastic for moisturising the skin due to its immense amount of vitamin E. However, coconut oil is not advised for people with very oily skin. Its high oil content may end up clogging and blocking pores if your skin is already oily.

4. Natural eye cream, anyone? Dab some coconut oil around your eyes during your night time routine to keep your skin hydrated and minimise fine lines due to dehydration.

5. You can make an exfoliator out of it! Just add some salt or sugar to your coconut oil and lather all over your body and feet, its anti-fungal properties keeps your skin fresh and happy!

I highly recommend going for organic coconut oil products as they have less nasty toxins that may seep into your skin.

One brand I've used and tested is Coconut Revolution. I saw them at Queen Victoria Markets in Melbourne and bought a few products. The hair serum was great, as was the hand cream! Not to mention it leaves you smelling oh-so-coconut-ty!

Happy moisturising, people!

References:

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/coconut-oil-and-skin

https://organicfiji.com/blogs/coconut-oil/fijian-culture-life-with-coconuts

https://wildlyorganic.com/pages/about-our-coconut-oil

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