Beauty experiment for hippies

Now that I’ve been freelancing for the past couple weeks (code for toiling away in my Concordia Journalism hoodie and Red Hot Chili Peppers sweatpants), I've had the luxury of bringing my coconut oil experiment to fruition.

For the past seven days, I did not put an ounce of anything on my face, body or hair (excluding shampoo/conditioner) that was not organic virgin coconut oil. A few weeks back I hypothesized that my skin would clear up and hair would stop panicking on contact with the North American (re: Arctic-like) elements. It is true that putting oil-based products on your skin can actually tone down your skin’s oil production since it’s not trying to overcompensate in that department, but that was never something I was able to wrap my, um, skin around.

According to simple math, extra oil on your face should yield a forest of acne, right? Wrong! My friend Liz, who I’ve dubbed my personal skincare strategist, told me I was glowing. GLOWING! I love you, Liz! I never realized how big a problem my skin was until I stopped using that Clean and Clear garbage meant for smiling twelve year olds having slumber parties in those bad commercials. The only time I get in trouble is when I use it as lip balm and accidentally get really excited over how good it tastes.

And now for the hair situation: the key is to rub approximately half a teaspoon in your hands and apply it to sopping wet hair. Anything dryer, and you run the risk of having to contend with greasy strands all day. Applying it to wet hair allows the coconut to absorb deep into your strands and chameleonize (?) itself into your hair’s natural texture. Since doing this every day for the past two weeks, my hair has grown like a weed. I haven’t changed anything about my diet (except maybe more protein? Who knows? I like my baked tofu), but I have been massaging my roots to increase circulation on my scalp.

I think the issue is that most of us don’t realize how fast our hair really grows. Because many of us have dead ends, they fall off before we can see what kind of new lengths we’ve reached. Applying coconut oil to the ends (and what’s left over to the roots) seals in the cuticle and reduces the incidence of split ends, thereby not destroying hair growing efforts.

Aaaaand skin. Pregnant ladies tell me they apply coconut oil to stretch marks, and while I don’t really have any, I figured why not try it out as a preventative measure. Slather it on right after a shower when the room is all misty and sauna-like and your pores are begging to be replenished by good quality moisturizers. Locate places you’re most likely to gain weight. For ladies, this is usually hips, inner thighs, breasts and triceps. For men this is usually the stomach and hips. Apply liberally to these areas and immediately seal it in with cotton clothing. Knees, elbows and the bottom of your feet are also quite receptive to coconut oil.

Don’t be afraid of the grease! It is good for you! It will make your skin and hair happy! And just remember, anything you apply topically gets absorbed internally. Those ingredients you can’t pronounce? Just imagine them invading your bloodstream and waging war on your organs like it was WWIII. Cue images of baby coconuts hanging out in your arteries and playing hopscotch and catch with each other like the cutie pies they are.

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Going nuts for coconut oil

When it comes to makeup, I’m kind of a Buddhist. An advocate of minimalism, our buddy Buddha over here once said that liberating yourself from attachments is the road to emancipation. I remember being on a five-day canoe trip at summer camp about a decade ago and was one of the few girls who refrained from freaking out about a lack of toiletries. It’s not that I’m low maintenance, I would just hate to have to rely on material things to make me happy or confident or fulfilled. Needless to say, I had a fantastic time.

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Democritus also said that “Happiness resides not in possessions and not in gold, happiness dwells in the soul.” The soul he is referring to is of course this new massive jar of virgin organic coconut oil I just purchased from some pretentious health store. I had been reading about the myriad benefits of using all-natural cosmetics since all that lives on the surface of your skin gets absorbed into your bloodstream through your pores. I don’t know about you, but that scares the living daylights out of me. I’m not a huge makeup wearer to begin with, but I want to see what happens when I go makeup free for a week (like, not a streak of eyeliner, not dab of concealer) just to see how my skin reacts.

Yes, it’s vegan, yes, it’s organic, but I would recommend consuming it in moderation. This stuff is considered one of the worst cooking oils. At 53 grams of saturated fat (265% of your recommended daily value), you’re better off bathing in a tub of whipped cream while a male model feeds you donuts (I can arrange that for you, by the way). Saturated fat is the evil kind. Stick to heart-healthy polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats found in nuts, fish, avocados and olive oil.

It hasn’t even been an hour since I brought home my baby (weighing in at 6 pounds and 4 ounces, it’s a boy!), and I’ve already slathered my entire body in it. I feel like a piña colada. How do you guys incorporate coconut oil into your beauty routine?