Like lots of folks below, I love extra-virgin coconut oil! Great for wavy and curly hair, and for a body moisturizer. I won't use anything else on my body now, and yes, there is a difference between the regular coconut oil that you can get for $6-$7for a jar, and the extra-virgin stuff that's usually more expensive($13 for 16oz. of the Nutiva which is an excellent brand). The large co-op that I go to in San Francisco now has this in their wet bulk items department, thereby saving me money. I use it straight on my body while skin is still damp, otherwise it doesn't work as well, it being an oil, after all. I used to use all kinds of scrubs, loofahs, etc. and my skin would feel smooth for exactly one day, but since I have used the EVCO, my skin has been much smoother. I also make another cream using this along with unrefined shea butter and it is awesome!
Lots of Pacific Islanders and people in India can't be wrong about this being a superb beauty aid!
Last but not least, since the body has such a large surface area of skin, using something simple and non-toxic is hugely beneficial in so many ways. No more commercial body lotions for me! And of course using it my hair has been great too!
This is my HG, period. I use it on my skin, mixed with Cetaphil cream (please ask if you want my "recipe") for daily moisturizing and straight up when I'm chapped. I also use it in my hair, both as a styling agent (to bring out my natural curl) and a de-frizzer if I want to dry straight. When in need, I'll also use it as a hair/scalp mask--generously applied at night, it makes my hair soft as a baby's after washing the next day. I use Spectrum brand expeller-pressed refined coconut oil, which I got at my local grocery in the health-food section. The "refined" means that coconut solids have been taken out, and it has NO.SMELL.AT.ALL. I love this about it. There are lots of arguments about getting refined vs unrefined, cold-pressed vs expeller-pressed, organic vs not. This is the only version I've ever tried and the only one I will ever need. It adds the umph I need to my moisturizer and has given me softer, smoother skin over time. My hair, formerly somewhat dull and frizzy, is now--dare I say it?--glossy and frizz-free. I actually get compliments on it! (Alert the press!) This stuff doesn't coat my skin like grease coats a skillet, nor does it weigh down my extra-fine hair. It is truly a beautiful, beautiful thing.
This is such a luxurious treat! i've used it on my hair, as an overnight treatment, then washed out in the morning, and it has produced shiny, soft, manageable hair! as a body moisturizer it is so very delicious. i keep my unrefined, expeller pressed, Jarrow brand in the fridge to maximize freshness. it is a very firm solid when kept in the fridge, so all i do is get a knife and break up several solid pieces, but them in a bowl and microwave for about 45 sec. doing this turns the coconut oil into a liquid, and i just dip my hands in and smooth all over my body....it feels so wonderful b/c it's been warmed. i feel very pampered and freshened. i am pretty dry though so i need to use something afterwards since this isn't the ultimate dry skin moisturizer. but my body feels very soft and lightly scented with a slight, natural coconuty smell. BTW, there is a difference between "refined", and "UNrefined" , or "virgin" coconut oils. The following paragraphs are from research i found on the web.
Most commercial grade coconut oils are made from copra. Copra is basically the dried kernel (meat) of the coconut. It can be made by: smoke drying, sun drying, or kiln drying , or derivatives or a combination of these three. If standard copra is used as a starting material, the unrefined coconut oil extracted from copra is not suitable for consumption and must be purified, that is refined. This is because the way most copra is dried is not sanitary. The standard end product made from copra is RBD coconut oil. RBD stands for refined, bleached, and deodorized. High heat is used to deodorize the oil, and the oil is typically filtered through (bleaching) clays to remove impurities. Sodium hydroxide is generally used to remove free fatty acids and prolong shelf life. This is the most common way to mass-produce coconut oil. The older way of producing refined coconut oil was through physical/mechanical refining (see Tropical Traditions Expeller Pressed Coconut Oil.). More modern methods also use chemical solvents to extract all the oil from the copra for higher yields.
Now for the info on the Virgin:
There is no industry standard definition for "Virgin Coconut Oil" as there is in the olive oil industry for "Virgin" and "Extra Virgin" olive oil. Today, there are many coconut oils on the market that are labeled as "Virgin Coconut Oil."
Virgin Coconut Oil can only be achieved by using fresh coconut meat or what is called non-copra. Chemicals and high heating are not used in further refining, since the natural, pure coconut oil is very stable with a shelf life of several years. There are currently two main processes of manufacturing Virgin Coconut Oil:
1. Quick drying of fresh coconut meat which is then used to press out the oil. Using this method, the coconut meat is quick dried, and the oil is then pressed out via mechanical means.
2. Wet-milling. With this method the oil is extracted from fresh coconut meat without drying first. "Coconut milk" is expressed first by pressing. The oil is then further separated from the water. Methods which can be used to separate the oil from the water include boiling, fermentation, refrigeration, enzymes and mechanical centrifuge.
One of the main differences between Virgin Coconut oil and refined coconut oils is the scent and taste. All Virgin Coconut Oils retain the fresh scent and taste of coconuts, whereas the copra-based refined coconut oils have a bland taste due to the refining process. Some grades of refined copra-based oils are also now sold that have a coconut flavor, but are usually bitter and have a burnt taste to it. They are a form of "crude coconut oil" that has not undergone all of the deodorizing process, and they have a shorter shelf-life.
Coconut oil is something every woman (and man) in my family uses. It's an ancient tradition from India and almost every person there has this in their hair pretty much 24/7. Besides smelling awful, it really is amazing for your hair. I use it a few times a week as a deep conditioner. I heat up the bottle in the microwave for 30 seconds, then pour some into my hands and massage my scalp, then smooth the oil from roots to ends. I tie up my hair in a bun and leave it on over night (sleeping on a towel to prevent my pillows from getting dirty!). In the morning I was it out with a strong shampoo (you'll need to wash it a few times to get rid of all the oil). My hair is healthy, nourished, thick, soft and strong as a result. I don't know what I'm going to do when I get married because the smell is so bad...my future husband will NOT appreciate me sleeping next to him with this on!
This is some amazing stuff. I splurged on the unrefined coconut oil on a trip to the health food store and started using it as a face and body moisturizer. First of all, this feels so luxurious, smells divine, and absorbs really quickly. No need to wait around for it to dry for ten minutes. In terms of moisturization, it does not do a disappearing act either, and my skin feels soft all day. Even drier areas such as elbows and feet feel so much smoother.
What has sold me on coconut oil after using it a month now is this: I have a dark burn scar on my arm from a kitchen incident a year ago that was always very distinct. That scar has faded significantly since I began using coconut oil to moisturize with. That alone is reason enough for me to keep using it. I'll always have it on hand from now on.
I too was surprised that this did not make my skin break out. When I was suffering my first burn from Retin A this helped out big time. Now that it's under control I have resorted to using glycerin but keep this close for when I need a little extra moisture. Doesn't sting the skin. Use it on my hair as well (its ok, not amazing though). I love how it just melts in my hands. EDIT: Found this really really helped with the RetinA when I was peeling. I reach for this first. It just melts on the skin and doesn't stay greasy or tacky.
EDIT: Jan 27/08 I love love love this stuff. I use it to take of my make up and sunscreen. I started using some strong SS and it was making me breakout a bit. Now I wet my face, scoop a little of this onto a cotton pad and melt of all the makeup and SS, then I wash with my Olay cleanser.
i have really dry skin, and live in a very cold climate (-40deg celsius!) at times with harsh winds..(yes its canada). i was really stressed during school and was breaking out terribly on my face with eczema and i went to the decleor counter at a dept. store. all of the cosmeticians felt so bad for me, and one of them said i shouldn't use anything..i should go to the derm, and try coconut oil..though only the virgin kind...i went right away to get some at the health food store and tried it that night. my gods its the best thing i have ever used! its a dry oil really, and you can keep reapplying it, and its quite soothing. i tried it on my hair as well, and it was just amazing. i could not do without this product. you can also mix it with a number of essential oils to soothe dry skin (lavendar or ylangylang, sandalwood), enlarged pores (lemongrass oil), etc. i love this stuff, it doesnt clog pores and works just so well, i highly recommend this for anyone with problems with dermatitis or dry skin esp.
If I had to list my top 3 beauty items I couldn't live without, I think coconut oil would be one of them. I've tried other coconut type products, but a lot have mineral oil, petrolatum, wax, etc. in them. I went to the health food store (Vitamin Shoppe) and bought a jar of 100% coconut oil. It's typically used for cooking (substitute for butter). It's solid at room temperature, but liquifies quickly in your hands. I use coconut oil on my long hair. I absolutly hate my hair feeling greasy or oily. I've tried Potion #9 and hated it. My hair felt dirty and it made my face oily no matter how little I used. I've tried others only to through them away.
Coconut oil is the best. I can use it as a moisuturizer and it's done wonders to my peeling finger nails. My cuticles have never looked better. It seems to penetrate the nail bed. It may be my imagine, but my nails seem to be growing faster and much stronger. I read that coconut actually penetrates the hair shaft--few things do--most things just coat the hair. Also, coconut oil shampoos right out. I use it on my wet hair and also on dry hair if I need a little more shine or control. I typically divide my hair in sections and take a small amount rub it between my hands and twist it into my hair. My hair is soft, but not so soft that the curl comes out.
When I first got the jar, I used a spoon to break up some of the solid product into smaller pieces. Now I just dip my fingers in, rub, and apply.
If you read any of the ingredients of some of the great conditioners out there, some contain coconut oil. When you shop for your coconut oil, get the kind that is 100% coconut oil without anything else added. Some things say 100% coconut oil on the package, but they're really mineral oil, petroleum mixed with coconut oil. Get the jar that's used for cooking. I got Nutiva Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil. I absolutely love this stuff. It's my best kept secret--until now. Edit: Just bought Emeral Laboratories Organic Coconut Oil from GNC. I like the consistency of this oil better than the Nutiva.
I couldn't be happier to have discovered coconut oil, and couldn't be more surprised to be slathering it on, especially on my face! I've got oily skin, but I'm about to be 40, so I've got some wrinkles too... I still tend to break out sometimes, but less now while using the coconut oil! I even wash my face with it, like how my mom uses pond's cold cream to take off her makeup, just the oil and some kleenex. It has done wonders for dry skin on my knees, and my heels, which I'd never been able to get smooth before. I feel like I've got something over all the skin care companies, ONE product to wash and moisturize, and to clear my skin, and it's cheap! I don't think I'll ever buy another face product, besides the baking soda I use to exfoliate (works GREAT! and it's dirt cheap) and purpose soap for using in the shower. Hope this helps somebody!
UPDATE 4/7/09: It's been forever, but I just left a review for Jason Naturals Vitamin E Oil, and it prompted me to adjust this one. The E oil is INCREDIBLE (see my review) and just makes my skin so, so, so much happier. The main complaint I had about the coconut oil after awhile was that I was realizing I had to really scrub my face so much more often... It just seemed to always have a rougher texture, and I have no idea why, just felt compelled to fix my review, better late than never.
I bought this in a glass jar (can't remember the brand) in the health foods isle at the grocery store. I originally bought it to use in my hair, but after one try I didn't like it... now I realize that I used too much and it made my hair greasy. I'll have to try again with much less application. I regularly use this as a body moisturizer after the shower, and this morning I used it to take off waterproof mascara... it was amazing! There was no mascara residue left, whatsoever. I massaged a little bit of it into my eye area while in the shower. I was always iffy about waterproof mascaras, but since this works like a miracle in removing it, I'll wear waterproof more often. Also great as a facial mosturizer, my pores are significantly smaller and the red areas around my nose have disappeared! It makes my face super smooth feeling. Coconut oil = great stuff!
EDIT**** I used this with brown sugar as a face scrub in the shower, it is freaking awesome... don't need moisturizer afterwards, it doesn't break me out (big surprise!) and it gives my skin a soft, glowing appearance! So TRY IT WITH BROWN SUGAR!