Before I took control of my daily routine and decided to make most of the products that I use, I thought the only place for oils in my life was in the kitchen. A little researching and a lot of experimenting later, my eyes have been opened to the numerous benefits of replacing everyday products with different oils. Here are some of my favorite oils and the different ways I use them:
Coconut oil is probably my favorite of all oils, and nature’s perfect invention! Every morning I begin my day with oil pulling using coconut oil. If you have never oil pulled before, you do so by slowly swirling the oil around in your mouth for approximately twenty minutes a day. It’s best to do this first thing in the morning before eating or drinking, but you can do it after eating something really sugary. When you are finished, if the oil is milky white and tastes a little funky it has done its job. Use a salt water rinse to remove the excess oil from your mouth. You can also use sesame, olive, or sunflower oils but I have always used coconut and love it. Some of the benefits include removing bacteria from your mouth, decreasing plaque, aiding in preventing cavities and gingivitis, helping to clear up acne, aiding with headache relief, amongst many other benefits. In other words, if you haven’t heard about it until now, it’s time to start! Aside from oil pulling, I love using coconut oil in my soap products and lotion bars. Coconut oil contains lauric acid, and when used in soaps and beauty products, has anti fungal, antibacterial, itch relieving properties. This makes it ideal for treating acne, eczema, and even insect bites. You can use coconut oil as a natural eye make up remover, and also as a moisturizer. (Disclaimer: I did use coconut oil as a moisturizer and it works wonderfully for most people, but I found from time to time it clogged my pores. I have now switched over to grapeseed oil, which I will talk about next). I also rub a little on the ends of my hair to make them softer and to help with split ends. Coconut oil can additionally be used as a natural sunscreen, just make sure to reapply often. I could go on and on about coconut oil, but those are some of my favorite uses!
Next, I’ll talk about some of the benefits of using grapeseed oil in your daily routine. For the ladies out there that heat style your hair everyday or just from time to time, you can apply grapeseed oil as a natural heat protectant. A word of caution, a little goes a long way. I do this everyday, and my hair is shiny and soft, and I have seen a noticeable reduction in split ends. Some people enjoy using grapeseed oil as a hair treatment. My first experience with this went horribly wrong, leading to crunchy hair that took 10+ washes to get out (I eventually had to break my no poo routine and use castile soap to remove it). Since then, I have learned it can be done and is wonderful for your hair, but really, a little goes a long way! I also use grapeseed oil as my daily moisturizer, and have seen a reduction in breakouts in my typically acne prone skin. It is very light, and leaves my skin feeling smooth, without being oily or greasy. Grapeseed oil contains linoleic acid and antioxidants, and it is a natural anti inflammatory which makes it a great choice for treating acne. It also has astringent qualities which aids in closing pores and tightening skin, thus a reduction in clogged pores. When used in soap making, grapeseed oil is very light weight and absorbs easily into the skin for an awesome moisturizing effect. As mentioned before, it has astringent qualities and can be used in soap made for treating acne. There are other uses for grapeseed oil as well, but those are the ones I have personally tried and reasons I have come to love this oil.
Another oil that most are familiar with but may take for granted is olive oil. As mentioned with the two previous oils, olive oil can also be used to treat acne. Some people have found it to be a good moisturizer, and while this is true, I have found it to be a little to heavy for my skin. If you have naturally dry skin, this is for you! The way I choose to incorporate olive oil into my skin care routine is through the use of scrubs. It is essential to exfoliate your face a couple of times a week, and I choose to do so with my vanilla lavender sugar scrub that uses olive oil as the base oil. It leaves my skin felling soft and moisturized! As a soap maker and enthusiast, where would soap be today without castile soap? The castile soaps I make are made with 100% olive oil just as they were centuries ago. They are wonderful for those with sensitive skin and problems such as acne, eczema, and psoriasis, and naturally aid in relieving scars, itchy and dry skin, and even wrinkles. Olive oil is the base of many other soaps I make, and brings the same good qualities to all of the soaps, but the benefits of each may be altered depending on the other ingredients used. As with the other two oils mentioned, olive oil can be a powerful ingredient for hair treatments. For this, go easy on the oil and it is best for dry, course hair. I have naturally fine hair and tend to lean more toward grapeseed or coconut oil for my hair. That being said, it does work to repair damaged hair and will give you soft, shiny manageable hair.
Another group of oils that should be mentioned for naturally improving your beauty and health routine are essential oils. I am only going to mention a few of my favorites, but there are numerous essential oils that offer many different benefits. The first essential oil I will mention is tea tree oil. With its antibacterial and anti fungal qualities, this oil is great for treating acne, allergies/asthma, bug bites, plantar warts, and many other ailments. Lavender essential oil can be used for just about anything which has earned it the reputation as being the most versatile of essential oils. Its uses include relieving nausea and/or motion sickness, providing a calming sensation and aiding in sleep (one of the only oils safe for baby use as well), relieves burn injuries, relieves insect bites and stings, and the list could go on and on. Lemon essential oil is versatile as well, including the ability to wake you up (put a few drops in the shower to start your morning), helps in fighting oily skin and hair, nourishes your nails, helps to relieve anxiety, provides clarity of the mind and thoughts, and much more. Another great essential oil to have on hand is peppermint oil. Add a little to your morning shower with the lemon oil, as they are both known energizers, or use it to find relief from colds and congestion, headaches, stress, or sore muscles. If you have asthma like me, you should run out and buy some eucalyptus essential oil now. Use it for any and all respiratory ailments, sore muscles, treating fevers, increasing blood flow to the brain, and much more. I’m going to stop there, but I could keep going long enough to write another post just about the many different essential oils and their uses (which I will do in the future).
Those are the top oils in my life right now, but I also want to take a moment a note a few other exceptional oils and their uses. Castor oil can be used to increase lather in soap in a non harmful way as it is a humectant (attracts oil to the skin). Jojoba oil is classified as an oil but is more of a wax, and is great for soap making or use in skin care products such as lotions or balms. It also aids in absorbing oil in the skin and is an excellent moisturizer. Sesame oil is high in antioxidants and vitamins and is very moisturizing, making it great for soaps and lotions (and as mentioned earlier, can be used for oil pulling). Sunflower oil contains wonderful fatty acids and is moisturizing but a little heavy. Try it in body butters or balms.
I hope after reading this and doing your own research, you can see that oils are not to be scared of and can add many wonderful benefits to your life. Thank you for reading, and I hope you enjoy experimenting with these oils! Please also feel free to share your experiences with others here!