Sunblock – check. Swimsuit – check. Virgin coconut oil? Check!
It may be a novel idea to pack VCO in your travel bag or take VCO to the beach, but we’ve got 12 fantastic (and science-backed) reasons to do just that! Virgin coconut oil has been gaining recognition as an all-around essential for skin care, hair care, cooking, and baking. This is all the more important during these hot, humid days when you need extra moisturizing and good eating habits.
If you think it’s awkward to take VCO when you travel, worry not. Made Mindful VCO is in slender glass bottles that are handy and pretty. This isn’t your ordinary drug store coconut oil in a plastic bottle. This is Instagram-ready, celeb-recommended, high-quality VCO extracted from organic coconuts without the use of chemicals so it retains all its benefits and nutrients.
Let’s count the ways to use virgin coconut oil this summer.
1. Shave without harsh chemicals.
Tis the season of baring skin, when shaving is on everyone's to-do list. Sadly, many shaving creams and lotions in the market are made of synthetic chemicals that irritate sensitive skin, leading to unsightly rashes or itchy spots. They are usually packaged in spray cans or plastic bottles which can be hard to recycle. Virgin coconut oil is a natural alternative, as it is unrefined and has no chemical additives. It’s an excellent shaving medium that moisturizes while you shave!
How to shave with virgin coconut oil: Wash & exfoliate skin. Apply VCO, then wait a few seconds to let the oil settle. Shave as usual, rinsing razor often in warm water. Pat-dry with a towel, and finish off with a light massage of VCO.
2. VCO keeps skin healthy while tanning.
Sunblock or sunscreen helps protect your skin from UV rays, but what’s protecting your skin from drying in the heat? The secret to a healthy glowing tan is plenty of skin hydration, which VCO generously provides. In fact, a study has found that virgin coconut oil is better than mineral oil in hydrating the skin! It locks in moisture within the skin so you don’t get a dry, chafed complexion when tanning.
How to tan with virgin coconut oil: About 30 minutes before sun exposure, apply sunblock or sunscreen. Right before sun exposure, slather VCO on top and you’re good to go!
3. Niknik be gone! VCO helps repel tiny bugs naturally.
Spending time outdoors unfortunately exposes you to sand mites, gnats, fleas, ticks, and sand flies. Thankfully, VCO helps keep those nasties off your skin. Traditional wisdom in the Philippines uses coconut oil to suffocate fleas and ticks on pets, and to keep any more bugs from landing. It’s like a nice, slippery coating that drowns tiny crawlies. The same principle applies to our skin when we’re out in nature. If you need further proof, one trial in Madagascar minimized a type of flea infestation using a coco oil-based repellent.
How to use virgin coconut oil against small bugs: Apply VCO directly on skin before exposure, or mix it first with citronella, peppermint, tea tree, or rosemary essential oil for an extra insect-repellent scent.
If you already have an insect bite, pat some VCO on the bite area to help reduce skin inflammation and prevent microbial infection.
4. Heal cuts and skin irritation faster with VCO.
Summer adventures can sometimes lead to surface cuts and grazes, or trigger skin conditions like eczema/dermatitis. Good thing VCO helps with skin healing! Virgin coconut oil works in two ways. One, it protects the skin from microbial infection while skin cells recover. And two, there’s scientific evidence that VCO promotes the production of collagen, the building block of the skin. The study found that VCO-treated wounds healed faster!
How to use VCO for wound-healing: Clean the surface wound, apply virgin coconut oil, and cover with bandage. Do this once or twice a day with fresh bandages.
How to use VCO to relieve eczema, dermatitis, or xerosis: Wash the affected area with a gentle soap. Apply a layer of virgin coconut oil, then wrap with a damp sterilized cloth. Leave the wet wrap on until it’s nearly dry. Do this once or twice a day, or during flare-ups.
5. Keep your lips luscious with VCO.
Just like it hydrates your skin, virgin coconut oil also keeps moisture within your lips, helping prevent dry, flaky, or chapped lips. You can use it on its own or dab it over your favorite lipstick for a natural gloss.
How to use VCO as a lip balm: Dab directly on lips, or try a quick lip balm recipe. In a microwaveable bowl, mix virgin coconut oil and a bit of lipstick. (About two drops of oil will do, while the amount of lipstick depends on how much pigment you want.) Microwave for a few seconds, then stir well. Pour in a clean lip balm pot. Let it cool at room temperature, then refrigerate until mixture solidifies. This lip balm is best kept in the fridge to maintain texture.
6. Prevent hair frizz in humidity.
This humid weather can make hair go crazy! Humidity (moisture in the air) enters hair strands and rearranges their molecules, causing hair frizz, flyaways, and weird, untameable curls. Dry hair strands are more susceptible to this because the lack of moisture within them invites air moisture in. A natural solution? Use virgin coconut oil as a leave-on conditioner! It seals moisture in your hair strands while acting as a barrier to keep external moisture out.
How to use virgin coconut oil as an anti-frizz conditioner: Rub a drop or two of VCO between your palms then smooth over your hair, from mid-length to tip. Use any excess oil to relax stray baby hair. Try to keep oil away from your scalp.
7. Protect your hair from saltwater and pool water.
Hey, summer mermaids! Whether you’re swimming in the sea or in the pool, you need to protect your strands. Saltwater and chlorinated water each have drying effects on hair, leading to brittle, lackluster hair strands that are prone to breakage and split ends.
Plus, these types of water can change the texture of your hair: saltwater makes it sticky, while chlorine water makes it stiff. Both lead to a lot of tangles and breakage.
Don’t risk losing more hair than you should from having dry, sticky strands on your summer holiday! When you use virgin coconut oil on your hair, it works both as a sealant for hair moisture, a barrier against hair-drying elements, and a creamy conditioner for easier combing.
How to use VCO on your hair before/after swimming: Gently work a small amount of virgin coconut oil through your hair strands, coating as many strands as you can. (If needed, add a few more drops gradually.) Comb through your hair from the tips to the roots. Rub any excess oil on your arms and legs.
8. Cook healthy meals in your Airbnb/rental with VCO.
Renting a vacation place? Cooking with VCO is healthy and handy! Take VCO with you for cooking and baking practically anything. It works best with Asian food and simple stir-frying or pan-frying. It can also replace butter 1:1 in many baking recipes. Not only is virgin coconut oil easier to pack and store, but according to a 2018 study, VCO is also better than butter in raising good cholesterol and lowering bad cholesterol!
Find virgin coconut oil recipes on our Made Mindful blog!
9. Make your summer smoothies and coffee richer.
Speaking of good food, smoothies and fruit shakes are a staple every summer, besides your daily coffee. This time around, make your drink more beneficial by adding virgin coconut oil to it! You get the antiviral and anti-inflammatory goodness of the oil, plus it makes you feel fuller so you get hungry less.
How to add VCO to your smoothies: Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of VCO to your smoothie, blend, and enjoy! You can also try the yummy detox smoothie recipes from Made Mindful.
How to add VCO to your coffee: Simply stir in a teaspoon or two of VCO into your mug of hot coffee. Enjoy while warm!
10. Exfoliate your skin while moisturizing it.
Exfoliation is important for glowing skin, but it can be a pain – literally! Store-bought exfoliants often have abrasive ingredients that cause skin soreness or redness. You need to balance all that peeling with a nice, creamy moisturizer. Virgin coconut oil works well for this. You can even make your own moisturizing-exfoliating VCO scrub at home, either before your trip or when you get home from a day of adventures.
How to make your DIY virgin coconut oil scrub: Mix ¼ cup VCO with ½ cup brown sugar OR ½ cup of fresh coffee grounds. If you want, you can add about 5 drops of your favorite essential oil. Use mixture to gently scrub your face and body before showering.
11. Relax with a massage after a day of adventures.
Whether you’ve been hiking, doing laps, or taking sunset strolls, all that activity can take a toll on your muscles at the end of the day. Treat yourself to a virgin coconut oil massage at the spa or a self-massage called abhyanga. It lowers stress, improves circulation, and brings a nice glow! Also, a VCO massage can re-moisturize those tired, cracked heels so your feet are primed again for tomorrow’s flip-flops!
How to use virgin coconut oil for abhyanga massage: Before bedtime, pour 1 or 2 tablespoons of Made Mindful VCO in a microwaveable bowl and microwave for 15 seconds. (You want your oil to be warm instead of hot.) You can use it directly or add your favorite essential oil first. Massage VCO on yourself from scalp to toes. Take your time – this is you pampering yourself. After the massage, you’ll be relaxed and ready for bed, with the oil moisturizing your skin overnight.
How to use virgin coconut oil for your foot massage: Before bedtime, exfoliate your feet using a gentle scrub (see our recipe above). Apply a layer of VCO, paying extra attention to soles, heels, and ankles. Slip on a clean pair of socks and get your sleep. Feel the difference in the morning!
12. Take VCO to fight COVID-19.
With all the travel plans you have for summer, you’ll need extra protection against the still-existing threat of COVID-19. Top Filipino scientist Dr. Fabian Dayrit has recommended taking virgin coconut oil as a recommended (preventive measure) against the virus. This is after several studies found VCO effective in alleviating mild to moderate COVID symptoms.
Note, however, that VCO is a supplemental treatment, not a cure. It’s seen as an extra layer of protection that could boost your body’s virus-fighting capacity.
How to take VCO against COVID-19:
Dr. Dayrit has recommended two tablespoons of virgin coconut oil after each meal for those who have mild symptoms. If this sounds too much for you, start with smaller doses (or better yet, consult with your doctor for the best amount for your body). Mix it with your coffee or smoothies to make it delicious!