Coconut oil is not just a trend, it's a highly effective moisturiser
Coconut oil is not just a fad. Three children in to our parenting journey and it's been amazing for each of our little ones when it comes to massage, moisturising and treating cradle cap.
Coconut oil might feel like the sort of new trend that comes and goes out of fashion, but it's history of use suggests otherwise. Coconut oil was out of favour as a food source because of it's maligned saturated fat content. But this has since been debunked from a food perspective.
For skincare, coconut oil hasn't ever gone out of favour. But we didn't really appreciate it's qualities.
Coconut oil is great at treating cradle cap
Coconut oil is particularly effective at treating skin and and scalps because of the naturally occurring lauric in the fatty acid it contains. Lauric is a straight, long chain molecule that penetrates hair follicles more effectively and also is great at trapping moisture to prevent skin from drying out.
Choosing the right natural coconut oil is important
Not all oils are created equal when it comes to looking after baby skin and scalp health. Olive oil in regular use can lead to mild rashes so isn't great for daily use - even in adults. Synthetic mineral oils are by-products from crude oil, and while effective are neither natural or particularly environmentally friendly.
Coconut oil is a great product for moisturising babies and young children in part because it's also edible. It's naturally derived lauric content also makes it an exceptional product for locking in moisture and it can be used on a daily basis without any issues - making it particularly useful for sensitive skin.
How to make natural coconut oil at home for skincare treatments
Making sure you choose a natural coconut oil that doesn't contain synthetic chemicals that might otherwise harm your baby's skin is important.
But even naturally derived products can be manufactured in such a way that you lose the best qualities of the coconut oil's fatty acid content.
Finding the right, readily available coconut oil isn't always easy and you can end up buying it in such large quantities that you might find more joy in making it yourself. It also saves a few pennies and is a fun activity at home.
What you need to make coconut oil at home
- Fresh, mature coconut
- Cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer
- Large bowl
- Blender or food processor
- Muslin cloth or fine mesh strainer
- Glass jar or container for storage
A step-by-step guide for how to make coconut oil at home:
Start by breaking open the coconut and removing the coconut meat. You can do this by using a hammer and nail to puncture the "eyes" of the coconut and drain out the liquid, or by cracking the coconut open with a hammer or mallet.
Cut the coconut meat into small pieces and place them in a blender or food processor.
Blend the coconut meat on high speed until it becomes a smooth, creamy consistency.
Place the cheesecloth or fine mesh strainer over the large bowl and pour the blended coconut mixture through it. This will separate the coconut milk from the solids.
Squeeze the cheesecloth or strainer to extract as much coconut milk as possible.
Pour the coconut milk into a pot and bring it to a boil over medium heat.
Reduce the heat to low and let the coconut milk simmer for about 20-30 minutes, or until the liquid has reduced by about half.
Let the coconut milk cool for a few minutes, then pour it through the muslin cloth or fine mesh strainer to remove any solids.
Transfer the coconut oil to a glass jar or container and store it in a cool, dry place. The coconut oil will solidify as it cools, but it can be melted again by placing the jar in a pan of hot water.
Note: The yield of coconut oil will depend on the size of the coconut and the quantity of coconut milk you start with. You may not get a large quantity of coconut oil from a single coconut, but the process can be repeated with additional coconuts to increase the yield.