Abhyanga (oil massage) is a traditional Ayurveda practice of applying oil to the skin in order to help slow the aging process, promote relaxation, and it’s said to be good for eye health, and ensures longevity. The oil, which can even be used for babies, for this procedure is virgin coconut oil.
I use virgin coconut oil processed with some medicinal herbs for my 20-month-old daughter. This has been an ancient practice in India. Coconut oil is an edible oil, which is extracted from the kernels of mature coconuts.
Virgin coconut oil differs from the ordinary coconut oil because of the way it is extracted and in terms of its health benefits. The term ‘virgin’ essentially means that either no heat is applied during the process or it is subjected to very low heat. Virgin coconut oil has a strong taste and fragrance, and a higher content of antioxidants, protein, vitamins, and healthy fatty acids which may be lost during the industrial processes that regular coconut oil is subjected to. In Kerala, the oil for skin and hair is usually prepared at home. My mom used to prepare it freshly, and it’s a great beauty ingredient that can help in controlling dandruff and preventing acne.
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How to Prepare Virgin Coconut Oil at Home
• 4 grated coconuts
Method of Preparation
1. Extract the coconut milk from the grated coconut by squeezing it with your hands in a muslin cloth. Keep a bowl below the cloth to collect the liquid. You can add very little hot water to it to make it easy to handle and squeeze out all the milk.
2. After extracting the coconut milk sieve again through a muslin cloth to discard any impurities. Place the coconut milk in a vessel and cook for 2 to 3 hours over low heat. Keep stirring it every now and then till the milk becomes brownish in color. However, be careful that it doesn’t burn as coconut milk has a very delicate texture.
3. Once the milk becomes concentrated, remove it from the heat and let it cool down. Place the cooled, thickened milk in a muslin cloth and squeeze out the oil. Collect it in a bowl and then store it in an airtight glass jar.
This homemade coconut oil can easily last for a year, and a minimum of 8 to 10 months. Though the procedure is quite slow and consumes time, believe me it's worth the effort. This homemade oil can do wonders when compared to the store-bought ones.
Now that you have prepared an amazing oil, let's check out some simple beauty hacks that can be done with this homemade coconut oil.
Facewash: 1 cup coconut oil + 5 tbsp lavender essential oil + 1 tsp baking soda. Store this in an airtight container.
Mask: 1 tsp coconut oil + a pinch of turmeric powder – Apply over face and wash after 20 minutes. Reduces and prevents sunburn and rashes.
Makeup Remover: Simply take a small amount of coconut oil and gentle rub over skin to remove makeup. It softens the skin and act as an excellent night cream.
Lip Balm: Heal chapped lips with nourishing coconut oil by placing it directly on the lips.
Herbal Scrub: 1 tsp coconut oil + 1 tsp coconut sugar – Apply this once every 2 weeks. Wash with warm water afterwards.