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3 Beauty Recipes

WHEN I THINK OF COCONUT OIL, I am reminded of my grandmother’s beauty ritual. Every month, before ‘cold-processed’ was the method of choice, her beloved hairdresser would come to extract the oil by heating fresh coconut milk, filling the house with that creamy, nutty scent, and then massaging it into my grandmother’s scalp. Though she kept it short, my grandmother’s hair was glossy and thick, and it stayed that way until her last days.

Today, I’m always looking for ways to use coconut oil at home. Recently, I tried three DIY beauty recipes that are not just easy, healthy, and fun to make—they actually do the job. My grandmother would have been proud…

First off, let’s tackle the main ingredient. There’s been a boom in demand for coconut oil in the last couple of years. And because there are so many brands now, it would be wise to know what to look for in a coconut oil. I found Santa Maria 100% Virgin Coconut Oil by accident, and I’m so glad I did.

‘Virgin’ basically means the oil is pure and unrefined. Santa Maria VCO is extracted from organic coconuts through a cold process that involves simply pressing the oil from the coconut meat without the use of heat. This way, the nutrients and healthy fats are uncorrupted. Named after a coconut-rich town south of Manila where its farm is located, Santa Maria VCO is the star product of Amazing Foods—a social enterprise with a focus on empowering local farmers through educating them on organic farming and business development, among other things. I truly appreciate that this company is so much more than a business cashing in on a trend. Besides, it’s been around for 11 years now, long before coconut oil was christened as the new global superfood.

Coconut oil has numerous proven benefits. My favorite is that it contains high amounts of lauric and caprylic acid, both of which are antiviral, antibacterial and antifungal. These medium-chain fatty acids are also sent directly to the liver to give you instant plant-based energy. I know this, because there are days when I take a tablespoon of VCO straight and days that I don’t, and I can feel the difference. I honestly think that their long-time use of coconut oil is one of the main reasons people in the Pacific tropics tend to age well. These days, it’s so much easier to get a hold of VCO like Santa Maria. You’ll notice too, Santa Maria VCO is colorless, with a mild aroma and flavor, both hallmarks of great quality VCO. Another thing I love is that they take the extra effort to package their VCO in glass instead of plastic, which could leach chemicals into the oil. The glass jars and bottles are simple yet sturdy, and could definitely be used for other things after you’ve consumed the oil.

Also please remember: If you have a health condition, are pregnant, or are taking medication, always consult your doctor before starting on any food/health supplement.

Now for the DIYs…

MAKEUP REMOVER

Apart from its many benefits, coconut oil is incredible at removing makeup. Turn that chore into a joy with this practical DIY. MAKES one 8 oz. jar

You will need
3-4 ounces Santa Maria VCO
1 eight ounce jar with an airtight lid
1 eight ounce jar with an airtight lid
100% pure cotton rounds
popsicle sticks for mixing
tea tree essential oil (optional)

*Tea tree essential oil has anti-bacterial properties, but you can also use chamomile or lavender which are both healing and rich in antioxidants.

STEP ONE
Mix the oils
Pour the coconut oil into your clean jar. If using 4 ounces, the oil should go to about halfway up the jar. Add a few drops of the essential oil if using. Mix well.

STEP TWO
Add the cotton rounds
Stack the cotton rounds in the jar to fill or until all the oil is absorbed by the cotton. Push the rounds down with a popsicle stick or flip the stack upside down to make sure all the cotton rounds absorb enough of the oil.

HOW TO USE
Simple two-step routine
Gently wipe off makeup using the soaked cotton rounds. Often one is enough for everyday makeup, or use two to include the face, neck and heavy eye makeup. Follow with face wash to remove oily residue and then toner if that’s part of your routine. Bonus: Coconut oil won’t clog your pores!

Notes & Caution:
If the cotton rounds are too saturated, simply insert more dry cotton in the bottom or between the wet rounds and push down. VCO is safe taken orally, but essential oils are not. Never take essential oils by mouth.

COFFEE & SUGAR BODY SCRUB
Looks like dirt, smells like heaven. This exfoliating scrub helps zap cellulite and leaves skin looking polished. MAKES ONE 8 OZ. JAR

You will need
3-4 ounces Santa Maria VCO
1 eight ounce jar with an airtight lid
1/2 cup fresh coffee grounds
1/2 cup organic cane sugar
popsicle sticks for mixing

* As if this scrub could smell any better, you can add a teaspoon of ground cinnamon, or ground vanilla bean.

STEP ONE
Mix the dry ingredients
In a small bowl, mix the coffee and and sugar thoroughly, breaking apart large pieces of the sugar if any. Mix in cinnamon or vanilla bean if using.

STEP TWO
Add the coconut oil
Add half of the Santa Maria VCO into the coffee and sugar and mix well. Depending on how you like the texture, you can add more oil or leave it as is. I liked my scrub to have the texture of moist, coarse, garden soil. It exfoliates beautifully at this texture. Note that coconut oil solidifies somewhere under 24 degrees celsius. Unless you’re cooking or baking with it, allow it to liquify again on its own by simply putting it in room temperature above 25 degrees celsius.

HOW TO USE
Daily or weekly treatment
Use as a gentle exfoliator for rough spots daily or use several times a week to help fight cellulite by massaging in circular motions into dimpled skin. Rinse well.

Notes & Caution:
There is some evidence that caffeine might be absorbed through the skin, so take caution if you are sensitive to caffeine or consume it in drinks. When used in the shower, the scrub might leave the floor slippery. No crazy dancing. Keep out of children’s reach.

SUGAR & BEET LIP SCRUB
Make this pretty scrub part of your lip care routine for smoother, softer lips.
MAKES ABOUT 12 GRAMS

You will need
1 teaspoon Santa Maria VCO
1 tablespoon white or cane sugar
1 tablespoon beet juice
1 lip balm jar
popsicle sticks for mixing
* You can make beet juice by boiling peeled beets, until the water turns deep pink. Let cool. Beets are high in vitamin C and may help to lighten dark areas on the lips.

STEP ONE: Mix the sugar and color
Add a few drops of the beet juice to your white sugar, just enough to color it. You can still add the beet juice if you prefer to use cane sugar, but the pink color won’t show. Mix well.

STEP TWO:Add the coconut oil
Slowly add the VCO to the sugar until you get the texture you want. Add more sugar if it gets too wet. Don’t add the beet juice once you’ve added the VCO, the juice will only separate.

HOW TO USE: Lip Care Routine
I put lip balm most nights before going to bed. In the morning I exfoliate using this lip scrub, and then rinse off.

Notes & Caution:
Don’t use the scrub on wounded or cracked lips, or on sores on the lips. Keep out of children’s reach.

Honestly, these DIYs were so easy and so fun to make, and you could add simple labels and give them as gifts. This project has been such a revelation, it got me thinking about making more of these homemade beauty products, because it makes sense doesn’t it? They’re affordable, you know exactly what’s in it, and you’d be surprised how brilliantly these things can work if you just paid attention to their key ingredients.

Thanks for reading!

You can find out more about Santa Maria 100% Virgin Coconut Oil and Amazing Foods by visiting their website. Call for delivery within Metro Manila 850-0000 or to inquire about where you can find Santa Maria VCO in your area. Santa Maria VCO is available in 150, 250, 350 and 500 ml as well as in bulk sizes.
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