As anyone who follows me on Instagram (hi Dad) will know, I recently returned from a trip to Sri Lanka. That country is officially amazing. I spent the first week exploring tea plantations and making mountainous pilgrimages in the island’s centre, then headed down to the south coast for blissed out sunbathing and sand-between-the-toes.
Travelling with the chef meant, obviously, that a large part of the trip was focused on food. We tried hundreds of delicious dishes and local delicacies but of all the culinary experiences on offer, the country’s fresh yellow coconuts served up roadside were one of my favourite treats. After we’d slurped up all our nuts’ cooling water, we’d hand them back to the machete-wielding local greengrocers – who would split the nuts in two and carve out makeshift spoons from the shell, allowing us to scoop out the wobbly white coconut jelly hidden within.
As I stood, ankle-deep in the warm sea on Mirissa Beach, greedily scratching up every last morsel from that day’s coconut, I considered these wondernuts. I’m more than a little sceptical of fads and crazes but despite the hype and my better judgement, coconut oil has quickly become one of my desert island beauty products.
Amongst the other essentials that I took along for the adventure, a half-used tub of JASON coconut oil found its way into my washbag. This did feel a little like shipping coals to Newcastle, especially as every single corner shop I visited in SL had at least one shelf devoted to the stuff, but past experience has taught me that when heading off on holiday, I’d be loco to leave out the coco: it’s a multi-use product that’s perfect for trips to warmer climes – and ideal for everyday existence as well. Let me explain why.
- It’s still one of the best makeup removers I’ve ever used. Soften a small amount in your hands (or, if you’re in a hot climate, dip your hand into the oil and scoop out a teaspoonful) then massage the soothing oil gently into your face, taking care to avoid your eyes. Moisten a flannel or muslin in hand-hot water, then place this over your face (pause here for a few seconds to enjoy the spa-like experience) and rub gently to remove the oil along with the day’s grease and grime. Extra bonus – there’s definitely no need to moisturise after this routine. I’ve always been a believer in the Dr Hauschka approach of cleansing your skin before bed and leaving it free to breathe overnight, but sometimes my skin just feels better with a little moisture (especially in the winter) – so the small amount of oil left following cleansing is perfect. Your skin will be soft and you’ll smell delicious. What’s not to love?
- It’s the perfect aftersun to slather over your body for optimum tan extension, or just an all-body moisturiser for ideal softness. Following a day’s sun worshipping, hit the showers and gently exfoliate yourself – I’m still using a mitt I picked up in the spas of Marrakech. Dry off any excess water then work the oil into your limbs, smoothing and polishing for a beautiful shine.
- Heading out for a night on the tiles after a day at the beach? A tiny bit of oil adds a beautiful glow to sunkissed skin: smooth a little over collarbones, shins and the tops of your feet for perfect shimmer and subtle tropical scent. You could even work in a little powdered highlighter to add extra gleam.
- A teeny tiny amount (I’m talking just a suggestion of oil – you can always add more) of warmed oil can be worked into the ends of your hair to add moisture to dried out or frizzy barnets, especially when in hot or humid climates. A little goes a long way here.
- And finally, the simple fact that the oil turns liquid when travelling in a hot country is a brilliant daily reminder that you’re holidaying somewhere warm. Quick changes through climates can also lead to surprise coconut oil flooding in your washbag, so be sure your tub’s firmly sealed before takeoff.
So are you loco for coco too – or is it just me? Does the brand you buy make a difference – and are expensive ones worth shelling (ha) out for? Let’s talk in the comments…