I’m always looking for quick and easy healthy and beauty tricks that are non-toxic. Coconut oil and apple cider vinegar are two great natural solutions for both health and beauty. Using products without toxins on our bodies means fewer toxins can get in our bodies. Not to mention these are typically also cost-saving solutions, which makes them even better!
The use of apple cider and coconut oil can date back thousands of years. In this post, I will dive into two pantry staples that offer benefits for your beauty and health! After reading this post, you’ll start to wonder how you ever lived without these two miracle workers!
Apple Cider Vinegar
Apple Cider Vinegar (or ACV for short) comes from fermented apple juice that has undergone a two-step fermentation process that adds bacteria and yeast to apple juice. This process ultimately results in fermented apple cider vinegar with a bacterial culture in it. When buying ACV for health and beauty care, you want to make sure to purchase ACV having that bacterial culture in it, which is referred to as the “mother.” The “mother” gives it a murky look like some pulp or something is floating around in it- it’s actually the proteins, enzymes, and beneficial friendly bacteria. Some brands do not include the “mother”; they are typically less expensive and filtered. You’ll want to look for a label that says that it is unfiltered and includes the mother.
You can often find ACV with other kinds of vinegar, oils, and condiments in the supermarket, although it may depend on your grocery stores. A few benefits of apple cider vinegar are that it is filled with healthy bacteria with antifungal, antibacterial, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Coconut Oil is an oil that is extracted from the meat of coconut palm. Coconut oil can be used topically and ingested. It is very high in saturated (healthy) fat content and slow to oxidize, making it a great oil for baking and cooking even at high temperatures. The main benefit of coconut oil is that it is also jam-packed with antibacterial properties and nutrients. It is used as a natural remedy for all sorts of ailments in many cultures. In many of these cultures, coconut oil is also used to moisturize hair, skin, and nails.
Coconut oil is most commonly found in the supermarket, among other oils. Coconut oil is shelf-stable; in temperatures below 76 degrees Farenheight, coconut oil is solid, it begins to melt at 76 degrees. I’ve found it’s best to stick with an organic unrefined extra virgin coconut oil, so you are getting the purest natural form for the best results all around.
A coconut oil hair mask is fantastic to use as a hair conditioner to replenish moisture into dry hair and reduce frizz. It’s also great for moisturizing the scalp (say hello scalp massage) helping to combat any dandruff. Try adding in a tablespoon (or more if needed); you can help liquefy it by rubbing your palm together to create heat, then gently massaging it throughout your hair and into your scalp if desired. Leave on for 30 minutes or sleep with a shower cap on and wash out in the morning. Shampoo and rinse as usual; because you are washing out oil, it may take a bit more shampooing and rinse depending on how much oil you used and the type of hair you have.
* Note- Coconut oil as a deep conditioner that works best on fine to medium hair. The proteins from the coconut oil give these strands the desired protein boost they need that helps hair shine.
Those who have dry, coarse, or brittle hair may find coconut oil to actually dry hair out due to protein build-up, which ends up blocking the hair from the moisture, which in turn causes more dryness rather than the gorgeous locks you are trying to get.
You can incorporate coconut oil easily into your daily hair care routine. You can also use coconut oil as hair oil for smoothing hair out by adding just a dap to the ends of damp hair. This can be particularly helpful if you are in a pinch or staying with friends.
Clarifying Hair Treatment
Apple cider vinegar is a great clarifying treatment for your hair, helping to clear away product build-up that may be weighing hair down. ACV is also great for balancing out the PH of your scalp, which can be disrupted by hair coloring and product usage. ACV can help smooth out and seal the hair cuticle- bringing out more shine in your locks and even prevent pigment loss for color-treated hair.
To use ACV as a hair rinse, you’ll want to dilute it as straight ACV can be too harsh for your hair. Start by mixing with 1/2 tablespoon for 8 ounces of water (make sure to use a plastic or shower safe cup). Shampoo hair as usual. After rinsing, shampoo out, lean head back and rinse hair with the ACV and water solution (make sure you close your eyes). Allow the ACV water solution to penetrate your hair and scalp for about 30 seconds up to 5 minutes before rinsing out. Then you can add in your regular conditioner (if you use it).
You’ll want to experiment to find the perfect ratio for your hair- oilier hair may need more ACV, and a dry scalp will need less. Remember not to overdo it and keep the ACV rinse diluted with no more than a 1:5 ACV to water ratio. You can use this solution up to once a week if needed for oily hair and even less frequently for dry hair. When it comes to ACV and the hair- there can be too much of a good thing, so remember to dilute and not to overuse this rinse, or you’ll do more damage than good to your lustrous locks! Of course, if you notice any sensitivities to this solution- discontinue using it.
Skin Care & Natural Alternative Beauty Products
ACV diluted with water makes a great face toner. With its antibacterial and PH balancing properties, it’s an all-natural solution for bringing balance to your face and unclogging pores. ACV also contains a natural alpha-hydroxy-acid, which helps to exfoliate the skin, brighten skin and lighten dark spots.
To make an ACV toner, you’ll want to use a reusable container. Mix 2 teaspoons of ACV with 1 cup of distilled water into an appropriate toner bottle. Apply in the more and evening using a cotton ball. You may have to experiment to find the best ratio for your skin type. You can also experiment with using this as a spot treatment with a higher concentration than the toner ratio. In general drier skin likes less ACV, and oilier skin may respond well to more, but never exceeding a 1:2 ratio of ACV to water as too much can be harsh or irritating to the skin. I always recommend starting with less ACV and adding just a touch more as you notice how your skin responds.
*Distilled water is pure water and free of other bacteria or minerals that may be found in tap (or even purified water); it is the best option when creating mixtures that you want to be shelf-stable.
Vinegar baths haven’t gotten the hype they should. They are one of the best ways to help detox your skin. Between the AHA, PH balancing, antibacterial, anti-fungal, and anti-inflammatory properties, they are a sure-fire way to help detox the skin and heal any ailments you may be experiencing. ACV can help soothe eczema, kill fungus and bacteria on the skin helping with dry skin and body pimples. It may also help balance PH in any areas that are prone to overgrowth of yeast.
Understandably vinegar isn’t the most appealing smell- try adding a drop or two of pure essential oil or lighting a candle to help shift the smell. Also, focusing on the benefits that outweigh any unpleasant smell. To take an ACV bath, add 1-2 cups of ACV to a warm water bath and soak away. It is not necessary to shower or rinse after but rather a personal preference. There can be benefits of allowing the ACV bath to dry into the skin- like a toner. Experiment with what feels best for you!
Moisturizer for Your Body
Coconut oil works best for sealing moisture into the skin. Because coconut oil works as a sealant, the best way to use coconut oil for your skin is immediately after bathing. Dry off just enough that your skin is still damp, then apply coconut oil so that it is trapping the moisture into your skin.
Skin Repair and Protection
Coconut oil also works well to repair the top layer of cracked skin and works as a protector of skin against harsh winds and cold air in the winter. You can think of it as a replacement for something like Vaseline. It can help repair overly dry or cracked in the winter like cuticles, lips, elbows, bottoms of feet or even the nostril area right inside that can become dry and cracked- rub coconut oil in to help seal and repair the top layer of skin or use a cotton swap if needed. Coconut oil works great for protecting skin against frigid cold air and wind.
Coconut oil can work well as a makeup remover helping to remove makeup, breaking down dirt and oil. Apply to your face and gently wash off with a wet cloth. After using coconut oil to remove makeup, many people, especially those with acne-prone skin, will want to follow up with a water-based cleanser to remove any oily residue that can lead to breakouts.
Apple cider vinegar has antibacterial and antiseptic properties, which can help kill bacteria, which can cause some toothaches. Try soaking a cotton ball in ACV diluted with water and then gently apply it to the affected tooth and rinse after. Because ACV is acidic, it’s best always to dilute and rinse after. Use this solution sparingly to protect your tooth enamel best; everyday usage could end up doing more harm than good…and if you are having an ongoing toothache, it’s always best to see a dentist!
Coconut oil or “oil pulling” has been used in traditional Ayurvedic medicine for thousands of years. There are so many benefits to this practice, just a few of them being….. Oil pulling is actually rather simple, just take a tablespoon of coconut oil and begin swooshing it around in your mouth. To start, you may just oil pull for 5 minutes or so, eventually building up to around 20 minutes. When you are finished, simply spit the oil into the nearest garbage can (you don’t want to clog up your sink with this). Follow up with brushing your teeth to help fully clean out any remaining toxins and bacteria. You can oil pull any time of day, but it is recommended to do it on an empty stomach.
Bug Bite Remedy
We all know how itchy those bug bites can be! Fortunately, both ACV and coconut oil have been known to help stop the itching associated with insect bites. Give a dab of either a try as they both have antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties and are both known to help soothe skin from irritations. Coconut oil you can apply straight; just rub onto the bite. When using ACV, it’s always standard practice to dilute it because it is acidic and can be too harsh on the skin; try using an equal amount of ACV and water on a cotton ball and apply to the bite.
Health and beauty can be fun to experiment with! Enjoy giving one or all of these a try. You might find your new favorite beauty hacks using coconut oil, and apple cider vinegar will save you time, money, and some space in your bathroom cabinet.
Karla Kueber is a Certified Evidence Based EFT Practioner and Health Coach, with a double Masters Degree in Education. She works with people to overcome emotional eating, curb cravings, and overcome resistance to eating new healthy foods. You can learn more about coaching with her here.