Coconut oil changed the entire way I look at cooking and skin care. It all began in an effort to avoid stretch marks during my first pregnancy. I got a jar, split it between the kitchen and the bathroom and haven’t looked back. I still don’t quite get the “coconut oil in your coffee” thing, but maybe if I liked coffee I would. I alternate it with olive oil- using coconut in pans and olive to drizzle (except a few days a year, at room temperature coconut oil at room temperature is actually solid). The real light bulb though was with my skin.

I diligently used it every night on my ever expanding belly and breasts. I was just begging to learn about the potentially harmful ingredients in lotions and other skin care, and wanted to reduce the toxic load during (and after) my pregnancy. I found a fractionated coconut oil in a spray bottle about half way through and then things got even better. I still bring a small jar of regular oil when I travel (I haven’t found a spray that’s airplane friendly), and while one wouldn’t think putting oil directly on your face will clean up acne and other gems, think again. My face has never felt or looked better since switching to an oil as a moisturizer.

Coconut oil was also a godsend during breastfeeding. For those of you who’ve been there, the first few weeks are rough. No lie. I wasn’t a huge fan of lanolin- the texture was weird, and the idea of Alice eating it freaked me out. I also did not want anything touching my nipples. Some feedings it was all I could do to let Alice touch them, never mind applying the rubbing pressure needed to remove the lanolin. I discovered that she liked the coconut, and a quick spray after each feeding was enough to sooth the ache, stop the bleeding, and make it through. Plus, Alice got to ingest a food that many say has all sorts of benefits.

Once I discovered straight coconut oil, I began to look for it in other products. Beautycounter uses it in eight products, plus other coconut extracts in at least another half dozen more. It’s in everything from bar soap to eye cream and I assure you, all those products are effective and luxurious. There are tons of websites that extol the virtues of the oil, and now that I’ve tried it myself, I can’t imagine going back. I use it to clean my face, moisturize dry skin, remove makeup in a pinch and fry veggies. Some of my favorite Beautycounter products are coconut oil based, like the Nourishing  Eye Cream and the Nourishing Cream Cleanser. It got me through my pregnancy and continues to make my skin look and feel great.