We’re living in an age of oils and whether we’re ingesting them or applying them topically there’s good reason for our love affair. When it comes to oils there’s a plethora of reasons to include them in our daily lives, with one caveat: they need to be as pure and as high quality as you can afford. Oils are beneficial to us in many ways. By using them nutritionally we can take our general wellbeing up a notch or two, help balance our weight and give our skin a glorious boost. Beauty-wise our skin loves a good oil, even, as counterintuitive as it sounds, an oily complexion.
If you’re trying to lose a few kilograms, taking a teaspoon of coconut oil will fill you up for several hours.
In The Kitchen
Did you know it’s a shame to cook on high heats with olive oil?
The reason for this is its smoke point—the point at which oil begins to burn or degrade rendering many of its benefits obsolete. Here are our oil picks for the kitchen:
The best oil to cook with is unrefined coconut oil because it’s super stable and has a smoke point of 232˚C. It’s also a healthy saturated fat and delivers an energy boost, PLUS it’s antibacterial, antiviral an antioxidant.
Avocado oil is brilliant for stir-fries because it has a smoke point of 270˚C. It’s rich in oleic acid, which is a healthy fat, is high in lutein, which is good for the eyes and it’s easy to use at both cold and hot temperatures.
Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) is an old favourite revered for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and overall healthy fat benefits. The mistake a lot of people make is not investing the right type – cold pressed EVOO – and cooking with it at high heats.
Flaxseed oil is very unstable but its nutritional benefits are many. High in omega-3 fatty acids (1tsp = nearly 7,200mg), flaxseed also loves the skin – studies found it helps with hydration and smoothness and reduces sensitivity, roughness and dermatitis. Never cook with it though. Instead, add it to salads and smoothies.
In The Bathroom
There are so many oils that fall under the beauty umbrella to cover every single one, here are six of our faves:
Argan oil comes from the kernel of the argan trees native to Morocco, and when Western beauty aficionados saw the results of a lifetime of use by Moroccan women they embraced it. It’s rich in sun protectant, moisturising, de-oiling oily skin properties as well as being healing for acne, psoriasis, rosacea and dermatitis.
Castor oil is viscous and thick, but get past that and use as a face mask and/or hair mask for amazing results.
For hair: use an eye dropper and apply it to the roots then massage (as well as you can) into the hair. Cover with a towel and leave for an hour. To rinse out, shampoo thoroughly twice.
While hair is ‘soaking’ apply castor oil to the face/neck/décolletage for the rest of the waiting time. Rinse off. It makes a brilliant cleanser too.
Do this double treatment once a week for a luminous complexion and thicker, longer tresses.
Coconut oil has many uses on the beauty front. The skin adores it as a moisturiser and it will also soothe and de-itch dry, itchy body skin, plus oil pulling will give cleaner whiter teeth.
Jojoba (pronounced ho-ho-ba) oil is actually not an oil but a liquid wax that’s similar to the skin’s natural sebum (or oil) mantle. It also contains vitamins E and B. This makes it a great moisturiser, makeup remover, anti-ager, hair beautifier and aid for scarring and eczema.
Rosehip oil is a firm favourite due to the skin cherishing essential fatty acids and vitamins it contains including E, C, and A in the form of beta-carotene. This translates to a gentle yet effective oil that can work with ageing skin as well as damaged and dehydrated skin.
Sesame oil (not the cooking kind) is highly regarded in Ayurveda for its ability to soothe and hydrate the skin. Ayurvedic practitioners often use it as a massage medium as it is very. It is also recommended for oil pulling (see below).
How to Oil Pull
Oil pulling is taken from the ancient wisdom of Ayurveda and is said to whiten teeth, freshen breath, clear the skin and increase energy.
1. Put one or two teaspoons of oil in the mouth
2. Swish. Twenty minutes is said to be optimum but this can be too long for most people – aim for three to 10 minutes.