April 16, 2014

Coconut Oil...and other Hippie Beauty Secrets.

By Amy

Hey friends!  Remember when we talked about skin woes (as well as other beauty insecurities)?  If you read my gut-spilling crappy skin post, you know that I have had problem skin for about 13 years now.  Ugh.  I expected it to go away when I escaped my teenage years, but Noooooo....my face has still been misbehaving well into my 20's and up to my current age of almost 28.  But.  The fabulous news?  Just like when I was pregnant with Hayden, my skin becomes GLORIOUS during my 2nd trimester!!!  (Cue singing angels!)


I feel so much more confident when I'm not worried about my blotchy, spotty skin.  Those who have great skin, please appreciate it!  That's what I'm doing right now. :)  I'd much rather have the visa versa--generally great skin and then deal with a couple months of breakout during each pregnancy--but, hey I'll take any clear skin my face wants to give me!

But, rewind about 7 months, and I was quite bugged with my skin.  I just freakin' wanted it to be clear.  Seriously, is that so much to ask, you adolescent, temperamental face?  *ahem*  Sorry.  Anyway, one thing I tried was coconut oil.

Have you ever heard of Oil Cleansing?  I first read about it on The Healthy Diaries after a super cool blog friend gave me the heads-up. (She uses this method!)  Back in November and December, I decided to try Oil Cleansing, since nothing else has completely worked on my face.  My reasoning: "If my skin already sucks, why not try something new?  What's the worst that could happen?  My face will break out?  Oh wait, it already is."  Here's the general gist of oil cleansing: we commonly dry out our acne prone skin waaaay too much with harsh acne cleansers.  So, our sensitive, crazy skin keeps breaking out.  But, if we can return the skin's natural balance by nourishing and cleansing it with a gentle, natural oil, then our skin can heal and produce the right amount of oil on it's own...which will result in less breakouts!  At first, it seemed totally crazy talk to me--add more oil to a broken out face.  But, the skin on my face often feels tight and peels sooo much, I wondered if I really was aggravating and over-drying my skin by using my Proactiv face wash.

So, sceptically, I gave it a go.  I first tried Extra Virgin Olive Oil mixed with a small amount of Castor Oil.  Hmmm, my skin felt soft afterwards, but I didn't really like the feel of putting the olive oil on my face...it was too heavy of an oil.  But I used it for a week anyway.  A few days in, my pores were realllly clogged.  Yuck.  Now, some will say, "Oh but you didn't stick with it for long enough!"  But, I hated the feel of it, so the clogged pores really just seconded my first opinion.  I decided I needed to try a different oil.

Next, I tried Coconut oil...Organic and unrefined.  It's kinda strange stuff...it's got this weird, crisco like texture when it's solid, then becomes liquid when it's warm.

This is how I've been using it:

Right after my shower, when my skin is still damp, I use a q-tip to take a tiny amount of oil and put it on the palm of my hand, then I kind of mix it with my finger till it becomes warm and liquid.  Then I put it on my face--a small amount goes a LONG way!

I LOVED how the coconut oil felt.  Oh my heck.  It felt silky, not greasy.  Wow.  I used the coconut oil in this way for about 2 months.  At first, my amounts of breakouts were about the same as normal. though the general feel of my skin was much better--it felt soothed, instead of tight, if that makes sense. Alas, after a few weeks, it still wasn't a miracle cure.  I still was breaking out.  In fact, I noticed that my pores were a bit more clogged than normal.

But, then when I hit my second tri, my skin became glorious--no more breakouts!...and suddenly, I realised that this had become a flawed experiment.  How could I judge if my result was caused by my face finally becoming balanced or if the pregnancy hormones were the miracle workers?  Funny thing: even though my skin wasn't breaking out, I still had clogged pores!  Yuck.  Which made me sad, cause I so wanted the coconut oil to be that answer to all my crappy-skin prayers, since I loved how it felt! I finally decided that I don't want those clogged pores, especially since my skin is SOOO nice otherwise. I want to enjoy my 2nd tri face!  :)

So.  Back to the drawing board.  I want to try an oil next that is even lighter, for the sake of my pores....I've heard sesame oil is really good for breakout prone skin.  And since I tried the three oils that are super easy to get, I'll probably have to look online to try any other oils.

In the meantime, I am using a very light moisturizer that my sister-in-law recommended: Nivea Firming Lotion.  I really like it so far!  And, maybe if my skin stays happy even after babe comes, then I'll just stick with that.

But, what to do with a big jar of coconut oil?  I already tried to use it as a makeup remover for my eyes--um, no thank you.  It is supposed to be wonderful for the skin around the eyes, which I bet it is!  It's said to reduce the fine crinkles...which are now creeping in on me....but, when I use it, even if I used it the night before and wash it off well with soap and water in the morning, my mascara and eyeliner are smudy under my eyes all day.  That stubborn small amount of greasiness that seems to stick around for two days, makes it impossible to keep eye makeup in place.  Equaling racoon eyes.  No thanks.  Avril Lavigne can keep that look.

So with my coconut oil on hand, I decided to try another beauty fad...Oil Pulling!  Here is an Oil Pulling link from Design Mom.  Have you heard of it?  It's totally weird, but lots of people swear by it, (people who I would consider non-extreme) so I thought, what the heck!  Basically, you swish oil in your mouth, through your teeth, back and forth, for 20 minutes.  Then you spit the oil into the trash, so it doesn't clog your drain.  This is supposed to be great for your teeth and gums--they say it pulls toxins out of your saliva, more efficiently gets into those tiny nooks and crannies of your teeth, and helps your mouth be healthy and clean.  Also, they say it whitens your teeth.  SO, I wanted to try it!  Why not, right?  It's cheap and all natural, so it can't do any harm.

I especially wanted to try it, because I'd like whiter teeth, but the two times I've tried Crest Whitestrips, my teeth were so sensitive the next day, I felt like I was CONSTANTLY biting into a hunk of ice cream.  To those who deal with cold-sensitive teeth, you know how evil and torturous that would be!   And I felt like that ALL DAY!  No good.  So, if only for the benefit of whiter teeth, I wanted to try oil pulling.

About a week ago, I took the plunge.  I put a small spoonful of coconut oil in my mouth (but remember, it's solid till it warms up in your mouth, so I had a mouth full of grainy crisco) and after holding it in my mouth for about 3 seconds, I started gagging and coughing it into the garbage.  It was soooo gross.  I'm such a dope--I should have known!  Since I'm pregnant, I gag WAY easily right now, especially from textures.  And that texture was Not Good.  *shudder*

But, I tried it again this morning, and tried NOT to think about the fact that I was swishing a mouth full of oil and spit.  "I'm cool, I'm cool...No big deal," I told myself, then popped a spoonful in my mouth and hopped into the shower.  My goal was to make it 10 minutes and...I made it 11!  Wahoo!  So, nothing magical happened, no organic rainbows and unicorns burst forth from my suddenly perfectly whitened smile... (ha..I"m kidding...I know I only did it once, and only for 10 minutes!) but I'm going to keep trying it out.  I still am going to brush...some oil pullers totally quit brushing and flossing!  I plan to keep trying the oil first thing in the morning, then brush right after.  Cause, I've been brushing for forever, ya know?  I'd feel way too nast if I just didn't brush.

So, friends...how about you!?  Have you ever tried oil cleansing or oil pulling?  If so, I'd love to hear about your experience!  Awesome or over-hyped?  Do you have any other funky beauty habits to share?  It's fun to hear about. :)  OH...and anyone else have dramatic changes in their skin during pregnancy?  Or have a physco gag reflex?  Ha...pregnancy is weird.


Update: So I washed my face before going to bed after writing this, and felt I needed to amend...maybe "glorious" was a bit strong for wording.  But, it's glorious to me!  But, hey--I have low standards after 10+ years of bad skin.  :)  It is by no means a flawless, baby skin, rose-petal complexion.  I still have the little bumpy forehead stuff.  But, it's still pretty darn clear over all!  Ha...just didn't want any person who read this to see me in real life and go, "Umm....that's glorious, huh?" :)


  1. I have had skin problems for a long time!! I too get awesome ski. My second trimester of pregnancy. Amy we must be related or something! I have even gone to dermatologists and still continue to have skin problems. I do a lot better with out face wash than I do with face wash. I am thinking my acne has to do with my diet. In about a week I am going to do a body cleanse and not eat sugar, gluten, or dairy for thirty days while I do a doTerra cleanse. I am also trying the doTerra face wash. I will let you know how it goes and if I notice any difference. One thing that I have noticed is that certain shampoos make my neck and back break out and get really oily.

  2. I converted to coconut oil for my moisturizer and for my boys. I love that I keep one little tupperware container in the bathroom instead of eczema cremes and lotion and moisturizers. (Also use it on my baby head to toe after his bath and he's my first kid to have zero trace of cradle cap (after I started using it when he was 1 week old). When I travel I just have one tiny 1 oz. container that I pop into my makeup bag and I keep one in my diaper bag all the time. I do notice that my pores get enlarged so I do a weekly or so deep scrub followed by a clay mask. I rarely break out anymore. Also drinking more water! This is helping my skin and my digestion so much lately. I drink at least half my weight in ounces daily and it's crazy how much better I feel. First thing in the morning I down 20oz. and fill the glass a few more times throughout the day. I have had cystic nasty acne for years and the last few years I'm finally getting over it. Sorry about the novel... I guess I should do my own blog post.

  3. Forgot... less sugar in my diet really seems to help too... I think excess sugar makes me more prone to inflammation, so curbing my sweet tooth has helped my skin and also asthmatic issues I've had to... along with more water... together makes a huge difference.

  4. My skin is super sensitive too. I had to switch clothes detergents because the stuff on my pillow cases and towels was causing breakouts. Same for hair products and even simple things like using body spray would make me break out. I've switched to products for sensitive skin and it's made a huge difference! "Simple" brand face products and the original Aveeno are the best I've found. I've been wanting to try oil cleansing but I'm a little wary. I used coconut oil before for moisturizing but it made me break out. Tea tree oil is supposed to be great too, only that also made me break out in huge open sores on my face since apparently I'm allergic to it. So yeah you have to be careful...


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