Coconut Oil: Your Natural Cosmetics on the Road
If you want to stay pretty while on the road, we know what you need - coconut oil. Let's learn how to use it as natural cosmetics here.
If you’ve already made the decision to keep your life as natural as possible with coconut oil, I’m sure you’ll have been amazed at how easy it is! If you’re wondering how to keep up these great new habits while travelling, fear not. You don’t need to make massive compromises just because you’re on the road. Follow these simple tips to keeping it natural, wherever in the world you’re wandering…
I can’t remember exactly when I discovered coconut oil, but I know that it wasn’t early on enough in my life! I have come to absolutely love coconut oil. And it’s become an essential in my daily life, at home and while travelling.
I’ve been travelling around Asia for a year now and have made it a habit to sample the local coconut oil in every country I’ve visited. It’s a great alternative to so many of the cosmetics I originally brought with me. And I’ve found myself using pretty much just coconut oil – for everything!
You can save so much money and vital packing space by investing in some decent coconut oil and leaving 90% of your other products back home. For some context, I never really bought into miracle cosmetics products back home. And I was always skeptical about how good something can be for my skin when it’s packed with chemicals and fragrances and all sorts.
Since I’ve been travelling, I’ve found that I’ve developed a much better ‘beauty regime’ (I used to feel very virtuous every time I used lip balm, so you can imagine how much of a big deal this is for me!).
Somehow, coconut oil has convinced me that looking after my skin is actually essential. If you’re not one for scouring beauty aisles for the latest micellar water, don’t worry. You’ll totally be into skincare after realizing how easy, fun and amazing it can be when you replace store products with the simplicity of nature.
Important while travelling through hot countries on sweaty, 24-hour coach trips! Making your own deodorant can be super easy, but I’d recommend doing it while you’re still at home and have access to a proper kitchen.
- 3 tablespoons of organic coconut oil
- 3 tablespoons of baking soda
- 2 tablespoon of arrowroot powder
- Any essential oils you want to add in
Again, this is really simple to make yourself but I’d suggest doing it at home rather than attempting to make it on the road.
Melt the oil down – you can use a double-boiler if you have one. You can also make a Bain-Marie by placing a glass bowl over a pan of water and bringing it to the boil. This makes sure you’re not burning anything!
Once your oil is a liquid, let it cool slightly before adding in the powders. If you want to add any essential oils, now is the time. I love essential oils so much, and adding them to your DIY deodorant is a great way to get some goodness into your products and leave you smelling delicious.
I like fresh scents so tend to go for lime or lemongrass, which work really well to boost your energy and get you going in the morning!
I love using natural products on my skin back home, so why should it be any different just because I’ve swapped my normal lifestyle to one that only involves beaches, sunshine and palm trees?
This is so simple – literally melt the oil between your hands (it’s a solid at room temperature, so here in Indonesia it’s always a liquid because of the heat!) and sweep across your face.
Please don’t rub your eyes – this will only make your lashes weak and leave your skin irritated! Instead, be really gentle and rinse off with warm water to get rid of your makeup and any dirty oil that’s left on your skin.
I was never really much of a ‘cleanse, tone, moisturize’ gal. But this is such a lovely, natural way to improve your skin that I couldn’t resist.
This is another product that I’d suggest making up in batches before you leave. It’s amazingly simple but you’ll probably want to do it in a nice, clean kitchen.
Take one part of apple cider vinegar to two parts of water and mix. That’s literally it! You can make however much you want at any one time, just stick to these ratios. Vinegar may seem like an odd ingredient to be using on your skin. But it’s actually amazing at toning the skin and reducing the appearance of pores. And it doesn’t smell as bad as you’d think, once it’s diluted, of course!
Anyone hesitant about the ACV can add in a few drops of essential oil such as rose or lavender for a nice, uplifting smell.
This might not suit your skin type but, for me and many people I’ve met, coconut oil works as an amazing moisturizer! I find it suits my skin really well, especially out here, as I spend lots of time in the sun, with sand, chlorine, dust, wind and all sorts making my skin dry.
I don’t wear makeup while I’m travelling (unless I’m feeling really fancy, it just feels out of place having a full face on while I’m sweating at the beach!), but I use the same trick as above to get rid of dirt and dust and whatever else has found its way onto my skin.
After rinsing, I apply a small amount of coconut oil to my face – I like to really coat my lashes and eyebrows with it! This helps to encourage hair growth and makes them nice and strong. I don’t use this as a daytime moisturizer as it can look a little greasy while it dries.
If you want to use this in the morning, give yourself plenty of time for it to soak in and dry before applying any makeup or leaving the house. Be careful around your hairline as well, as you don’t want to get oily roots. Or maybe you do. I don’t know. Could be a look…
I’ve never used any kind of lash growth product before as I have a suspicious feeling they’re packed with chemicals that I probably don’t want near my eyes! This little trick is great for trying at home as well as while travelling.
Coconut oil is perfect for use on lashes and eyebrows and is perfectly safe to be on your skin, provided you don’t get it in your eyes, of course! Mix some coconut oil with Vitamin E drops to really encourage lash growth and give the hairs the nutrients they need to grow nice and strong. You can also add in castor oil for an extra growth-boost. Super easy; super natural.
We’ve all experienced the joy of spending all day in the sun, followed by the devastating discovery of sunburn or peeling. Obviously, I’d suggest wearing an SPF at all times but even the safest of us can miss a tiny patch on our back sometimes. As a solo-traveller, I never know the etiquette on asking strangers on the beach to do my back for me. Thoughts?
Coconut oil is the perfect thing for your skin after too much sun! It’s super hydrating and will help pack some moisture back into dry, damaged skin. It replenishes skin and will feel really soothing on your body. I like to use it as a body moisturizer every day anyway, but it feels even better on flushed, hot skin after a long day of sunbathing.
As with most things on this list, you can add a few drops of essential oils if you like. I like different oils for different times of years, as well as times of day. For morning moisturize sessions, I add lemon or something zesty; evenings are for warmer, herby scents or floral notes to make me feel calm and lovely.
Again, the sun can really take its toll on your body – your hair included. My hair is pretty dry from years of (regrettable) experimentations with hair dye, and the sun makes it feel very brittle on top of that. Do I love the light, wispy blonde tendrils it gives me? Sure. Do I like it feeling like it might snap in half? No, no I don’t.
As with most of the suggestions on this list, using coconut oil as a hair mask is so easy. I like to do this in the evening to avoid looking like a total greaseball and give it plenty of time to settle in and work its magic. Basically – cover your hair in coconut oil. Done.
I tend to focus on the ends of my hair as that’s where the most damage seems to be. Dip-dye looks beautiful but the bleach has not served me well over time.
I leave this overnight (you can wrap your hair in a towel, old t-shirt or scarf to protect your pillow from oil-stains) and wash it all out the next morning. It is an oil, of course, so make sure you wash it out really thoroughly with your shampoo and conditioner.
It won’t harm your hair or scalp at all if you leave some in there by accident, but it might look a little greasy! Again, no judgment if you’re into that. You do you.
How to Choose a Coconut Oil
Wherever you are in the world, pay attention to what you’re buying! Just because a product has beautiful packaging and is sold in a store you trust, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t check the ingredients.
You want something organic, raw, unrefined and virgin. Most coconut oils that are sold nowadays will tick all of these boxes anyway, but it’s best to check to be sure. For me, the average price of coconut oil is absolutely fine.
It can seem a little pricey, but when you think about how much money you’re saving by not buying all the individual products above from a store, it’s really not so bad at all.
How to Travel with Coconut Oil
Make sure the container is tightly sealed, please! When you’re travelling, it can be so easy to bung everything into your backpack the morning you’re leaving your hostel and forget about what’s in there. Coconut oil is amazing for your skin but not for your clothes!
Wrap the container in a plastic bag and tie it tightly. Do that again. Make a little pass-the-parcel of bags around your coconut oil (also a great opportunity to recycle those plastic bags that you keep in one big plastic bag – you know what I mean).
If you settle in one place for a while, you can leave the coconut oil out in your room and use the plastic bags for laundry. Happy days.
Put this lovely little package of joy inside your wash bag or any bag made from oilcloth/ something waterproof. Try and keep this in a separate section of your bag to your clothes/ electrical items, just to be on the safe side.
Travel and Beyond…
So, I think we’ve established that coconut oil is incredible for travelling. I absolutely love how versatile it is as a product, and it’s so easy to mix with other ingredients to create different cosmetics.
If, for some reason, you end up with leftover coconut oil when you return from your trip (I don’t know how this could ever happen unless you’re away for less than a week; I literally get through heaps on a weekly basis!), there are plenty of things you can use it for back home.
Of course, I’d suggest sticking to these natural cosmetics and continuing on with your wellness routine as well.
Coconut oil can also be used for cooking and baking, and is a great alternative to olive or sunflower oils. I love using it in the kitchen and often add it to coffee to give me a boost of goodness in the morning.
I’ve yet to use it for oil-pulling (teeth-whitening, essentially) but I’ve heard rave reviews and might give it a go later. Each time I write about my love of coconut oil, I’m reminded about all the other uses I haven’t yet experimented with!
My flat constantly had one jar in the kitchen and one in the bathroom to keep me going. It’s such a versatile product – it’s great for refreshing dry skin and hair during the summer months, and helps repair any damage from cold wind in the chillier months.
It’s easy to travel with, great value for whatever money you pay for it thanks to its multitasking abilities and is a perfect way to stay (or go!) natural on the road. Basically, I love coconut oil and use it for everything, and so should you.