Coconut oil is one of my favorite products and wanted to share a bit of my experience with oil pulling. It has not been the easiest at times, but after 2 full weeks of oil pulling and 2 weeks of on and off oil pulling I figured I had some info to share.
First of all, why did I decide to do oil pulling? Well, I had the nastiest cold for a couple weeks and had to take so much medicine that when it was finally getting better I decided I was not taking any chances and since oil pulling is great for removing toxins and I had a big jar of solid coconut oil at home I figured out, why not? To make it even better, coconut oil has some great antibacterial properties (but I have read on other blogs that you can also use sesame, sunflower and olive oil, which is good since coconut oil can cause an allergic skin reaction to some people – contact dermatitis – so be sure to test it on your skin before swishing (after typing that word, swish swish started playing in my brain).
For those who are not familiar with oil pulling, it is an ancient Ayurvedic technic / folk remedy and it is done by using one of the above mentioned oils as a mouthwash. You pretty much put a spoonful (1 tablespoon) of the chosen oil in your mouth and start swishing it around for 20 minutes (no gargling though). Some of the benefits include: pulling toxins and bacteria, reducing plaque, teeth whitening, teeth strengthening, helping with gingivitis and bad breath, and even preventing cavities. Yes, scientific evidence of its benefits is scarce (as per Wikipedia), so this review is based on my own personal experience.
The first day was tough, especially because I was so excited about getting started that I didn’t read enough info about it, so I did it at 3pm. Although not terrible it is recommended that you do it in the morning after waking up and drinking some water, so that it can really get rid of all the oral bacteria and the toxins from your body. It is better to do it on an empty stomach. Also, you don’t want to swallow it (or the toxins will go right back where they came form) and it is an awful feeling. See? Not a pretty picture!
20 minutes is a long time, so the first couple days I did around 15 minutes, and kept increasing the amount of time the following days until I could comfortably swish for 20 minutes. If you need to stop or have the need to swallow, just stop. Simply spit the oil in the trashcan (not the sink or it will get clogged), get another tablespoon of oil and get back to it. Don’t worry about it. The last thing you want is to swallow or inhale some of the oil (inhaling can lead to lipid pneumonia). In my experience, once you get past the first 5 minutes it becomes easier, especially once you get past the texture of solid coconut oil. Because of all the swishing and the mixing with the salive the oil will increase in size so don’t swish too hard. If you do, you will get tired faster, risk getting a stiff jaw and additional wrinkles around your mouth area (and we don’t need any of those!)
I think the best way to pass the time is to find something that works for you. Some days I would read the news, check my twitter, read some emails, other days I would use that time to clean my face, apply some lotion, BB creams, prepare some fruit juice, or my breakfast, etc. It would just depend on what my day looked like. I tried hopping in the shower while oil pulling a couple times, but it did not work for me … with the water running and everything I ended up swallowing more oil than was necessary and ended up spitting the rest (I know, TMI), but if this is something you can work around, go for it (I kinda wish it had worked for me because that way I could get it done much earlier in my day). Anyway, you will notice that as the days go by, you will feel like a pro, and wonder why was it so hard before?
As for my thoughts? OK … this is not something I could do every day like some people do. For me it worked better doing it 2 – 3 times a week. I tried it both ways and to be honest, I just didn’t see / feel any difference. Also, the first week I simply rinsed my mouth with warm water (after spitting the oil) and then brushed my teeth as usual. However, after reading other tips online I tried rinsing with warm salt water after spitting the oil and then brushing my teeth and it did feel a bit better (warm salt water is good for soothing any inflammation and to help remove any toxins that were left behind).
What have I noticed? My teeth are indeed whiter and they are shinier (if this makes any sense) and there seems to be less plaque buildup.
Also, my skin does feel a lot more clear and cleaner ,,, this could be due to the overall detoxing benefits of oil pulling, my own teatoxing journey, or the fact that I have also been removing my makeup at night with coconut oil (remember how I said I had a big jar?)
I have not been able to put the migraine / headache / hangover reduction properties to the test, but if I ever do I will be sure to update you. 😉
As for some other wonderful beauty uses for Coconut oil?
- Makeup remover: hands down the best! My skin feels so much softer in the mornings.
- Highlighter: want a natural glow on your face? Apply some coconut oil as you would any other highlighter … since it solidifies you won’t have to worry about it dripping on your face and the effect is amazing.
- Hair mask: You will get super shiny and silky hair. I simply heat up a couple tablespoons by rubbing it on my hands in small quantities, apply it, cover my head with my cap and apply my warm blowdryer every 10 – 15 minutes. I try to keep it on for at least an hour before hopping in the shower (however you could keep it overnight and skip the blowdryer).
- Anti-frizz: Want to correct those fly aways? Rub a small amount of coconut oil in your hands to warm it up and apply it to the areas that need it.
- Lip balm / Lip scrub: Apply a bit on your lips before going to sleep and you will wake up with softer lips. I always carry a small aluminum tin with coconut oil in my purse to reapply it throughout the day. Because of its shine it looks like you are wearing a gloss. Want to exfoliate your lips? Mix with a bit of brown sugar and scrub your lips with the mix. You will be tempted to eat it … try not to.
- Moisturizer: Apply some before going to bed and your skin will be glowing and super soft the next morning. If you apply some to your feet, be sure to cover them with socks. Your feet will be grateful the next morning. It is also a great eye cream (again, since that is such a sensitive area, be sure to test on other parts of your skin before applying).
- Shaving cream: I’ve never used shaving cream, I would simply apply some moisturizing soap and shave away, but coconut oil makes all the difference. I am never ever ever ever shaving without it … like ever!
- Getting rid of cellulite: OK … I have not tried this one yet, but it is in my to-do-list … you mix some ground coffee (used or unused), coconut oil, salt and scrub away. I will be looking for some online recipes and doing some testing. If I find something that works for me, I will be sure to share it.
Let me know what you think of coconut oil and how you use it in your daily beauty routine … also if you have any good recipes for it.