The Awesomeness of Coconut Oil (On People and Cats)

mad scientist with cat2'

I love coconut oil.  We often use it to replace butter in our cooking, but it never occurred to me to use it for skin care.  It also never occurred to me that cats could use it for skin care either.  So I’ve been experimenting over the past two months…

Being a fair-skinned, natural redhead, I have incredibly sensitive skin.  And so when I started getting some sort of eczema (haha, that’s as descriptive as I will get) on my hand, I tried a variety of different lotions and heavy creams to no avail.  I didn’t want to go to the doctor and get a steroid cream because I don’t like the whole idea of steroids.  But, nothing was working and I was frustrated and in pain and about to go to the doctor when I started researching how coconut oil worked on skin.

I started massaging a little bit into my hand twice each day–once after my shower in the morning and once before going to bed.  The results were almost instant!  Within one week I was completely healed!  Whoa, baby!

I thought that if it worked so well for me that it had to work for Prince Caspian.  PC is a shelter cat.  I adopted him from the Humane Society almost six years ago, and he came with a variety of health issues that we’ve had to correct over the past few years.  Among those issues, he also has dry skin and he gets really bad dandruff.  We know that most skin issues like that are actually related to interior health (like your gut) with people, and I thought it might be the same with cats.

So I conducted a little experiment.  Starting with 1/8 tbsp. of coconut oil and increasing it to 1/4 tbsp. of coconut oil over the period of a couple weeks, I gave him some each day.  Some days he would just lick it off the spoon (animals LOVE coconut) and other days I would melt it and sprinkle it on his food.  Again the result was within days.  His fur was softer and healthier looking, and his dandruff disappeared!

Why didn’t I think of this sooner?  Have you ever used coconut oil for anything?

Disclaimer:  I’m not a doctor and I don’t play one on TV or the internet.  My thoughts are purely based on my own experiences and experiments.

The One Where I Made Sugar Wax

mad scientist with cat2'

Seth and I enjoy to try new things…experiment if you will.  We like to figure out things that will make our lives easier, less expensive, more natural and enjoying the earth the way God intended us to.  And let’s face it.  Sometimes we need an outlet for all of our extreme creativity.  Sometimes our experiments have turned out badly (i.e. the time Seth built a toy that would make Prince Caspian have to work to eat his food and PC just stared up at him for a second before walking away, the time I attempted to make gluten free pizza dough for Stromboli, or when Seth got trapped on the roof of the studio and had to free fall onto a ladder that I was holding).  Sometimes our experiments turn out most excellently (like my experimenting with grape seed oil and using it to remove make-up and do lots of other cool things…kind of like the dad in My Big Fat Greek Wedding uses Windex).  They always make us laugh (even if it’s after the extreme danger has passed).  This new segment of the blog will chronicle them all. 

This week’s experiment involved something that many women (and many men) do as part of their normal beauty regimen: waxing.  Most will not admit to it.

Let’s face it…waxing is expensive, painful, and often uses harsh chemicals that are not good for your skin.  I don’t like things that are expensive, painful, or use harsh chemicals, so I decided to research a different alternative.  I found one: Sugar Wax.

Benefits

1.  Sugar adheres to the dead skin cells, not the live ones.

2.  It’s ancient.  It originated in the Middle East and has been used for centuries.  It’s so clean (made of all natural products) that you could eat it.  I did…just a drop to try it! :)

3.  It doesn’t need to be piping hot to use (just a nice, soothing warm temperature), so there is no risk of burning skin!

4.  It improves your skin texture and tone!

All You Need

3 tablespoons of lemon juice, 3 tablespoons of sugar, and 1 tablespoon of water

Not Pictured: The Water ;)

Not Pictured: The Water ;)

 

To Do

1.  Combine all the ingredients and heat them on the low setting on your stove for 45 minutes.

This is what the "before" picture looks like.  Not very pretty...

This is what the “before” picture looks like. Not very pretty…

 

 

 

Or sometimes the sugar wax watches you... #photobomb

Or sometimes the sugar wax watches you… #photobomb

 

3.  Or you can forget about it and come back to it later, which is what I did after I stirred it.  And it looks like this (it’s supposed to): caramelized, sugary goo.

Not your mama's wax.

Not your mama’s wax.

4.  Let it cool for a few minutes and then apply it to the place that needs waxed using a plastic knife or applicator.

No, I did not take photographic evidence of this part…

5.  Put a cloth strip over the sugar wax, let cool, and then rip it off, baby!

Have you ever made your own beauty product before?  I’d love to hear it!

 

Dangerous Beauty

Money, money, money!  Outside The Breakers Mansion in Newport, RI in 2011.

Money, money, money! Outside The Breakers Mansion in Newport, RI in 2011.

Okay, it all started two years ago when Seth and I visited the famous mansions at Newport, Rhode Island.  I had been reading some historical fiction books about the Gilded Age and then we got really into Downton Abbey.  I started researching the beauty trends of the Gilded Age (late 1800s through early 1900s)…and discovered some very frightening things!

Dangerous Beauty Trends

1.  The Corset.  The earliest image of a corset is from the year 2000 BC and worn by a Cretan woman as an outer garment.  Corsets again appeared in 16th century Europe and reached the height of popularity during the Victorian era.  They didn’t become dangerous until the late 1800s when women started lacing them so tightly to achieve the perfect hourglass figure, therefore squeezing their insides like a tube of toothpaste.  Tight-laced corsets caused fainting, infertility, miscarriages, and even broken ribs and misplaced internal organs!  GROSS!  I tried on an old-fashioned corset at the Jane Austen Costume Museum in Bath, UK and by the time my friend had laced it up, I was in pain!

2.  Lead Make-Up.  Women of ancient Rome all the way through the Elizabethan era used to paint their faces with lead chalk to attract attention (and because pale skin represented wealth).  Because lead poisoning is a slow disease, women did not connect the dangers of using lead on their bodies.  The symptoms of lead poisoning included paralysis, headaches, loss of appetite, a metallic taste in the mouth, bent and gnarled hands/fingers (and some reports say the growth of a sixth digit!), and insomnia.

3.  Foot Binding.  Referred to in Chinese as “the lotus foot,” foot binding refers to the custom of applying painfully tight binding to the feet of young girls because dainty feet were considered beautiful for hundreds of years in China.  The foot binding made the women’s movements more delicate and feminine, and set them apart as women of a higher class…even though it left them with lifelong disabilities and malformations.  Foot binding died out in the early 20th century, but there are still older Chinese women who bear the marks of the ancient practice.

4.  Elizabethan Eyes.  Queen Elizabeth I was quite the dangerous trendsetter of her day!  To achieve big, sparkly pupils and therefore attract lots of attention, QEI started the trend of using drops from the Deadly Nightshade plant to enlarge her pupils.  The only problem was that it also poisoned the eyes resulting in early blindness and sometimes even death.

5.  Cocktail, anyone?  Women of the Renaissance age used to drink a concoction of iodine and chalk in order to maintain their ghoulish complexion.  Mmmm…

6.  Lash Disallure.  Beautiful women of the 1930s used to put on Lash Lure to permanently dye their eyelashes.  Unfortunately, it also caused blindness and death to its users and was also one of the leading factors in the FDA’s crackdown on the cosmetics industry.

Thankfully women in the 21st century no longer have to wear tightly laced corsets or lead make-up, but as I researched these various beauty treatments (and there are many more), I had to wonder at the sad comparisons we can make with the “beauty” treatments centuries ago to the “beauty” treatments our culture sees as necessary today.  Women are surrounded by a cacophony of voices telling them what is beautiful and what is not.  The truth can be so easily masked with a false reality.

What price are we willing to pay to be beautiful?

“He has made everything beautiful in its time.” -Ecclesiastes 3:11