Nowadays, buying coconut oil in stores is becoming much easier. This is because you can find this oil everywhere, from small retailers to large wholesalers. This natural oil made from the fruit of the coconut tree is not only better for your health when used in cooking, but it can also be used to treat your hair and skin to enhance their beauty. In this article we take a look at this amazing oil and the different places where you can buy it.
What Can You Use Coconut Oil For?
The more traditional use is in Asian style cooking but many other cooking styles are starting to see the advantages of using organic coconut oil in their dishes. The rise of the 'Paleo' diet has also seen an increase in popularity of this health product. This is due to it being unprocessed and because it is a food that was eaten by Paleolithic-era man (a fundamental part of the diet).
If you hair is dried and cracked then rubbing extra virgin coconut oil has been shown to revitalize it, especially if you do it before going to bed. The best way to do this is to take a small amount into your hands and massage it into your hair, focusing on any split ends. It's a good idea to avoid the scalp unless it is particularly dry.
Cracked Hands, Elbows and Knees
If your skin is cracked and dry in these areas then unrefined coconut oil can be used as a natural way to treat it. Simply massage a small amount into the afflicted areas a couple of times a day.
Where to Buy Coconut Oil
Armed with that knowledge let's take a look at where you can actually find this amazing product. The answers might surprise you as well because in truth it can be easy to find if you know where to look.
Asian Grocers and Super Markets
If you have any local Asian grocers, food stores or super markets then these should be the first place you look into. As mentioned earlier coconut products are very commonly used in a variety of Asian cuisine, especially Thai. If you live in a city or a larger town then there is a pretty good chance that there is at least one of these stores close to you. This is especially true if you live in Canada, the US or Australia, as Asian cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in these countries. However, these stores can be difficult to find, as they are often located outside of the large shopping complexes. As such it’s a good idea to either ask around or do a quick Google search to find one close to you. The best thing about this is that you only need to go there occasionally, as it's easy to buy coconut oil in bulk.
Imported Food Retailers
In a similar fashion to Asian food stores, general imported food retailers can also be a great place to look. Imported foods are can often be purchased in bulk as well, and this can save you a lot of money in the long run.
Organic Food Markets
With it's increasing recognition as a health food it's getting much easier to find coconut oil at organic food markets. This can be a more expensive option but the added benefit is that you are likely buying from and supporting local growers whilst also getting a better quality product overall.
Organic Food Stores
In most cities it's not too hard to find organic food retailers, especially in areas with more trendy shopping options. It's worth noting that any food grade products are fine to use on your hair and skin (though it's not advisable to use hair and skin products in your food).
Commercial Food Wholesalers
If you want to save some money and buy in bulk then another good option is to check out some local commercial food wholesalers. These wholesalers sell bulk foods to restaurants so you can essentially remove the premium that most retailers add on top of the purchase price. You can often find larger containers through commercial wholesalers, which can save you money and time.
Since the beauty industry is starting to recognize the benefits of this product for hair and skin treatment beauty stores are starting to carry branded bottles like Nutiva. These are usually optimized for treating hair and skin and can sometimes be scented or have other things added to them. The drawback here is that these branded versions can be much more expensive.
Hairdressing Salons and Hair Product Retailers
In a similar fashion to beauty stores, more and more hair product retailers and hairdressers are starting to carry more natural products in addition to their traditional offerings. If you can't find anything at your local salon or hair product retailer then you can actually ask your hairdresser if they know of anywhere that sells organic hair care products.
What to Look For When Buying Oil for Cooking, Hair and Skin Care
The primary keywords you should be keeping an eye out for are 'unrefined', 'pure', 'extra virgin' and 'organic'. All of these simply indicate the ways in which the coconut oil is unprocessed or free of added chemicals. If you want to save some money then you can forego the organic tag, but it's not recommended for the best results. Some oils will be labeled as either 'hair and skin oil' or as 'cooking oil'. For safety it's not a good idea to use products marketed for skin and hair care in your food. However, it is fine to use food grade products on your hair and skin. As such, it's possible to save a bit more money by simply going for the 'all-purpose' food grade products.
Alternative Products that You Can Use
If you cannot find coconut oil in your area or if you simply want to compare it to other products then there are a few other options available. Flax, sunflower and castor oil are all reasonable alternatives and can sometimes be a bit cheaper. The downside with these products is usually that they are a bit messier to use and can take longer to wash out of your hair.