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A Weekend of Experimentation: Coconut Oil and Natural Bug Repellant

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Coconut Oil Experiment

Editorial Intern, Casie Leigh Lukes, on washing her face with coconut oil and making natural bug repellant.

As I continue to make adjustments to simplify my life and create healthier habits for myself and the environment, I decided it’d be awesome if I could use something around the house for face wash, instead of buying it. I’d heard of people trying coconut oil, but it always sounded, well, oily to me.

The week of July 4th my face broke out terribly. Over the weekend I was at my parents’ house, and forgot to bring my regular face wash. It seemed like the perfect situation to scrub coconut oil all over my face — my skin couldn’t get any worse than it already was, right?

My mom stores her oil in the refrigerator, so it was quite solid. I scooped a little bit out with a spoon, ran a bit of warm water over it in my hands and lathered up. (This doesn’t get bubbly by the way). After splashing some water on my face, I gently scrubbed my cheeks, nose, chin and forehead with the coconut oil/water mixture. I rinsed it off a few times, and let my skin dry. And you know what? My skin felt clean and soft, not oily at all. I did this for the remainder of the weekend and my entire face cleared up. Go coconut oil! I think I’ve found my new face wash and moisturizer. My favorite part is that it’s so versatile. I can use it to sautee vegetables, as a healthy fat in baking recipes, as well as the deodorant my roommate makes.

Since I had success with the face wash, I decided to try a recipe for bug repellant. I highly dislike the smell of DEET and the way my skin feels with it on. I’m also skeptical about how well it actually works. Despite it’s major chemical makeup, I always seem to walk away with bites.

I got a small glass jar and filled about 1/4 cup of witch hazel, and 5 drops of each of the following essential oils: lavender, lemongrass, rosemary, and eucalyptus. I swirled it around, dipped my fingers in and put it all over my arms, legs and neck. Others celebrating the 4th with me were skeptical it would work, yet intrigued. Everyone slathered the essential oil mixture on (and brought DEET as backup to watch the fireworks).

I was pleasantly suprised at how well the mixture worked. Although bugs and mosquitoes were definitely flying around me, I woke up the next morning with the least amount of bug bites I’ve ever had on a 4th of July in Wisconsin — and I didn’t smell like a walking human chemical.

Thanks Mighty Nest for your great recipe! I also learned it’s best to bring the mixture with, as it’s potency is lost after 40 minutes to an hour. I think I’ll get a spray bottle instead of my glass jar as well for easier transport and application.

Here’s to a weekend of sun, experimentation, healthier skin, less mosquito bites and another step closer to living a more simplified life!