Coconuts are not only used in cooking. They also appear in alternative health recipes and diet programs, as engine lubricants and as part of a beauty regimen. The liquid that pours out when a coconut opens is properly termed coconut water. The liquid that results from grating the meat is technically coconut milk, which has numerous uses for skin and hair.
Coconut milk makes an effective conditioner for hair since it provides oils and other nourishment, actually strengthening the root. The milk encourages growth and slows premature graying. Since the hair is then less brittle, chances of damage from blow drying, curling and straightening are reduced. The natural moisture it provides may also help stamp out dandruff. Massage into the scalp, leave for 30 minutes and then wash with shampoo. Especially when combined with coconut oil, using coconut milk as a conditioner leaves hair soft and shiny.
Coconut milk used together with other products makes a natural facial or body scrub to deep clean pores and slough dead skin, leaving the skin soft and healthy-looking. Combine 1 cup sea salt, at least 4 tbsp. of coconut milk and 1 1/2 tbsp. coconut oil for fragrance. Add more coconut milk until you achieve the desired consistency. The ingredients create a natural and inexpensive exfoliating effect that can be used all over the body.
Coconut milk made into a cream adds moisture to skin to help prevent drying and ease itching. Recipes call for mixing the milk with sandalwood powder or a base such as pumpkin, spreading on the face, leaving for 15 to 20 minutes and then rinsing. Alternatively, coconut milk can be rubbed into the skin without adding other ingredients. The milk does not need to be rinsed away, and some claim a coconut milk massage helps prevent skin discoloration.
Coconut milk can also be added straight to a bath to moisten skin all over the body. About 1/2 cup coconut milk added to a lukewarm tub leaves skin soft and supple. Add 1/2 cup of rose water for a slightly different scent and feel while still retaining the positive effects of the coconut. Hot baths can actually dry skin further, so water should be warm instead for the best softening effect. Dry skin increases the chances of bacteria infecting the body, so coconut moisturizing can help keep you healthy.