What is Oil Pulling?

When one hears oil pulling, all sorts of weird thoughts probably come to mind. Those two words don’t often appear together in everyday conversation, so it’s not unusual to have a moment of pause. Nevertheless, dispel your doubts, because oil pulling is a phrase that carries a world of benefits with it for your oral and overall health. I started oil pulling a few months ago, and I refuse to look back!

An Ayurvedic therapy that is centuries old, oil pulling is a technique that requires nothing but a simple food-grade oil, such as coconut or olive oil, and a tiny dash of patience. Also referred to in scientific articles by the names “Kavalu” or “Gandoosh,” this practice is renowned for extracting toxins out of the mouth, teeth, gums, and throat, resulting in holistically greater oral health, and whiter teeth! All this without doling out hundreds of dollars for expensive teeth-whitening sessions that don’t even last you a week.

The process is simple: take a tablespoon of any vegetable oil (coconut, olive, mustard) in the morning when you wake up or at night before you sleep, swish it around in your mouth for 15 to 20 minutes, and then spit the oil out in the trash. Be warned, the oil will draw a great deal of saliva, so start out slow and swish the oil around gently in your mouth. Also, in order to see a true impact on your oral health, it’s important to patiently swish the oil for 15 whole minutes, at a minimum.

Afterwards, rinse your mouth out with warm water, and then brush and floss your teeth as usual. It is generally recommended to do oil pulling at least once a day, but if you are able to allocate the time, activate your beast mode and do this both in the morning and evening! I won’t lie, this is initially an incredibly tedious venture, but if one sticks with it, the results are so incredibly worth it.

When I initially started oil pulling, I started to see results as soon as within a couple of weeks. My teeth were whiter, my gums were healthier and pinker, and my breath was fresher when I woke up in the morning. Other noted health benefits that have been reported include clearer skin, better sleep, improved digestion, and overall health enhancements.

My personal favorite oil to use is Trader Joe’s Organic Virgin Coconut Oil. I recommend this particular product because coconut oil is the easiest oil for our mouths to handle, without wanting to immediately retch out all your stomach’s contents. Coconut oil is incredibly soft, has a nice aroma, and melts in the mouth without assaulting your taste buds. However, it is very important to note that one should not swallow the oil, because the bacteria in your mouth has amassed in the oil. So be sure to spit out the oil in the trash, or else the oil may clog any toilet or sink drains!

Written by Nikki Kaul

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Beauty Panel: How to Beat Frizz

This month we're discussing how to beat frizz - with all the rain and upcoming humidity, having a few tips and tricks up your sleeve will be super helpful in your quest to tame your hair.

I don't typically do anything to my hair - I'm very wash and go. But I have naturally thick, straight hair but there are two types of straight hair - lots of thin, individual hair strands and less but thicker individual hair strands. My hair falls in the first category and that means my hair is much more prone to frizz.

Have I found the perfect solution to this problem? No, I'm also pretty lazy when it comes to my hair (see above). The two things I actually do that help is only condition the bottom half of my hair during rainy/humid days and use a thicker conditioner to weigh down my hair and prevent frizz. My favorite product to use is actually a hair mask but works as a quick conditioner in a pinch. 

My favorite hair product is actually a men’s product, but still the best texturizing/wavy hair product I’ve used. My hair is naturally in between straight and wavy, so when it’s raining I don’t feel like bothering to blow dry my hair straight, since it won’t last. I usually scrunch this on my wet hair. It controls frizz, leaves really nice waves that stay all day (and last overnight), and can make it through a drizzle if you don’t have your umbrella on you.

Prep your hair: Use hydrating shampoo and conditioner in humid seasons - seems unnatural given that it’s supposed to fix dry hair, but if your hair is super hydrated, it’s not going to frizz up: frizz happens because the water in the air is attracting to your dry hair, so if you keep your hair extra hydrated, you won’t be as prone to frizzing out.

I’m low maintenance when it comes to hair, and try my best to use all-natural products.  I also have little time to do my hair in the mornings - I rely on a really good hair dryer and hair serum.

I wash with Intelligent Nutrients shampoo/conditioner, towel dry, apply Kerastase Initialiste Scalp & Hair Concentrate to damp hair, and use my new Harry Josh hair dryer (which does an amazing job at smoothing my frizz-prone hair). I’m in the market for good finishing cream or oil though because I think I need something which softens more and adds more shine.

I’ve used this stuff religiously since high school - I don’t really use it on wet hair, but for my wiry, wavy/curly hair it works really well when it’s dry because it’s not too heavy but still has enough cream texture to make a difference

When it’s not raining: since I wash my hair every other morning, I put this on my hair the night of the first wash and braid it. When I wake up my waves are intact and have a little extra shine/moisture

When it’s raining, I usually just put this in my hair and braid it for the day. Once I know I’m going to be inside for a little while I’ll take it out, but if I’m going to be outside it definitely has to be in a braid. I also love these headbands because you can make them thinner/wider and they’re the only ones I’ve found that don’t give me a headache - I wear them on rainy days if I’m going to be outside for a little while or if my roots are just a little greasy.

I don’t really do anything special and am pretty low-maintenance with minimal usage of products. I use Bumble & Bumble styling lotion after I wash my hair almost every time. It weighs my hair down and keeps the frizz at bay. If it’s raining and I just washed my hair, I usually just keep my hair in a bun. When I take my hair down, it’s wavy and natural looking.

My staples are Pureology Shampoo+Conditioner--Strength Cure or Hydrate System for pre-rain prep, echoing what Mayura said about keeping hair hydrated as the key to prevention of frizz.

Here are my other steps:

  • Broken hair edges WILL frizz. Use this mask.
  • Use a drop of Castor Oil (ew, but works) in your conditioner for extra hydration.
  • Use Aveda Smooth Infusion Style Prep Smoother, - it softens hair and protects against humidity without making hair soapy and slidey in the rain.
  • If heavy rain, a SMALL DOLLOP of living proof no frizz nourishing styling cream
  • If you have lots of curly hair always carry a no ouch hair tie for bun if stuck in the rain so you can have waves instead of frizz+headband for bangs.

I have long, thick, wavy hair and a very dry scalp, so my hair does not produce oil as quickly as most and I only need to wash my hair every 3-4 days. I would consider myself low maintenance in the hair department in that sense, but I do style it differently pretty much every day and use a very high heat, top of the line straightener to do so. Here is the link to the hair straightener I use regularly and as a hair styler.

I have had the same routine with my hair for the past 5 years, since i’ve moved to New York, and it really withstands all the seasons, whether that is humidity in the summer, dryness in the winter, and frizziness in the rainy spring. My particular routine developed due to my personal need to carefully watch my budget when I first started out as a working professional. I would buy Costco Kirkland Shampoo and Conditioner every few times I would go home to CA and bring it back with me to NY in checked luggage.

Five years later, I maintain the same routine and believe it or not, I LOVE the Kirkland hair products. It’s not as crazy as it sounds, since I work for a big CPG I have the background knowledge that Costo private label products are all manufactured by big CPGs for Costco, so the products are on par with nationally recognized brands. I do have two more steps after I shampoo to ensure protection against heat, since I style it everyday, and to add shine and eliminate frizz. Right after I shampoo and lightly towel dry my hair, I spray in Tresemme heat protectant spray. I ALWAYS air dry my hair and never use a hair dryer, which for me eliminates some of dryness and the kinky frizz. After my hair completely dries (usually 3-4 hours), I style it with my straightener. The last step in my process is to run Biosilk hair serum in my finished style, about a drop of it adds in the shine and eliminates frizz until I wash my hair again in a few days! Here are the links to both products: one and two