There’s been a lot of hype about coconut oil lately, and there are so many claims being made that it sounds nothing short of a miracle. Well it’s really not a cure-all, and what works for other people may not work for you, but it still is pretty dandy to have around. With a little bit of resourcefulness and a dash of creativity, you can find dozens of everyday uses for coconut oil.
1. Moisturize Your Skin: The very first thing on this list, before even delving into the “edible” benefits of coconut oil, has to be moisturizing. In lieu of your regular lotion, coconut oil delivers a refreshing, healing, burst of moisture that penetrates your skin and works to truly heal it (not just soak in and dry up!) It can feel oily at first, but that’s why it’s important to only use a little-it goes a long way. Give it a minute and it will dry beautifully. Use as you would regular lotion.
2. Conditioner: When the teeny tiny overlapping plates that make up our outer hair shaft get rumpled and out of whack, coconut oil is there to smooth those tiny little cells right back into place, and hold them there. You can use it on your entire scalp/head for deep conditioning, but you can generally just use it on your ends, where it’s the hardest for the body’s natural oils to reach, and where the most breakage occurs.
3. Weight Loss: Coconut oil and weight loss – what’s really going on? Well, if you sit around eating coconut oil, you aren’t going to lose weight. However, if used to substitute other fats, it can help you drop the pounds by taking the place of those other calories. Unlike most saturated fats, it’s mainly comprised of medium chain fatty acids, versus long chain fatty acids. This difference in molecular structure means that it doesn’t get packed away as fat as easily and instead is sent straight to the liver to be metabolized, giving you a boost in energy. This energy in turn makes exercising easier, and the exercise in turn helps you lose weight. Another major factor that it plays is as an appetite suppressant. Craving something you shouldn’t be? Have a tablespoon or 2 of coconut oil, and that sensation won’t last long!
4. Energy Booster: If weight loss isn’t your goal, just run with the fact (no pun intended) that it gives you a great boost in energy-and who doesn’t need some help in that department every now and again? Some people also feel it helps boost their mental alertness.
5. Coffee Creamer: In replacement of higher calorie coffee creamers (such milk and sugar) stir a little coconut oil into your coffee for a sweet (but not “too sweet”) and healthy touch. Make sure to stir it in well! If you notice it floating to the top, try stirring partway through your drink, or just add a little less next time. Make sure your joe is piping hot when you add it in, otherwise you might get some unwanted unmelted coconut oil popping up.
6. Soothe Fly Bites: Oh the sweet relief of coconut oil. When the black flies start biting, it’s the first thing to reach for. I use it the most on my horse come summertime to soothe any nasty bites that she gets, but don’t hesitate to dab a little on myself (or the dogs.) Just get a little on your fingertips and apply it directly to the bite.
7. Oil/Butter Replacement: There’s no better way to get the benefits of coconut oil than to replace other less desirable fats with it. When cooking or baking, substitute it for butter or just about any oil. It lends moisture, freshness, and richness to baked goods, and a subtle complimentary flavor to savory dishes. How much you substitute will depend on the recipe you are making. For baking, most people will fall in the 1:1 ratio or 80% coconut oil 20% water when subbing for butter. For basic cakes, cookies, and brownies I find 1:1 to be sufficient. When it comes to more complex pastries that get their flaky puffiness when steam is escaping, you may find yourself tweaking the amount a little. For oil substituting, subbing 1:1 is a good route to go.
8. SPF Lip Balm: Lips are quite exposed to the elements, and it’s not like there are “lip scarves” or “mouth mittens” to protect them from the harsh world. One thing that’s especially over-looked is sun exposure. You should really apply sunscreen to your lips for full protection, but coconut oil also has a mild SPF protection. It can’t rival SPF 80 (indeed it has an SPF of about 4-6) but even that little bit can help. Apply some coconut oil just before heading out into the sun, and reapply every few hours. I like to melt mine down with just ¼ teaspoon or so of beeswax, as I find it easier to apply, and it has more staying power. Full Lip Balm Recipe
9. Exfoliating Body Scrub: One of my personal favorite uses for coconut oil is serving as a base for body or face scrubs. You can melt some down, stir in some sugar, let it cool, and then use as is. Or, for a fun little project, melt down about a half cup of coconut oil and pour into a muffin tin, soap mold, or anything of the like, and stir in 2-4 tablespoons of white or brown sugar. You can add more if you would like the texture to be coarser. I usually let it cool some before adding the sugar so you don’t just dissolve the grains. Pop it in the fridge and let it solidify and cool completely before removing from the mold. Slice off a piece when needed and use it to gently scrub and exfoliate your face/body (dampen your skin with water first.) Rinse off, apply moisturizer, and resist the urge to use it again until later in the week, otherwise you run the risk of drying your skin out.
10. Make-Up Remover: Make-up is on your face. Your face is something you would like to protect. So when it comes to removing make-up, don’t turn for harsher store bought products. Go instead to coconut oil, which gently and safely removes all traces of make-up (and leaves your face feeling healthy and refreshed.) Simply scoop some onto your fingertips (it will melt quickly as you use it) and rub it over make-up in a circular motion, rinsing with water afterwards to remove traces of makeup and patting your face dry. It works well with eye make-up, waterproof or not, as well. You can use a mild soap if you wish to remove all traces of the oil.
11. Massage Oil: The benefits of massage are countless, and we could all use one now and again. Rather than using a heavy lotion, simply use coconut oil. You can add essential oils for scent if you like, but I find the smell of coconut oil alone to be heavenly. It also leaves your skin truly moisturized and soft.
12. Nail and Cuticle Treatment: Cuticles get raggedy, nails get broken, chipped, or dull, and it’s not unusual for them to need some TLC every now and then. While there is a plethora of store-bought creams designed specially to miraculously make them look ready for a photo shoot, they are typically over-priced and filled with weird ingredients. This is where coconut oil comes in. Rub a little into your cuticles and over/around your nails to help smooth out flaws and encourage healthy growth.
13. Shaving Cream: Nothing is more frustrating than lathering up with a bunch of shaving cream in the shower just to have to all melt off again as the water hits it. Luckily, water rolls right off oil, which means you have solid protection that allows your razor to glide smoothly over your skin. It also leaves it soft, moisturized, and safe from painful bumps and burns. Apply as you would any other cream before shaving. Here is our recipe for chemical-free shaving cream.
14. Deodorant: Sweat on its own typically doesn’t smell. In fact, most sweat doesn’t smell at all, since most sweat glands on our body are eccrine, which produces mostly water with some salt and maybe some uric acid. Apocrine sweat glands become active during puberty, and produce sweat from our underarms, around the genitals, etc. The sweat from apocrine glands has other stuff in it, such as lipids (fats.) When the bacteria on our skin feed on these fats, the byproducts smell. Like store-bought deodorant, coconut oil helps decrease the bacteria count that’s causing the odor. Mix about a tablespoon of arrowroot powder into 3-4 tablespoons of coconut oil for an easy homemade deodorant. Apply as needed; adding beeswax to solidify it some if you feel the coconut oil is too thin on its own.
15. Bath Oil: Soften your bath water, and your skin, with a bit of coconut oil. Enjoy its lovely aroma and gently swish it around now and then to swirl it through the water. It will naturally coat your skin, leaving it smooth and healthy.
16. Rash Soother: There are two things that come to mind when I think of discomfort caused by a rash of any kind-itching and painful swelling. Coconut oil, with its anti-inflammatory effects, is an obvious go-to for helping the swelling. It will also help take the edge off the dreadful itching, curbing the vicious cycle of scratching and further irritating your skin.
17. Frizz-Fighter: In the deathly dryness of winter, or on steaming humid days, hair can get a little wild. If your mane has a mind of its own, put a *small* amount of coconut oil on your fingers and run them through your hair to get a handle on the frizz. I recommend sticking to mostly the ends if possible, as it can get a little heavy otherwise.
18. Wound Care: Antibacterial and antifungal properties make coconut oil an ideal salve for minor scrapes and scratches. Mix some up with a little bit of honey (also antibacterial) and apply a dab to the area, or just use on its own. Don’t slather it onto a great big gaping cut, but for little stuff it’s a great thing to have in your all-natural first aid kit.
19. Aromatherapy: Add your favorite blend of essential oils to some coconut oil to dab on your temples and the back of your neck when you feel stressed or nauseous. Peppermint and eucalyptus for headaches and tension, or lemon/lime/orange for nausea, are nice places to start.
20. Dry Nostrils: Dry nostrils feel like they need to be picked at. Picked at nostrils become sore and irritated nostrils. It’s a vicious cycle. Rub a little bit of coconut oil on the inside of each nostril to moisturize it. Use only a little bit. Because coconut oil melts rapidly at body temperature, too much can make you look (or feel) like you have a runny nose!
21. Constipation Relief: Take a tablespoon of coconut oil every morning on an empty stomach to keep your digestive track running smoothly. You can try 2 tablespoons to work out acute constipation as well.
22. Fade Age/Sun Spots: Coconut oil can help heal or lessen the appearance of a wide variety of skin blemishes, and people have found that daily application of it have helped fade sun or age spots. Rub coconut oil onto sun spots daily to help fade them.
23. Bags-Be-Gone: Put the beauty back in beauty sleep and use coconut oil to help get rid of those dark circles that make you look so exhausted. Every night, rub a little bit of coconut oil under your eyes to reduce puffiness and dark bags in the morning.
24. Soften Dry Elbows: Elbows are one of the hardest places to keep soft. Rub coconut oil onto them morning and night to help them stay supple. I don’t suggest doing this if you are going in for a big test and plan on setting your elbows on the desk. The horror if they slipped off and you ended up banging yourself against the table in the middle of a dead silent room.
25. Insect Repellant: I can’t imagine why bugs would find coconut oil repulsive but then, I also find some of the things they do rather distasteful myself. For whatever reason, some people find that slathering on coconut oil can help keep the bugs at bay. You can also try melting down the oil and stirring in some essential oils (such as peppermint or citrus) and then making a bug repellant bar of sorts that you can reapply.
26. Bee Sting Soother: As a beekeeper, bee stings are a reality that I face quite often. While honeybees are really quite gentle creatures, some stings are simply inevitable at times. To help reduce the swelling, heat, and pain that comes along with bee venom, rub a little coconut oil onto the site after the stinger has been removed. For an extra soothing kick, add a drop of lavender essential oil to it as well.
27. Use in Toothpaste: Add flavor, antibacterial action, and potential whitening benefits by adding coconut oil to some baking soda and using as a DIY toothpaste. For a little extra flavor, mix in a drop or two of peppermint or cinnamon essential oil.
28. Ease Arthritis Pain: Acute inflammation present with arthritis is responsible for quite a bit of discomfort and stiffness that accompanies this common malady, which can be eased by the anti-inflammatory effects of the coconut oil. Massage a bit of the oil into each joint thoroughly 1-2 times a day to relieve soreness.
29. Say Goodbye to a Sore throat: Can’t ease that painful throat? Coconut oil provides a wonderful soothing coating, whether the discomfort is caused by dry air or an illness. Swallow ½-1 teaspoon up to 3 times daily to ease the pain, being sure to make one of those times right before bed. For an extra kick, melt the coconut oil down and stir in a little honey (its ok if it separates some.) When it is mostly room temp, mash up the mixture a little bit and use the same as above.
30. Lessen a Dry, Hacking, Cough: You don’t want to suppress your cough if it is productive, meaning you are coughing up phlegm. Your body needs to get rid of all that stuff. However, if you have a dry hacking cough, swallowing a teaspoon or so of coconut oil can help ease the itchy irritation. It is especially nice because it coats your throat and seems to protect it more from irritating things such as dust, whereas water only provides very temporary relief.
31. Prevent Stretch Marks: There is no magic method to prevent or get rid of stretch marks. Indeed, how noticeably you get stretch marks are based a lot on genetics. They are caused by, literally, a stretching of the skin. This may occur during pregnancy, puberty, during rapid muscle mass gain, etc. and tend to be more extreme when there is an excess of cortisol (a stress hormone produced by the adrenal glands) involved. Cortisol damages elastic fibers in the dermis. Put simply, the marks appear when the lower layers of the dermis tear for some reason or another. Anecdotal evidence suggest that keeping skin moisturized and supple can help prevent stretch marks, and what better moisturizer than coconut oil? Rub some onto the area twice daily (for example, your belly if you are pregnant) and massage it in well. You can also melt down some cocoa butter with the coconut oil for an extra moisturizing boost.
32. Detangler: When you’ve got a nasty tangle, try using coconut oil to ease it out without any yanking, eye watering, or ripped out broken hairs. Dampen your hair well and then massage in coconut oil, letting it sit for 2-3 minutes. Starting at the bottom of the hair shaft, gently work your way up with a comb to get through the tangles .
33. Cracked Heels: Cracked, dry, heels? As a super moisturizer, coconut oil can help soften and smooth over that skin. Use a pumice stone first to slough off any excess buildup of cells, and then get a little bit of coconut oil on your fingertips. Massage into your heels well, and let dry. Repeat twice daily.
34. Use in the Sun: Coconut oil in and of itself is not sufficient as sunscreen. On its own, it has an SPF (sun protection factor) of 4-6. This helps a little, but not enough to make it a substitute. That being said, try applying coconut oil in between re-applications of sunscreen. It will help hydrate your skin and prevent it from drying out. Should you get burned, it can also help prevent peeling and itching.
35. Reduce Fine Lines: There are two main things that keep the skin supple but firm, collagen and elastin. Collagen is what gives skin it’s “firmness” while elastin is what allows it to stretch and then return to its original shape. Collagen production slows as we age, which is part of why wrinkles start to appear, and elastin production is stopped completely-hence your skin no longer snaps back into place if you pinch it. Coconut oil’s biologically active components (such as certain fatty acids) have been shown to increase collagen cross-linking, which is part of why it helps wounds heal faster. This same principle may be why it helps reduce fine lines/wrinkles. Apply twice daily, using as little amount as possible and rubbing in thoroughly, to reduce the appearance of fine lines.
36. Prevent Split Ends: The fatty acids in coconut oil do more than just <a title=”make hair look smooth and healthy” href=”http://everydayroots.com/honey-hair-treatment” target=”_blank”>make hair look smooth and healthy</a> for the present, it can keep it looking that way by preventing pesky split ends. Rich in protective fatty acids that easily adhere to keratin, the main protein in hair, a little bit of coconut oil applied to the ends of your hair daily can help reduce breakage. Be sure to apply just a little and only to the ends, especially if you are prone to oily hair.
37. Cheekbone Highlighter: Highlighting your cheeks gives you that little extra glow that people can’t quite place, but definitely notice. Apply a small amount of coconut oil the same as you would another cheekbone cream to give yourself a naturally beautiful glow.
38. Clean Makeup Brushes: Preserve your delicate make up brushes by cleaning them with coconut oil. Simply melt down some of the oil in a glass and dip the brush into the liquid, coating it thoroughly. Then gently swirl the brush on a paper towel or wash cloth until the color or product is gone. Rinse under warm water, and dry. Any bit of residue tends to make the bristles quite soft, but you can also use a mild soap and water to remove it if you find it bothersome.
39. Eyelash Enhancement: Long thick eyelashes are something many people desire, but that doesn’t mean they’re easy to come by. To get those luscious upturned ‘lashes, apply a little bit of coconut oil to your eyelashes nightly. The proteins can help encourage growth and seal in moisture, preventing brittleness and breakage.
40. Target Eczema and Psoriasis : Eczema and psoriasis, while not the same thing, are both generally red, irritated, often times chronic skin diseases, and both are uncomfortable. Use coconut oil to target patches of your body that are being affected, and rub on a thin layer to keep the area moisturized and healthy, while also fighting off fungus or bacteria that could set in as a secondary infection if you’ve been scratching.
41. Help Heal a Bruise: A bruise is caused by some sort of impact or trauma rupturing blood vessels beneath the surface of the skin. Coconut oil may help speed the healing of tissue when used externally, even taken internally, and can help repair tissue damage and reduce the time that it would normally take your bruise to heal and fade.
42. Fights Acne: Our bodies are rich with bacteria that are naturally present, and necessary, to maintain our health. There are instances though where some people find themselves with a specific strain of bacteria (generally thought to be Propionibacterium acnes) that grows its population past the point of being welcome, as too much of it causes acne. While P. acnes is becoming increasingly resistant to antibiotics, coconut oil is an all-natural way to reduce the overgrowth. You can also mix in a little drop of tee tree oil for an extra anti-bacterial kick. Be aware that tea tree has a very…distinct aroma. Not bad per say, just strong.
Source: Everyday Roots