Learn how to use coconut oil for your home, for beauty and even for health and wellness. Check out these 50+ uses for coconut oil.
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Coconut oil is just plain amazing. I have a jar of coconut oil in my kitchen and bathroom – simply because it has so many practical uses around my home. Here are some of my favorite ways to incorporate coconut oil into my everyday life (and here’s one of my favorite brands of coconut oil).
What is Coconut Oil?
Coconut oil, or copra oil, is an edible oil extracted from the kernel or meat of mature coconuts harvested from the coconut palm. It has various applications. Because of its high saturated fat content, it is slow to oxidize and, thus, resistant to rancidification, lasting up to six months at 24 °C without spoiling.
Coconut Oil Nutritional Facts
This is how coconut oil is broken down, nutritionally (based on one tbsp of coconut oil.)
- 120 calories
- 0 grams of protein
- 14 grams of fat (12 = saturated fat; 1 = monounsaturated fat; and 0.5 grams of polyunsaturated fats.)
- 0 milligrams (mg) of cholesterol
Component-wise, coconut oils often differ in their make-up, and differ in their health benefits.
For example, partially hydrogenated coconut oil isn’t deemed as healthy by nutritionists – it’s similar as other processed oils that hold trans fats like Crisco. Virgin coconut oil comes from fruit component of coconuts, and is extracted without the use of chemicals or other foreign agents. Thus, nutritionists look more favorably on virgin coconut oil.
Coconut Oil for Cooking and Baking
1. Frying: Unlike other oils that either inflammatory or unsuitable for high heat (such as olive oil), coconut oil is perfect for frying foods.
2. Baking: Instead of canola or soybean oil (read the dangers of soybean oil), coconut oil is excellent for baking. Use as you would canola oil or other vegetable oil in baking. Opt for an expeller-pressed coconut oil if you don’t want a coconut flavor in your baked goods. Try this delicious gluten-free banana bread recipe with coconut oil.
3. Mayonnaise: Make your own coconut oil mayonnaise. Add 1/2 cup of cup of coconut oil, 1/2 cup of organic live oil, 2 egg yolks, 1/2 tsp of Dijon mustard, 1/2 tsp of apple cider vinegar and salt and pepper (to taste) to a glass bowl. Use an immersion blender to mix well and thicken.
4. Popcorn: Make your own popcorn with a large pot, lid and coconut oil. Just add 2 tbsp of coconut oil with 1/4 cup of organic popping corn in a large pot and cover with a lid. Heat over medium and gently shake pot until popping subsides.
5. Trail Mix: Try making your own trail mix with real-food ingredients and coconut oil. Here’s a delicious Paleo trail mix recipe.
6. Smoothies: Give your morning smoothie a healthy boost with coconut oil – which contains beneficial lauric acid and MCFA for weight support.
Uses for Coconut Oil for Body and Skin Care
7. Body Scrub: Make your own DIY body salt scrub coconut oil.
8. Lip Balm: Make your own DIY lip balm with coconut oil or even just spread a few drops over chapped lips.
9. Facial Moisturizer: Use a few drops of coconut oil directly on skin as a daily moisturizer.
10. Facial Scrub : Mix coconut oil with baking soda for a natural beauty scrub to gently exfoliate the skin.
11. Cracked Heels: Rub a few drops of coconut oil on dry or cracked heels and cover with socks to help soothe and provide relief for heels. Check out these natural tips for cracked heels.
13. Body Lotion: Use coconut oil direct on the skin to moisturize without the toxic chemicals of most commercial lotions.
14. Lotion Bars: Make these coconut oil lotion bars for travel or for moisturizing on the go. There’s zinc oxide in this recipe so it doubles as a sunscreen too.
15. Toothpaste: Make your own toothpaste with coconut oil and baking soda. Coconut oil helps to kill bacteria and promote oral health.
16. Shaving Lotion: Use coconut oil as a shaving lotion to get smooth skin. Just apply coconut oil direct to the skin and use a razor to shave. You can also try this whipped homemade shaving cream recipe.
17. Soothe Dry Skin: Massage coconut oil onto dry, scaly or itchy skin for relief.
18. Eye Make-Up Remover: Dab a few drops of coconut oil on a cotton ball to remove eye and face make-up without toxic chemicals.
19. Moisturizing Bath: Add 1 cup of Epsom salt and 1/2 cup of coconut oil to a warm bath for a moisturizing, detoxing bath.
20. Soothe Waxed Skin: If you wax your skin regularly, use coconut oil to remove wax residue and moisturize skin.
21. Split End Treatment: Massage a few drops of coconut oil in hands and rub together, then apply gently to ends of hair to reduce split ends.
22. Sunscreen: Coconut oil has a 6-8 SPF. I use it regularly when I’m in the sun and reapply as needed. I do avoid sun exposure from 12-2 pm when possible.
23. Soothing Sun Relief: Massage 1 tsp of coconut oil on skin for relief from the sun. You can also try this DIY Sun Relief Spray recipe.
24. Sagging skin: Massage coconut oil onto stretch marks or areas prone to sagging skin.
25. Massage oil: Rub 1 tbsp of coconut oil in hands and use as a massage oil.
26. Hand cream: Got dry hands? Rub a dab of coconut oil onto hands and massage well.
Coconut Oil for Families
27. Nipple Care: Soothe cracked nipples from breastfeeding with coconut oil. Just add a few drops to nipples after breastfeeding.
28. Baby Massage: Moms can massage a few drops of coconut oil onto baby for a soothing massage.
29. Diaper Relief: Make your own diaper relief cream with coconut oil.
30. Baby Oil: Use coconut oil instead of petroleum-based mineral oil to soothe baby’s skin.
31. Dry Scalp: Massage coconut oil onto scalp to get rid of dry skin.
32. Baby Wipes: Make your own baby wipes (disposable or reusable) with coconut oil.
Household Uses for Coconut Oil
33. Wood Polish: Mix coconut oil with 1-2 drops of of lemon juice to make your own furniture polish.
34. Leather Conditioner: Clean and condition leather furniture with a bit of coconut oil. Use a cloth to rub on coconut oil and rub off.
35. Cast Iron Cookware: Season your cast iron cookware with coconut oil. Just rub a layer of coconut oil in the cookware and put it in the oven for about an hour on 250 degrees. This will help to set the oil in the pan so it works similar to non-stick cookware.
36. Cutting Boards: Keep those wooden cutting boards in good shape by rubbing a thin layer of coconut oil onto the wood with a cloth.
37. Door Hinges: Spray coconut oil on squeaky door hinges rather than WD-40.
38. Indoor Plants: Clean your favorite indoor plants with a dab of coconut oil and a cloth. This also helps to give plant leaves a glossy look.
39. Car Interiors: Clean and condition car interior dashboards, doors, and leather upholstery with a dab of coconut oil and a cloth.
Uses for Coconut Oil for Health
40. Soothe Minor Cuts: Apply coconut oil to minor cuts and scrapes to promote healing.
41. Itchy Skin: Soothe skin rashes with a dab of coconut oil. Just massage it onto the skin where the rash or dry patch is located.
42. Chapped Lips: Got dry, chapped lips from the winter cold or wind? Soothe lips with a bit of coconut oil. Just use as a lip balm a few times a day until dry, chapped lips are healed.
43. Carrier Oil: Use coconut oil as a carrier oil to apply to a wide surface area on the skin and helps to dilute the oil (great for kids).
44. Boost Metabolism: Coconut oil may help to increase metabolism and burn more calories. Take a spoonful of coconut oil a day (I sprinkle a bit of salt on it or mix it in a smoothie).
45. Fight Fungal Infections: Take 1-2 tbsp of coconut oil internally to help fight candida (yeast overgrowth).
46. Soothe Dry Skin: Use a dab of coconut oil and apply to skin to soothe dry skin.
47. Oil Pulling: Swish a spoonful of coconut oil in your mouth for 10-20 minutes to pull out bacteria from the teeth, gums and body. Do NOT swallow. Spit out coconut oil in the trash or toilet (don’t swallow because that’s where all the bacteria is located). I try not to spit in the sink to avoid any build up of coconut oil. Here’s a tutorial on how to do oil pulling and the health benefits of this ancient practice.
48. Boost Brain Function: The MCTs (medium-chain fatty acids) in coconut oil can help to improve brain function for Alzheimer’s patients. Read more here.
49. Mouth Sores: Dab coconut oil on mouth sores to promote healing and soothe the skin.
50. Head Lice: Mix 1 tbsp of coconut oil with the spice anise to get of head lice. Coconut oil and anise used in two applications nine days apart have shown to be twice as effective as the chemical permethrin, which is used in store-bought head lice treatments.
51. Personal Lubricant: Use coconut oil instead of silicone as a personal lubricant. Test coconut oil on skin (arm or leg) on you and your partner to be sure neither of you has an allergy to coconut oil. Also, you may want to skip coconut oil as lube if you use latex condoms. Coconut oil may break down latex condoms.
Top Tips for Using Coconut Oil
- Coconut oil has many uses that have nothing to do with eating it. Many people are using it for cosmetic purposes and to improve the health and appearance of their skin and hair.
- In order to get the impressive health benefits outlined in the links, make sure to choose organic, virgin coconut oil, not the refined stuff.
- People who want to start adding coconut oil to their diets can begin with 0.5 tbsp and increase to 1.5 tbsp per day.
- Try coconut oil as a body lotion especially during the summer months, because the oil leaves a subtle sheen on your legs and looks great.
More Health + Wellness Posts
- 10 Easy DIY Skin Care Swaps
- Dry Skin Brushing: Step by Step Tutorial and Why You Need It
- 6 Benefits of Oil Pulling and How to Do It
DIY Beauty Recipes Book
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Photo credit: Bigstockphotos.com / Denira