Coconut oil is anti-bacterial, anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory, and may even be able to fight the spread of cancer. There are many uses for coconut oil. It can kill a wide range of infections, and may also help your body get rid of parasites like lice and tapeworms. It can kill certain viruses, and your body can easily digest it to absorb all its nutrition. And of course it is natural and side-effect free.
There are two main types of coconut oil on the market. Either can be used for any of the purposes recommended here, but the best to choose is unrefined:
- Refined, also called “expeller pressed.” This type of coconut oil doesn’t smell or taste like coconut oil. The refining process takes out some of its nutrition, so while it is useful, it isn’t as effective as unrefined coconut oil.
- Unrefined, also called “virgin” or “extra virgin.” This type of coconut oil hasn’t going through the refining process and retains its taste and smell. In cooking, it will produce a minor coconut flavor. If you apply it externally, you will get a slight scent of coconut. It retains all its nutrition, so it is more effective than the refined oil. For the very best quality, search for non-GMO organic extra virgin coconut oil.
Here are 25 amazing uses for coconut oil.
Nutritional Uses for Coconut Oil
1. Natural Energy Booster
The medium chain triglycerides in coconut oil, when partnered with chia seeds, will give you an energy boost when you need a mid-afternoon pickup, or after a strenuous workout. Chia seeds are known to boost performance, and endurance while the coconut oil aids in digestion and metabolizing of the chia seeds.
- Mix one tablespoon of coconut oil with 1/2 tablespoon of chia seeds, and enjoy from the spoon, or spread on sprouted grain bread.
2. Coffee Flavor Booster
Quickly emulsify one tablespoon of coconut oil into your favorite coffee or espresso for a sweet coffee creamer. Keep the oil in a small pour bottle in your office so you can easily add flavor to your afternoon brew.
3. Cooking at High Heat
Coconut oil is great for cooking at a high heat because of its high smoke point. Many other oils like olive oil can oxidize when heated but because coconut oil is made up of healthy saturated fats it remains stable under high temperatures.
4. Make Your Own Granola
Homemade anything is generally better than store-bought, but there’s something about making your granola at home that makes it particularly special and tasty. Use coconut oil to whip up an oaty, nutty mixture.
5. Make Your Own Mayo
If you enjoy mayonnaise, you can make your own using 2/3 cup of coconut oil, 2/3 cup of olive oil, a teaspoon of mustard, a tablespoon of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, and four egg yolks. It’s much healthier and tastes great.
Coconut Oil Uses for Personal Care
6. Fungal Infections
The medium chain fatty acids found abundantly in coconut oil are incredibly effective natural fungicides. In a (coco) nut shell, they naturally insert themselves into the fungal membrane, which is crucial to maintaining the life of the fungus. This destruction of the membrane leads to the destruction of the fungus as a whole. It is important to be diligent with applications of the coconut oil until your symptoms have cleared.
7. Hair Mask
Coconut oil is a creamy solid at room temperature, and turns to liquid when heated to 76°F. While in the shower, melt your coconut oil by running the jar under the warm water. Then, after shampooing, apply a generous amount of the oil to wet strands and twist hair into a bun. Let it sit for at least five minutes before rinsing to add moisture and shine back into limp locks.
8. As an Aftershave
Not only does coconut oil make a good preparatory agent for shaving, but it makes a great follow-up too. It will quickly soothe irritation, helping your skin to heal without forming razor burn.
9. As a Cheekbone Highlighter
Nothing perks up a tired face like a little highlighter, but you don’t need store-bought products to achieve the same effect. Simply sweep a small amount of coconut oil on top of makeup and leave it alone. It looks like your skin but glowier, which is why many natural makeup brands use it as a base ingredient in their formulas.
10. As a Body Oil
As a solid, coconut oil’s creamy texture makes it the perfect light moisturizer to slather all over. Apply a quarter sized amount right after you get out of the shower so it can sink into your warm skin. The light tropical scent that lingers after it’s applied. Add in a few drops of peppermint or lavender oil for a massage mix.
11. Remove Eye Makeup
Coconut oil even works on waterproof mascara. Put a little on a cotton ball and gently sweep it over your eyes, paying attention to your under-eyes as well. The oil does a great job breaking down waxy, inky eye makeup, and leaves the delicate area hydrated, too. Once you’re done, wash your face as usual.
12. Lice Remedy
Start this all-natural lice treatment with a rinse of apple cider vinegar. Once the vinegar has dried, apply coconut oil to the entire head and let sit for 12 to 24 hours. Brush through hair with fine comb, and shampoo.
13. Exfoliate Your Feet
Mix coconut oil with a little coarse sea salt and you will get an even more powerful exfoliating concoction. You wouldn’t want to use this on your face (it would be too harsh), but it works great for the soles of your feet. You can soften hard soles this way.
14. Healing Bath
Regardless of the season, our skin takes a beating. Add 1/4 cup of Epsom salts and 1/4 cup of coconut oil to a warm bath, and relax. Add a drop or two of your favorite essential oils to add aromatherapy benefits. The Epsom salts will help to draw out toxins while the coconut oil will help to soothe dry skin.
15. Coconut Oil Reduces Dandruff
If you suffer from true dandruff (as opposed to just dry scalp) it is possible that you have an overgrowth of a common fungus on the scalp. Use coconut oil 2-3 times a week to provide some anti-fungal action to help keep the itching and flakes at bay.
16. Lip Balm
Chapped lips don’t stand a chance against ultra-hydrating coconut oil. Scoop some into a spare contact lens holder and throw it in your purse so you can dab it on with your finger throughout the day.
17. Breath Freshener
Coconut oil has antifungal and antibacterial properties. Gargling for 20 minutes with a spoonful of oil (oil pulling) can help clear up germs in the mouth, leading to fresher breath, whiter teeth, and healthier gums.
18. Clean Your Makeup Brushes
Just about every beauty and skincare expert stresses how important it is to keep your makeup brushes as bacteria-free as possible—for the ones you use daily, that means cleaning them once a week. Mix antibacterial dish soap with coconut oil (which also has antibacterial properties and will help condition the bristles) and give your brushes a good cleaning.
19. As a Sunscreen
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.
20. Coconut Oil Repairs Damaged Strands
Coconut oil has been a known strand-saver for years. A 2003 study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Science showed that coconut oil is able to penetrate inside the hair shaft because of its fatty acid structure. If your hair feels dry or is prone to breakage — which may be the case if you color it or use heat tools regularly — try coconut oil as an overnight treatment.
- Before going to bed, rub the oil into the palms of your hands and work your way towards the end of your strands.
- Follow by brushing with a wide tooth comb, then put your hair in a ponytail or bun and cover it with a shower cap before bed.
- In the morning, rinse with shampoo and conditioner.
21. 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.
22. Bath Soak
Adding coconut oil to your bath can help moisturize dry itchy skin (make sure to scrub your tub afterward to prevent slipping). Make sure the water is warmer than 76 degrees Fahrenheit though, otherwise the oil will turn to a solid.
23. Coconut Oil 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.
24. Removes Earwax
Warm coconut oil in the microwave for a few seconds until it becomes a liquid. Test the temperature with your finger and make sure it’s warm, not hot. Fill a dropper with half to one tablespoon of the oil; tilt your head to your right shoulder and drip oil into your left ear, letting it sit for 10 minutes. Then, tilt head upright and rinse all of the oil out with warm water. Dry your ear with a towel and then repeat on the other side.
25. 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.