Coconut oil is a growing staple in the kitchen, the toiletry bag, and even the medicine cabinet – and there’s good reason for it. From killing harmful microbes to balancing hormones, boosting immunity, enhancing digestion, improving cognitive function, reducing bad cholesterol while encouraging the good, it’s easy to see why the coconut tree’s nickname is the “tree of life.”
Virgin over Refined Coconut Oil for Skin, Hair and Beauty Uses
Before you get too carried away with the abundant uses of coconut oil, a little insight on the different types goes a long way in getting you off to a healthful start.
Refined oil is great for cooking and has a high smoke point. It’s also bleached and deodorized, which means it has a subtler coconut flavor. The processing methods of refined coconut oil destroy most of the antioxidants, and sometimes this oil is partially hydrogenated and will contain trans fats.
Extra virgin oil brings the full benefits for non-cooking uses and has more antioxidants. Methods like wet-milling, fermentation, and heating create this oil, and it’s also called unrefined coconut oil because it comes from fresh coconut meat rather than dried meat (called copra).
36 Skin, Hair, and Beauty Uses for Coconut Oil
Coconut oil can help you look and feel your very best in so many areas of your life. Here’s a great variety of ways to get started:
1. Moisturize your skin. When you open your jar of coconut oil, you might be surprised to see it’s solid. Don’t worry, it’ll quickly melt just with your body heat. Before bed, melt a small dollop in your hands and massage onto your face and neck. It’ll absorb quickly into your skin and is surprisingly non-greasy. After five minutes, wipe off any excess and go to bed with moisturized, healthy skin.
2. Reduce skin wrinkles. To spot treat areas of concern, such as around your eyes, cover with a dab of oil and let it sit overnight. You can also boost the anti-aging properties of coconut oil by combining it with frankincense oil.
3. Remove makeup. You can use coconut oil in the same way you’d use cold cream to remove makeup. Melt some in your hands and gently rub it on areas with makeup, then wipe it off with a warm, wet cloth. This little trick provides extra skin hydration and won’t sting your eyes.
4. Seal in moisture. After bathing or showering, you can rub coconut oil pretty much all over your body to help seal in moisture and add extra hydration. This can get a little slippery, so use caution. This treatment is also a nice after-shave and provides natural SPF protection.
5. Supplement your bath. A nice relaxing bath is best with a little coconut oil. Add in a ¼ cup of coconut oil along with a 1-2 cups of Epsom salts. This’ll do wonders for your skin, while the Epsom salts will help with detoxification.
6. Brush your teeth. Coconut oil is a key ingredient in home-made toothpaste. Just combine with baking soda and add a touch of peppermint essential oil. If you want to add a probiotic punch to the mix, include Bentonite clay and probiotic powder.
7. Nurture your lips. Have you ever looked at the ingredients of most commercial lip balms? Scary stuff! For a delightful, chemical-free balm, combine 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, 2 tablespoons of beeswax, and 1 tablespoon of shea butter in a small pan and heat slowly until it melts together. Use a tiny funnel to fill empty lip balm tubes and then let it set for 4-6 hours. For natural tinting, add in a dab of cocoa powder, beetroot powder, cinnamon, or turmeric.
8. Lubricate intimacy. With its antibacterial, antimicrobial, and antifungal properties, coconut oil is one of the safest lubricants available. Just remember not to use it in conjunction with latex condoms as it can cause weakening and breakage.
9. Freshen your breath. This trick is similar to the toothpaste idea. Combine equal parts baking soda and coconut oil with a few drops of peppermint essential oil in a cup. Stir and gulp it. Gargle and spit it out. Minty-fresh breath!
10. Oil pulling. This ancient practice pulls out toxins and kills bacteria that cause tooth decay. Hold a tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth and gently swish it around for 10-20 minutes. Remember to spit the oil into the garbage rather than potentially harming your plumbing. Pull oil first thing in the morning prior to eating or even brushing.
11. Deodorize. Coconut oil works well as a natural deodorant thanks to its antibacterial properties. If you want to thicken it up, combine with baking soda.
12. Wash your face. Make your own natural face wash using coconut oil, lavender oil, tea tree oil, and raw honey.
13. Treat small wounds. A coconut oil salve speeds the healing process for cuts, burns, and rashes when used as an antibiotic ointment to fight infection. Mix it with frankincense, lavender, and melaleuca oils for best results.
14. Soothe skin conditions. Eczema, psoriasis, and a variety of other chronic skin issues respond well to treatment with the soothing, disinfectant, healing, and moisturizing effects of coconut oil.
15. Fight cellulite. Combine 1 tablespoon of coconut oil with 10 drops of grapefruit essential oil to make a solution, then firmly massage into problem areas.
16. Perfect your shave. Does shaving irritate your skin? Try using coconut oil instead of shaving cream. It’s incredibly soothing and will greatly reduce irritation.
17. Protect your skin from the sun. The SPF of coconut oil is only 4, but that’s still a nice benefit for everyday use, and it makes for a very soothing sunburn treatment.
18. Massage your joints and muscles. Mix coconut oil with whatever essential oils will help you get the most out of a massage. Your sore muscles will thank you!
19. Repel insects. You don’t have to worry about toxic chemicals in your insect repellent if you make your own with coconut oil, peppermint oil, rosemary, and tea tree oil. This is a safe substance for anywhere on your body and repels mosquitos, flies, bees, and gnats.
20. Fight fungus. Apply coconut oil directly to athlete’s foot or other skin fungus problem areas. Allow it to set for awhile and then wipe away any excess.
21. Treat cold sores. Apply coconut oil to cold sores several times a day for faster healing. Its powerful punch of lauric acid cuts down the pesky pathogen.
22. Soften your cuticles. A little coconut oil on the nail bed softens cuticles, enabling you to push them back and keep your nails looking and feeling clean and healthy.
23. Treat your feet. Do you have dry, cracked heels? Coconut oil does wonders for that. Rub a couple of tablespoons into each heel.
24. Treat and prevent ingrown hairs. In-grown hairs are especially annoying when they’re infected. Coconut oil effectively softens the follicle so that the hair can grow through unhampered and kills any bacteria that might otherwise cause infection.
25. Shampoo your hair. Combine coconut oil with apple cider vinegar to make a shampoo that cleans your hair and leaves it soft and shiny.
26. Condition your hair. This is another effective and moisturizing practice that dates back to ancient times. Use 1-2 tablespoons depending on the length of your hair. Melt it in your hands and work it in starting at the ends.
27. Treat and prevent dandruff. Coconut oil can help decrease dandruff, but if your hair is feeling slightly heavy, reduce the amount you’re using and make sure to rinse well.
28. Detangle your hair. Just brush or comb in a small amount to help loosen knots and tangles.
29. Exfoliate. Add something coarse to coconut oil such as ground coffee beans or coconut sugar to make your own exfoliating scrub. You should only need this treatment a couple of times per week.
30. Highlight your check bones. Just a little coconut oil adds shine to your cheeks and eyelids, giving you a radiant, makeup-free glow.
31. Clean makeup brushes. Makeup brushes pick up a lot of bacteria. Use coconut oil as a disinfectant by treating your brushes with a generous dose and letting them set for 1-2 hours before thoroughly washing them.
32. Clean hair brushes. Coconut oil can be used the same way to clean your hairbrushes, even if they’re delicate. If a little oil remains on on the brush, don’t fret – it’s good for your hair!
33. Treat and prevent diaper rash. Coconut oil is a very soothing treatment for the swelling, redness, itching, and burning of diaper rash.
34. Style your hair. Commercial styling products often contain alcohol that dries out your hair. Try and see if coconut oil will give your hair the styling control you want without the chemicals.
35. Treat colds. If you mix coconut oil with eucalyptus oil, you’ll have your own vapor rub to use the next time you have a cough or difficulty breathing at night due to congestion.
36. Reduce stretch marks. Coconut oil not only helps your skin regain its elasticity, but it also helps fade the dark marks.
From head to toe, on the inside and the outside, our bodies have so much to gain from coconut oil. Enjoy the many benefits of using this oil in your health and beauty routines with some of these handy ideas, and perhaps you’ll find a few extra uses of your own.