What to Know About Coconut Oil
If you’ve been around the natural health & beauty community for any time, you’ve probably noticed that coconut oil is all the rage. From blogs to Pinterest, to magazines and books, it seems like everyone is raving about the benefits of this oil.
Although popular in recent years, historically coconut oil's high saturated fat content gave it an "unhealthy" reputation. However, the fat content in coconut oil has many benefits as it is rich in nutrients, helps your body absorb fat-soluble vitamins, and is full of antioxidant properties.
As for beauty, coconut oil is a multitasking powerhouse that is soothing and moisturizing for the entire body, even working wonders for your hair.
As you’ll see on this list, its benefits and uses are practically endless. It’s healthy, natural, and safe for your skin, body, and even your shoes (check out #98). Whether you’re new to the coconut oil bandwagon or you’ve been riding shotgun for years, grab a bottle or two (or 10!) and check out all the ways you can use this wonder oil!
Coconut Oil for Body and Skincare
Coconut oil should be a staple in your beauty product arsenal. While virgin, unrefined coconut oil can be used for the body - fractionated coconut oil often provided addition benefits and a more desired application.
Fractionated coconut oil is simply coconut oil where the long-chain triglycerides are removed, leaving the medium-chain triglycerides. This means the product remains liquid, won't clog your drains, and is easier to apply or mix into your DIY beauty products. In addition, removing the long-chain triglycerides minimizes the risk of breakouts, but the oil still maintains all of the wonderful properties that we've come to love.
Check out these great uses for your skin, body and hair.
- Moisturize Your Skin: Replace your regular lotion with nourishing coconut oil. It’s safe for anywhere on your body and mixes well with essential oils for an aromatherapy benefit. Fractionated coconut oil absorbs quickly and only requires a small amount for full body moisture!
- Face Mask: Clear up your complexion with a homemade face mask! Mix 1 tablespoon of coconut oil and 1 tablespoon of raw honey. Apply the mixture to the face (be careful, it warms and softens on your face and may drip) and wait 15-20 minutes. Rinse well with warm water.
- Diminish Wrinkles: We all are looking to reduce signs of aging. Applying coconut oil to lines and wrinkles helps hydrate, soften, and improve the texture of skin.
- Puffy Eyes: Make puffy eyes go poof! Well, it’s not magic, but applying a small amount of oil around your eyes at bedtime can reduce puffiness in the morning.
- Conditioner: There isn’t a better ingredient out there to moisturize your scalp, repair split ends, and increase shine and luster to the hair. Simply massage the oil into damp hair, focusing on the ends. Comb through to evenly distribute and wrap your hair in a towel for up to an hour. Shampoo as normal to remove any oil residue and style as normal.
- Fight Dry Scalp: Instead of buying dandruff shampoos and conditioners, use coconut oil. Use it the same way as conditioner, but leave it in overnight and wash it out in the morning for a flake-free day.
- Improve Hair Growth: More than a moisturizer, coconut oil can strengthen hair and reduce breakage when used daily.
- Reduce Frizz: Massage a few drops of oil into your hair and brush evenly to distribute, adding a layer of shine and frizz control.
- Detangle Hair: Tangled hair can be annoying and painful. Coconut oil can make tangle removal painless! Dampen your hair with water, apply coconut oil, and gently comb through tangles.
- Shaving Cream: If you’ve given up on shaving cream because it dries your skin, coconut oil is a perfect alternative. It moisturizes while helping the hairs stand up straight. This application is especially helpful for people prone to dry skin and razor burn. Why not make your own?
- Aftershave: Now that you use it as a shaving cream, go ahead and use it as an aftershave as well. It’s soothing and helps hydrate and soothe skin.
- Lip Balm: It works well to moisten dry or cracked lips, especially in dry weather. For easiest application, use virgin, unrefined coconut oil. You can apply it with your fingers the same way you would any other lip balm.
- Exfoliating Body Scrub: It serves as a great base for body and face scrubs. Try this simple recipe:
Mix half cup of coconut oil with 2-4 tablespoons of white or brown sugar and store in an airtight jar away from direct heat or moisture. Scoop a tablespoon amount into your palms and massage onto dry skin to explore. Rinse well, and pat skin dry. Because the scrub is rich in moisture, no additional lotion or moisturizers should be needed!
(please use caution, as oil can make for a slippery bath or shower!)
- Exfoliate Your Face. Dry brushing is a gentle and easy way to increase circulation and slough away dead skin cells. Apply a thin layer of coconut oil to dry skin and exfoliate the skin using a dry facial brush in long, sweeping motions. Finish by cleansing the skin as normal.
- Exfoliate Your Feet: Mix coarse sea salt with coconut oil in a 2:1 ratio and massage the soles of your feet to minimize dryness.
- Exfoliate Your Lips: Exfoliation has no limit with coconut oil! Now it’s time to take care of the dead skin on your lips. Mix a teaspoon of coconut oil with two teaspoons of brown sugar or raw sugar to soften your lips.
- Makeup Remover: Safely remove makeup without irritating your skin or eyes. Coconut oil breaks down the makeup and wipes off easily. Apply with your fingertips and massage it over makeup in a circular motion. Rinse with warm water and pat the skin dry.
- Cheekbone Highlighter: Give yourself a youthful glow by lightly pressing coconut oil onto your cheekbones after you apply makeup.
- Lotion Bar: Moisturize your skin by making a lotion bar.
Combine a cup each of coconut, shea butter and beeswax in a quart size glass mason jar with a lid and place in a small saucepan of water. Boil water until ingredients melt. Remove from heat and add 1 teaspoon of Vitamin E oil. Gently stir by hand until essential oils are incorporated. Pour into molds. Allow the lotion bars to cool completely before attempting to pop out of molds.
- Deodorant: Why not make your own deodorant while you’re at it?
Combine ½ cup each of coconut oil, shea butter, and beeswax in a glass mason jar with a lid and place this in a saucepan of water. Boil water until ingredients are melted. Remove from heat and add a teaspoon of Vitamin E oil, 3 tablespoons of baking soda, and ½ cup of arrowroot powder. Stir by hand until all ingredients are combined. Pour into muffin tins or other molds while still liquid. Allow to cool before removing.
- Massage Oil: Coconut oil is the perfect oil for massage because it moisturizes the skin while allowing enough glide to work out muscle tension.
- Soften Elbows: Rubbing a small amount of coconut oil on elbows twice a day will help soften and smooth the skin, reducing and preventing dryness.
- Heal Cracked Heels: The natural moisturizing and nourishing benefits can soften and prevent cracked heels when used regularly.
- Nail and Cuticle Treatment: You can’t get a manicure every day, but you can treat your cuticles with coconut oil regularly. Rub a small amount of oil into cuticles each night before bed. The oil will soak into your cuticles overnight and strengthen your nails.
- Reduce Stretch Marks: Though they may not completely disappear, rubbing coconut oil on stretch marks can reduce the appearance of stretch marks while improving overall skin elasticity.
- Makeup Brush Cleaner: Get rid of the buildup on your brushes by soaking them in coconut oil for five minutes. After soaking, cleanse brushes with a gentle brush cleaner to remove all oil and makeup buildup.
- Enhance Eyelashes: If your eyelashes are looking little limp, swab a small amount of coconut oil on them to give them some life.
- Remove Skin Wax: If you remove hair with wax, that sticky substance is hard to get off your skin. Not anymore! Apply some coconut oil and wipe it away with a warm washcloth.
- Personal Lubricant: For those intimate moments, it’s a safe and natural alternative to commercial lubricants, and often works better. Just DO NOT use with condoms, as it’s not compatible with latex.
- Diminish Varicose Veins: Regularly apply a thin layer of coconut oil to varicose veins and you’ll reduce their appearance.
- Reduce Cellulite: Apply coconut oil to the troubled areas regularly to see a difference in a few months.
- Bath Oil: There’s nothing like a nice, warm bath to relax after a long day. Add a bit of coconut oil to naturally coat and refresh your skin. You can also make these awesome bath melts and drop them in the tub:
Heat 1 cup of coconut oil on low for 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat and add 15 drops of essential oils. Mix well, pour into molds and let cool. Once cooled, pop the melts out of the molds and drop one in your bath and let it dissolve. Store the rest in a container in a cool place.
- Tattoo Moisturizer: You just got a new tattoo and you want it to heal so that annoying itch goes away. Put on a little coconut oil to soothe it and keep it moisturized. It will make your ink stand out better too!
Coconut Oil - Food, Drink and Cooking
Yes, coconut oil is edible and makes a great kitchen staple. There are two types of coconut oil: refined and unrefined (aka virgin).
Refined coconut oil (extracted from dried coconuts) is tasteless and odorless and it can withstand higher temperatures. But the refining process often uses chemicals to bleach, deodorize, and in some cases, partially hydrogenate the oil, which creates trans-fats. However, some refined coconut oils use a more natural process, using just heat to refine the oil. Check ingredients to make sure you’re getting a safe one.
Unrefined or virgin coconut oil is taken from fresh, not dried, coconut and is extracted quickly without going through a refining process. It retains its flavor and odor.
Here are some uses and recipes for coconut oil in the kitchen.
- Cooking Oil: It’s one of the best oils for cooking because it’s able to withstand higher temperatures than other oils due to its high percentage of saturated fat. Thinking all saturated fat is bad? Throw away that 20th-century research. Some saturated fats are actually healthy. It gives food a great taste and texture.
- Grease Pans: Replace vegetable oil or Crisco with coconut oil for a healthier way to grease your pans.
- Creamer in Coffee or Tea: Whether you’re chugging coffee for a morning boost or sipping tea for afternoon relaxation, add a creamy mixture of coconut oil to revolutionize the experience.
Blend 2 cups of hot coffee, 2 tablespoons of coconut oil, and 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter in a blender until oil and butter are melted and coffee is frothy.
- Sweetener: Trying to get rid of that sweet tooth? Coconut oil is slightly sweet so you can use it to replace sugar as a healthier option.
- Butter Replacement: Love to smother butter on that morning bagel or toast, but you know it’s not healthy? Substitute coconut oil instead for a healthy alternative that still tastes great.
- In Smoothies: If you love smoothies--and really, who doesn’t?—coconut oil is the perfect addition to them. Smoothies are easy to make and (mostly) healthy. Adding coconut oil improves their consistency. Try this recipe:
Combine 2 cups of coconut milk, 1/4 cup coconut oil, 2 tablespoons Gelatin Powder, 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, 1 tablespoon of cocoa powder, ½ cup of strawberries and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. Blend and enjoy.
- Salad Dressing: Not only does it add great taste to your bowl of greens, it helps your body better absorb all those great nutrients in your salad. Try this recipe:
- Mayonnaise: Mayo isn’t the healthiest condiment, but if you make it with coconut oil, you’ll feel a bit less guilty.
Combine 2/3 cup coconut oil, 2/3 cup olive oil, a teaspoon of mustard, a tablespoon of lemon juice or apple cider vinegar, and four egg yolks.
- Prevent Freezer Burn: Is there anything worse than reaching in the freezer to dig into some leftover ice cream and finding a layer of freezer burn on it. Uhh! Coconut oil to the rescue! Before you put anything in the freezer, add a thin layer of coconut oil at the top of it. It will form a seal to prevent freezer burn.
- Preserve Eggs: Make your dozen eggs last longer by coating the eggshell with coconut oil. Studies show it preserves the quality of the eggs.
- Popcorn Topping: Add it as a healthy topping to your popcorn. Drizzle it along with some salt and make it a Netflix night.
- Removing food from dishes: Instead of using elbow grease for those hard to clean dishes, add some coconut oil to lubricate tough spots for an easier clean.
Coconut Oil for Health and Home Remedies
The properties of coconut oil make it a great health and home remedy for many ailments.
- Fight Inflammation: Studies show that the lauric acid and capric acid in coconut oil help reduce signs of inflammation. Plus it has no side effects, unlike some medicines.
- Cuts and Wounds: Use it as a natural alternative to soothe small cuts. Simply clean the wound and apply a small amount of oil. Reapply as needed.
- Weight Loss: No, it’s not a magic weight-loss formula, but it can help you drop pounds if you substitute it for other fats.
- Curb Your Appetite: If you love food (and who doesn’t?), you may overeat from time to time. If you take a spoonful of coconut oil before meals, it will help you keep portions under control.
- Freshen Breath: Bad breath is caused by bacteria in the mouth, and the properties of coconut oil are claimed to reduce plaque, whiten teeth, and freshen breath.
- Aromatherapy: Coconut oil can be used as a carrier oil, helping your body absorb other essential oils and herbal extracts to help you relax and unwind. Fractionated coconut oil is best for this use.
- Boost Energy: Feeling exhausted? Coconut oil contains a unique form of saturated fats known as medium-chain triglycerides that provide an energy source for the body.
- Boosts Immune System: Adding coconut oil to your regular diet can help boost your immune system, which helps you fight viruses and infections.
- Helps Blood Circulation: Taking coconut oil and applying it to your body can help increase blood circulation.
- Thyroid Supporter: Studies show that regular coconut oil consumption supports healthy thyroid function.
- Relieve Constipation: Coconut oil is a natural laxative so it helps soften stools and speeds up your metabolism.
- Improve Bone Health: As a fat, coconut oil helps your body absorb vitamins and nutrients like calcium better. The better your body absorbs calcium, the stronger your bones will be.
- Supports Joint Health: The properties of coconut oil are believed to support the body's response to inflammation, which can support those who suffer from joint discomfort or arthritis.
- Treat Fungal and Yeast Infections: The medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil diffuse into cell membranes of various organisms and fight bacteria, fungi, yeast, viruses and parasite. Add 3-5 tablespoons of coconut oil to your daily diet and/or treat the affected area by applying a thin layer of oil to it.
- Calm Hemorrhoids: Get rid of the pain of hemorrhoids and take a seat in comfort by applying coconut oil as a treatment.
- Relieve Athlete’s Foot: Combine coconut oil with an odor-fighting essential oil such as tea tree and massage it on your feet for relief.
- Reduce Toenail Fungus: The unsightly enemy is no match for the phenomenon of coconut oil. Apply a small amount, several times a day, and you’ll see a gradual improvement.
- Lower Cholesterol: A tablespoon a day can drive cholesterol away! The high levels of lauric acid in coconut oil help boost HDL (good cholesterol), which in turn lowers bad cholesterol (LDL).
- Cold Sores: Applying coconut oil several times a day can stop the spread of sores and provide a soothing effect.
- Sore Throat Care: Soothe an itchy and sore throat by dissolving a spoonful in your mouth and let it roll down your throat.
- Soothe a Cough: Mix a teaspoon of honey with a half spoonful of coconut oil. Add hot water so it fills a quarter of a cup. Drink it hot and that cough will diminish.
- Insect Repellant: You may love coconut oil, but bugs can’t stand it. Slather some on to keep the critters away.
- Bug Bites: The warm weather often brings insects that find spots to bite you. The soothing properties in coconut oil help relieve itching and irritation.
- Bee Sting Soother: Soothe that sting with a dab of coconut oil (after removing the stinger). It helps to reduce swelling and pain.
- Relieve Sunburn: Sunburn can be painful, but coconut oil can soothe it. Make this mixture: Mix a 1:1 ratio of coconut oil and aloe vera gel massage it onto the burned area for a soothing and cooling effect.
- Relief from Eczema: Soothe the itching from eczema flare up with coconut oil.
- Relief from Poison Ivy: Whether it’s ivy, oak, or sumac, coconut oil can soothe itching by applying it to affected areas. A warm bath with some coconut oil will make you forget you stumbled into that poisonous vegetation in the first place.
- Soothe Chicken Pox: Give your child some relief if he or she is suffering from chicken pox by rubbing the oil on the affected areas.
- Relief from Heartburn/Acid Reflux: Three tablespoons of coconut oil a day can improve digestive health and soothe your esophagus.
- Relief from a Toothache: Instead of reaching for the Advil, mix 1-part coconut oil with 2 parts clove oil, and apply to your gums with a cotton swab.
- Toothpaste: Mix 6 tablespoons each of coconut oil and baking soda with 25 drops of essential oil (spearmint is a great choice), and you have homemade, all-natural toothpaste.
- Mouthwash: Now that you have toothpaste, now use coconut oil as a mouthwash. Melt 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth and swish for 20 minutes, being sure not to swallow any oil.
- Remove Ear Wax: Use an eyedropper to apply two drops of coconut oil to help break up wax buildup.
- Get Rid of Warts and Moles: Rub coconut oil onto warts and moles and cover with a bandage. Do this regularly and they’ll diminish.
- Fight Allergies: Allergy season can be a nightmare, but coconut oil can make it a sweet dream. Dap a little on your nostrils for quick relief.
- Treat an Ear Infection: Never underestimate the power of coconut oil. Applying it to the ear can calm the infection.
- Stop Nose Bleeds: If you’re prone to a bloody nose, rub a little of it in your nostrils to combat the cracking that leads to bleeds.
- Prevent Lice: Your kid comes home from school and somehow has lice. No worries, dip a comb in coconut oil, run it through your child’s hair to chase lice away.
Coconut Oil for Pregnancy and Infant Care
Coconut oil can be a mom’s best friend as it has benefits for her and her infant. Whether carrying or taking care of a baby, here are ways coconut oil is a fantastic resource.
- Nipple Cream: Reduce irritation when nursing by rubbing the soothing oil on your nipples. It’s safe and great for your baby too!
- Nursing Boost: Speaking of nursing, by taking 3-4 tablespoons of coconut oil a day, moms can increase their milk supply.
- Prevent Morning Sickness: You can calm your stomach during pregnancy by taking a tablespoon. Make it a regular morning routine.
- Rub on Perineum: You can prevent, or at least lessen, tears to the perineum during birth by applying coconut oil to it daily in the months leading up to your due date.
- Moisturize Baby’s Skin: Babies have sensitive skin so coconut oil is a safe choice that won’t cause irritation. Apply a dab to dry patches, such as the creases of their neck, to keep them moist and protected.
- Stop Diaper Rash: The thick oil has antifungal properties to soothe the rash and acts as a barrier to prevent further irritation. Plus, it won’t make the rash worse like other rash creams.
Fixing Stuff Around the Home with Coconut Oil
We told you to keep plenty of this oil on hand. Tackle some household tasks with the amazing coconut oil!
- Remove Rust: It’s a great remedy for rust on household items. Apply a thin layer and let it sit for a few hours, then rinse with warm water.
- Get a Zipper Unstuck: You’re in a rush so you need to throw on some clothes and leave. But the stupid zipper on your jacket or jeans is stuck. Quick fix? Rub a little coconut oil on it and watch that baby glide!
- Gum Removal: Gum can seem impossible to remove from hair, carpet, shoes or anywhere else. Not with coconut oil. Use it to get rid of the gunk.
- Fix Squeaky Hinges: You can only deal with that squeaky door for so long before it drives you crazy. Instead of pulling it off its hinges, lubricate it with coconut oil for peace and quiet.
- Lubricate Kitchen Appliances: Keep all your small kitchen appliances—blenders, can openers, mixers, food processors and the like—operating optimally by rubbing a thin layer of oil on blades.
- Furniture Polish: It’s safe on wood and not toxic, unlike those polishes from the store. Rub a little on your furniture and watch it shine.
- Plant Shine: You’ve given your furniture a shine, now do the same for your indoor plants. Rub a small amount on plants’ leaves to give them shine and prevent dust buildup.
- Get Rid of Soap Scum: Does that hard-to-remove buildup on the sink and shower frustrate you? Apply some coconut oil to help scrub it away.
- Leather Shiner: Give those pumps, boots, or purses a fresh touch-up and shine by rubbing some of the oil on them.
- Leather Cleaner: And you thought you were just making those shoes look pretty. You just killed two birds with one stone: As you shine your leather, you’re also cleaning it.
- Remove a Ring: Sometimes a ring is hard to remove, especially if your fingers swell. Apply the oil to your hands and the ring, and it should come off easily.
- Coat Snow Shovels: Oh, the weather outside is frightful…but you still have to shovel. Apply the oil to the shovel to keep snow from sticking to it as you clear that driveway.
Wow! Is your head spinning? With the endless uses of coconut oil, why would you need anything else?
When it comes to the best natural and organic beauty products like coconut oil, you can trust InstaNatural as a safe source for clean and effective beauty care products. Check out our website to browse our complete collection of skin, body and hair care products.