9 Amazing Uses for Coconut Oil in Your Daily Health Routine
Ah… coconut oil! Everybody gets all excited about this, and for good reason! It has so many amazing uses, not only in our food, but also as a natural body care product.
I have been using coconut oil for quite a while now, and I think I can say that between my husband and myself, we probably use as much on our skin and hair than we do in our food!
I know it’s easy to go overboard with the praises of anything that works well for multiple uses. I keep seeing people raving about how CBD oil fixes everything, for example (I know it does help with health issues, but let’s not get too carried away!). Or it’s castor oil, or fish oil, or snake oil (just kidding!).
Anyway, I don’t want to recommend coconut oil as a fix-all (or any other one thing, for that matter - read this article for some thoughts on that!). Let’s not be like August Engelhardt, the Coconut Man, who started a sun-worshipping, coconut-eating cult and died at age 44 from malnutrition! (This is a very fascinating, and very weird, story if you want to check it out! Moral of the story: don’t worship the sun, don’t eat only coconuts, and don’t start cults.)
But, there are definitely some wonderful uses for this delightful, aromatic tropical oil! Let’s go over some of them.
Coconut oil is very moisturizing and has healthy fats and minerals to nourish and strengthen hair and skin.
For hair, I rub a tiny amount of the oil in my hands and then apply it to the ends of my damp hair (I like to do it right after washing and towel drying rather than applying to dry hair, although you can do that instead. My hair tends to get oily quickly, and applying the oil before my hair dries seems to help with that). This moisturizes the hair and also helps with frizziness and flyaways!
You can also apply coconut oil to your whole head of hair, let sit for a few hours, and rinse as a deep condition. Be aware, though, that it will take a lot of rinsing to get the oil out so that your hair is clean and fluffy afterwards!
For skin, apply lightly in the same way you would a lotion. It does take a bit to soak into the skin, so go easy and rub in well. I like to use it on my whole body tight after a shower.
Coconut oil is very anti-microbial, making a great option as an active ingredient in natural deodorant!
Coconut oil is an amazing alternative to many body care products that are full of toxins and harsh chemicals. (Read this article for more on that!)
Coconut oil is also a good way to soothe the skin after too much sun exposure. Be careful with a burn, though; sometimes putting oil on a burn can do more harm than good. (Try using aloe vera gel for a burn; once it starts to heal, you can start applying coconut oil.)
I haven’t seen any research on this, and only heard anything about it once, so I don’t know if it’s true; but I have heard that using coconut oil on skin conditions like eczema can be harmful to the good bacteria on the skin. It makes sense to me, since the oil is anti-microbial. So maybe hold off until you talk to a healthcare professional, if you have a more serious skin condition.
3. Makeup Remover
Someone told me about this little trick years ago, and it works wonderfully! Until then, I had been using chemical removers for my makeup, because nothing else really worked. Now I only use coconut oil! It removes even tough, waterproof makeup and nourishes your skin at the same time!
To use, dab a cotton ball (or just a finger!) into some coconut oil and wipe over your eyes and face. Clean off with a clean, dry cotton ball or piece of toilet paper.
4. Body Scrub
I love simple little beauty hacks that save so much money and time, and are better for our bodies, too! This is one of them: Combine a small amount of coconut oil with sea salt or coconut sugar and mix well. ( You can also add some essential oils - like tea tree for a foot scrub - to make it smell and work even better!) A little goes a long way, so use moderately!
5. Cuticle Oil
Coconut oil can be used to soften cuticles and promote healthy nails! Use a tiny amount to soften and push back your cuticles. Try this after a shower or soaking your hands in warm water, for best results.
6. Oral Health
Technically this is an internal use, but since it’s not being ingested, I’m including it in this list! Coconut oil is great for killing bad bacteria in the mouth. This aids in keeping your teeth and gums clean and fresh, and can be helpful as part of a tooth remineralizing protocol (when taken internally as well as for oil pulling).
Oil pulling is the process of swishing the oil in your mouth for up to twenty minutes, then discarding the spent oil into the garbage. (It is suggested that you don’t swallow the used oil. While it may seem like a good idea, you are actually swallowing the toxins that the oil has pulled from your teeth and gums. Don’t want that!)
I have also used coconut oil as an ingredient in homemade toothpaste. It just really helps clean things up in there and make your mouth all fresh and clean!
7. Digestive Health
This is a pretty deep topic, so for further reading check out this article.
In a nutshell, coconut helps to detoxify the gut and balance the bacteria in the digestive tract. It is also really good at fighting candida (yeast). It helps with a variety of digestive disorders and is a great addition to your diet!
8. Brain Health
Coconut oil is high in MCTs and as such can help with mental clarity and focus. A great way to get that brain boost at the beginning of the day is with a cup of bulletproof coffee! You can find a lot more info on bulletproof, as well as instructions on how to make it (it is easy!) in this post!
9. Hormone Health
A lot of the oils that are commonly used for cooking are actually really bad for us! (Check out the section on hydrogenated oils in this post for more on that!) They can do a lot of damage to our health in general and our hormones in particular.
By replacing these damaged oils with healthy options like coconut oil, grass-fed butter, and virgin olive oil, we can support healthy hormone function along with all the other benefits of healthy fats.
Is All Coconut Oil the Same?
Unfortunately, many coconut oils have been refined, meaning that the coconuts are baked before extracting the oil. The oil is also put through a process to remove any contaminants. The trouble with this process is that it also removes many of the beneficial elements of the oil, such as antioxidants and other nutrients. It also takes away the coconut flavor and smell to a large extent.
In addition, some refined coconut oils have partially-hydrogenated oils added to them. And, refined coconut oil has a lower smoke point than the unrefined version. This means you can’t cook with it at as high of a temperature without it being damaged.
So, using unrefined (also called “virgin”) coconut oil is important!
Coconut Oil for Your Health!
So while living off of nothing but coconuts, and using coconut oil for everything you can come up with, are not wise ideas, there are certainly plenty of great ways to incorporate this lovely oil into your everyday health routines! Give it a try and see how it makes you feel!