Benefits of Using Coconut Oil Beyond Cooking and Eating

Coconut oil is well-known as a "superfood" among health circles, but did you know that it has many practical and cost-saving uses beyond your kitchen?

Coconut oil is one of the current “superfoods” of the health world. But, there are other ways to use coconut oil besides eating it, and some of them may put a few dollars back in your pocket, as well as make you look better, feel better and, yes, even smell better. Recently, in fact, The Huffington Post reported that stylist Kelly Russell relies on coconut oil for glowing skin.

Some people may balk at the idea of using the coconut oil they fried their chicken in last night in their beauty routine the next morning. But, it’s true: Coconut oil can be great for you on the outside as well as the inside. Starre Vartan of the Mother Nature Network professed her love of coconut oil for both its terrific performance in her beauty routine and its cost-saving benefits. One of the most eyebrow-raising uses Vartan mentioned was as a face wash.

According to Vartan, at the time of her coconut oil proclamation, she had been using it to wash her face for about six months and “my skin has never been happier.” Although she admitted to the weirdness of it, she also claimed that it gets her skin clean as a whistle, leaving it “plump and happy,” and she also indicated that breakouts had been a thing of the past since she started washing with coconut oil. How does she use it? Just scoops it out of the container, warms it between her fingers, then spreads it over her face as one would a foam cleanser. Rising with warm water takes most of it off—coconut oil has a very low melting point—and then she just pats dry, no need to add more moisturizer. “I know it sounds crazy to use coconut oil to wash,” she admits, “but it works for me.”

Other uses for coconut oil are more common in the mainstream coconut oil world. Some of these include:

  • Shaving: Coating skin with a light layer of coconut oil will produce close results and moisturized skin.
  • Toothpaste: Yes, toothpaste! Some may cringe a bit at the idea of using coconut oil to brush their teeth, but it is a well-known use for the superfood. Suggested recipes include things like baking soda and calcium powder, even diatomaceous earth, so you can shop around until you find a recipe you like. Here is an interesting one suggested by WellnessMama.com.
  • Makeup Remover: If you are not ready to go full-out on the face washing with coconut oil, you can start by just removing your eye makeup. Dab a cotton ball in the coconut oil, and wipe on as you would any other makeup remover, and wipe off to reveal bare, beautiful eyes.
  • Body Scrub: Mix your coconut oil with equal parts sugar and use in the shower as a natural and effective body scrub.
  • Hair Tamer: Very lightly rub coconut oil over hands, then rub over frizzy hair to calm. It will add a bit of shine, as well, but like any other de-frizz product, use a light touch!
  • Homemade Vapor Rub: Have a cold? The Ready Store suggests mixing 3 Tbsp. coconut oil with 3-5 drops of tea tree oil and 6-10 drops of rosemary oil and applying to the chest and nose.
  • Deodorant: I had real doubts about rubbing coconut oil under my arms when my mother told me she was using it. First of all, would it work? Second, would it leave an oily residue on my clothes? She made a sample for me—it is in a small jelly jar, which means I have to put it on with my fingers, and that is a definite drawback. But, I have to admit, after using it for a few weeks, it does work as long as I am not doing too much in the way of physical activity. However, after doing some gardening last weekend, I noticed, without going into too much detail, that it was not working as well as my regular “real” deodorant. But, for “light duty” days, it is fine. As with the toothpaste, there are various recipes. A general guideline: Mix ⅓ cup baking soda and ½ cup arrowroot powder. Stir in 5 Tbsp. unrefined coconut oil and 15 drops of grapefruit oil and mix well. Add baking soda as needed to bring the deodorant to the desired consistency. You can just put the finished product into a clean jar, but I have also read where people have put their homemade deodorant into an empty commercial solid deodorant container (roll it down, fill it up, let it set, and you should be able to apply as you would any roll-up deodorant stick).

There are more and more uses of coconut oil popping up every day, it seems. And, of course, it is always great to use in cooking. For some tasty ways to get coconut oil into your diet, click here.

Read more about stylist Kelly Russell's tips for using coconut oil at The Huffington Post.

Image: Wikimedia Commons