15 unexpected beauty uses for coconut oil
Not only does it taste (and smell) delicious, but coconut oil is also one of the best all-natural skin care and beauty secrets. Here’s why.
While it may seem that coconut oil has only recently come into the limelight for its health and beauty benefits, tropical climates have been reaping its total-body benefits for centuries. And the thing about coconut oil is that it really does live up to all its hype. Made up of 92 percent saturated fat—and two-thirds of that is in the form of medium-chain fatty acids, which is used by the body as energy—coconut oil also contains lauric acid, which has strong anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. And it smells great when applied to the skin as a natural moisturizer. Here are 15 skin care and beauty ways to add it to your daily routine.
1. As a body scrub. Mix up one part coconut oil and two parts coarse brown sugar and scrub all over your body for a thorough exfoliation revealing naturally glowing skin.
2. As a gentle makeup remover. One less beauty product to worry about, coconut oil as a makeup remover is safe to use all over the face. Warm a spoonful of coconut oil in your hands and apply to face and eyes. Gently wipe away with a damp cloth.
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3. To maintain oral hygiene. Lately, everyone has oil pulling on their minds: this practice consists of swilling a teaspoon of oil around your mouth and pushing through your teeth to reduce plaque buildup, soothe sensitive teeth and gums and help maintain fresh breath. Aim for 10 minutes of swishing and then gradually build up to 20. Once you reach your limit, spit out the oil into the sink and rinse your mouth thoroughly.
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4. As a body moisturizer. Straight out of the jar, massage coconut oil all over the skin. It’s best to apply directly after a shower so that pores are open and oil is fully absorbed. The coconut oil will keep skin well hydrated and beachy scented.
5. To relieve a dry scalp. Coconut oil can help hair retain moisture and become stronger. For an all-natural conditioning hair mask, rub coconut oil into the scalp and let sit for five minutes. Then wash hair as normal, and repeat regularly to help repair and prevent hair damage.
6. To help with digestion. Regular consumption of coconut oil may help to balance out chronic digestive issues (like candida). And the fatty acids can also help the body to absorb other nutrients as well. Add a spoonful into your morning smoothie.
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7. As a shaving oil. Slather coconut oil onto the skin and shave using a regular razor. No need to apply moisturizer afterward—the coconut oil leaves a clean and smooth finish on the skin.
8. Whip up a DIY body butter. Combine coconut oil with a few drops of your favourite essential oil (think lemon or lavender) and whisk until it has a frothy, air-light texture. Store in a sealed container.
9. To condition hair. Heat up a couple teaspoons coconut oil in the microwave so that it’s pliable like a paste, then apply to hair and leave in for 20 minutes. Rinse, then follow up with your favourite shampoo and conditioner. Try Marc Anthony Hydrating Coconut Oil & Shea Butter shampoo and conditioner to maintain tropical-scented locks.
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10. As a natural sweetener. Spoon a dollop of coconut oil into your favourite herbal tea to add a good source of healthy fat and boost of energy—not to mention a sweet and nutty flavour.
11. As a cooking oil. Unlike most vegetable or soy/corn oils, the saturated fats in coconut oil make it very stable, so it won’t go rancid when heated to a high temperature. Use to stir fry vegetables, in baking, or add in to your morning oatmeal.
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12. As an all-natural deodorant. Coconut oil is naturally anti-bacterial and anti-fungal and carries its own dreamy tropical scent—the perfect combination for a deodorant. Simply rub a tiny bit under your arms as you would your regular deodorant, and go. Or you can look for homemade coconut oil deodorant recipes, usually consisting of a baking soda, cornstarch and arrowroot powder concoction.
13. As a (delicious) lip moisturizer. Rub onto lips as an all-natural lip balm. And because coconut oil is rich in antioxidant properties, it helps protect the delicate skin on your lips from free radical damage caused by the sun.
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14. To help treat eczema naturally. Organic virgin coconut oil has been said to relieve the itchy and flakey skin associated with eczema. Apply to affected areas three to four times daily (and before heading to bed) to treat symptoms.
15. As your travel beauty must-have. Think about all the beauty and skin care products that a jar of coconut oil can replace when travelling—makeup removal, moisturizer, toothpaste (or oil pulling) hair conditioner, after-care and sunburns, and to treat cuts and scrapes. You can see why we love it.
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