With all the buzz surrounding coconut oil these days, you may be starting to think it’s some sort of magical ingredient. Well, turns out, it kind of is! Coconut oil is not only great for cooking, but it also works wonders for natural beauty, whether it’s used for your face, your skin, or even your hair.
Though coconut oil used to be lauded as a nutritional no-no because of its saturated fat content, recent research has found that these fats are actually more helpful than harmful, helping curb appetite, fight bacteria, and even reduce cholesterol. Not to mention this natural oil has been used to fix things from pesky flyaways to persistent breakouts.
There really are countless ways to use coconut oil, but we’ve come up with 10 of our favorites uses, whether it be on your body or in your food.
Beauty: Body Lotion
Coconut oil is a great way to deeply moisturize the skin. Not only will it give your body a natural shine, but your skin will boast a pleasant coconut-y smell. Rub a dime-sized amount into your hands and spread over your body for a cheap and effective moisturizer.
Image: Bustle Stock Photo
Beauty: Face Wash
It may sound counterintuitive to wash your face with an oil, but coconut oil is an anti-bacterial, so it helps remove dirt from the skin as well as fight viruses and unclog pores. An added bonus: coconut oil moisturizes the skin, so we won’t have to use a separate moisturizer.
Beauty: Hair Mask
Putting coconut oil on your hair is a great way to moisturize and repair damaged locks. Not only does it soothe strands, but it helps prevent dandruff, provides your hair with strengthening vitamin E and lauric acid, and gives your hair a natural shine. Just massage oil in your hands until smooth, and coat hair, letting sit for 15-30 minutes. Proceed to rinse and shampoo as normal.
Have dry, cracked lips but don’t have any chapstick on hand? Just head to the pantry and grab some coconut oil. Just rub on your lips several times a day whenever they’re feeling chapped, or use a recipe to make your own portable lip balm.
Beauty: Makeup Remover
Using coconut oil to remove makeup is a gentle way to cleanse your skin while keeping it moist and free of chemicals. Just rub coconut oil between your palms and smear on your face, using a gentle pad to wipe up your makeup.
Image: Bustle Stock Photo
Cooking: For Frying
Because of its high smoke point, coconut oil is a great substitute for vegetable oils when it comes to sauteing and frying. Try using it in a stir fry or when cooking eggs. And don’t worry, the oil doesn’t have a strong, fruity taste, despite what its name may have you think.
Cooking: To Make Raw Desserts
When in cooler temperatures, coconut oil hardens, so mix it with some cocoa powder for a delicious, dairy-free dessert. Recipes like chocolate peanut butter cups are easy to make and are better for you than regular candy bars.
Cooking: As Butter
Similar in texture and consistency, coconut oil is a great, healthy replacement for butter. It can be spread on toast, melted on popcorn, or used in baked goods, among many other ways. Unlike butter, coconut oil helps boost your immune system, keep you full, as well as keeps your cholesterol down.
Cooking: In Coffee
Skip your creamer and sugar and use coconut oil instead. Add an extra boost to your coffee in both energy and flavor when you substitute out dairy and sweeteners for the versatile oil. Because it melts at high temperatures and has a tinge of sweetness, coconut oil is a great addition to your morning drink.
Cooking: Add to smoothies
Adding coconut oil to your smoothies will not only help your body fight off bacteria and infection, but it will also give you a boost of energy to start your day. Coconut oil contains a type of saturated fat called medium-chain triglycerides, which are metabolized by the liver as a quick energy source.