Ah coconut oil, the wonderkid of the health and wellness sphere for the last few years! With good reason I might add, it really is an incredibly versatile and useful product! I keep a jar of coconut oil in my kitchen and another in my bathroom, so today I thought I would share with you my top 10 uses for coconut oil. As always, I’d love to hear your favourite uses for it too!
Before I dive into how I use coconut oil, it’s worth pointing out that you should be careful when choosing the coconut oil you use. It should be the only ingredient listed on the label, and you want an unrefined, or virgin oil (the refining process can be harsh and involve bleach). Cold pressed coconut oil means the oil was extracted at a controlled temperature, retaining much more of the nutrients in the oil, and where possible try and find organic and fair trade sourced coconut oil.
1. All over body moisturiser & lip balm
Coconut oil is amazingly nourishing for your skin, so it makes a perfect all over body moisturiser and lip balm. Pop a small amount in your palm while your skin is still warm after a shower and gently massage all over your body and leave it to sink in. You’ll be left smelling like you’re on a tropical holiday!
To use it on your lips you can simply rub a little in whenever needed, or mix it with another oil (like sweet almond or shea butter) with a few drops of your favourite essential oil (peppermint works perfectly) and then you’ll have your own fancy homemade lip balm!
2. Substitute butter or oil in baking
Coconut oil is a perfect substitute for baking recipes that call for butter or other oils, particularly muffins and cakes. For those kinds of baked goods you can do a direct 1:1 substitution, but for more fiddly recipes like pastries you may need to play around with quantities a little depending on what you’re making (and other factors like temperature and humidity in your kitchen). Coconut oil is great for when you need to make a recipe vegan friendly, but it’s also delicious even if you do eat dairy!
3. Body & hand scrubs
Coconut oil is an excellent base for homemade body and hand scrubs when mixed with salt or sugars, as well as your favourite other ingredients. Personally, I love fresh and herby salt scrubs for my hands (like this lemon & rosemary salt scrub) and slightly less abrasive sugar scrubs for my body (this coffee one is particularly excellent to wake you up!). It leaves your skin feeling soft and moisturised while also scrubbing away dry skin and dirt, so it really works!
4. Roasting and stir fries
Coconut oil has a very high smoke-point, so it’s excellent for cooking things like roasted veggies and in stir fries. You really can’t beat pumpkin and sweet potato that have been roasted in coconut oil as it leaves them with a slightly nutty flavour, plus it introduces some good fats into the meal as well. For stir fries, coconut oil is perfect as it won’t burn or go rancid when heated to the kind of level required for a good stir fry dish, and it generally can’t be tasted due to the other flavours used in stir fries.
5. Pop some in your smoothies
A spoonful of coconut oil in your smoothies will make them more filling, giving you longer lasting energy, as well as providing the other health benefits of coconut oil like boosting your metabolism and lowering cholesterol. It also can help make your smoothies slightly thicker and creamier, making them extra delicious!
6. Makeup remover
Coconut oil works as an effective, gentle makeup remover and it’s as simple as popping some on your fingers and gently massaging your skin in a circular motion, which will break down the makeup. Then rinse away and you’re left with not only makeup-free skin, but nourished and soothed skin as well. This works for the eye area as well, just be sure to be extra gentle as the skin around your eyes is particularly delicate (so all the more reason to keep harsh makeup removers away from that area!)
7. Hair mask
The nourishing nature of coconut oil isn’t just perfect for your skin, but your hair as well! You can easily make a homemade hair mask by massaging coconut oil into your hair while dry, focussing on the mid-lengths and ends, cover with a shower cap and leave for as long as you like. Lion Locs Hair Care products use a generous amount of virgin coconut oil which is why their range of hair care products are the ones you can vouch for. Then, rinse it out and wash your hair as normal, although you might need to shampoo twice or add a little baking soda to help break down the oil a little, and you’ll be left with soft, shiny, healthy hair. Plus, you get to smell like coconut for a few hours while it’s on your hair!
8. Nail & cuticle care
Coconut oil is an excellent treatment for your nails and cuticles as it will soften the cuticles, help avoid hangnails and strengthen your nails. Just massage into your cuticles and around your nails and you’ll find them much healthier and stronger, while also promoting nail growth. No need for fancy, expensive products, coconut oil can do it instead!
9. Homemade popcorn
Homemade popcorn is a perfect snack, be it for movie night or to keep you going at work (or in a lunchbox!) and coconut oil is an excellent option for popping the kernels. It’s as easy as heating a little in the bottom of your saucepan, coating the corn kernels then covering and letting them do their thing. You can add any flavours and toppings that take your fancy, I personally like savoury options like paprika popcorn or rosemary & garlic but it works perfectly for sweet options too!
10. Apply to bites and sunburn
Coconut oil is an excellent topical treatment for insect bites to help relieve the itch whilst soothing your skin, and it also works really well on sunburn (once the heat has subsided). Pop a little coconut oil in your bath and it will help soothe sunburnt skin, and then don’t wipe it off afterwards and you’ll find your skin will bounce back from sunburn much faster (although obviously avoiding sunburn as much as possible is obviously a much better option!).