A report by the American Heart Association came out saying that coconut oil is not actually a healthy food (cue GASP!). Coconut oil is high in saturated fat and you shouldn’t eat it in excess, much like literally every other food with saturated fat. This isn’t really a surprise, these facts have been known for years. But what can you do with coconut oil besides cook with it or put spoonfuls into your breakfast smoothies?
I use coconut oil for basically everything and it has worked wonderfully, especially for someone with sensitive skin and a very delicate body-ecosystem. You don’t have eat coconut oil to experience it’s awesomeness. Think of it as Windex from My Big Fat Greek Wedding. It basically does everything. Except sunscreen, DON’T use coconut oil as sunscreen, that’s ridiculous and dangerous. Use your brain!
Here are my favourite, tried-and-true uses for coconut oil that don’t involve eating it:
- Hair mask: When I had long hair I used to get split ends all. the. time. To help with the dryness and frizziness I would take a spoonful of coconut oil (if your hair is shorter don’t use too much!) and rub it into my ends, going up my hair slowly. I’d leave it on overnight (I wrapped my hair in a small towel so my pillows didn’t get oil on them) and voila! After my shower the next day my hair would be smooth and soft and beautiful.
- Conditioner: Not gonna lie, I ran out of conditioner a week ago and since they don’t sell it in Musanze (African hair doesn’t need conditioner) I just haven’t been using it. Instead, I’ve been putting coconut oil on my hair like a hair mask at night and then washing it out in the morning with shampoo. I didn’t know if this would work, but so far so good! My hair is soft and silky! I don’t do this every night, just when it starts to get extra dry. Too much oil is NOT GOOD!
- Dry Skin: Eczema runs in my family so sometimes my skins gets really dry and it’s awful. Nothing seemed to work until I tried coconut oil. It helps moisturize my skin and it smells good! Sometimes I put a spoonful in the bath to combat post-bath dryness. I even use it on my lips when they get chapped.
- Exfoliate: I decided a few years ago to stop shaving my legs, but they started to get really flaky. I made my own exfoliator by combining brown sugar with coconut oil and used it about 3 times a week (also works on back acne). Not to brag, but my legs look gorgeous!
- Yeast infections: Have you ever had a yeast infection? If not, you are a magical creature, please tell me your secrets. If you have you know that yeast infections are THE WORST. Instead of buying an over-the-counter drug to get rid of it (those don’t work for me), I take coconut oil, freeze a small amount in the freezer, and then stick that frozen goodness up my vagina. I usually do it before I get in the shower as I lie in bed with a towel under me so it’s not too messy. Works every time. Plus, it’s one of the few things you can put on your vulva that actually helps moisturize! AMAZING.
- Cold sores: These can be so painful and annoying. Making me throw away all my opened chap-sticks and lip balm! Ugh. In addition to essential oils like tea tree and peppermint oil, coconut oil helps relieve some of the dryness associated with cold sores and speeds up the healing process.
- Carrier-oil: Never put straight essential oil on your skin unless you know how it will affect you. NEVER! Case in point: One time I decided to take a bath with tea tree oil and put in way too much and basically burned my skin. Yeah. Don’t do that. I love essential oils and use them all the time, but for most uses I mix them with some coconut oil. It works great since I always have some around and it smells good! Plus, it makes the essential oil go farther.
Coconut oil is a GIFT and it will never cease to be an essential part of my day-to-day routines. This list isn’t even complete. Seriously, it does everything.
Yes, coconut oil isn’t the best for your health in terms of eating it, but it is great for your health when used as a natural remedy! So don’t throw away all that coconut oil you have in your kitchen, just re-purpose it. Make cute, homemade scrubs for friends, put it in your bathroom to use in your hair, keep some on your bedside table to rub on your hands before bed, or just keep using it when you cook, just not all the time.
Do you have an favourite natural remedies or alternative uses for coconut oil? Would you try an of the ideas from my list? If you do let me know how it goes–These aren’t for everyone, but if it works, it works. Keep enjoying your coconut oil!