Can you cut 1 Tonne of carbon pollution out of your life?Take the challenge
First things first. There are two types of coconut oil; unrefined and refined.
Unrefined (virgin) is often bright white in color and will be solid at room temperature. It smells and tastes very 'coconutty' - it's the less processed of the two types of oils (and my favourite).
Refined coconut oil will be slightly darker and have a more liquid consistency than its counterpart. It has a higher smoke point than unrefined oil, so it's best for cooking as you can heat to higher temperatures with less chance of it burning.
So, with that covered, what can you do with coconut oil?
Use it to deep treat hair: I have tried this and my hair was definitely soft and brighter after, however, it did take a few washes to get out. So just bear that in mind if you're trying this and then have to rush out somewhere! Apply it liberally to your hair - especially on the end, wrap it up in a towel or put it in a bun so that It doesn't drip everywhere. Leave it for at least 40 minutes or so - I left mine for a few hours. Then wash it out. Like I said you might need to do this a few times, and if you normally use a natural shampoo then you may need to resort to something stronger like Head and Shoulders.
Use it as a replacement for butter or vegetable (palm) oil when cooking: It's best to use refined coconut oil in this case so that the coconut flavour doesn't overpower your cooking. Also, I tend to use just a bit less as coconut oil is fattier than butter - this way my baking doesn't end up too greasy. I love the slightly nutty taste of coconut oil, and the smell as its frying! It also makes your cooking vegan-friendly.
Use it as a moisturiser: I use coconut oil as a moisturiser all the time, especially in winter when my skin is feeling dry. If it feels too oily on your skin you can always put it on at night and let it soak in while you sleep. You'll wake up smelling like a toasted marshmallow! You'll have to decide if coconut oil is right for your skin type. I haven't come across anyone who has troubles using it as a body moisturiser but for people who have acne-prone or oily skin then it's not a great idea to use it on your acne as it could cause breakouts. You know your body better than anyone else so do what's right for you!
Use it as a frizz-free serum: If you have very fine or thin hair then I'd skip this one. It'll just weigh down your hair and make it look greasy. But if it's thick and dry, you can rub a small amount in your palms and then rub that on the ends of your hair. Don't put it near your scalp as it'll make your hair look oily and limp.
Use it to soothe irritated skin: Coconut oil has anti-inflammatory properties so it feels lovely on sunburnt skin, chafing, rashes, burns, and bug bites. It's nice to keep a small pot in the fridge because it feels even better when you apply it cold!
Give oil pulling a go: Some people swear by oil pulling, some people think it's hocus pocus! Oil pulling is an old Ayurvedic technique that is said to pull "toxins" from your mouth and body. When you first wake, before eating or drinking anything, put a spoon of coconut oil in your mouth (you can do this with any oil but coconut oil just tastes better). Swish it around for 20 minutes (you might need to work your way up to this time period). Then spit it out, do not swallow. I've never been away to keep this up for more than a few days at a time but I do find that when I get mouth ulcers oil pulling really helps to soothe them! So maybe there's something to it.
- note on coconut oil and oral health. Some people also brush their teeth with coconut oil, and there's lots of chatter on the internet about coconut oil whitening your teeth so I thought I'd give it a mention. I've never tried it though so I'm not sure if it's bogus or not!
Use it to remove gum from your hair: Gum in your hair is the worst! but using coconut oil to remove it really works (it just takes a while). Apply coconut oil liberally to the gum and hair, slowly start working them apart. You may need to do this a few times.
Use it to shine stainless steel pots and pans: If your kitchenware is looking blotchy or dull just give it a rub with coconut oil and an old soft rag (even better if you have a reusable microfibre cloth - you can get ones especially for stainless steel).
Use it as a massage oil or personal lubricant: Coconut oil is a perfect massage oil because it smells so delicious. You can also use it as a personal lubricant but it should not be used with a latex condom as the oil can weaken the condom and cause it to break.
Coconut oil has a natural SPF of about +6: Every now and then I'll hear of people using coconut oil as a sunblock, but I wouldn't recommend it. SPF 6 isn't that strong. Especially in Australia! Stick to SPF 30 or above.
Use it to finish wooden surfaces and seal wooden chopping boards: Coconut oil is a lovely light finish for wooden products. Just rub it into the surface with a rag (make sure you use refined oil in this case). Sealing a wooden chopping board once a week helps to protect it from bacteria growing in the porous surface - this doesn't replace the need to give it a good wash though!
Use it as a natural deodorant: We've done a DIY on this and I can tell you that it really works!
Use it for lip balm: You can rub it as in onto chapped lips, or give our lip balm DIY a go!
Use it to get grease/motor oil/general crud off your hands: Rub a small amount in your palms or the dirty area or your skin and loosen the grease. If it's stubborn you can also add a spoon or sugar or salt into the mix to act as an exfoliant give them a wash and you should be good to go! If you hands are still greasy then rub some lemon on them! If they're still dirty then you're on your own!
As a makeup remover: Coconut oil is the only make up remover I use on my eyes. Just put some on a soft cloth, or better yet our reusable DIY makeup wipes and rub gently. It'll get rid of the toughest of mascaras and eyeliners I promise.
Soothe diaper rash or chapped nipples: This one is for the mothers. Coconut oil is gentle on irritated areas. Apply it as often as needed.
Polish leather: Rub and buff into dry looking leather with an old rag. Wipe of any excess.
Use it as a shaving cream: Coconut oil works beautifully as a shaving cream. Just use it as your would your normal product.
Use it to pamper your feet: If your feet are cracked, dry, or sore you can massage them with coconut oil, slip on some clean cotton socks and leave them to soak overnight.
Use it to free up a locked zipper: Apply a small amount to the zipper and zip - be careful not to get too much on the fabric. Slowly and gently work the zip free.
I'm sure there are multiple other uses for coconut oil and I'd love to know how you use it. Let me know in the comments section below!
You might also like: