Coconut oil is a real multi-tasker with lots of health benefits. In this article I explain all about how to use coconut oil on your body and what it can do for your skin, hair, nails and mouth.
I’ve also added links to make your own DIY beauty products such as scrubs, deodorant, moisturizer, hair masks and more!
The benefits of coconut oil for your body
Coconut oil is rich in healthy fatty acids called medium chain fatty acids (MCT’s) which contain strong antimicrobial properties.
They are lauric acid, capric acid, caprylic acid and caproic acid and they are antibacterial, antifungal, antiparasitic and antiviral.
Coconut oil also contains the powerful antioxidant vitamin E. It helps repair skin tissue and protects against free radicals.
This is what it does:
Skin: coconut oil has moisturizing, anti-aging, anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial properties. It can can help relieve skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis and is a moderate UV ray blocker.
More about coconut oil for skin here.
Hair: coconut oil restores protein loss, strengthens the hair fibre, helps reduce hair loss and stimulates hair growth. It gives shine to your hair, can increase volume and protects your hair from damage caused by heat.
More about coconut oil for hair here.
Nails: coconut oil strengthens your nails, avoids splitting and nurtures the cuticles. Its antibacterial, anti-fungal, antiviral and anti-parasitic properties help prevent fungal nails and infections.
Mouth: coconut oil helps clean your mouth from bacteria, viruses, fungi and toxins.
Have you tried the Ayurvedic detox practice of swishing oil in your mouth called oil pulling?
Here are 35 ways how you can use coconut oil on your body:
1. Aftershave cream
Shaving is a regular thing for most of us, but unfortunately it harms our skin’s natural protective layer. This is why good aftercare is so important.
Coconut oil protects and moisturizes the skin and has many other benefits which I discuss here.
2. Bath oil
Add 3 tbsp coconut oil to your bathwater. Its powerful anti-aging, softening and strengthening properties rejuvenate your skin. The antimicrobial agents clean your skin and help combat bacteria, viruses, fungi, and yeast.
3. Body scrub
Exfoliating or scrubbing your skin is an essential part of your skincare routine.
It helps remove dead skin and uncover fresh new skin cells underneath. It also maximizes the absorption of your moisturizer and other products.
4. Cuticle cream
Rub a bit of coconut oil (buy here) into your cuticles and let it absorb. You can use it as a daily cuticle cream or make a warm coconut oil bath to soak your hands and nails.
5. Dandruff treatment
Dandruff is old skin from a dry, very oily or infected scalp. Some of the symptoms are flaking, itchiness, redness and irritation.
Coconut oil’s antibacterial, anti-fungal, antiviral and anti-parasitic properties help cure and calm the scalp. Lauric acid, capric acid and vitamin E moisturize it.
Gently massage a tablespoon of coconut oil into your scalp. Let it work for 30 minutes and wash it out. Continue doing this once a week until you notice improvement.
One of my favorite ways of how to use coconut oil on your body is as a base for homemade deodorant. It works all day long, keeps you fresh during workouts and in hot climates.
The best thing about it is that it doesn’t contain any of the harmful ingredients used in most commercial deodorants such as parabens, aluminium and silicones.
Make your own coconut oil deodorant with essential oils.
7. Dry / cracked heel treatment
Our feet do a lot of work for us, so they require special care. Dry skin on the heels is uncomfortable plus it doesn’t look good.
This overnight coconut oil treatment does wonders for your heels. Just massage some coconut oil into your heels and the rest of your feet. Do this with clean feet, preferably after a warm shower. Put on clean socks and leave them on overnight.
If your heels are very cracked, soak them first in warm water or warm coconut oil. You can then use a pumice stone to take off the excess dry skin.
8. Eye cream
The skin of the under eye area is very thin and needs gentle care.
Coconut oil contains antioxidants that soften the skin, moisturize it and help with cell renewal.
It can also help treat under eye bags, dark circles and minimize wrinkles.
Make your own easy 2 ingredient anti-aging eye cream.
9. Eyelash & eyebrow conditioner
Are you trying to get naturally longer, thicker, healthier eye lashes? The nutrients in coconut oil moisturize your eyelashes and eyebrows, restore protein loss and stimulate hair growth.
Gently rub a bit of coconut oil on your lashes. You can also use a clean mascara brush for easy application.
I like to mix coconut oil with castor oil (buy here) and sweet almond oil (buy here) which stimulate hair growth. Here is the recipe.
My favorite time to put in on is before I go to sleep to let it work overnight.
10. Face wash
While it might sound a bit contra-intuitive to clean your face with oil, it actually works.
Cleaning your face with a good quality oil helps dissolve the oil that is produced by your face and which clogs your pores.
Washing your face with coconut oil cleans and hydrates your skin without leaving it oily.
Rinse well afterwards to make sure the oil doesn’t stay on your face.
As with anything new on your skin, test it first to see if it suits your skin type.
Make your own coconut oil face wash with sweet almond oil.
11. Face scrub
It’s essential to exfoliate your skin on a regular basis to keep it healthy and beautiful.
Exfoliating helps get rid of dead skin, clean your pores and give you a healthy glow.
Mix 1 tbsp of virgin coconut oil with 1 tbsp of coconut sugar. I use coconut sugar for my face, not regular sugar.
Regular sugar is great for body scrubs, but it can be too rough for the sensitive skin of your face.
Coconut sugar (buy here) has a fine texture and is very gentle on your skin. It also contains minerals that nourish your skin.
Gently massage the mixture into your skin, let it absorb for a bit and rinse it off with water.
Oily and acne skin can benefit from lemon juice.
Lemon has strong anti-inflammatory and anti-bacterial properties, supports collagen production, helps clear up skin and reduces excess oil. You can use fresh lemon or lemon essential oil. (buy here) Here is how you can make this lemon coconut sugar face scrub.
12. Frizz tamer
Heat and humidity can cause frizzy hair. This can be climate related or from regular use of blow dryers, hot curlers or flat irons.
Not only does it not look good, it’s also very damaging for your hair as it swells and shrinks the hairs, which causes breakage.
One of the best ways how to use coconut oil on your body is for your hair.
Apply a tiny bit (less is more here) of coconut oil on your hands and run your fingers through your damp (not wet) hair. This will lock in the moisture, protect the hair shaft and tame the frizz.
13. Hair conditioner
Due to its unique molecular structure, coconut oil penetrates the hair shaft better than other oils.
There it nourishes and protects your hair and scalp.
Using it as a hair treatment helps grow thicker, fuller hair and keeps the scalp healthy.
For the full list of benefits of coconut oil for your hair, take a look here.
Water repels oil, so to get the most benefit from this mask, apply it on washed, dry hair.
Massage 2 tbsp of virgin coconut oil into your scalp and into your hair. Use a shower cap and leave the coconut oil for at least 30 minutes. Wash your hair as usual, but know that it might need an extra wash to get all the oil out.
14. Hair mask
One of the traditional ways to use coconut oil on your body in countries such as India is as a hair mask.
You can make your own hair mask combining two of the best natural hair treatments: coconut oil and extra virgin olive oil (buy here).
The mix of healthy fatty acids and antioxidants boosts your scalp and hair from the roots to the hair ends.
Find the instructions here.
15. Hair protector
I love swimming, but less so what it does to my hair. Whether it’s the sea combined with sun or a pool, it dries my hair out. Luckily there is this simple treatment that works!
Rub some coconut oil into your hair before you jump into the water. It will seal your hair and protect it against chemicals, salt and the sun.
16. Hair styling wax
To make this natural hair pomade you combine coconut oil, candelilla wax (a vegan beeswax alternative) shea butter and jojoba oil. It’s so much better for your hair and the environment than the store-bought ones and costs a fraction of the price.
Hair tip! Before you dye your hair or treat it with Henna, rub some coconut oil along your hairline. It will prevent it from running onto your face and leaving stains.
Coconut oil leaves a nice, healthy glow on your skin. Use it to highlight your face (cheekbones, bridge of your nose, under and above your eyebrows) and body for a healthy summery glow.
18. Insect repellent
The antibacterial, anti-fungal, antiviral and anti-parasitic properties of coconut oil make it a great carrier oil for homemade insect repellant.
Scientific research has even shown that coconut oil compounds are more effective at repelling insects than DEET.
Adding essential oils that insects don’t like such as citronella (buy here), eucalyptus (buy here) and lemon grass (buy here) will help protect your skin against bites.
Find the recipe for bug spray here.
19. Lip balm
Cold weather, wind, heat and pollution all affect the sensitive skin of our lips.
Dry or cracked lips are painful and unappealing. Coconut oil’s anti-aging, moisturizing and anti-bacterial properties protect your lips and give them the care they need.
Try this easy DIY lip balm for soft and healthy lips.
This is one of the lesser-known ways of using coconut oil on your body, but one worth knowing about.
Coconut oil makes a very safe natural, chemical-free lubricant.
It has a nice consistency, is edible and has an amazing tropical scent.
The oil helps with vaginal dryness and its anti-fungal and antibacterial properties can reduce the risk of infections.
Just make sure not to use it with latex condoms, because oil weakens latex and may cause it to break or slip off.
21. Makeup remover
Coconut oil works very well as makeup remover. It’s gentle on your skin and protects it, yet gets all your makeup off quickly, including the waterproof types!
Apply a small amount of coconut oil to a cotton pad and gently dab until all the makeup is off.
Repeat as often as necessary, rinse your face and finish with a natural toner.
22. Makeup brush cleaner
Hygiene is the base for clean skin. This means taking care of your skin but also of your makeup products.
Brushes collect oil from your face, bacteria, dead skin and dirt. Not something you want on your face or in your foundation. Coconut oil’s antimicrobial properties help sanitize your brushes and leave them clean for the next time.
Mix 1 tsp of coconut oil with 0.5 tsp of fresh lemon juice in a small bowl and swirl the brush around in it. Wipe the brush off with kitchen paper and repeat until the brush is clean.
Rinse it with room temperature water and let it dry.
23. Massage oil
Coconut oil absorbs quickly and nourishes your skin. This makes it a popular massage oil, used by professional massage therapists around the world.
Vitamin E and Lauric acid contain powerful anti-aging properties that moisturize and revitalize the skin.
More about massaging with coconut oil and essential oils here.
Moisture is essential for healthy and beautiful skin.
Coconut oil’s anti-aging properties from lauric acid and vitamin E moisturize and revitalize the skin.
It helps eliminate dead skin cells and minimize wrinkles and lines.
Did you stay a bit too long in the sun? Coconut oil helps relieve sunburn, especially in combination with Aloe Vera.
Here is a DIY recipe for a gentle natural moisturizer with Aloe Vera and coconut oil.
25. Mouthwash / Oil pulling
Oil pulling is an ancient Ayurvedic detox practice of swishing oil in your mouth to clean it from bacteria and toxins. It helps remove plaque, keep your gums healthy, whiten teeth, freshen up breath and detoxify the body.
Coconut oil is especially suitable for oil pulling because of its antimicrobial properties.
26. Nail strengthener
Soak your hands in a warm coconut oil bath. Make sure to warm the coconut oil ‘’Au Bain Marie’’ or in a double boiler to preserve the nutrients.
Just put the coconut oil in a bowl placed in a pan with shimmering water. Use low heat while stirring.
You can also massage some coconut oil into your hands and nails, put beauty gloves on and leave it on overnight for maximum benefits.
27. Night cream
If you have dry skin this is especially for you, but it’s suitable for all skin types. Make sure to test first if it works for your skin!
This coconut oil night cream is very hydrating and easy to make.
You need 1 cup of coconut oil in solid or creamy consistency and 1 tsp of vitamin E oil.
If you want, you can add a few drops of your essential oil of choice. You can use lavender (buy here) for normal or dry skin or tea tree (buy here) for oily skin for example. Or make your own blend of several essential oils.
Use a mixing bowl and whip the coconut oil in it with an electric mixer until it becomes fluffy and airy. Mix in the vitamin E oil (buy here) and the essential oil.
Store it in a container of choice and apply to your clean face before you go to bed.
Coconut oil is a common ingredient in many shampoos. It’s one of the most popular ways to use coconut oil on your body in beauty products and with good reason!
Due to the molecular structure of the MCT’s in coconut oil, it manages to penetrate your hair much deeper than most other oils. It helps restore protein loss, retains moisture and strengthens the hair fibre, which reduces hair loss and stimulates new hair growth.
You can buy a good natural shampoo with coconut oil in it, add some coconut oil to your natural shampoo or make your own coconut oil shampoo.
29. Shaving cream
You need a good quality shaving cream to protect your skin and to moisturize it. Make this simple, rich, anti-aging shaving cream with coconut oil, shea butter and essential oils.
Coconut oil’s antimicrobial agents help combat bacteria, viruses, fungi, and yeast. Add coconut oil’s moisturizing and nourishing properties to it and it makes a wonderful ingredient for natural soap!
Katie, The Wellness Mama has a great collection of simple, natural living articles on her blog. One of them is this natural 3 ingredient DIY recipe for coconut oil soap.
31. Split hair ends treatment
Because the molecular structure of coconut oil is smaller than that of most other oils, it can easier penetrate the hair shaft. There it helps repair the damage from the inside out and strengthen your hair.
Split ends are drier and more brittle than other parts of your hair. They are closely related to the health of the hair cuticle. The longer your hair is, the older it is and the more care it needs.
Did you know that you should never comb your hair while it’s still wet as it can damage hair cuticles?
I used to do it a lot when I was younger, but stopped once I learnt about it.
The following treatment helps support healthy hair ends.
Mix 1 tbsp of coconut oil with 1/2 tbsp of argan oil and 1/4 tbsp of castor oil and massage it into your hair ends. A little goes a long way, especially with coconut oil, so use it sparingly.
Cover your hair with a shower cap and leave it on for at least 30 minutes. Rinse with water.
32. Stretch mark reliever
Stretch marks are red/purple lines or marks on the skin that appear in areas where the skin has stretched. They later fade to be white and often appear during pregnancy, after rapid weight gain or with certain health conditions.
Coconut oil is a popular ingredient in natural stretch mark creams as it moisturizes, repairs skin tissue and has antimicrobial properties.
Find the instructions for this DIY stretch marks cream with shea butter, extra virgin olive oil and coconut oil here.
33. Sunscreen ingredient
Coconut oil works as a light natural sunscreen, blocking UV rays by about 30%. It helps protect your skin during brief sun exposure when the sun is not so strong.
Using coconut oil by itself is not always enough for full sun protection though. You can make your own sunscreen, with non-nano zin oxide (buy here) and other ingredients or buy a good natural sunscreen that contains coconut oil.
Commercial toothpaste often contains chemicals such as fluoride, triclosan and foaming agents. The good news is that you don’t need them for healthy teeth.
The antibacterial, anti-fungal, antiviral and anti-parasitic properties of coconut oil naturally help keep your mouth clean and your gums healthy.
Mix coconut oil with essential oils, baking soda and stevia following this DIY recipe and use it instead of store-bought toothpaste.
Make sure to use essential oils that can be ingested, because not all of them can!
Do you prefer to buy a good ready-made toothpaste instead? Redmond Earthpaste in my favorite.
35. Vaseline Replacer
Vaseline is petroleum jelly: a highly refined byproduct of the oil industry. Although it might feel as if it hydrates your dry skin, it doesn’t do anything for it besides sealing it.
A much healthier alternative for both your skin and the environment is coconut oil.
More coconut oil uses for your body
Inspired to make more natural DIY products? You can find them in the DIY Beauty section.
Not sure which coconut oil you should buy? Take a look at how to choose the best virgin coconut oil.
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