Coconut oil has been a hot topic over the past few years and even more so since last month’s massive media attention debating whether it is healthy or not.
In case you missed it, I wrote an article about why cooking with coconut oil is healthy and the science behind it.
Of course the health factors vary vastly depending on the quality of coconut oil. Since it’s such a booming business, there are many coconut oil brands out there, some healthier than others.
To help you understand how to pick a good quality coconut oil, take a look at my guide on how to choose the best virgin coconut oil and best refined coconut oil.
I get asked a lot about how you can use coconut oil, so I thought it would be useful to share with you what I use coconut oil for on a daily (or regular) basis.
1. Oil pulling
The first thing I do every morning when I wake up is oil pulling with coconut oil.
This is an Ayurvedic detox practice where you swish oil in your mouth to get rid of bacteria and toxins.
Oil pulling helps you get healthier teeth and gums, reduces the chance of cavities, refreshes breath and whitens your teeth.
Besides its direct effects on the mouth, it also helps you get healthier skin, can reduce headaches and supports detox of organs such as the liver, kidneys and stomach.
Coconut oil is especially good for oil pulling because of its powerful antimicrobial properties.
I’ve been oil pulling for over 4 years now and I can truly say that the benefits are so worth it. In my case it has particularly helped me to ease my sensitive gums and maintain cleaner teeth.
Oil pulling is one of my favorite ways to use coconut oil.
The best time to oil pull in the morning on an empty stomach, before eating or drinking.
If that really doesn’t work out for you, in the evening before brushing your teeth also works.
Put a little bit of organic virgin coconut oil on a spoon – I suggest starting out slowly to get used to it. Start with a teaspoon or less – you can eventually build it up to a tablespoon.
The oil can be liquid or solid, it works the same. If it’s solid it will quickly melt in your mouth.
Gently swish the oil around your mouth, try to cover all areas, pull it between your teeth and around your tongue.
Find your pace, take breaks when you need to and feel free to spit it out and any time.
Just don’t swallow it, because you will swallow the toxins and bacteria that the oil collects from your mouth.
There are no rules when it comes to how long you should oil pull. People who have been oil pulling for a while usually do it for about 20 minutes, but that’s something that usually takes time to build up.
Start with 5 minutes or whatever feels comfortable and increase the time from there.
When you’re done, spit out the oil. Don’t use the drain or toilet as it can plug your pipes, but use your garbage instead.
Clean your mouth well, as there will be residues left of the oil mixed with waste that it pulled out of your mouth.
Flush your mouth, you can use plain lukewarm water or mixed with salt or baking soda.
Use a tongue scraper to clean your tongue and then brush your teeth as usual.
For tips about oil pulling and how to fit it into your busy morning schedule, take a look at my oil pulling article.
2. Coconut oil deodorant
In my search for a natural deodorant that keeps you fresh and clean throughout the day, I’ve tried many different products, but I found they never last long.
I stopped using commercial deodorant brands a long time ago, because many contain harmful ingredients such as parabens, silica and aluminium.
Finding a good natural alternative wasn’t easy – they either didn’t smell so good, didn’t last long or I wasn’t fully happy with the ingredients.
Discovering that I can easily make my own deodorant that works for hours upon hours and smells great (you can customize it with your favorite essential oil) was a game changer.
Homemade coconut oil deodorant is my all-time favorite DIY beauty product.
You only need a few ingredients: coconut oil, baking soda, cornflour and essential oils. I always use coconut oil that’s organic and unrefined here.
Here are the instructions to easily make your own coconut oil deodorant.
3. Coconut oil body scrub
Glowing, healthy skin doesn’t come by itself; it needs a good skincare routine and exfoliating is a must!
It helps remove dead skin, stimulates young skin underneath, aids circulation, makes skin softer and improves the absorption of skin products.
Sunbathing with an exfoliated skin will also help you get a more beautiful and lasting tan.
Mix 1/2 cup of coconut oil with a cup of sugar (my favorite is molasses sugar, but white sugar also works) and add a few drops of essential oil.
This amount of scrub is enough to use a few times, store it in a glass jar or a container that seals
Gently massage it into your skin before your shower, covering your whole body and then wash it off.
I apply this scrub about once a week.
4. Coconut oil shaving cream
While you’re in the shower you might want to shave. And what better than to use natural products that not only nourish your skin but whose ingredients you actually know?
I like to use coconut oil, shea butter and almond oil as they all are very pure and have amazing nourishing properties. Together they help minimize the stress on our skin that shaving causes while.
5. Coconut oil hair mask
While I’ve been using coconut oil for my skin for years, I’ve only recently started using it for my hair. This is because when I applied it the first time it wasn’t a big success. It left my hair oily and flat afterwards.
Everyone was so positive about how coconut oil improved their hair, so why was it not working for me?
I didn’t realize that this was because I use a very mild, natural shampoo. Coconut oil needs more power to fully wash out, so you might have to do it 2-3 times if you use a natural shampoo like I do.
Coconut oil can truly do wonders for your hair. It has a special type of molecular structure which makes it penetrate your hair deeper than any other oil.
– It nourishes your hair, retains moisture, restores protein loss and strengthens the hair fiber.
– The antimicrobial properties reduce itching, infections and keep your scalp healthy.
– It helps reduce hair loss and stimulates new hair growth.
Coconut oil is a popular ingredient in many commercial hair products such as shampoo and conditioner and you can easily make many products yourself.
Make sure to have clean and dry hair when you use coconut oil as a hair mask. Oil-based masks can’t penetrate wet hair well, only water-based masks can. Rub a bit of coconut oil in your palms, both liquid and creamy consistencies work. Massage is into your hair, covering your roots and edges.
Leave it on for at least 30 minutes or longer. Rinse well, you might have to wash it a few times.
I use this hair mask once a week.
6. Coconut oil in smoothies
I usually have a smoothie for breakfast and since many fruits and vegetables contain fat-soluble vitamins and minerals, they need to be consumed with healthy fats in order for our body to absorb them.
Coconut oil is a particularly good kind of fat to take for nutrient absorption as it stimulates healthy metabolism and aids with digestion.
Add a bit of virgin coconut oil to your smoothie or fruit salad – I use coconut oil that is of a high quality, organic and cold-pressed.
1 tea spoon for two servings is enough.
7. Coconut oil as cooking oil
I use coconut oil to cook most of my food with. It contains healthy fatty acids called MCT’s which are an important source of good fats. Our body needs them in order to function properly.
A part of coconut oil converts into ketones, which is food for our brain. Another part is used as instant energy – unlike most fats that get stored in our body.
Coconut oil also contains powerful antibacterial, anti-fungal, anti-parasitic and antiviral properties.
One of the main reasons for me to cook in coconut oil though, is because it’s the most heat-stable of all fats. Many fats are sensitive to high temperatures which make them oxidize easily.
Cooking with oxidized oils or even being exposed to their fumes can cause serious danger to our health.
More about (un)healthy cooking oils, plus a fat chart of the most common cooking oils can be found here.
Use coconut oil instead of butter or vegetable oils to cook, fry or bake with.
If you are following a recipe that requires oil > use melted coconut oil, if it requires butter > use solid coconut oil.
8. Coconut oil as make-up remover
Coconut oil is very gentle on the skin and can even be used for newborn babies. The Lauric acid in coconut oil is a very popular product in cosmetics due to its anti-aging and nourishing properties.
When it comes to make-up, it does a great job removing even the most waterproof mascara and everything that needs to come off your face after a whole day.
My skin looks much better since I started using coconut oil and make-up remover is one of my favorite ways to use coconut oil.
Use a good quality organic virgin oil and apply it to a cotton pad. Gently dab until all the make-up is off.
Some women prefer putting the oil directly on their face and rubbing it with their hands, but I personally find that to be too messy.
Rinse well with water and a good tonic afterwards. It’s important to remove all the traces of the coconut oil, as it can leave an oily layer and clog your pores.
9. Coconut oil as nail & cuticle cream
I like long, natural, healthy nails. I’ve had long nails since I was a teenager and then took a break for a few years when I started to practice Martial Arts.
Whether you have long or short nails, it’s always good to take care of them.
Coconut oil strengthens nails and helps protect them against splitting.
It softens and moisturizes cuticles and its antimicrobial properties protect against infections and bacteria.
Rub some coconut oil into your cuticles and on your nails and leave it on.
For an extra deep treatment – warm half a cup of coconut oil, pour it in a bowl and dip your fingertips and nails in it for half an hour.
10. Coconut oil as massage oil
Coconut oil makes a great massage oil, which is why it is used by many massage therapists.
It is easily absorbed by your skin and it nourishes it.
Whether it is to relax, cool down or to energize, massages are one of the best things in our self-care routine and I can fully recommend to have them regularly!
Take a bit of organic virgin coconut oil and massage the body (or get a massage!)
You can use coconut oil pure or mixed with essential oils to enhance the properties.
These are some of my daily and regular coconut oil uses. What’s your favorite way to use coconut oil?