Friday, March 18, 2011

A Millionish Uncommon (and Not So Uncommon) Uses for Coconut Oil

From CrunchyBetty

Heart-healthy, heart-warming coconut oil.

In the homemade toothpaste post, Karen from Abundance on a Dime posed a thoughtful question. “Is there anything coconut oil CAN’T do?” she asked.

And I thought, “Hm. It can’t drive me to the store to get more coconut oil. That’s maybe about it.”

So I combed through the Crunchy Betty archives for all the recipes I’ve posted using coconut oil, so we could see them all in one handy place.

But wait! That’s not all! THEN, I went crazy and did all the researching, tweeting, and general conversing I could about things to do with coconut oil. In return, we have this. The master list of things to do with the delicious, nutritious, and ever-so-helpful coconut oil.

If you figure out a way to get it to drive you to the store, let me know. I’ll add it in here.

The Master List of Things to Do With Coconut Oil

Effective DIY Coconut Oil Deodorant

It’s been months since I made my first batch of coconut oil deodorant – and I’ve made three more batches since then. To this day, homemade deodorant with coconut oil is the only thing I use. And I don’t even stink. Go, coconut!

Here’s the link to the entire post on how to make homemade deodorant. If you’re pressed for time, though, here’s a quick reminder of the recipe:

  • 1/4 c. baking soda
  • 1/4 c. cornstarch or arrowroot powder
  • 5 Tbsp. coconut oil
  • Essential oils (optional – I used 3 drops of ylang-ylang, 4 drops of sweet orange, and 2 drops of tea tree)

Coconut Oil Deep Conditioner

Every three weeks or so, I treat my hair to a deep conditioning coconut oil mask. It makes your hair delectably shiny and soft. Here’s how you do it:

When you have a couple of hours free before you have to shower, slather coconut oil all over your head and massage into your scalp. You can either leave it on as is, or wrap your head in a warm towel for extra deep conditioning. Leave this on for 30 minutes to 2 hours.

Wash your hair normally in the shower (it might take two shampoos to get all of the coconut oil out) and there shouldn’t be any need at all to condition. Just rinse and style normally.

Coconut Oil to Manage Frizz and Flyaways

Whenever you want to tame frizz or smooth and shine your hair, take a tiny (seriously, TINY, smaller than pea-sized) dab of coconut oil and rub it between your palms. You might not even be able to tell it’s on your hands – but it is. If you have curly hair, run your fingers through your hair and scrunch. If you have straight hair, just smooth over the top of your hair gently.

Coconut Oil For Dandruff

Because of its effective antibacterial and antifungal properties, coconut oil might just get rid of any dandruff problems you have. Simply massage coconut oil (with some added tea tree oil for extra oomph, if you’d like) well into your scalp for 5 minutes. Let it sit on your scalp for as long as you can, time permitting. Wash well.

Bonus: This may also work for babies who have cradle cap.

Coconut Oil for Athlete’s Foot and Odor Control

Stories litter the web about poor souls (soles?) who have suffered from recurrent athlete’s foot – and one common effective treatment seems to be coconut oil. Just rub the oil into your feet, concentrating on the affected areas (you can add some tea tree oil for extra benefit here, too). Put on socks for a while afterward (if you have hard floors, especially) so you don’t slide around the room. Repeat this two or three times a day until the athlete’s foot is gone.

Likewise, if odor is an issue, coconut oil has been known to freshen up the stinkiness with its antibacterial properties. Add a little lavender or lemon essential oil for extra deodorizing effect.

Preshave Treatment with Coconut Oil

You may be able to totally ditch your shaving cream by using coconut oil instead. The oil helps smooth hair follicles, leaving a closer, smoother shave. Apply all over the areas that need to be shaved before stepping into the shower, and then shave as normal.

One thing I wouldn’t recommend is using it as a “shaving cream” for the face, as it is comedogenic and could lead to pimples, if you (or your man is, anyway) are affected by breakouts.

Coconut Oil as a Full-Body Moisturizer

Coconut oil is, by far, my go-to after-bath moisturizer these days. Occasionally I’ll stir up some coconut oil with a few drops of essential oils, but most of the time I just pull it straight out of my “bathroom jar” of coconut oil. (I have many jars of coconut oil these days. This is the opposite of a complaint.)

While your skin is still wet after showering, smooth coconut oil all over your body and … poof. You’re a soft-skinned goddess.

If you want ultimate moisturizing, though, try stirring together equal parts coconut oil and olive oil and adding in a little jojoba. Drip in a few drops of rose or frankincense essential oil, and you’ve got a concoction no store-bought lotion could even come close to.

Coconut Oil in a Face Mask

Now, now. I know I’ve said that I’m not all that keen on using coconut oil on your face. With one caveat: If you have dry, flaky, or aging skin that doesn’t ever have issues with pimples or breakouts, coconut oil may be your ticket to soft moisture.

To this day, my favorite recipe for a coconut oil facial mask is the one I posted in the Easiest DIY Recipes from Around the Web: The Frozen Egg and Honey Facial Mask from Spa Index.

You freeze a mixture of egg, honey, and coconut oil in a bathroom tissue roll (sans the tissue) and then roll it over your face like a push-pop. Genius!

Coconut Oil as an Eye Makeup Remover

Better than any eye makeup remover I’ve ever bought in the store – just put a dab of coconut oil on a cotton ball and swipe over your eyes. The makeup – and mascara – just melts away. And it moisturizes the delicate skin around your eyes, to boot!

Coconut Oil as a Lip Balm

Not long ago, I posted the recipe for Coco-Rosey lip balm using coconut oil as one of the main ingredients. I’ve been using this lip balm nonstop since, and I can assure you, my lips have never been softer.

Here’s even better news, though: You don’t have to make a balm to get the moisturizing benefits of coconut oil. Just slather it, plain, on your lips. It makes for a superb gloss, too! VERY shiny (until it soaks into your skin).

Coconut Oil in Toothpaste

If you’re (really) new here, this may come as a surprise. So hop on over to the last blog post all about using coconut oil for homemade toothpaste.

It cleans your teeth (with its antibacterial and antiviral properties) and leaves your gums uber healthy, as well.

Coconut Oil as a Love Balm

It’s most important to point out that coconut oil is NOT latex friendly. So … you know the drill.

However, here’s a post with a recipe to use coconut oil as a love balm/body oil to get all cozy and smushy with your significant other.

Bonus use for it, too: You could slather the concoction all over your body and drape yourself (while lying in the tub) with very warm bath towels. Sit that way until the towels have cooled. What you have right there? A VERY luxurious full-body moisturizing mask.

Coconut Oil for Scratches and Scrapes

Coconut oil has incredible healing abilities, along with its antibacterial and antiviral properties. Slather a bit of coconut oil on a scratch, scrape or small cut and your wound may heal faster and resist infections in ways it wouldn’t have otherwise.

As a bonus, it may also help reduce the chances of scarring from these small abrasions.

Coconut Oil for Eczema

I posed the question to my Twitter friends: What ways do you use coconut oil? And almost immediately, Sandi (@knitmyrhino) said: “I use coconut oil on my eczema breakouts, they go away faster and it’s calming.”

She’s not the only one. According to EarthClinic users, it has worked very well for their eczema.

Coconut Oil for Acid Reflux and Ulcers

EarthClinic turned out to be, as it usually is, a boon of information – and I had no idea that coconut oil has been used by large numbers of people to treat things like acid reflux and ulcers.

The word is, taking two to three tablespoons of coconut oil a day (which you can put in coffee or tea if you can’t fathom eating straight coconut oil) has really helped a large number of people. As a result of reading this, I’ve started drinking 3 cups of tea daily, each with 1 Tbsp virgin coconut oil melted in it. Tastes delicious … and so far so good!

Want to know more about ALL the health issues coconut oil is used for? Here’s the master list of coconut oil treatments on EarthClinic.

Coconut Oil for Weight Loss

I’m hesitant to even put this one in here, because I feel like the claims have been just a tiny bit overhyped, as are most claims about some “magical ingredient” that causes you to shed pounds.

But, the fact is, there are studies that show regular ingestion of coconut oil can lead to small amounts of weight loss. So here you go.

Want to know how to take it? I’ve read that many people just eat a tablespoon straight from the jar, but I can’t make myself do that on a regular basis. Instead, I’ve started melting a tablespoon into my cup of coffee in the morning, along with two or three more cups of tea throughout the day.

Don’t just take it for weight loss, though – do it because it’s so very healthy and good for you. But most of all, do it because it’s yummy and makes your tummy SO happy.

Coconut Oil as a Sun Screen

Coconut oil has natural sunscreen abilities, and it would be a great addition to any homemade sunscreen you might want to whip up. To top it off, coconut oil also contains vitamins that protect your body against the damage that free radicals (as a result of sun exposure) may cause.

Coconut Oil Instead of Goo Gone

An entire hour I spent last night scouring my house for every glass product that still had a sticker on it. Why? Because getting it off was SO easy using coconut oil and baking soda.

Use this for any sticky, icky, gooey situation you might otherwise use Goo Gone on. Just mix equal parts coconut oil and baking soda into a paste. Apply to the “sticky” area and let it set for a minute. Then scrub off with an old toothbrush or the scrubby side of a sponge.

Coconut Oil to Polish Furniture

When the question of “What do you use coconut oil for?” was posed on Twitter, Jesilee (@WEFA_in_Me) told me that she uses coconut oil with a little bit of lemon juice to polish her wood furniture.

I did more digging and found that this is a great alternative to toxic polishes like Pledge. However, I recommend you test it first on a very small, unobtrusive part of your furniture to make sure it works the way you’d like.

Here’s how Jesilee does it: “I pour on a little bit of bottled lemon juice and rub the oil into that with a towel. Don’t do too much or it gets all over.

Coconut Oil for Polishing Bronze

If you’re fancy enough to have bronze statues hanging out in your home, try cleaning them with coconut oil. All you have to do is rub a little oil into a cotton towel and then wipe down the statue. It cleans and helps deepen the color of your art. Cool, huh?

Coconut Oil to Grease Muffin Tins and Pans

Next time you get ready to break out the Crisco or vegetable oil to grease your muffin tins or pans, reach for the coconut oil instead. It’s so much more heart healthy – and the taste is so light, you’ll never even know the difference.

Coconut Oil in Cooking

This one is no surprise, to be sure. Coconut oil has CRAZY amazing health benefits, and it tastes sooooo delicious in foods. For some reason, though, I’ve had a really difficult time implementing coconut oil in my cooking, so here’s a great start (for ALL of us) to utilize it for more than just beautifying the skin:

  • Coconut Oil Recipes from Epicurious – Who said coconut oil couldn’t be fancy shmancy? Look at how many results popped up when I searched for recipes containing the stuff.

  • Green Diva Mom gives her favorite coconut oil recipes – I love reading first-hand accounts of implementing coconut oil into cooking!

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