Coconut oil might as well be called magic oil. Its multitasking powers put it in a league of its own. Rich in fatty acids, coconut oil is not only great at moisturizing the skin but because it also increases skin elasticity, it can be anti-aging, as well. The seemingly magical oil also contains many antioxidants, especially vitamin E, which means it can protect skin from free radical damage. Additionally, coconut oil has lauric acid, which has antimicrobial properties, so it can help fight acne-causing bacteria—especially if you mix it with baking soda to create a gentle exfoliating scrub.
Considering the number of benefits, this naturally-derived oil has been used for centuries for a multitude of things, spanning the spectrum of skin, hair, nails, makeup, teeth, health, and wellness. The real question is, what can't coconut oil do?
It's worth noting that certain things about coconut oil are mildly controversial, like the idea of it being healthy to consume on a regular basis. And if you have acne-prone skin, you should use it sparingly as it's a comedogenic oil that can potentially clog pores. However, its list of benefits outweighs the cons by a long shot. From burning fat to whitening your teeth, coconut oil is one of the earth's greatest gifts. Read why you need it in your everyday life below.
It Actually Burns Fat
Coconut oil’s unique for its medium-chain fatty acids. They’re easy to digest and funneled straight to the liver, where they produce energy instead of body fat, stimulating your metabolism. Studies have shown that women who consumed about two tablespoons of coconut oil daily for 12 weeks lowered their abdominal fat, which we all know isn’t easy.
It Makes Your Hair Softer and Stronger—and Treats Your Scalp
Heat three to five tablespoons of coconut oil in the microwave and apply it to your dry hair before bed. Cover with a shower cap and shampoo as usual in the morning. Your locks will be significantly less frizzy and your scalp with be thrilled with the moisture.
It can be hard to get all the coconut oil out of your hair, so try this first on a weekend or a day when you don't have to head out the door right away. Once you figure out the best technique for getting the coconut oil out of your hair and how much to actually use, you'll love the benefits.
It Fights Off Bacteria, Viruses, and Yeast
A 2012 study showed that coconut oil can single-handedly stop most of the common causes of tooth decay. And monolaurin (what our body converts coconut’s lauric acid into) actually fights everything from the flu to measles.
It Moisturizes Like Crazy
Coconut oil’s full of vitamin E, which is about the most moisturizing thing you can give your skin.
If you’re going to go ahead and replace your lotion with oil, make sure you buy organic—you don’t want your skin soaking up any toxins along with the good stuff.
If you choose to replace your current facial moisturizer with coconut oil for hydrated, healthy-looking skin, use a small amount and apply it to your face before bed each night. Note that while coconut oil will sit on top of your skin for a little bit, it will eventually soak in. You can also use it on other parts of your body where you have a lot of dry, flaky skin such as elbows, knees, or heels. It works great as a conditioning cuticle cream and lip moisturizer, too. Just remember: A little bit goes a long way when it comes to moisturizing with coconut oil.
It Has a Very High Smoke Point
You’ve probably heard that it’s bad to cook with olive oil. Its low smoke point means it chemically breaks down when it heats up and actually becomes toxic. You know what’s good to cook with? Coconut oil. It has a crazy-high smoke point and makes everything taste better—really.
It Makes a Great Eye Cream
Not interested in dropping serious cash on an eye cream before the age of 30? Gently dab a bit of coconut oil all the way around your eyes when you finish your nighttime routine. Applying a tiny amount around the eyes will keep the skin plump with hydration and also minimize any fine lines that are the result of skin dehydration you may have in that area. We firmly believe in its preventative powers.
It's a Great Dairy Substitute
Next time you’re baking, use coconut oil in place of butter. It’ll taste just as good and is much better for you.
It Fights Diabetes
And go ahead and eat an extra coconut oil cookie because while it gives you energy, coconut oil doesn’t make your insulin spike. You get the benefits of carbohydrates without the crash!
It Makes the Perfect Moisturizing Exfoliator
Add some sugar or coarse salt to the coconut oil for an all-natural, lightly-scented exfoliator that works all over your body and face—including your lips. Mix the ingredients in a bowl with a spoon so the heat of your hands doesn't melt the oil right away. This concoction also makes for a great foot scrub—especially since coconut oil has anti-fungal properties.
It Works As a Whitening Toothpaste
Mix six tablespoons of coconut oil with the same amount of baking soda and add about 20 drops of the essential oil of your choice. Mix it all together, store it in a mason jar. Use regularly and watch your teeth get whiter.
It'll Remove Your Eye Makeup
Believe it or not, coconut oil easily breaks down even the most stubborn waterproof mascara. The natural oil contains vitamins and minerals that stimulate lash growth, too!
It's a Cheap and Easy Shaving Oil
Razors glide smoothly over skin prepped with the oil, preventing ingrown hairs and razor burn. The coconut oil will protect your skin while you shave, and it will also leave the area so moisturized that you might not need to use lotion after your shower.
It's the Miracle Brow-Growing Product You've Been Searching For
If you’re still having trouble growing out over-plucked brows, guess what the solution is? Coconut oil! Smooth a tiny bit over both brows before bed, and they’ll be back to full arches in no time. (Like the hair on your head, it nourishes the skin and stimulates hair growth.)
Next up: Here's exactly how to use coconut oil for your hair, according to a stylist.