Style & Beauty

The Top Uses for Coconut Oil

There’s debate about whether coconut oil is or isn’t a wonder food, but the fact remains that this versatile oil is worth having around

By Katrina Caruso


Like white vinegar and tea tree oil, coconut oil is one of those things that every home should always be stocked with. Here’s a list of some of its top uses (note: it’s important to choose an organic, unrefined oil).

Skin moisturizer. Coconut oil is especially good for moisturizing the skin (except on your face—it can clog pores). Use it after the shower to lock in moisture, on your feet, nails, and cuticles, and even on wounds—it helps them heal faster and is antifungal and antibacterial.

Makeup remover. The oil cuts down hard-to-remove mascaras. Swipe some on, let it sit for a few seconds, and then wash your face with a cleanser.

Shaving oil. Especially if your skin is easily irritated, coconut oil can help you get a close shave and help to prevent ingrown hairs.

Sunburn relief. Like aloe, it can soothe the skin after a burn.

Massage. With its soft coconut smell, it can be nice on its own or you can add in some other essential oils and use it with your partner for a natural, relaxing massage oil.

Hair. Some people swear by coconut oil for their hair and like to use it as a conditioner, to control dandruff, or even in lieu of hair gel. Try it out, but if you have fine hair, you may not like it.

Sore throat. Instead of throat lozenges, you can try a teaspoonful of coconut oil two to three times a day.

Cracked Heels. To get relief from dry, cracked heels, rub a tablespoon of coconut oil into the skin.

Dental health: Coconut oil can be used as a base for natural toothpastes and mouthwashes. “Pulling” is a practise intended to fight bacteria and get rid of plaque and bad breath—swish a tablespoon around in your mouth for a few minutes (some sources say 10 to 20 minutes) and spit and rinse (don’t swallow and don’t spit the oil into your sink—it can cause clogs over time).

Frying. Coconut oil has a fairly high smoke point, so it’s a great option for frying.

Coffee: A fad these days is to add butter to coffee for an extra energy boost in the morning. For a vegan option, try coconut oil.

Smoothies. Add some calorie-dense coconut oil to your smoothies to help you feel fuller longer.

Popcorn and baking. Try it instead of butter.

Shoe shine and leather restorer. Forget expensive leather kits…coconut oil can help freshen up old boots and smooth any cracks in leather.

Furniture polish. You can buff wood, granite, and even some metals with the oil to shine them up and cover scratches.

Photo: iStock/belchonock.