Coconuts. They’re not just for piña coladas anymore. That’s because everyone’s catching onto the bountiful benefits of the oil trapped inside this tasty tropical fruit.
But don’t reach for your mallet just yet! Trying to extract coconut oil on your own will probably prove fruitless (pun intended!). Lucky for you, the stuff is now readily available.
But not all coconut oils are created equal. So how can you tell which ones are best? Keep an eye out for keywords like “raw, unrefined, non-hydrogenated, expeller-pressed, cold-pressed, non-GMO and organic.” Brands like Artisana Organics, Spectrum, Vita Coco and Vitacost are a great bet.
Coconut oil can be used in solid or liquid form. To melt the oil, simply run the container under hot water or put a small scoop (about three to five tablespoons) in the microwave for approximately 45 seconds until it liquefies.Or, try an already liquefied and ready to use oil for a quick coconut fix in a pinch!
Besides being versatile and tasty, coconut oil also is recognized for its potential health-promoting properties. It’s cholesterol free and rich in lauric acid, a medium-chain fatty acid that’s known to be digested and converted into energy quickly.* But that’s a snippet of coconut oil pros. Read on to learn why so many folks are going nuts for this tropical treasure!
Cooking with coconut oil
Coconut oil is among the healthiest vegetable oils and can be easily subbed in for other oils or butter in recipes. Unlike other oils, like flax or extra-virgin olive, coconut oil remains stable at high temps, making it the perfect choice for stir-fry or pan-seared dishes. It’s also a baking fave, creating moist, delicious muffins, cookies, cakes and more without the need for dairy.
Coconut oil and your skin
Coconut oil is a powerful natural moisturizer. Just a light layer goes a long way toward improving your skin’s lipid content—and the fresh, tropical scent is hard to resist. This multi-purpose miracle oil also serves as:
- A make-up remover. Massage a teaspoon of melted coconut oil directly into your face and neck. Wash with warm water and watch as the make-up dissolves onto your washcloth.
- An eye cream. Rub a small amount of oil on the delicate skin under your eyes to help reduce the appearance of fine lines, dark circles and general puffiness. It’s an instant pick-me-up!
- A lip balm. Use a dime-sized drop of coconut oil to restore much-needed moisture to your dry, chapped lips. It’s (literally) the balm!
- A body scrub. Combine half a cup of melted coconut oil with an equal amount of salt or sugar (your choice) and rub the mixture over rough skin patches. Get ready to repair your elbows and heal those heels!
- A cuticle corrector. Dry, ragged cuticles won’t stand a chance against this ultra-hydrating oil, which can also strengthen your nails and make your hands look younger.
Coconut oil can also be used to soothe irritated skin, and it makes a great diaper cream.
Coconut oil and your hair
Coconut oil also works wonders on hair. We’re talking a massive moisture infusion and protection against heat damage.
Hydrate your lifeless locks with a simple moisturizing mask. Start with clean (damp or dry) hair. Gently massage the melted oil into your scalp (penetrating the roots) with your fingers. Then comb it through to the ends. If your scalp tends to be naturally oily, begin the application from mid-shaft. Depending on your hair’s condition, leave the mask on for as little as 30 minutes or pull your hair into a bun and let it hydrate overnight. Rinse and repeat the process regularly for silky, shiny strands!
Coconut oil can also be used to fight frizz and flyaways. Warm up a dime-sized drop in your hands and apply it to the bottom few inches of your hair. If your mane is tough to tame (i.e., thick and coarse), start distributing the oil from mid-shaft.
What are your favorite ways to use coconut oil? Share your tips and tricks!