What the health: 33 Uses of Coconut Oil for Skin & Hair Care

Coconut Oil Beauty & Skin Uses by Dr. Axe

1. Natural Skin Moisturizer — Using coconut oil for skin health works well as a moisturizer for your face. It absorbs quickly, and is non-greasy. At room temperature, coconut is a solid, but it quickly melts when it comes into contact with hands. Before bed, wash your face and pat dry. Warm a dollop the size of a pea in your hands and rub in a circular motion into your face. Let sit for 5 minutes, and then wipe off what is still on the surface for the best moisturizing effect.

2. Wrinkle Reducer — For areas of concern around eyes, dab just a touch around and under the eyes to help fight pre-maturing aging (including to help remove those dark circles!). Leave the oil on overnight to soak in, and wake up looking refreshed. Combine with frankincense oil for additional anti-aging benefits.

3. Natural Makeup Remover — Just a small dab of coconut oil will quickly liquefy eye makeup, making it easy to wipe off. Rub coconut oil gently onto the upper lids and lower lids in a circular motion. Wipe off with a warm cloth. The benefit over commercial eye makeup removers is that coconut oil will not sting or irritate eyes and, as a bonus, will help to hydrate around the eyes.

4. Lock in Moisture After Showers — After your shower, apply coconut oil liberally all over your body. Coconut oil will hydrate dry skin and helps to soothe skin after shaving. As a bonus, coconut oil has a natural SPF and is great for protecting your skin from sun damage. If you are applying to the bottom of your feet, do so outside of the tub so as not to slip.

5. Healing Bath with Epsom Salt — Regardless of the season, our skin takes a beating. Add ¼ cup Epsom salts and ¼ cup coconut oil to a warm bath, and relax. Add a drop or two of your favorite essential oils to add aromatherapy benefits. The Epsom salts will help to draw out toxins while the coconut oil will help to soothe dry skin.

6. Homemade Toothpaste — Mix equal parts of coconut oil with baking soda then add a few drops of peppermint essential oil for homemade toothpaste. Try my recipe for homemade probiotic toothpaste with coconut oil, bentonite clay, probiotics and peppermint essential oil.

7. Lip Balm  Dry chapped lips can happen during any season. Commercial lip balms are packed with unhealthy (and potentially toxic) ingredients, which is particularly concerning since we put them on our lips. The healing properties of coconut oil helps to nourish the lips, provides a touch of sun protection and, most importantly, is safe to consume. Combine 2 tablespoons of coconut oil with 2 tablespoons of beeswax, and 1 tablespoon of shea butter in a nonstick saucepan. Warm slowly until melted. Use a small funnel to refill used lip balm containers. Allow to set up for 6 hours.

8. Naturally Tinted Lip Gloss or Lipstick — You can naturally tint the lip balm recipe above with beetroot powder, cocoa powder, turmeric and cinnamon. You only need a small amount of spices and a little bit goes a long way.

9. Personal Lubricant — Coconut oil is an effective and safe personal lubricant. Unlike commercial preparations, its antifungal, antibacterial and antimicrobial properties help keep the vaginal flora healthy. (One note: avoid using coconut oil or any oil with any latex contraceptives, as it can corrode the latex.)

10. Natural Mouthwash — Mix equal parts of coconut oil and baking soda, and then add a few drops of peppermint essential oils.  Use daily to help whiten teeth, improve gum health and freshen your breath. According to researchers at the Athlone Institute of Technology, the antibiotic properties of coconut oil destroy the bacteria that causes tooth decay. (1)

11. Coconut Oil Pulling  To improve the health of your teeth and gums, oil pulling with coconut oil, is the way to go. In Ayurvedic medicine practice, oil pulling is used to detoxify the mouth, remove plaque and bad breath, fight bacteria, reduce tooth decay and gum disease (gingivitis), and boost the immune system. Swish 1 tablespoon of coconut oil immediately after rising in the morning. Spend 10–20 minutes swishing; do not swallow the oil. Spit the oil into the trash can (not into the sink as it will clog it after a while!) and rinse with sea salt water.

12. Natural Deodorant — Coconut oil’s natural antibacterial properties help to keep body odor at bay. It is an excellent deodorant on its own, or when combined into a paste with baking soda and essential oils.

13. Gentle Face Wash  Coconut oil can be used in natural face wash recipe to cleanse an moisturize. Mix with lavender oil, tea tree oil and raw honey for best results.

14. Wound Salve  Coconut oil has been used for thousands of years to speed healing of rashes, burns and open wounds. To make a homemade wound salve, mix coconut oil, frankincense, lavender and melaleuca oil. The antibacterial and antifungal properties of coconut oil help to keep the area free of infection, and the lauric acid in coconut oil helps to speed healing.

15. Cellulite Solution  To fight stubborn and unsightly cellulite, mix 1 tablespoon of coconut oil with 10 drops of grapefruit essential oil and massage in a firm circular motion into affected areas. Follow with dry brushing to help stimulate circulation and encourage cellular detox and my cellulite slim down juice recipe for best results.

16. Soothing Shaving Cream  If razor burn, ingrown hairs or other skin irritation is a problem after shaving, start using pure coconut oil as your shaving “cream.” Warm a dab in the palm of your hands and rub on your face, under arms, on the legs or the bikini area and then shave. Rinse well and pat dry.

17. Sunscreen/Sunburn Remedy  Coconut oil is an all natural sunscreen and sunburn remedy, all in one. In fact, it is SPF 4, just enough to protect against sun damage, and the best of the nonvolatile herbal oils. Reapply as necessary, throughout the day. If you get too much sun, gently rub coconut oil into affected areas, and it will promote healing and soothe the pain.

18. Massage Oil  Coconut oil is a soothing and conditioning massage oil. Add a couple of drops of lavender oil and peppermint oil to help heal sore muscles and stimulate mindful relaxation.

19. Insect Repellent  Mix a tablespoon of coconut oil with a couple of drops of peppermint, rosemary and tea tree oil to repel flies, mosquitos, gnats and bees. This is a safe alternative to DEET and can be applied safely on all areas of the body.

20. Anti-Fungal Cream  Due to its antibiotic capabilities, coconut oil can be used topically to treat athletes foot and skin fungus. Apply some to the affected area and either leave it on or wipe off with a paper towel after it has time to set in.

21. Cold Sore Treatment — If you experience cold sores in or around your mouth, trying dabbing them with coconut oil several times per day to reduce healing time and pain. Coconut oil contains lauric acid, which if effective at entering the virus that lives within cold sores and shutting off their ability to reproduce. This means you experience relief faster and are less likely to have scars or discoloration left in the area of the sore, too.

22. Nail Cuticle Oil — Apply coconut oil to your finger beds to reduce the risk of developing fungal infections and to make it easier to push back cuticles so your nails can naturally grow more quickly. If you go to manicure salons to get your nails done, you may be at risk for coming into contact with serious viruses and bacteria that often live on salon equipment, so coconut oil offers another layer or defense.

23. Soothing Foot Rub for Cracked Heels — Find relief foryour dry, cracked heals naturally by rubbing them with coconut oil and allowing the oil to penetrate your skin. Try using 2 tablespoons of oil for both heels, and feel free to add other essential oils — like lavender oil — which can help to further reduce dryness and bacteria, plus give your feet a nice, relaxing scent.

24. Ingrown Hair Treatment and Preventer — Rub areas where you frequently shave or are prone to bumps and infection with coconut oil. The oil helps to soften skin so hair can easily grow through the follicle properly without becoming ingrown, plus it kills bacteria at the same time.

25. Sulfate-Free Shampoo  Coconut can cleanse hair if used with apple cider vinegar, and because it doesn’t have any harsh chemicals in it. This method leaves your color intact for longer, prevents dullness and orange or yellow discoloration, and makes your hair soft and shiny.

26. Natural Hair Conditioner — Using coconut oil for hair conditioning has been used for thousands of years to strengthen and style hair. As a moisturizer, coconut oil can help de-frizz and strengthen hair while helping hair to retain moisture. Depending on the length and texture of your hair, you may need anywhere from 1 teaspoon to 2 tablespoons of coconut oil as a conditioner. Warm in the palms of your hands, and starting at the ends, work the oil into the hair.

27. Prevent and Treat Dandruff — This can help to encourage new hair growth and will help you get rid of dandruff. Rinse well (and then rinse again) and then style as usual. Your hair should be healthy, shiny and full of body. If the coconut oil weighs your hair down, use less the next time and rinse well.

28. Hair De-tangler for Children — Use a small amount of coconut oil on your children’s hair when its tangled and needs a natural, smooth solution for getting it brushed easily. Rub oil between your palms and then onto wet hair before combining through.

29. Cheek Bone Highlighter  Try using coconut in place of makeup to add shine to your cheek bones and eyelids. This gives you a natural youthful glow and requires no makeup, makeup removal or extra expensive products to purchase.

30. Makeup Brush Cleaner — Make up brushes are notorious for carrying loads of built-up harmful bacteria.Rub coconut oil on your makeup brushes and leave them for 1–2 hours in order to disinfect them. Then wash thoroughly, although there is no need to worry about any oil remaining on your brush since it won’t harm your makeup for skin.

31. Hairbrush Cleaner — Use coconut oil in the same way as on your makeup brushes to remove unwanted hair and bacteria from your hair brushes. The oil even works well on delicate bore bristle brushes and helps the hair to easily slide on. Any oil that remains on your brush will only condition the brush bristles and your hair more afterwards.

32. Hair Texturizer and Gel Replacement — Many commercial brands of hair gel and mousse contain alcohol, which dries out your hair, not to mention many other toxic chemicals and fragrances. Try using a bit of coconut oil rubbed into the ends of your hair to hold its style and condition it at the same time. The oil prevents fly aways and adds extra shine too.

33. Stretch Mark Reducer  Try rubbing coconut oil all over the stomach during and after pregnancy to reduce unsightly stretch marks that occur when skin’s elasticity is compromised. The oil helps to fade dark marks, discoloration and redness, plus it hydrates the skin and allows it heal more quickly.

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