We’re going a little nuts for coconuts—or its oil, at least. But can you blame us? It turns out that this miracle oil is the solution to many of life’s little (or big!) problems. Whether it’s dry skin, lackluster hair, digestive problems, or athlete’s foot, this smooth, slick, tropical-smelling elixir will help get you and your body back on track to healthy town. And it’s all thanks to its stellar all-natural makeup. Coconut oil’s main fat is lauric acid, a medium chain fatty acid that positively impacts cholesterol levels. It also contains vitamins E and K, and iron, and has both antimicrobial and antifungal properties. In vitro antimicrobial properties of coconut oil on Candida species in Ibadan, Nigeria. Ogbolu DO, Oni AA, Daini OA, et al. Journal of Medicinal Food. 2007 Jun;10(2):384-7.
What really takes the (coconut) cake is that it’s super affordable—a 14-ounce jar can cost as little as $7, making it the most wallet-friendly all-in-one product yet. Seriously, it’s a beauty product, household cleaner, and more. Check out these 76 ways to use coconut oil in your day-to-day life.
1. Care for our cuticles.
Treat dry, flaky cuticles by rubbing coconut oil into your nail beds. Use your fingers to massage some oil into the area—it’ll moisturize your hands in the process![AD]
2. Treat your tresses to some TLC.
Store-bought hair conditioning treatments can get pretty pricy and are often made with some sketchy toxic ingredients. Enter: coconut oil. Beauty experts say the fatty acids in coconut oil will soften your strands. One way to use it: Whip up an at-home hair mask, like this coconut oil and honey concoction, coat your hair, throw it up into a bun, let it sit for up to 40 minutes, and then rinse it out in the shower.
Bonus: You can also use coconut oil on its own to prevent the ends of your hair from drying out. Just rub some onto the tips of your hair, and then shampoo as you regularly would to keep your strands shiny, healthy, and hydrated.
3. Use it as a frizz-fighter and flyaway-tamer.
Spread a tiny bit (apply sparingly—unless, of course, you dig greasy-looking hair) of coconut oil into trouble areas. The natural oils actually repel moisture, which is the culprit behind misbehaving hair.
4. Go for the glow.
To brighten up lackluster skin, combine coconut oil with baking soda, which is a superstar exfoliant. Just mix a little bit of the two together, gently rub into your skin in circular motions, and then rinse.
5. Whip up an at-home face mask.
Another combo for a better complexion? Coconut oil and honey. Mix the two for a hydrating, antibacterial face mask. Leave it on for about 15 minutes, and then rinse.
6. Nourish your lips.
Thanks to extreme weather, our lips sometimes need a little extra TLC to keep them soft and smooth. Slough off any dry, flaky skin with a DIY coconut-oil-and-brown-sugar lip scrub. Plus, who needs Chapstick when you’ve got coconut oil on hand? Just smooth some on your lips for instant hydration. It’ll look a little glossy, so let it sink in for a few minutes if you want a more matte look.
7. Buff your skin.
Speaking of scrubs, coconut oil is a fantastic ingredient for DIY body scrub. Just mix it up with brown sugar or salt, and add a drop or two of the essential oil of your choice for a gentle but effective exfoliating scrub.
8. Make bath time better.
Add a generous scoop of coconut oil to a bath to (literally) soak in its moisturizing benefits. Make bath time even better by throwing in some Epsom salts (they help soothe muscles and beat bloating) and your favorite essential oils.
9. Tint your lips.
Anyone who’s ever used lipstick is familiar with how frustrating it is when you’re down to that last, hard-to-access bit of lip color left in the applicator. Instead of tossing the tube, scoop out the remaining product and melt it together with coconut oil for a homemade tinted lip balm.
10. Remove your makeup.
One beauty editor’s secret: Use coconut oil to remove heavy makeup. Just rub a scoop of the stuff into your skin, leave it on for a few minutes, and wipe it all off with a warm cloth. Plus, this trick works on even the most stubborn eye makeup (we’re looking at you, waterproof mascara). Just apply some coconut oil to a cotton makeup pad and gently wipe off any product.
11. Moisturize your skin.
To keep your skin soft and supple, swap out your regular moisturizer for coconut oil. Don’t worry—it sinks in pretty quickly and will leave your skin feeling baby-soft.
12. Swap out your shaving cream.
Coconut oil is actually a great way to get a close shave and hydrate your skin in the process. Plus, it’s especially good for people with sensitive skin. If you’re in a DIY mood, you can even make your own shaving cream with it.
13. Clean your makeup brushes.
Just about every beauty and skincare expert stresses how important it is to keep your makeup brushes as bacteria-free as possible—for the ones you use daily, that means cleaning them once a week. Mix antibacterial dish soap with coconut oil (which also has antibacterial properties and will help condition the bristles) and give your brushes a good cleaning. Check out this guide for the step-by-step.
14. Improve your acne.
Real talk: Breakouts are always a bummer. To help minimize acne-related inflammation, experts recommend using coconut oil, which will also combat redness and irritation. Cleanse your face as you regularly would, and then apply a thin layer of oil (which will also moisturize your skin—see No. 11) to your skin. (Protip: If you’re doing this before bed, let it sink in so that excess oil doesn’t mess with your bedding.)
15. Smooth your skin.
Creams that boast anti-aging properties usually come with a pretty shocking price tag. Luckily, coconut oil can minimize the appearance of wrinkles. This totally works for the delicate skin around your eyes, too. Feel free to gently pat some coconut oil onto the area with your ring finger.
16. Improve scalp health.
Massage coconut oil into your scalp to fight dandruff. Get ready to bid adieu to those pesky flakes!
17. Soothe sunburns.
If you’ve spent too much time in the sun (and have the lobster-like appearance to prove it), use coconut oil for burn relief. It’ll calm your skin and moisturize it to help minimize peeling.
18. Quiet down eczema flare-ups.
Because it’s both a moisturizer and an anti-inflammatory, coconut oil can help calm itchy and irritated skin related to eczema.
19. Make your own massage oil.
It’s no secret that massages in the spa feel awesome. The ambience, the pampering, and the oils, oh my! Though it might be hard to set up the same Zen-like atmosphere at home, you can definitely get in on the massage oils, no appointment necessary. Just warm up some coconut oil (and maybe add a drop or two of your favorite essential oil) and get massaging.
20. Banish B.O.
Smooth some coconut oil on your armpits. The lauric acid can help kill the bacteria that causes stinky sweat. But be warned: Some experts believe it may not be powerful enough to be your sole method for deodorizing your pits.
21. Polish your pearly whites.
If you’re looking for a natural alternative to regular toothpaste, try going the DIY route. Your plan: Mix coconut oil with baking soda until it’s pasty enough to spread on a toothbrush.
22. Soften and deodorize your feet.
Between working out and running around, our feet get a beating on a day-to-day basis. Before bed, soften cracked, rough skin and calluses by exfoliating your feet and then applying a generous layer of coconut oil. Since it has natural antibacterial properties, it’ll deodorize as it softens. Then slip on some socks to wake up with much smoother, better smelling soles.
Bonus: To enhance its benefits, add a drop or two of tea tree oil to the mix and apply both before bed and throughout the day. Treating your feet to this combo not only keeps stinky smells at bay, but may also help treat athlete’s foot.
23. Enhance your eyelashes.
Similar to the way it can help strengthen your head of hair, coconut oil can also help strengthen lashes—and that’s especially good news considering it’s all too easy to damage those short hairs. Just apply some oil to a cotton swab and spread it onto your lashes before going to bed.
24. Wax on, wax off!
If your hair removal routine involves at-home waxing, use coconut oil to remove excess wax from your skin—or from any surfaces in your waxing workspace. Just smooth some of the oil onto any area that’s still sticky, and then wipe it off with a warm washcloth.
25. Make patent leather shine.
By definition, patent leather should be shiny and sleek. The next time yours is lacking in the gloss department, wipe some coconut oil onto its surface to return it to its high-shine finish.
26. Get rid of gum residue.
Chewed gum any place besides inside a mouth is generally a good cause for despair—until now. Use coconut oil to remove any tacky gum residue from the surface in question. It even works on hair and carpet!
27. Keep your shower squeaky clean.
To avoid using harsh chemicals to clean your tub, douse a rag with coconut oil and watch the shower scum wipe away.
28. Condition wooden flatware and furniture.
Keep your wooden spoons, cutting boards, and any other wooden utensils in top shape by conditioning them with coconut oil. To keep wooden furniture looking good, it’s important to clean and treat the wood. Enter coconut oil. Just like you would with your wooden utensils, apply generously and letting it seep into the furniture. Consider buying in bulk if you’ve got a lot of ground to cover.
29. Clean metal items.
30. Fix squeaky hinges.
Is anything more annoying (or potentially creepy, depending on the time of night) than a squeaky hinge? To silence the squeak, use coconut oil to lubricate the hinge in question.
31. Care for your guitar.
For the more musically-talented among us, consider using coconut oil to condition and lubricate guitar strings.
32. Unstick a stuck zipper.
Whether a broken zipper is holding you hostage inside your own jacket or preventing you from opening a bag, coconut oil can save the day. Restore stubborn zippers to working order by coating them in coconut oil.
33. Treat leather.
If you’re rocking a leather coat or some sweet leather pants, give leather apparel new life by rubbing them down with coconut oil to clean and condition and restore lost sheen.
34. Start a campfire—safely.
If there’s one item on this list that deserves a merit badge, this is it. Instead of depending on lighter fluid, soak cotton balls in coconut oil and use them to start your campfire. To get a good fire going, add them to the kindling you’ve assembled and give the mixture a light.
35. Keep motors in working order.
If any of your electronics or kitchen appliances have motors, they could benefit from coconut oil. Use it as a lubricant to keep the motors running and humming at peak performance.
36. Season cast iron cookware.
Because cast iron pots, pans, and skillets don’t have a nonstick surface, they require a prep step before you can actually use them. Though you can season them with vegetable oil and shortening, you can also coat them in coconut oil. Take a look at this step-by-step on how to season your cast iron pans.
37. Cut down on hairballs.
Coconut oil is good for our furry friends, too! To help keep your cat from hacking up hairballs, coat your kitty’s paws with a bit of the oil.
38. Condition your pet’s fur.
Just like you would condition your own human hair with coconut oil, rubbing some through your cat's or dog’s coat will keep it healthy and shiny.
39. Supplement your pet’s diet and health.
Introducing a little bit of coconut oil to your dog or cat’s diet may boost their overall health—just be sure to check with your vet before you make any changes. Doing so may help with everything from weight management, to protection against arthritis and ligament problems, and can even help eliminate bag doggie breath.
40. Relieve your pet’s itchiness.
If you notice your pooch scratching a specific spot more than usual, rub some coconut oil into the area to help relieve any itchiness or irritation. This one’s another remedy to run by your vet before you test it on your pet.
41. Add it to coffee or tea.
The next time you’re readying your morning drink, ditch the sugar and honey, and flavor your beverage with a drizzle of coconut oil instead.
42. Make your own nut butter.
Who needs store-bought nut butters when you’ve got fresh nuts, coconut oil, a food processor, and some key flavoring ingredients? That’s seriously all you need to whip up the nut butter of your choice.
43. Cook up a storm.
Coconut oil is also an awesome option when you’re roasting vegetables—especially winter veggies like sweet potatoes (it can pump up the flavor). Throw in some herbs and a splash of lemon juice, and you’ve got a scrumptious side dish.
And whether you enjoy them sunny side up, scrambled, or over easy, eggs are yet another food that are perfect candidates to be cooked in coconut oil. The options in the kitchen are really endless!
44. Dress your salads.
Olive oil is a gold standard in many salad dressings. To give your salads a different kind of flavor, try using coconut oil as the base of the dressing. Try this simple recipe with a subtle flavor.
45. Make your own granola.
Okay, homemade anything is generally better than store-bought, but there’s something about making your granola at home that makes it particularly special and tasty. Use coconut oil to whip up an oaty, nutty mixture.
46. Top your toast.
Swap out butter for coconut oil the next time you make toast. You might also want to add a sprinkle of cinnamon on top—delicious!
47. Eat it up.
48. Upgrade your smoothie.
Oil may not seem like a natural choice for a smoothie ingredient, but a tablespoon of the stuff can give you an energy boost—the body uses its medium-chain fatty acids as an energy source instead of storing it away.
49. Change up your baking game.
The next time you’re channeling Betty Crocker, add some coconut oil to the mix. If you’re whipping up a pie (mmm, pie!) or biscuits, consider using coconut oil instead of shortening or butter for a light consistency. The same goes for baked goods that call for a good amount of vegetable oil. In most cases, you can substitute it one-for-one.
50. Pop it like it’s hot.
We’re big fans of popcorn, particularly the homemade kind. The next time you reach for the kernels, opt for cooking them in coconut oil instead of vegetable oil. You’ll get a hint of sweetness with every bite.
51. Switch up your topping.
You’ve popped your corn, now top it off! Coconut oil is a great substitute for a buttery topping, especially when topped off with a sprinkle of salt. A little sweet, a little salty…what more could you want in a snack?
52. Grease cookware and bakeware.
Use coconut oil to grease pans and trays while you’re baking. Just scoop some out and smooth it onto the sides and bottoms of your pan to keep food from sticking to it.
53. Level up your oral hygiene.
Oil pulling is an Ayurveda practice that’s all the rage at the moment, is believed to help your wellbeing in tons of different ways: it whitens your teeth, improves your skin, gets rid of toxins, and more. To give it a go with coconut oil, swish about two tablespoons of it around your mouth for three to 10 minutes a day (though some recommend pulling for up to 20 minutes). Think of it as a sweeter, (slimier?) mouthwash.
54. Fight colds and the flu.
Eating coconut oil can help boost your immune system (by improving your white blood cell count). (White blood cells are the little guys that fight viruses and bacteria in your bloodstream. The more white blood cells, the more infection-fighting power is streaming through your system!)
55. Prevent chafing.
Not only can coconut oil stop chafing from actually happening, it can also treat an area that’s already been rubbed raw (just mix with calendula for a soothing ointment). Bonus for anyone who has a little bundle of joy: Coconut oil can help your baby, too. If your little one is suffering from diaper rash, try mixing up a diaper cream to soothe irritated skin.
56. Say goodbye to scratchy throats.
Forget cough drops the next time your throat’s killing you! Soothe a sore throat by swallowing a bit of coconut oil on its own or adding it to your tea.
57. Lube up.
Proof positive that coconut oil has endless possible uses? It can make its way into your sex life. Though there hasn’t been research that focuses on the safety of coconut oil as a lubricant, it seems to work just fine, according to some experts. One caveat: Coconut oil can weaken latex condoms, so if you do want to use coconut oil between the sheets, opt for a polyurethane condom instead.
It’s hard not to envision a tropical beach on a sunny day when you get a whiff of coconut—and what’s more relaxing than that? With that in mind, use coconut oil as aromatherapy. Try massaging some into your scalp and temples to relieve stress.
59. Get rid of lice.
Some believe that coconut oil is an all-natural remedy for lice. Test it out by using coconut oil as part of a two-step process. To start, rinse your hair in apple cider vinegar, let it dry, and then smooth coconut oil through your strands. You’ll have to let it sink in for up to 24 hours (sleep with a shower cap on to avoid ruining your bedding). Comb it out in the morning and then rinse your hair.
60. Treat cold sores.
The second you start to feel the telltale tingle of a cold sore on or around your lips, rub some coconut oil on the spot—the oil’s antiviral properties may help treat unsightly fever blisters.
61. Protect scrapes and scratches.
To help keep superficial cuts and scrapes clean (this isn’t for deep wounds!), apply a thin layer of coconut oil—it’ll work as a barrier, keeping out dust and harmful bacteria.
62. Heal bug bites.
Bzzz, bzzz… you’ve been bitten by a bug! Apply a drop or two of coconut oil to the area to relieve itching.
63. Calm bruises.
While it’s unclear as to whether or not coconut oil actually heals bruises, some suggest applying it to your black-and-blues can help calm the area.
64. Treat yeast infections.
Now, this is definitely one to take to your doctor before you testing it out, but some have found that coconut oil may help treat yeast infections when ingested and applied topically.
65. Improve your cholesterol.
Coconut oil’s star component, lauric acid, can boost your levels of HDL cholesterol (the “good kind) to help keep your heart healthy.
66. Keep your stomach happy.
Stomach issues—whether the occasional ailment or a more chronic condition—can really hinder your lifestyle. Ingesting coconut oil may help soothe your stomach and is even thought to ease symptoms from serious disorders like Crohn’s Disease and Irritable Bowel Syndrome. Another healthy-stomach benefit: Adding coconut oil to your diet—even just one tablespoon per day—can help treat ulcers. That said, stomach problems can be pretty serious, so it’s best to consult a doc before you self-diagnose with coconut oil.
67. Clear up congestion.
One of the worst parts about having a cold (and one of the hardest side effects to kick) is congestion. To help clear things out, try mixing up a homemade vapor rub. All it takes is coconut oil, tea tree oil, and rosemary oil. Rub this trio of ingredients on your chest and underneath your nose to breathe easier.
68. Repel insects.
Not only can it help soothe itchiness from insect bites, coconut oil can also be used in a DIY insect repellent. The ingredients you’ll need: coconut oil and essential oils like peppermint, catnip, rosemary, or tea tree.
69. Treat the aches and pains of an ear infection.
After checking with your doctor to make sure this remedy’s for you, mix up a solution that can be applied behind your ear.
70. Prevent nosebleeds.
One of the biggest culprits behind nosebleeds is dry, irritated nostrils. To keep them from drying out, dip your finger in coconut oil and gently apply it to the inside of your nose to coat as much of each interior as you can.
71. Breastfeed more comfortably.
Another tip for new moms: Keep coconut oil handy to prevent your nipples from becoming cracked or painful due to breastfeeding.
72. Boost your metabolism.
While adding oil to your diet may sound counterintuitive, the fats in coconut oil—medium-chain saturated fats—are easy to digest, can be used directly by the liver for energy, and encourage fat burning.
73. Clean your dental accessories.
If you use a mouth guard or retainer (hey, you have to keep those pearly whites in place!), use coconut oil to sanitize them during the day.
74. Clean your ears.
Dip a cotton swab into coconut oil (but just for a second—you don’t want it to be soaked), and gently clean earwax out of your ears.
75. Boost your bone health.
Not only is coconut oil a stellar ingredient in its own right, but it also helps calcium and magnesium absorption in your body, which can make for healthy bones and teeth.
76. Tip the scale in your favor.
Eating coconut oil may also keep your weight in check. Research suggests that consuming the slick stuff may help reduce waist circumference and abdominal obesity Effects of dietary coconut oil on the biochemical and anthropometric profiles of women presenting abdominal obesity. Assunção ML, Ferreira HS, dos Santos AF, et al. Lipids. 2009 Jul;44(7):593-601.. Plus, coconut oil has fewer calories than other dietary fats—a serious bonus when it comes to weight management.