Coconut oil has risen to widespread popularity as an ingredient in many beauty, skincare, and cooking products over the last decade. It’s known for its many health benefits, its ability to improve skin and hair health, and even as a cleaning ingredient.
In this blog post we explore the numerous versatile benefits of coconut oil and its virtually unlimited, eco-friendly uses. We’ll discuss the differences between refined and unrefined coconut oil, the benefits of coconut oil, and its uses in cooking, skincare, and other lifestyle needs. To wrap up, we’ll provide some tips on what to look for when purchasing coconut oil and how to store it for maximum use and longevity.
Let’s jump in!
Is Coconut Oil Good for Your Hair?
Coconut oil is an excellent natural alternative to shampoo, conditioner, and other hair products with manmade chemicals and compounds in them. It’s also been used for centuries in hot climates like India and southeast Asia as a natural moisturizer and conditioner.
Coconut oil keeps both your hair and scalp healthy and strong by providing them with essential nutrients like vitamin E and protecting them from environmental damage. It also helps reduce split ends and tame frizziness. Excess heat and exfoliation are both to blame for frizzy hair, and coconut oil natural evens this out.
The fatty acids found in coconut oil are easily absorbed into your hair follicles, providing your hair with the hydration it needs and craves. Coconut oil also helps to keep your scalp healthy, as it contains antimicrobial properties which can clear up dandruff and keep your scalp at the right pH level. The ideal scalp pH is about 5.5, which is mildly acidic and necessary to prevent chronic dryness.
When using coconut oil for your hair, just like any other product, it is important to use it sparingly and not overdo it. Too much coconut oil can make your hair greasy and weigh it down. It’s wise to start with a small amount and increase it as needed.
Need some tips on how to use coconut oil as a hair product for the first time? Here’s a brief rundown:
- Start with a small amount. Coconut oil is powerful and doesn’t need to be applied in large amounts. Collect about one tablespoon’s worth on your fingertips and go from there. You can always use more later if needed.
- Apply it to your roots first. Start by applying the coconut oil to the roots of your hair / directly on your scalp. The condition of your hair begins with how well nourished it is at the roots. Once your follicles have the moisture and strength they need, your hair will naturally become voluminous and bright.
- Massage gently and evenly. Massage the top of your head gently and evenly, ensuring that your full scalp is covered. You want all of your hair to benefit from the coconut oil and that begins with making sure all of your follicles are covered.
- Let it sit for a few minutes. To ensure results, allow the coconut oil to sit in your hair for at least five to ten minutes. For optimal results, you can let it sit for 30 minutes.
- Continue with other hair products. If you use finishing hair products like a conditioner, you can follow your use of coconut oil with your regular regimen. Introducing coconut oil to your hair care regimen is an action that reaps countless benefits.
Is Coconut Oil Good for Your Skin?
Yes, coconut oil is just as beneficial for your skin as it is your hair! It acts as a natural moisturizer and can be used to help keep your skin hydrated and healthy.
Coconut oil can also reduce inflammation and improve skin appearance. The vitamin E found naturally in coconut oil can reduce inflammatory activity when used in high doses. The lush texture of coconut oil also brings out the best in one’s skin and helps it look well-moisturized year round.
When using coconut oil for skincare, it’s important to choose the unrefined type. This type of coconut oil is richer in phytonutrients which naturally support your skin as it replaces itself little by little. Unrefined coconut oil’s antioxidants are less likely to clog your pores, too.
Just like with your hair, make sure you use coconut oil sparingly. Too much will make your skin greasy and not get absorbed properly or effectively.
Speaking of unrefined vs refined coconut oil, what are the differences? What are some other type-specific uses to be aware of? We explore this in the next section.
Refined Vs Unrefined Coconut Oil
When it comes to using coconut oil for skincare, cooking, or both, it’s essential to understand the differences between refined and unrefined coconut oil. Both types of oil are first produced by pressing coconut meat, but the differences come in the ensuing manufacturing variations.
Refined coconut oil is made from dried coconut meat and has been deodorized and bleached to remove undesired colors and odors. It has a higher smoke point than unrefined coconut oil and is better for high-temperature recipes.
Unrefined coconut oil is made from fresh coconut meat and is cold-pressed to retain its natural flavor and nutritional value. It has a lower smoke point than refined coconut oil and is better for low to medium-heat cooking. It’s also higher in several nutrients and antioxidants, making the ideal choice for hair and skincare routines.
What’s the Benefits of Coconut Oil?
Coconut oil is a phenomenal natural ingredient with many health benefits. It’s a healthy source of good fats, which reduce inflammation, improve heart health, and keep you satisfied longer. It is also rich in lauric acid, which is useful in boosting the immune system and fighting infections.
Those are just the beginning of coconut oil’s far-reaching and seemingly unlimited benefits, though. Keep reading for details on eight remarkable coconut oil benefits:
- Encourages fat burning. Coconut oil is composed of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs), which are easier to break down than the long chain triglycerides (LCTs) found in foods like nuts, olive oil, fish, and meats. The more easily your body breaks down fatty acids, the less likely it is to store fat throughout your body. This makes it easier to reach your personal fat-burning or weight loss goals.
- Has some antimicrobial properties. Scientists have found that coconut oil’s fatty acid compounds are effective at breaking down viral cell walls. When a virus’s cell wall is broken, it can’t replicate, and therefore growth is inhibited.
- Sustainable source of energy and reduces hunger. Given the fact that coconut oil is easy to digest yet still composed of fat, it strikes an elusive balance. It’s easy to incorporate into meals, yet doesn’t leave you feeling bloated or overfed. Coconut works well in hundreds of different recipes from bread and soup to cookies and pies (keep reading for more details on food uses later).
- May help reduce likelihood of seizures. It turns out that coconut oil helps reduce the likelihood of seizures in epileptic children, as well. The MCTs in coconut oil increase the concentration of ketone bodies in the blood, which reduces the amount of glutamate in the brain. Reduction in glutamate improves the synthesis of gamma-aminobutyric acid (GABA), which lessens the likelihood of a seizure occurring.
- May boost skin and hair health. Coconut oil is easily absorbed into your skin and scalp, offering a manmade-chemical-free way to keep your skin glowing. If you’ve ever dealt with (or currently face) hair loss, a dry scalp, frizziness, or dandruff, coconut oil may be the answer.
- May reduce symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers are continuing to study whether or not the ketones from coconut oil offer an alternative brain cell energy source in the face of damage caused by Alzheimer’s disease. Beyond that, there is no definitive research that indicates whether or not coconut oil is a reliable holistic treatment for this mental health issue.
- Good source of antioxidants. Coconut oil has a high amount of polyphenols (plant substances that contain antioxidative properties) and well-known antioxidants like vitamin E. These antioxidants and related compounds repair damaged cells, mitigate free radicals, and reduce the risk of chronic diseases.
- May improve oral health. Given its antimicrobial properties, coconut oil is also good at strengthening oral health. Coconut oil’s characteristics may support the reduction of bacteria that causes gum disease, tooth decay, and plain ol’ bad breath. It’s also particularly effective against the Streptococcus mutans strain, which is one of the leading causes of tooth decay.
Coconut Oil Uses
Coconut oil has dozens of uses, from cooking and baking to skincare, scalp moisturization, and holistic health practices. Let’s dive into six of the best coconut oil uses that you can leverage now:
- Increases your metabolism. One of the biggest health benefits of coconut oil is it can increase your metabolism. Your metabolism is the process by which your body breaks down food and drinks into usable energy. Since coconut oil is made of MCTs and not LCTs, it’s easier to digest faster and convert into usable energy.
- Cooks well at high temperatures. Coconut oil’s best cooking temperature is 350 degrees Fahrenheit/177 degrees Celsius. Compared to the more volatile olive oil which can start to smoke around 325 degrees Fahrenheit/163 degrees Celsius, coconut oil offers much greater versatility for recipes of all kinds.
- Protects against ultraviolet (UV) rays. Love the idea of DIY sunscreen? Coconut oil benefits this eco-minded lifestyle goal. Researchers have found that coconut oil protects against roughly 20% of the sun’s harmful rays. While it’s not an end-all be-all solution, it can be used as a topical layer after you apply regular sunscreen.
- Relieves skin irritation and eczema. Coconut oil’s fatty acids–including capric acid and lauric acid–have antimicrobial properties. These acids can disrupt and break viral cell membranes and activity, killing bacterial growth in its tracks. This keeps your skin nourished while mitigating the severity of any wounds or infections.
- Moisturizes your skin. Coconut oil is incredibly moisturizing for the skin, making them a great way to keep your skin fresh during cold months. If you find that your skin cracks or flakes a lot during winter, apply coconut oil after showering or bathing. You’ll feel much more prepared for whatever the weather brings you.
- Improves brain function. Coconut oil is also great for improved brain function. It naturally supports neuron strength, leading to greater overall cognitive performance. As a result of consumption, coconut oil mitigates oxidative stress, reduces inflammation, and supports brain cell regeneration.
Does Coconut Oil Whiten Teeth?
Coconut oil has recently become a popular ingredient in many natural toothpastes and whitening products. It’s known for its antibacterial fatty acids, which reduces plaque and keeps your teeth and gums healthy.
Unfortunately, there is no scientific evidence right now that coconut oil whitens your teeth by itself. If you’re looking for a natural way to whiten your teeth, it’s best to speak with your dentist about natural teeth whitening products or treatments.
Why Is Coconut Oil Good for You?
Coconut oil has pretty much unlimited benefits that can improve your quality of life from day one. You can use it for everything from skin and hair follicle treatment to the final layer of perfect outdoor sun protection.
What’s more, coconut oil provides much-needed micronutrients in the form of an ingredient that goes well with dozens of recipes. Coconut oil is the perfect addition in everything from smoothies and cakes to fat bombs and curries.
Cooking with Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is a great alternative to olive, vegetable, peanut, and canola oil. It’s one of the best sources of healthy fat and contains many beneficial nutrients.
When cooking with coconut oil, you must choose high-quality brands. Refined coconut oil has a higher smoke point than unrefined coconut oil, making it better for high-heat cooking.
Wondering what kind of recipes you can make with coconut? The options really are limitless. Here are just a few dishes you can make with coconut oil:
- Coconut kettle corn
- Chocolate coconut tarts
- Key lime pie
- Date bars
- Grain and oat bars
Tips for Buying Coconut Oil
When buying coconut oil, high-quality brands are the right choice. If you’re looking for coconut oil for personal care, find one that’s organic, unrefined, and cold-pressed. This type of coconut oil is higher in micronutrients and is less likely to clog your pores.
If you’re shopping for cooking needs, go with refined. It’ll withstand higher temperatures better and not bog your recipe down with too much coconut odor or flavor.
Remember to store your coconut oil correctly when it’s not being used. Coconut oil can become rancid if it’s stored in the wrong environment or temperature. Make sure to store it in a cool, dark place and use it within six to 12 months of opening.
Coconut Oil: A Wonderful Food With Tons of Benefits
Once you start using coconut oil you won’t want to stop. Its creamy texture, higher melting point, and perfect skin absorption is enough to make just about anyone a fan of it.
It’s also one of the most sustainable oils, especially compared to palm oil. Refer back to this blog post whenever you need pointers on how to use the coconut oil in your fridge or pantry.
Coconut oil is just one aspect of an eco-friendly lifestyle. Round out the rest of your eco-minded goals by buying a certified organic mattress. Want to experience non-toxic, healthy sleep starting today? Shop our mattresses now!