The Straight Truth: 7 Things Coconut Oil Really Can Do For You

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From healing wounds to promoting weight loss to erasing stretch marks, coconut oil has gained the fame of being a miracle worker. Here are seven uses for coconut oil that actually work and are supported by several studies. When we say coconut oil works, we mean it!

(Image: Getty Images)

1. Use It As Makeup Remover

Coconut oil is more effective and more affordable than makeup remover wipes. It can quickly and easily melt away the most stubborn eye and face makeup, including waterproof formulas.

Place one teaspoon of coconut oil in the palm of your hand. If the oil is in its solid state, rub it to soften it. Then, massage it onto your face gently, in circular motions. Be extra gentle with the skin around your eyes and try to avoid getting oil in your eyes. Then, using a warm, damp washcloth, wipe the oil off.

Alternatively, you may apply the coconut oil to an oval cotton pad and then massage it onto your skin (this method works best when you have a lighter amount of makeup to remove). If you're left with a residue of coconut oil on your skin, rinse the face cloth and wipe again.

(Image: Lilly Wallace)

2. Use It to Make DIY Deodorant

Coconut oil has both emollient and antibacterial properties, which make it the perfect base ingredient for a homemade deodorant recipe. Try this easy, effective and safe recipe to make your own.

(Image: Lilly Wallace)

Things You'll Need

  • Coconut oil
  • Arrowroot powder
  • Baking soda
  • Essential oils (optional)
  • Glass jar
  • Mixing utensil

In a glass jar, mix five tablespoons of coconut oil, four tablespoons of arrowroot powder, four tablespoons of baking soda and a few drops of essential oils, if desired (lavender and tea tree work very well for this recipe). The consistency should be creamy. Do not use on freshly shaved armpits (baking soda may cause irritation).

3. Use It to Make DIY Toothpaste

As shown in a preliminary study, swishing coconut oil in your mouth for a few minutes each day can help to prevent oral diseases, due to its antimicrobial properties. There is evidence that coconut oil is very effective against common oral pathogens. Whether you ran out of your toothpaste or you are simply curious to try it, you can make this easy toothpaste recipe with coconut oil. The second ingredient, baking soda, has also shown to significantly improve gingival health.

(Image: Lilly Wallace)

Things You'll Need

  • Coconut oil
  • Baking soda
  • Mixing utensil
  • Glass jar

Mix equal parts coconut oil and baking soda to make an effective homemade toothpaste. The antibacterial properties of the coconut oil paired with the gentle scrubbing of the baking soda cleanse teeth and help to prevent and reduce plaque formation.

4. Use It As a Hair Mask

Among the oils that have been studied for their benefits on hair, coconut oil is the only one that is able to penetrate deep into the hair shaft due to its affinity for hair protein and its molecular structure. For this reason, it is able to reduce protein loss and restore damaged hair, such as from heated styling tools, sun exposure and harsh hair dyes.

Apply a generous amount of coconut oil to your hair and leave it on for at least a few hours, preferably overnight. Then, wash your hair with your shampoo of choice. If you keep the oil on for many hours, your hair may be so soft that you will not even need conditioner after washing. Repeat once a week for soft, healthy hair or twice a week, if your hair is very damaged.

(Image: Lilly Wallace)

5. Use It As an Aftershave Treatment

Coconut oil makes an excellent aftershave treatment due to its wound-healing properties. A study conducted on young rats concluded that topical application of virgin coconut oil on wounds makes them heal significantly faster than untreated wounds.

Apply a thin layer of coconut oil over freshly shaved skin to soothe the skin and help heal any potential cuts. For an extra-soothing effect, you can mix a few drops of chamomile flower extract into a spoon of coconut oil and apply the mixture to your skin after shaving.

(Image: Lilly Wallace)

6. Use It to Make a DIY Body Scrub

Due to its emollient properties, coconut oil complements any body scrub recipe perfectly, because it soothes and softens the skin.

(Image: Lilly Wallace)

Things You'll Need

  • Coconut oil
  • Brown sugar
  • Essential oils (optional)
  • Mixing utensil

Mix equal parts brown sugar and coconut oil until you reach a pasty consistency. For added aromatherapy benefits, you may add a few drops of essential oils, such as frankincense, for a calming experience.

Gently rub rough skin areas like elbows, knees and feet to lift dead skin cells and reveal softer, smoother skin, then rinse off.

7. Use It As a Moisturizer

Very dry, itchy skin may greatly benefit from the use of coconut oil as moisturizer. Do to its occlusive properties, which reduce transepidermal water loss (preventing moisture from leaving the skin), and its highly emollient properties coconut oil makes an excellent body moisturizer. Evidence shows that virgin coconut oil may even improve atopic dermatitis.

(Image: Lilly Wallace)
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