Eat Smart · Get Well

10 Easy Ways to Use Coconut Oil

If your jar of coconut oil is isolated only to the kitchen, then it is time to branch out and discover all of the uses of this versatile fat that expand beyond the rim of your sauté pan. Coconut oil is a highly saturated fat extracted from the meat of coconuts that has a tropical odor and is solid at room temperature, making it an excellent choice for high-heat cooking and for use in cosmetic applications. Here are ten uses for this many-purpose oil.

  • Use as a cooking oil. Coconut oil has a high smoke point, which is the temperature at which oil smokes when heated. After an oil has reached its smoke point, it is no longer healthy for consumption due to the breakdown of the fatty acids. Coconut oil, like other saturated fats, can be heated up to relatively high temperatures safely before breaking down into dangerous compounds (Marks Daily Apple). Try this stir fry cooked in coconut oil for a delicious dinner.
  • Slather it on your skin as a natural moisturizer. The nutty, tropical scent of coconut oil makes it a great choice to hydrate dry skin, an issue that plagues Syracuse students as the bitter cold winter rolls around. Also, consider carrying around a small tub of it in your backpack as a lip balm.
  • Use it to remove your makeup. Oils act as natural makeup removers, so ditch the expensive store-bought brands and dip a Q-Tip or cotton round into your jar of coconut oil and swipe over your eyes and face for effortless makeup removal. Stubborn waterproof mascara doesn’t stand a chance.
  • Tame frizzy hair. Wake up with frizzy flyaways? Dip a finger into your jar and rub a very small amount of coconut oil over your hands, and then gently run your hands through your hair to tame stray hairs. The oil also adds a layer of glistening shine to dull locks.
  • Add it to your coffee to create creamier cups. Skip the heavy cream and blend 1 tbsp. of coconut oil, 1 tbsp. grass-fed butter, stevia, and ¼ tsp. vanilla in with your morning brew. The healthy fat will provide satiating power and a boost of quick energy.
  • Add to your blender for a more filling smoothie. Most smoothies are full of simple carbohydrates that leave you hungry only 1-2 hours after you finish your last sip. Try this berry coconut oil smoothie – the healthy fat in the coconut oil will help you absorb key fat-soluble vitamins.
  • Make homemade toothpaste. Run out of toothpaste and need a quick fix? Combine coconut oil, baking soda, and a few drops of essential oil (such as mint or peppermint) into a paste to create a quick and easy DIY toothpaste.
  • Use it as sunscreen. Coconut oil is a natural sunscreen with a SPF between 4-6. Slather it on skin for light protection, but don’t forget to apply SPF 30+ when you’re going to be exposed to high levels of sunlight.
  • Make a body scrub by combining equal parts granulated sugar and coconut oil. For an added luxury, add a few drops of essential oils to the mixture. Suggested oils include lavender, grapefruit, or orange.
  • Clean makeup brushes by following these easy directions. Not only will your brushes smell amazing, but they’ll be clean and ready for use, reducing your risk of developing acne due to dirty brushes—gross!

These uses only scrape the surface of all of the amazing functions coconut oil has to offer. When purchasing, look for extra-virgin, unrefined coconut oil to reap the most benefits. Some recommended brands include Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil, which you can buy in bulk online, or grab the organic virgin coconut oil from Trader Joe’s the next time you make a grocery run!

By Julie Kameisha