By now, you have probably been advised by a friend to head to Costco for a giant tub of coconut oil. With each passing day, we hear a new story about its healing potential or its versatility in the kitchen. Is this trend boosting the work of Goop matron, Gwyneth Paltrow? The jury’s out.
What is coconut oil?
In the simplest terms, coconut oil is an edible fat that is taken from the meat of coconuts. It has a thick, creamy white texture and a very high saturated fat content, which is why doctors advise against consuming too much of this well-hyped oil. That said, because of its high fat content, it oxidizes slowly and won’t spoil quickly–it can usually last for up to two years without going bad.
With people sharing so many tips, we wondered what you could actually do with this wonder oil. We uncovered 9 surprising ways to use it, and they’re not all for cooking. (Hint: at least one is for sex.)
Nine magical ways to lube up with coconut oil
1. Coconut oil makes killer nachosJennifer Aniston told Self that she’d always eat nachos, even if they had fallen on the floor. Her secret? She fries up tortillas in coconut oil and serves with guacamole on the side. Bonus: you can just as easily bake them with coconut oil! Thinkstock
2. Coconut oil doubles as affordable personal lubricantYes, that’s right, it is handy for sex! Dr. Jennifer Gunter told Shape that she’s encountered a rise in patients asking about the magic jar of oil. “In my practice, many women who experience vaginal dryness, have chemical sensitivities, or vulvar sensitivities, report really liking it,” she said. Just make sure the only ingredient is coconut oil, because those are precious areas and you shouldn’t muck about. It's a handy little lube for all of your lube-related needs, and it also smells like a tropical summer! Thinkstock
3. Coconut oil may whiten teethSome people have started “oil pulling,” or swishing coconut oil around their mouths. It’s an old folk treatment that is said to improve oral health, and both Gwyneth Paltrow and Shailene Woodley are into it. That said, dentists recommend that you don’t use oil pulling as your only source of oral hygiene, because it can’t get rid of all problem-causing bacteria. Thinkstock
4. Coconut oil can be breakfastA source told Grazia that Angelina Jolie can sometimes start her day with a spoonful of coconut oil and a handful of cereal. While we don’t recommend this as the meal to kick off your day (the most important meal), there are some benefits to getting a couple of teaspoons a day. It’s true that coconut oil is a saturated fat, but it is mostly lauric acid, which has a neutral effect on heart health. (Unlike those pesky saturated fats in meat and other products that we’re advised to stay away from!) Instead of just eating a spoonful, why not make these banana bread donuts instead? Thinkstock
5. Coconut oil might help you become a Victoria’s Secret modelVictoria's Secret model Miranda Kerr has said she uses four teaspoons of coconut oil a day, either on salads, in cooking or in cups of green tea. There might be good reason for this, considering users have reported better skin (including reduced acne) and smoother hair as a result of the trendy fat. AP
6. Coconut oil can help kill liceIs there a lice outbreak in your kid’s school? Don’t fret, because there’s talk of coconut oil being the natural way to get rid of those kindergarten critters. According to coconutoil.com, after you’ve cleaned the hair and scalp with cider vinegar, let it dry and then apply coconut oil to set overnight. The oil should smother the lice and prevent new eggs from forming. Thinkstock
7. Coconut oil can give you a smoother buttLove the look of Nicki Minaj or Kim Kardashian's butt, but are afraid you don't measure up? We're sure you have a fine derriere, but moisturizing with coconut oil can give it a bit of extra pop. Coconut oil encourages collagen production, which can aid in the creation of youthful-looking skin. A randomized study recently revealed that coconut oil helps hydrate skin and is just as effective a moisturizer as mineral oil. One tip: use sparingly–slather on too much and you may find oily residue appearing on your couch, sheets and wherever else you sit, sleep and frolic. Thinkstock
8. Coconut oil can be makeupYou know that annoying moment when you're down to the last little nub of your favourite lipstick? Instead of tossing it in the trash, melt the remaining colour with coconut oil and use it as a lip tint. Yes, it is a brilliant idea and it's one that every gal should have in her arsenal of beauty tricks! Thinkstock
9. Coconut oil is a natural makeup removerSince we already know that there are moisturizing benefits to coconut oil, it's time to start thinking about other skin applications. Behold, your new favourite makeup remover, also loved by Emma Stone and Elle. Apply, wait a few minutes and then remove with a warm wet cloth. The result? A clean and soft-to-the-touch face. Thinkstock
Need more uses for the good stuff? We’ve got you covered: