101+ Best Coconut Oil Uses and Benefits for Home and Beauty

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Uses and Benefits of Coconut Oil
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I’ve said before that I am with coconut oil like the dad in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding” is with Windex!

Coconut oil has a wide array of health benefits, hair and skin uses, and purposes around the home. I started using it a decade ago before it became popular and widely available in grocery stores.

Why? I’ll tell you!

The Coconut Oil Controversy

If you’ve been around the real food community much, you’ve probably noticed the rapid widespread popularity of coconut oil. Once ostracized by the medical community for its saturated fat content, it seems that coconut oil might finally be making a comeback in the mainstream health community.

Coconut oil is the most nutrient-dense part of the coconut. It is solid at room temperature like butter and doesn’t break down in heat or light.

For years, “health” advice has warned against consuming saturated fats, and coconut oil was thrown out with the rest without good reason!

These are some of the reasons why I love it:

The Many Benefits of Coconut Oil

This tropical oil is beneficial in many ways:

  • Uses for Coconut OilFor hair: This nourishing oil has been used for centuries in hair and its unique fat composition makes it especially beneficial for certain hair types. Use it as a hair mask, hot oil treatment, or in homemade hair products.
  • To moisturize and nourish skin: The same properties make coconut oil great for skin as well. Many people like to use it as a natural moisturizer. Its natural antioxidant properties make it great for stopping wrinkles and skin irritation.
  • Digestive help: Coconut oil’s concentration of beneficial fats in coconut oil makes it helpful for digestion. Its antimicrobial properties can help fight irritation and infection in the gut from candida.
  • Great source of healthy fats: Over 50% of the fat in coconut oil is lauric acid. In fact, coconut oil is the richest source of lauric acid after breastmilk.
  • Mental boost: Studies show MCTs may contribute to focus and mental performance.
  • Hormone support: Getting the wrong kinds of fats can create havoc on hormones. Coconut oil contains specific fats that support the body’s natural hormone production.
  • Immune support: The MCTs (including lauric acid, capric acid, and caprylic acid) have antifungal, antibacterial, and antiviral properties that make it beneficial for immune support.
  • Great fat for cooking: Coconut oil is a stable oil that doesn’t break down easily at high temperatures like other oils do. It doesn’t go rancid easily and has amazing nutritional properties. It is great for cooking eggs, stir fry, grain-free baked goods, and practically any other cooking use.

Coconut oil is a superfood with a powerhouse of uses in cooking, beauty recipes, natural remedies and around the home.

Such as:

Ways to Use Coconut Oil

This versatile oil has hundreds of uses in the home, in beauty recipes, and in cooking. My favorite uses are:

Uses for Coconut Oil in Cooking and Recipes

  1. Coconut Macaroons RecipeA great cooking oil with a high smoke point. Great for baking, stir-fry, or as a dairy free replacement to butter.
  2. Try adding to foods or smoothies daily for energy
  3. Or emulsify into coffee for a homemade coffee creamer (The only way I’ll drink coffee!)
  4. In homemade mayo (without the high PUFA vegetable oils)
  5. To season cast iron skillets
  6. To boost metabolism (thanks to its high lauric acid and MCFA content)
  7. In a healthy brain-boosting snack for kids like these coconut clusters
  8. Add to a filling and energy-boosting brain power smoothie
  9. Mix a tablespoon with a tablespoon of chia seeds for an all-day energy boost (do NOT take this at night!)
  10. Use as a replacement for vegetable oils in any recipe or in cooking
  11. Or try your hand at making coconut-based grain-free granola recipes
  12. My kids love these homemade meltaways (like candy)
  13. Use it as an anti-aging facial moisturizer
  14. Make coconut cream concentrate for a brain-boosting snack
101 Uses for Coconut Oil - Wellness Mama

Coconut Oil Health Benefits and Uses

  1. It has been shown to increase the absorption of calcium and magnesium
  2. Internally as part of the protocol to help remineralize teeth
  3. Is an immediate source of energy when eaten that isn’t stored as fat
  4. To help speed weight loss when consumed daily
  5. It can help improve sleep when taken daily
  6. To support healthy thyroid function
  7. As a way to improve insulin levels when consumed regularly
  8. For faster skin healing after injury or infection because of its beneficial fats
  9. When used consistently on skin it can help get rid of cellulite
  10.  Some evidence shows that the beneficial fats in coconut oil can help with depression and anxiety
  11. When taken regularly, it can boost hormone production
  12. Can relieve the pain of hemorrhoids when used topically
  13. Some studies show it can boost circulation and help those who often feel cold
  14. Internally during pregnancy to help provide baby necessary fats for development (especially when taken with omega-3s)
  15. There are entire books dedicated to the potential of saturated fats like coconut oil to help avoid Alzheimer’s

Coconut Oil Beauty Uses

The same properties that make it beneficial in cooking and recipes make coconut oil beneficial for hair and skin:

  1. On the skin as a basic lotion
  2. With other oils as part of an oil cleansing regimen for beautiful skin
  3. Whipped with shea butter for a soothing body balm
  4. In homemade lotion bars with other beneficial ingredients like shea butter
  5. In homemade deodorant– its natural antibacterial properties make it helpful in fighting odor
  6. Coconut oil makes an excellent eye-makeup remover on its own
  7. It may help lighten age spots when rubbed directly on the skin
  8. To help increase sun tolerance and avoid burning when used internally
  9. As a naturally low SPF sunscreen on its own when used topically
  10. In basic homemade lotion recipes
  11. Add a couple of drops of a favorite essential oil to make a delicious massage oil
  12. Mixed with equal parts sugar for a smoothing body scrub (use in the shower)
  13. Rubbed on lips as a natural lip balm or used in lip balm recipes
  14. In homemade slow cooker soap
  15. To make natural homemade sunscreen recipes with other protective ingredients
  16. As a natural personal lubricant that won’t disturb vaginal flora
  17. As a natural shave cream and after shave lotion
  18. Use it alone as a great tanning oil
  19. Mix with sea salt to remove dry skin on feet
  20. In natural homemade diaper cream
  21. Use it alone or with baking soda as a natural deodorant
  22. By itself or with baking soda as a naturally whitening toothpaste
  23. Make homemade peppermint lip balm
  24. Or make magnesium body butter
  25. Rub on cuticles to help nails grow
  26. Rub into elbows daily to help alleviate dry, flaky elbows
  27. To help avoid chlorine exposure when swimming
  28. As a completely natural baby lotion

Coconut Oil for Hair

  1. Coconut oil for hairRub into scalp daily to stimulate hair growth
  2. Or use in homemade shampoo bars
  3. A tiny dab rubbed on your hands and then through hair makes a great anti-frizz treatment
  4. As an incredibly intensive natural conditioner: Rub into dry hair, put a shower cap on and leave for several hours before washing out with several rounds of shampoo.

Coconut Oil Uses Around the Home

  1. How to make sea salt soapIn homemade soap for laundry
  2. In homemade natural bug repellant lotion bars
  3. To make a simple homemade soap
  4. Or make a clay and charcoal soothing soap
  5. To soften and condition real leather (shiny leather only… test a small area first)
  6. And use a small amount to dilute essential oils for use on skin
  7. For pets struggling with skin issues when used externally
  8. In coconut oil dog treats
  9. On hands after doing dishes to avoid dry skin
  10. Mixed with catnip, rosemary, or mint essential oils as a natural bug repellent

Natural Remedies With Coconut Oil

  1. Coconut oil - oil pulling chews with essential oilsIn coconut oil pulling chews and oil pulling for oral health
  2. Rubbed on the inside of your nose or ingesting to help alleviate allergy symptoms
  3. Applied topically to kill yeast or yeast infections
  4. As an ingredient in remineralizing toothpaste (the antimicrobial properties and beneficial fats do wonders!)
  5. Can help soothe psoriasis or eczema
  6. Oil pulling with coconut oil and a drop of oregano oil to improve gum health
  7. Can help improve cholesterol ratios
  8. Can help reduce appearance of varicose veins when used topically
  9. To speed the healing of sunburn
  10. Blended into hot tea to help speed recovery from cold, flu, or sore throat
  11. As an anti-inflammatory remedy to lessen arthritis symptoms
  12. To reduce the itch of mosquito bites
  13. Can help resolve acne when used regularly
  14. In homemade vapor rub
  15. Internally and externally to speed recovery from UTIs
  16. In a salve for cracked heels
  17. Reader tip: try it coconut oil for a yeast infection! She suggests soaking a tampon in it and inserting the tampon for a few hours.
  18. Naturally clears up cold sores
  19. Some people say ingesting coconut oil daily can increase mental alertness

Coconut Oil for Pregnancies, Babies, and Children

  1. As a cloth diaper safe diaper cream (just rub on baby’s bottom)
  2. I’ve used in kids’ ears to help speed ear infection healing
  3. In place of Lanolin cream on nursing nipples to soothe irritation (also great for baby!)
  4. Nursing moms can take a couple of tablespoons a day (and vitamin D) to increase milk supply and nutrients
  5. To help soothe the itch of chicken pox or poison ivy
  6. Use on skin to avoid stretch marks during pregnancy
  7. Used directly on the perineum to help heal after birth
  8. To get rid of cradle cap on baby — just massage in to head, leave on for a few minutes, and gently rinse with a warm washcloth
  9. With apple cider vinegar as a natural treatment for lice that actually works

You can also check out my recipe list for many more recipes that use coconut oil!

Types of Coconut Oil: Refined vs. Unrefined

There are several choices when it comes to using this healthful fat.

You’ll find:

Unrefined Organic Coconut Oil

Considered the gold standard. This type of oil offers most of the benefits listed above. It is extracted from fresh coconut using a wet-milled fermentation process that protects the beneficial properties of the coconut. This type of coconut oil has been found to have the highest antioxidant levels. This process does use heat but studies show that it does not harm the oil or reduce nutrient levels. In fact, the heat may be beneficial and create a higher quality oil.

“Extra Virgin” Coconut Oil

The gold standard for olive oil but not coconut oil. This is produced by cold-pressing the oil and does not preserve the antioxidants as well:

In 2013, a study that compared “cold extracted virgin coconut oil” (CEVCO) with “hot extracted virgin coconut oil” (HEVCO) and standard refined coconut oil (CCO) was conducted in India, and published in the journal Food Science and Biotechnology. This study, like many others, showed that virgin coconut oils actually lower LDL cholesterol, while raising the “good” HDL cholesterol.

This study also confirmed that virgin coconut oil produced with heat produced the highest amounts of antioxidants: “The antioxidant activity in the HEVCO group was 80-87%, 65-70% in CEVCO, and 35-45% in CCO.” The researchers went on to comment why heat is necessary to produce the highest amounts of antioxidants in virgin coconut oil. (source)

Refined Coconut Oils

Refined coconut oil is often tasteless and has no coconut smell. It is usually heated, bleached, and deodorized. Healthy options are available but many refined coconut oils do not have the benefits of unrefined.

Fractionated Oil or MCT Oil

Fractionated oil or MCT oil is a liquid oil that does not get solid below 76 degrees like unrefined oil does. It doesn’t contain all of the beneficial properties of unrefined coconut oil but is higher in brain-boosting fats.

What Type to Use?

Uses for Coconut Oil

For external uses, expeller-pressed, fractionated or other types of refined coconut oil will work, but for internal use, an unrefined organic oil is best.

Want to try it out? I love this organic extra virgin coconut oil that is made from all non-GMO, all natural ingredients.

Nutritional Profile of Coconut Oil

Part of the reason coconut oil is such a powerhouse superfood is its unique nutritional profile. It was avoided and shunned for years because of its 92% saturated fat content but recent research is showing this stigma was unwarranted.

Here’s why:

Most of the fats in coconut oil are saturated but they are in the form of MCTs (Medium Chain Triglycerides, also called MCFAs), which affect the body differently than short and long chain fats. The MCTs are composed of:

  • Lauric acid: This beneficial fat makes up 40% of the total fat composition, making it one of nature’s highest natural sources. The body converts lauric acid to monolaurin, which is beneficial for immune function.
  • Caprylic acid: Another healthy fat with antibacterial and antimicrobial properties.
  • Capric acid: This converts to monocaprin in the body and has immune boosting and antimicrobial properties.

Medium Chain Fatty Acids (MCFAs)

Most of the fats we consume are long chain fatty acids that must be broken down before they can be absorbed. Coconut oil is high in short and medium chain fatty acids, which are easily digested and sent right to the liver for energy production.

Because MCFAs are sent right to the liver for digestion, no bile or pancreatic enzymes are needed for digestion, making coconut oil a healthy food even for those with diabetes or those who have gallbladder problems.

MCFAs can help increase metabolism since they are sent directly to the liver and give the body an instant source of energy. Most of the MCFAs in coconut oil are highly beneficial lauric acid.

Benefits of MCFAs (MCTs)

All of these MCTs benefit the body. They are metabolized differently than longer chain fats, going straight from the digestive system to the liver. This provides a quick source of energy and brain fuel.

These rare oils are naturally free of cholesterol and hard to find in nature.

This may be part of the reason that coconut oil is so beneficial to the brain and for weight loss. It isn’t digested or stored in the same ways as other fats and is more quickly available for use.

Coconut oil is also a decent source of several fat-soluble vitamins (mainly A and K) as well as healthy polyphenols.

Lauric Acid

Lauric acid is found in abundance in human breast milk and converts to a substance called monolaurin in the body. Monolaurin has been shown to be useful in increasing immunity and fighting viruses and disease.

One study combined lauric acid-rich coconut oil with oregano oil and found it effective in fighting the staph bacteria than antibiotics. It has also been shown to be preventative against some cancers.

Coconut oil is over 40% lauric acid, the richest source naturally available.

Allergic to Coconut?

So coconut is great, but many people are allergic or intolerant to it.

I’m often asked what alternatives there are to coconut products for those who are allergic. Those who can’t tolerate coconut may find these alternatives helpful:

  • Oils: Instead of coconut, try using palm shortening or oil or animal-based fats like lard, butter or tallow. These fats are solid at room temperature like coconut oil is and substitute well in recipes. In recipes calling for a liquid oil, avocado oil, and sesame oil substitute well.
  • Flour: Coconut flour is a great grain-free high-fiber flour, but those who can’t tolerate it can experiment with almond flour, cassava flour, or oat fiber.
  • Milk: Coconut milk is a common alternative for those who can’t tolerate dairy products but pecan milk, cashew milk, and almond milk are good alternatives. Rice milk is also an option for those with nut allergies.

So, What Can’t Coconut Oil Do?!

Still working on this one! As if all the above uses weren’t enough, studies have linked coconut oil to the following health benefits:

  • High lauric acid content can help lower cholesterol and blood pressure. It doesn’t increase LDL and helps keep arteries flexible and prevent atherosclerosis
  • Studies show that coconut oil may help increase thyroid health because of its unique combination of nourishing properties and the fact that it travels directly to the liver without the need for hormones or enzymes in digestion
  • Coconut oil can help boost metabolism. Since it travels directly to the liver, it is used for energy and not stored as fat. It also helps a feeling of satiety and can assist in weight loss.
  • Can increase bone strength by allowing better absorption of calcium, vitamin D, and other minerals
  • It’s antifungal properties have been shown to help reduce candida and yeast in the body and fight yeast infections
  • Can help fight infection and flu due to its antibacterial, antiviral, and antimicrobial properties

What other coconut oil uses have I forgotten? Share your favorites below!

This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Scott Soerries, MD, Family Physician and Medical Director of SteadyMD. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.

This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Lauren Jefferis, board certified in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor or work with a doctor at SteadyMD.

The original 101 Coconut Oil uses and benefits! Use it in recipes and cooking, for skin and hair, in natural remedies and homemade beauty products.
Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. WellnessMama.com is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


846 responses to “101+ Best Coconut Oil Uses and Benefits for Home and Beauty”

  1. Jeff Diegel Avatar
    Jeff Diegel

    I have learned virgin coconut oil kills cold and flu viruses. If I feel a stuffy nose coming on I rub coconut oil over my nose and sinuses. If I feel a sore throat coming on I gargle with a spoonful of coconut oil and swallow. In one hour the symptoms are gone like it was not there! So from my guess it will probably kill COVID-19 too, Plus it makes your intestines work excellent that is another benefit to stay healthy from COVID-19!

  2. Garrett Avatar

    Most of these claims are unfounded. Eating coconut oil may make a person feel healthier, and it’s fine in moderation, but does not have the miraculous benefits that are being cited in this article.

  3. Chantel Avatar

    Hello Katie, I have been following you for years and just love all the free content. With that said, I ordered the coconut oil in the link you provided about a month ago. My curiosity got me this morning when I looked at the bucket and realized it is refined, steam expeller pressed oil. You gave us the link and mentioned it’s extra virgin. I don’t see extra virgin listed on the bucket or in the ad. You also mention that for internal use that unrefined is best. Is this a mistake? If so, could you please provide the correct link or confirm that this is in fact what you really use. I want to use the best. Thank you

  4. Linda Avatar

    Hi Katie,
    I’m confused in your recommendation that extra virgin coconut oil is not preferred but then you recommend ordering organic extra virgin coconut oil. Is the difference that it is organic? Is there one type that is appropriate for both internal and external uses?
    Thank you

  5. shadonna Avatar

    Greetings, I am about to be a new mother and a friend sent me your website. I would like to know which type of olive oil to use for the Coconut Oil for Pregnancies, Babies, and Children section? I’m a little confused if you suggested using the Spring of Life Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil – Non-GMO, Cold Pressed for that section?

    Thank you kindly,

  6. Tom Avatar

    I’m confused by the conflicting information about coconut oil being healthy and unhealthy. I take a tablespoon in my morning coffee daily, but I worry if I should. I’ve read about 20 or so articles so far and it seems like the blogs with affiliate links are praising coconut oil like the end all, be all super food that you must buy and medical sites claim it’s as bad as Palm oil and raises both good and bad cholesterol as well as being a snake oil being pushed by uninformed members of the healthy living community. I’m not a troll, just looking for facts. Your opinion on the World Health Organization’s scathing analysis on coconut oil being an unhealthy food is also appreciated.

    1. Katie Wells Avatar

      There isn’t a food that is perfect for everyone. We are all so different that what works for one person may not work for someone else. So you need to research and test what is best for your own body, as there is no one-size-fits all when it comes to health or food types…

  7. Kris Avatar

    As a realtor here is a wonderful use for coconut oil to prevent/stop your doors from squeaking. We’ve all had that occasional door that squeaks when opening. Rub hinges with coconut oil until squeaking stops. It’s a natural treatment unlike spray chemicals that end up on your floor or carpet where it’s picked up by baby’s bare feet or yours or your pets. (Also, if building a home, make sure your contractor does not use black graphite on door hinges. Graphite, a form of coal, leaves black stains on your doors and carpets and is difficult to get rid of without repainting the door!)

  8. Lauren Brouwer Avatar
    Lauren Brouwer

    Loooove Coconut Oil! As a first time mother (my daughter is 9 months old), I find coconut oil to be my multi-purpose go to… from a hair mask, to heat protectant when blow drying my hair, to a natural moisturizer for myself and the baby, coconut oil is a Must. I even use it as an in-between toothpaste to freshen breath and get rid of bacteria!

  9. letha Avatar

    If you see this message, let me know and I’ll tell you how coconut oil has cleared out my cataracts for about three years.

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