Coconut oil has been praised for it’s anti-ageing, beautifying and weight-loss properties, despite its 87 per cent saturated fat content. A tub from a health food store may set you back a tenner, but you can use it for cooking, as a tooth whitener, a makeup remover and even as a headlice remover.
We spoke to health experts at Holland and Barrett to find out everything you can use it for:
Research shows that lauric acid, found in coconut oil, can help eradicate the bacteria that causes BO. Mix equal parts coconut oil and baking soda to apply to your underarms.
Mix equal parts coconut oil and raw honey to make a nourishing hair mask. Leave on for ten minutes and wash out.
It’s light enough to not clog your pores, so can be used on your face too. Clinical studies show it can actually treat atopic dermititus and can help fight wrinkles thanks to its free-radical scavenging abilities.
Put a bit on a cotton pad or tissue, and it’ll wipe away everything. It even removes eye makeup, but leaves your face quite greasy afterwards.
It remains stable at higher temperatures, making it a healthier choice for cooking. Think of it as butter – spread it on toast, or fry eggs, meat, vegetables and fish in it.
An anti-cellulite scrub
Coconut oil, used on the skin, can stimulate higher collagen cross-linking or tissue-strengthening activity. Mix two teaspoons with equal parts ground coffee and sea salt.
To get rid of spots
The lauric acid in coconut oil is known for antimicrobal activity, so apply to directly to the spot to get rid of it. It’ll reduce redness and stop the bacteria that makes acne spread.
Oil pulling is becoming well known as a DIY teeth whitener, with some brands like Coco White even charging ridiculous prices for their own versions. It’s anti-bacterial so can remove stains, and works as a great mouthwash too. Once a day, swish a teaspoon of coconut oil in your mouth for 20 minutes.
A lip balm
Menthol, salicylic acid and silicone oils, ingredients used in most lip balms, only irritate lips more causing a need to reapply. Coconut oil will sooth lips, and can also be used on top of lipstick for a gloss.
Get rid of cold sores
Around half of the fat in coconut oil consists of lauric acid – the immune boosting nutrient. It converts into monolaurin, a substance that destroys viruses like herpes which cause cold sores.
Kelly Osbourne uses coconut oil on her cheekbones, cupids bow and brow bones to mimic a dewy glow.
Mix it with turmeric and apply directly to a cut or graze to speed recovery.
Put it in smoothies, in tea or yoghurts for a healthier version to sugar.
If you’ve pulled a muscle while exercising, mix warm coconut milk with tumeric and coconut oil. The fat from the coconut oil will make the tumeric easier to absorb too.
Prevent head lice
Studies have shown that mixing coconut oil with anise spray is actually more effective than some standard headlice lotions.
Lengthen your eyelashes
Hundreds of bloggers are promoting “coconut oil eyelash growth”, and there are thousands of Pinterest pages devoted to it. It’s gentle enough to use on the eye area, so rub a bit on lashes overnight.
Prevent stretch marks
Channing Tatum apparently used to rub it over his wife’s pregnant tummy, as evidence suggests it stops marks appearing on the skin.
As a lube
Yes, coconut oil can also be used as a lube, and the antifungal properties can also prevent infection during sex. But if you’re using latex condoms, coconut oil can weaken it.
Rub some coconut oil under your nose to help block the pollen.
A cuticle oil
Not only will it keep your hands soft, it will also protect you from bugs too.
Apply it to your roots
Blake Lively swears by it to seal split ends and prevent more in the future. When your hair is damp, rub some between your fingers and apply to the tips.
Treat athletes foot
It’s anti-fungal properties can smooth cracked heals as well as fighting infections.
A boost for smoothies
Add two teaspoons to a smoothie for increase the nutrients you absorb from the other fruit and vegetables you add in.