Best (and Worst!) Uses For Coconut Oil

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Every year or so there is a new miracle food that everyone claims will change the beauty game. Whether you're eating it for glowing skin (goji berries), munching on it for a fit body (kale) or slathering it on for softer skin (marula oil), you know what we’re talking about.

Today, we are currently crushing on coconut oil. This fruit, chock full good-for-you-fat and antioxidants, has a multitude of health and beauty benefits, however, like with all things, needs to be used in the right way for maximum benefit. Here are the best ways to incorporate it into your routine and some ways not to use it.

First, not all coconut oil is the same. Look for organic extra virgin coconut oil, which has not been refined or hydrogenated and contains no GMOs. 

Do: Use it as a hair mask. Because coconut oil's chemical structure allows it to penetrate the hair shaft (not just coat it like many other hair care ingredients), it can improve the strength and flexibility of the hair, leading to less breakage and split ends. Apply it at night, cover with a shower cap and let it soak into your hair. The next morning, shampoo and condition as normal. 

Don't: Let your hair get wet while it's still on. In the morning when you are ready to shower, apply shampoo to your oil-slicked hair before rinsing it. If you apply shampoo after your hair is wet, it will still be greasy once you are out of the shower.

Do: Use it as a body moisturizer. Scoop out a dime sized amount of virgin coconut oil and as use on your body for instant, deep moisture and a boost of protective antioxidants. It's also great to soften the cuticles around your nails and for use on dry, cracked heels. 

Don't: Rub it all over your face. If you have acne-prone, problem skin, coconut oil can clog your pores. Due to its relatively high levels of saturated fat, it is comedogenic and acnegenic.

Do: Add it to your food. Coconut oil can be used to cook with like any other oil and contains medium-chain-length fatty acids, or triglycerides MCTs, which have been shown in studies to raise the body’s metabolism and decrease body fat. In fact, one study found that women who consumed two tablespoons a day for 12 weeks had decreased abdominal fat than those who did not.

Don't: Go overboard with it. Like with all healthy fats, moderation is key. A tablespoon of the oil sets you back about 120 calories so you can imagine that if you are adding it to food, you have to make sure to make other dietary adjustments to allot for the added intake.

How do you coconut oil?