These days it seems like everyone’s stocking their pantries with coconut oil. And it’s no surprise. Not only does coconut oil have a multitude of purported benefits (boosting good cholesterol, helping with weight loss), it’s also been touted as a healthier alternative to butter and vegetable oils.
But did you know that coconut oil has lots of other uses besides cooking? Here are five surprising ways to use your everyday favorite. Read up. Stock up. Go(coco)nuts.
1. Coffee “creamer”. If you’re looking for a delicious alternative to dairy, look no further. Put a little dollop of coconut oil in your morning joe to smooth and round out the flavor. Think of it as a healthier alternative to bulletproof coffee (in which folks put butter and MCT oil in their coffee in hopes of triggering weight loss).
2. Softer skin and nails. Coconut oil is a natural emollient, so you can smooth it on anywhere you’re feeling a little dry. We love using it on our cuticles, hands and even in our hair as a deep conditioner (though make sure you know your skin before you use it as a facial moisturizer since comedogenic oils can cause breakouts in some people). It’s also great for chapped lips in winter and for soothing sun-damaged skin in the summer.
3. Cutting board conditioner. Keep your beloved wooden cutting boards looking like new by rubbing in some coconut oil, letting it sit for 10 minutes or so, and then wiping it off with a clean cloth. No need to invest in expensive butcher block or wood conditioners.
4. Brush cleaner. Coconut oil is a natural disinfectant, so you can clean your makeup and hair brushes without worrying about chemical residue. For makeup brushes, rub in the oil, let sit for an hour, then rinse. Even if a little bit of oil remains on the brush, it’s a natural moisturizer, so consider it a win-win.
5. Gum remover. Gum is magic the way it turns to cement as soon as it encounters your hair/clothes/bottom of your shoe. Coconut oil to the rescue! Since coconut oil is a lubricant, you can rub some into wherever the gum is stuck and gently rub it out without worrying about damage. Chew on that.