Coconut oil has become a pantry staple, popping up in pesto, stews, and even frosting. It’s no surprise, though: coconuts are a natural source of caprylic, lauric, and capric acids, so coconut oil is packed with healthy fats thanks to these easily-digestible medium-chain fatty acids.
But the health benefits of coconut oil don’t stop in the kitchen cupboard! In fact, coconut oil is a fantastic moisturizer, antibacterial agent, and all-around skincare wonder. Let’s take a look at how coconut oil can help you from head-to-toe.
Fun science fact: coconut oil is a triglyceride with a low molecular weight, which means it’s able to penetrate the hair shaft quicker than other oils. What that means for your hair is that coconut oil gets into your hair more deeply and faster than other conditioners, making it perfect for dry or damaged hair. It works to help the hair retain its own proteins, so it might be able to keep your tresses a little shinier and a little stronger. Use coconut oil as a deep conditioning treatment, to stimulate hair growth, or as a natural detangler.
The lauric acid in coconut oil has antimicrobial properties, which protect the skin from harmful pathogens. That lauric acid is also especially handy when you consider that many skin irritations (like acne) are caused by bacteria. Plus, the saturated fats in coconut oil act as a fantastic natural moisturizer by reducing moisture loss through your pores. Your skin will stay supple and smooth without any harmful chemicals! The vitamin E in coconut oil is also essential for healthy skin growth and can even fight wrinkles. So whip up a homemade body scrub for all-over moisture, use it as a base for lip balm, or swipe on as a completely natural eye-makeup remover.
Besides making your hands smell like a tropical treat, coconut oil is amazing for hand and nail care. The vitamin E will help keep your cuticles supported and supple, and the moisturizing emollience of coconut oil will help prevent dry, brittle nails and nail ridges caused by a lack of water. So show your nails a little love by rubbing coconut oil on your cuticles and nails, then letting it sit for 30 minutes for a deeply moisturising treatment.
Give toenails the same love your fingernails are getting! Plus, the antimicrobial properties in coconut oil can help fight off nasty fungal infections like Athlete’s Foot. Coconut oil is also an amazing way to naturally treat dry, cracked heels. The intense moisturizing properties and vitamin E in coconut oil give dry skin the boost it needs to repair, so try slathering your heels in coconut oil then slipping on some clean cotton socks before going to bed.