DIY · frugality · organic living

Jumping on the Coconut Oil Bandwagon: Is it Really All That?

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I know. I’m years behind picking up on this craze. I’ve been hearing about the benefits of coconut oil forever.  People in the crunchy communities and these days even most suburban housewives are familiar with the near Devine powers of this magical goop but despite all I’d heard, I couldn’t bring myself to see past the repelling price tag. ($8 for a 15 oz jar at EarthFare? No thanks! ) I won’t deny that I was curious though. Could it really be that great?

My first chance to use coconut oil occurred at my work. I was an infant caregiver in a daycare and a parent brought some for their child’s diaper rash. I liked it. Smelled way better than most diaper creams, didn’t stain the kid’s cloth diapers, and left my hands nice and soft even after I washed them. It was pretty sweet. Still couldn’t justify the price.

It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I finally snagged some of my own. Aldi had their organic coconut oil on sell for $3.99 I immediately seized the opportunity. Since then, I’ve been using my little 14 oz jar to test out all the amazing things I’ve heard coconut oil can do!

Was it everything I’d been told or did I just buy some trendy snake oil? Here’s what I found out:

Use: #1 cooking oil-

they say you can use coconut oil to replace vegetable oil or other similar cooking oils.

does it work?
Yes and No.

The Test:
I made some pan  fried curry chicken and used coconut oil instead of my usual veggie oil. As expected it had a slight coconutty taste in the finished product. Just a hint though. Some people possibly wouldn’t notice, but for me, this taste would work on some dishes but not others. It would lend the flavor to certain Asian style meals and most baked goods but might not always be the best oil for sautéing.

Use #2: Eat it straight for nutritional benefits

Coconut oil is a good source of good cholesterol and has been said to aid in digestion. Some people will eat it by the spoonful to get these benefits.

Hows that taste?
Just like you’d expect, way too oily!  But if you can stomach it, go ahead!

Use 3: Diaper Ointment

Easy. After cleaning their diaper area, you just slather it with coconut oil. You can also make homemade diaper cream with a recipe like this.

Does it work?
Yes! Keeps their skin baby soft, smells great, helps a rash to heal and blocks out excess moisture as a more natural alternative to petroleum jelly. I’m left wondering why I ever used anything else!

Use 4: Coffee Creamer

I heard you can put it in your coffee for a yummy dairy free coffee creamer.

Does it work?
Erm……. not really….way too oily. It kind of made me feel sick. Some people emulsify by blending and say that’s better but even whisking this in, it was kind of gross in coffee. However, in hot chocolate, it was heavenly! Tasted like an Almond Joy!

Use #5:  Body lotion

Does it work?
Much like petroleum jelly, it  locks in moisture so it does help prevent chapping but the moisturizing effect is fairly short lived. It’s better than petrolleum in that department though. In fact, it’s better than a lot of lotions I’ve used. Perhaps mixed with other moisturizing ingredients like cocoa butter, it could make a luxurious lotion.

Use #6: Healing Salve
Put it on cuts, scrapes and bruises. The anti fungal properties help prevent infection while promoting healing.

Does it work? Yes! I had a really bad scrape on my knee from falling on some pavement a while back. It had scabbed over but the scab was huge, ugly and uneven. The coconut oil softened the scab and helped it heal up pretty quickly.

Use # 7: Personal Lubricant
If you’re old enough to understand what is meant by this, no farther explanation is necessary.

Does it work?

Yes. Quite well. We’ll leave it at that.

Use # 8: Adult Bathroom Issues
razor bumps in the pubic area? Coconut oil. Itching or mild irritation? Coconut oil. Hemmeroids? Coconut oil.

Does it work?

This is probably way too much information, but I had been experiencing hemmeroid problems ever since the start of my third trimester with my now 10 month old. After giving birth, they only seemed to get worse. Nothing seemed to be much help long term until I started dabbing the area with coconut oil each time I used the bathroom. They felt better immediately and in a matter of days were less inflamed. A week later, they’re all but nonexistent.

Use #9: Deodorant

Coconut oil smells kind of good. Maybe it can be used as a deodorant.

Does it work? By itself it works ok short term but it doesn’t take long for your natural b.o. to overpower. I have had some success with dusting my underarms with baking soda and then layering coconut oil over top. There are also a lot of recipes online for coconut oil based deodorant but I haven’t tried making any yet.

Use #10: Hair Treatment

Its supposed to help treat split ends and act as a detangler and deep moisturizer for hair. Some use it in the shower. Some use it as a hair mask. People with curly or kinky hair can use it for frizz control.

Does it work? It’s a bit much for my somewhat oily hair but I can see the benefit for other hair types. I have started using a small amount in my son’s hair to help keep it from sticking up everywhere.

Use #11: Toothpaste

Yea. You can  use coconut oil when you brush your teeth. It feels a little weird to me even though it’s pleasant and seems effective. It leaves a bit of an oily film on your teeth if you do not rinse well.

Use # 12: Oil Pulling,

Swish coconut oil in your mouth for an extended period of time meant to pull out impurities and stains.

Does it work? I tried it. My teeth felt cleaner and looked a little lighter. I think this is something you’d have to repeat for a while to have any major effect though. The anti fungal properties and fresh scent

 

Use #13: Bath and Shower cleaner:

It kind of works but not by itself. You need something with some grit to scrub first. I used baking soda but instead of rinsing with vinegar like I usually do, I used coconut oil. It worked okay,  but left the tub a bit slippery until I wiped it away with a dry washcloth.

Use # 14 Lip Balm

Perfect use. Feels good, smells good, tastes good. Prevents chaping. What more could you ask for?

Use # 15 Bath Oil

Works as well as any bath oil I’ve ever used. Feels luxurious massaged into my skin.

Use # 16 Shaving Cream

Since it melts off your skin pretty quickly, you need to use a lot but it does work and leaves a silky smooth finish.

Use #17 Start a Fire

Its flammable. So you can start fires with coconut oil too! My inner pyromaniac is pleased. Here’s a video on how to make fire starters with coconut oil.

So? Is coconut oil all they said it would be? Is it worth the price? I’m thinking yes considering its many uses. When you consider buying one single ingredient product verses buying a whole slew of chemical laden laboratory created products or paying out the rear end for store bought organic products with the same functions, coconut oil is the clear winner. Consider me a believer.But since I can already do many of these things with baking soda and vinegar which are hella cheaper, I’ll wait until I find a sale before buying. But when those sells come, you best believe I’ll brave a sea of crunchy lite soccer moms to get my share!

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2 thoughts on “Jumping on the Coconut Oil Bandwagon: Is it Really All That?

  1. Really like this balanced article on coconut oil. There are a lot of articles out there praising it outright without actually trying them all personally. I’ve been doing the oil pulling thing for about a week now and noticing benefits already. Great stuff, do you feature your writing with any other sites at all?

    Like

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