by Maria Luci, editor at Maria’s Farm Country Kitchen and Rodale’s
By now most of us know that we can slather coconut oil onto our skin as a moisturizer or into our frying pans for cooking. But there are tons of other ways to use that jar of organic coconut oil on your counter. And more importantly, there’s actually a lot of data behind why organic coconut oil is so amazing—from its moisturizing properties to its healthy fat content to its antioxidant boosting qualities and beyond.
And on top of there being a plethora ways to use coconut oil, there are also numerous varieties and brands. My favorite? Jax Coco organic extra virgin centrifuged coconut oil. (Yes, I know, there’s a lot going on in the Jax name!)
Allow me to explain… First off, it’s organic. Why should we care about our coconut oil being organic? Because then we know it’s free of harmful chemicals, which is important both for when we eat coconut oil and when we use it on our bodies. Now on to the extra-virgin part: This simply means that the coconut oil is unrefined. This, along with the brand’s centrifuge process, which quickly separates the coconut oil from the coconut milk emulsion, helps the oil retain all of its nutrients and lauric acid, which has antiviral properties and beneficial metabolic effects. In other words, you get to keep the good without any of the bad!
So now on to the 5 reasons you’ll want a jar of organic coconut oil at your side all summer long:
1. It can help ease your sunburn naturally! We’ve all been there: We thought we applied enough nontoxic sunscreen to get us through the day, but—oops!—we missed a spot. And now we’re suffering through a burn. Not only can organic coconut oil help soothe, moisturize, and cool your sunburned skin, but it’s also rumored to actually help your burned skin heal faster.
It’s super easy to create a DIY organic aftersun/sunburn salve to throw in your bag before heading to the beach.
Here’s what you need to make homemade coconut oil sunburn salve:
- ¼ cup organic coconut oil (I recommend Jax Coco!)
- 1 Tablespoon organic aloe vera (I used a stalk of my own plant)
- 1 jar with a lid
Here’s how you make it:
- Cut a stalk of aloe vera from a plant and squeeze out 1 tablespoon of the juice.
- Scoop ¼ cup of organic coconut oil into a small bowl and heat until it’s completely liquefied.
- Add the aloe to the coconut oil and allow the mixture to cool to room temperature so it hardens.
- Scoop into a travel-friendly jar and head to the beach!
2. It can help keep your legs looking amazing! Not only can you use organic coconut as a safe and chemical-free, moisturizing shave cream, but you can also prep your legs pre-shave by making a coconut oil sugar scrub. Bonus: It smells pretty amazing.
Here’s how you keep your legs silky smooth with coconut oil:
- Mix ½ cup sugar with ¼ cup organic coconut oil and scrub onto your legs in the shower.
- Rinse off the coconut-sugar scrub.
- Rub coconut oil onto your legs.
- Shave with a sharp razor.
- Clean the tub so that it’s not super slippery next time around!
- Violà! Soft, coconut-fresh legs to show off all summer long.
3. It can organically keep your armpits fresh! That’s right! You can make your own natural deodorant using organic coconut oil that will keep you fresh all summer without the harmful effects of the aluminum in antiperspirants (which has been linked to Alzheimer’s disease).
Here’s what you need to make homemade coconut oil deodorant:
- 8 Tablespoons organic coconut oil
- 6 Tablespoons baking soda
- 6 Tablespoons organic cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon Radiance Bronzing Shimmer Body Oil
Here’s how you make it:
- Melt the coconut oil.
- Mix in the baking soda, cornstarch, and Radiance oil.
- Pour into a jar.
- Once it sets, use on those pits!
4. It can safely keep your makeup brushes clean. Skip the toxic makeup-brush cleaners and make your own by simply melting Jax Organic Coconut Oil into a glass jar and dipping each of your brushes into the oil. After each brush has been soaked in the coconut oil, rub the oil and makeup residue off onto a reusable organic cloth wipe then wash off the remaining oil with warm water. If you’re having difficulty removing all the coconut oil from the brushes, use a tiny bit of organic castile soap in the warm water. Finally, lay your brushes flat and wait until they’re completely dry to use them.
5. It can naturally deep-condition your hair. Before and after you jump into the salty waves this summer, wet your hair with fresh water and comb a dollop of Jax Organic Coconut Oil into it, spreading it throughout, then throw your locks into a loose bun and cover with a shower cap. Leave the coconut oil in for several hours before washing it out with a gentle shampoo. Enjoy your soft, delicious tresses from the beach to the boardwalk!
Have a sunny, organic coconut oil–filled summer!
Maria Luci is the manager and editor at Maria’s Farm Country Kitchen and content creator and editor at Rodale’s. She grew up in Virginia, but now lives in Philly with her husband, a black cat, and a good deal of houseplants.