Coconut Oil Review & A Giveaway!

Free Kefir Recipe eBook from Cultures for Health

Hi folks –

For the last, oh, long time, I’ve been horribly remiss in posting much of anything useful here, as I’ve been hyper-focused elsewhere. Today, that changes.

Because I appreciate each and every one of you, I’m giving away a 32-ounce jar of Tropical Traditions Gold Label Coconut Oil!

But first, let me tell you about how much I love Tropical Traditions coconut oil, and how I use it around The Unlikely Homestead (if you absolutely couldn’t care less, you can scroll down to the RaffleCopter widget and start entering.) There are also some terrific ideas in the comments from readers!

Tropical Traditions coconut oils are high-quality, healthy fat oils which are solid at temperatures below 75 degrees F, and melt quickly and smoothly at 76 degrees F and above. All of Tropical Traditions’ coconut oil varieties are smooth and silky, whether used in cooking, or for personal body care products.

What are my favorite ways to use it?

Man – I’m so glad I pretended you asked!

We buy coconut oil by the gallon, or by multiple gallons if Tropical Traditions is having a nice sale or free shipping. Coconut oil has a slow oxidation rate, and will remain fresh for at least two years, giving us plenty of time to get through whatever volume we might have.

From the gallon pail, I put a quart of it into a glass jar to make it easier to use in the kitchen. The gallon bucket isn’t wildly inconvenient, but it’s a touch unwieldy for everyday use, especially because my hands are on the weak side and the lid is on the strong side.

Cooking is one of my favorite ways to use coconut oil, and thankfully, “saturated fat” is no longer a naughty phrase. Those of us who have been around awhile have witnessed the low-fat, poly-unsaturated fat, “heart-healthy” craze, which now seems like being revised. The medical community is coming to realize those saturated fats are a heck of a lot healthier for us than all of the hydrogenated oils and poly-unsaturated nonsense. Tropical Traditions coconut oil can be used just about anywhere one would use olive oil.

mushrooms frying in coconut oil in a cast iron panFrying: Tropical Traditions coconut oil is excellent for frying all manner of foods. It has a light, neutral taste, which does not stand out against other ingredients. Coconut oil is very heat-stable, which makes it well-suited to methods of cooking at high temperatures, such as frying. It has a higher smoke point than olive oil, but unrefined coconut oil will smoke after about 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

homemade coconut oil deodorantDeodorant: I haven’t used regular store-bought deodorant in years. Standard deodorants and anti-persperants contain all manner of toxic nastiness, including but not limited to: Aluminum, Disodium EDTA, and parabens. If you’re not convinced those are nasty things to put onto our skin, our bodies’ largest organ, and a quick way for compounds to enter our bodies, do a quick Google search. You’ll be astounded.

Coconut oil melts at temperatures above 75 degrees Fahrenheit, which means it will quickly melt, disperse, and absorb into our skin. Fortunately, in this case, it will only introduce healthy elements into our bodies. Coconut-oil-based deodorant will not leave white streaks on your clothing, either!

There are a variety of ways to make coconut oil deodorant, and you can freely experiment to find one that works just right for you. I have very sensitive skin, so I have to reduce the standard about of baking soda one might see in recipes elsewhere; my armpits were getting chafed raw by it (part of the reason baking soda is such a great cleaner is because it is highly-abrasive.) The purpose of baking soda in deodorant is to absorb odors, so reducing it may also reduce the efficacy of the final product.

Start your homemade deodorant adventure by making small batches and test for a few days to make sure it’s working well for you. Of course, if you make a full batch and later need to revise it, that’s entirely doable, too – just add more of the ingredients you like.

The small amount used per application means a 1/2 pint will last from six months up to a year! That’s a lot of bang for your buck (Note: Folks with armpit hair may need to use more per application.)

Coconut oil generally will not stain fabrics. The only time I have ever had an issue was when I applied it very liberally as a test sunscreen and it soaked into my t-shirt; I was literally dripping it everywhere. Even that amount came out after a few washes, however.

My recipe for homemade deodorant is at the bottom of this article.

Scalp-soothing: If you have a dry or irritated scalp, rubbing coconut oil into your scalp and leaving it sit for 20 minutes or longer can help to soothe non-chronic skin irritation. Some folks swear coconut oil cured their scalp or other skin issues permanently; sadly, I haven’t had that luck myself. It does a great job conditioning the skin and hair roots, though, and washes out with shampoo easily. Coconut oil is chock-full of lauric acid, which is known for its anti-bacterial, anti-viral and anti-fungal properties. I can’t say it will cure chronic scalp or skin issues, but it may soothe and relieve, or possibly help to correct.

me freaking out after cutting 12 inches off my hairFrizz control for hair: I have very curly, very copious hair which is also very fine. Without “product,” it frizzes out if anyone even thinks about a breeze. For years, I put unhealthy and expensive gels, mousses and who knows what else on my head. That went by the wayside two years ago, when I realized coconut oil does the job just fine. Since whacking my hair to shoulder length, I need about 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon of plain coconut oil rubbed between my hands until melted to work throughout my hair. I leave the roots alone in this application, and just focus on the middle and ends. It helps keep my hair shiny, curly and frizz-free (Note: No coconut oil had been applied in the photo to the left – hence the frizz!)

Scar reduction: Applying coconut oil topically to scars daily can help them to heal. Last summer, I had two moles removed. Rubbing coconut oil into the scars has helped them to heal, become less red, and to smooth out.

my dog, sumiDog food addition: My girls love coconut oil on top of their food, solid or melted. It’s wonderful for their coats and a healthy addition as well as a treat. I use one tablespoon for my dogs, who are 55 and 65 pounds.

Toothpaste: Wellness Mama has a great article about remineralizing toothpaste. I add cinnamon oil or peppermint oil for flavor and freshness, as well. I recently started making my own toothpaste after giving up regular store-bought toothpaste in favor of an all-natural, non-fluoridated option. Sadly, my teeth began chipping very easily about a year later and I had to find another option. I’ll report later if this recipe is helpful in reducing my teeth slowly chipping away.

Skin lotion: Plain or with essential oils added, coconut oil makes a wonderful, soothing skin lotion. Apply lightly and smooth into skin until it disappears. Some folks put a starch into their lotion, but I leave it out. If you went a little too crazy with the application, it can be wiped or washed off easily.

homemade body scrub with coconut oilBody scrub: Mixing coconut oil, sugar or salt, and essential oils makes a wonderful body scrub. I don’t have a recipe for this one, per se (but there’s an easy one here,)  I just mix it up until I like the way it feels and smells. A word of caution – if using in the shower, please be sure to have a non-slip bath mat down; melted oils are of course very, very slippery and can be a hazard under the right circumstances. Be careful, as with any oily product in the shower.

homemade foot scrub with coconut oilFoot scrub: My feet get dry, tired and achey after a day in the kitchen. Mixing coconut oil, epsom salts, and a generous amount of peppermint and/or tea tree oil makes a wonderful foot rub while I’m soaking in the tub. Take time to massage it in deeply, letting the salt exfoliate, and the oils soothe and ease. My “recipe” for a coconut oil/epsom salt foot scrub is at the bottom of this article.

cast iron pan seasoned with coconut oilSeasoning cast iron: Tropical Traditions coconut oil’s high smoke point makes it great for seasoning cast iron. I rub the pan all over with it while it’s still hot from the burner. If you have to wash the pan prior to seasoning, be sure to heat it back up again, either in the oven or on the stove top, prior to application so the oil sinks into the pores and does its job. A well-seasoned cast iron pan is a glorious thing, as demonstrated by Wardeh of GNOWFGLINS’ perfectly-released scrambled eggs.

coconut oil based lip balmChapped lip relief: With or without a tiny bit of peppermint oil, coconut oil makes a great substitute for commercial chapped lip remedies. A little goes a very long way.



Soap making: This year, I plan to venture into making my own soap. Currently, I purchase handmade soaps from a variety of vendors, and while I love them beyond measure, they’re so stinking expensive. I think I might be able to make close replacements at home. I’ve bought my lye, I have the appropriate safety gear, and just need to pick up a couple odds and ends before I can get started – I can’t wait! That will tear through our 3 gallons of oil with a swiftness.

When ordering from Tropical Traditions for the first time, they include their informative book, Virgin Coconut Oil.

My list of uses is far from exhaustive, of course. You can read more on their website.

This video also shares some great information:


Tropical Traditions offers several types of coconut oil in a variety of sizes:

Virgin Coconut Oil, Gold Label – Available in 16- and 32-ounce glass jars, as well as 1-gallon and 5-gallon food-grade plastic pails. Please refer to the comparison chart to view more details about this product.



Virgin Coconut Oil, Green Label – Available in 32-ounce glass jars, as well as 1-gallon and 5-gallon food-grade plastic pails. Please refer to the comparison chart to view more details about this product.
Coconut Oil, Organic, Expeller-Pressed – Available in 32-ounce glass jars, as well as 1-gallon and 5-gallon food-grade plastic pails. Please refer to the comparison chart to view more details about this product.




Coconut Oil, Expeller-Pressed – Available in 32-ounce glass jars, as well as 1-gallon and 5-gallon food-grade plastic pails. Please refer to the comparison chart to view more details about this product.



It’s not immediately clear what the difference is between these oils, but for your convenience, we have this handy chart – click to view at a readable size in a new tab or window:

coconut oil comparison chart

I have tried all of them, and each is wonderful. I prefer the Gold Label, simply due to its being organic, unrefined, and produced in small batches by hand. It’s worth every penny!

Now the fun part – I know most of you skipped all that and just ran down here to the widget – that’s ok! All you need to do to be entered into the giveaway is to leave a comment on this blog about your favorite uses for coconut oil, and then use the RaffleCopter widget to register your comment.

To qualify, you must leave a comment in addition to clicking the RaffleCopter button. All other entries are optional.

Alrighty – have at it, and enjoy!

Recipes are below the widget.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Hey, if you’re into giveaways (and who isn’t,) there’s a Berkey Sports Bottle giveaway going on at Like A Bubbling Brook.

My Recipe for Homemade Deodorant
(produces about a 1/2 pint of deodorant)

1/8 cup baking soda

1/3 cup corn starch or other suitable powdery starch, such as arrowroot

Essential oils “to taste;” I like lavender, lemon, rosemary, or cinnamon

Coconut oil “to consistency”

In a small bowl, mix together the baking soda and starch until combined.  Add the essential oil by drops, until it is to the strength you like. Remember, it will be more diluted once you have added the coconut oil. You can always add more essential oils at the end – it will just be a little harder to mix thoroughly.

Add several tablespoons of coconut oil, and mash and fold into a paste, making sure to mix everything together thoroughly. If it’s too sticky, add more coconut oil. Optionally, you can melt the coconut oil and add it to your dry ingredients in melted form. This makes it easier to mix; however, the particles of baking soda may drift to the bottom before it solidifies, leaving an uneven product.

You can adjust every amount here – more baking soda, less, none; more starch, no oils. Heck, you can even just use the coconut oil alone, although I suspect it would not work as well.

I like to put mine into a pretty jar with a wide mouth to make it easier to get out.

Voila – you have just made deodorant!  It honestly is Just That Easy. It’s also cheaper, healthier and (in my opinion) smells better than commercial deodorants.

Some folks like to stuff their new deod into used, empty stick deod containers. That works great until the bathroom gets hotter than 76 degrees and it melts and gets messy. Also, I don’t want any residual toxins left in the container. A jar works great for how I use it.

I simply scoop out a small amount, say 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon per pit, and rub it into my skin. Because I have fairly stinky pits by the end of the day (we’re all friends here now, right?) I also apply a thin layer of starch on top of the coconut oil deodorant, which not only helps to absorb moisture, but also helps to control odor.

My Recipe for Refreshing Foot Scrub
(Produces about 1/2 pint of Foot Scrub)


1/2 cup Epsom Salts

1/2 – 1 cup Coconut Oil

1/2 teaspoon Peppermint Extract or Essential Oil (more or less as you please)


In a small bowl, combine soft (but not liquid) coconut oil with epsom salts until well-mixed – a wooden spoon works well. Add peppermint extract or oil and mix thoroughly. Scoop mixture into a wide-mouthed jar for easy use.


In the tub, with feet out of the water, massage a generous amount of the scrub into tired, sore, or dry feet. The salts will help to exfoliate the skin, while the peppermint oil relaxes and refreshes tissues. The coconut oil will moisturize the skin.

Allow to soak with feet on the edge of the tub as long as you like. You may feel a gentle tingling sensation. If the tingling becomes uncomfortable, you may need to dilute the peppermint with more coconut oil and salt.

When finished with your bath, or when you wish to remove the scrub, simply rinse with warm water, using a gentle soap if you wish to completely remove all oil residue. Be careful standing and exiting the tub, in case any oil is present on the floor of the bath tub.

[Edit: This post from Delicious Obsessions outlines even more ways to use coconut oil! I think you’ll love her whole site, too.]

DISCLAIMER: Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose, nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product.  If you order by clicking on any of my links and have never ordered from Tropical Traditions in the past, you will receive a free book on Virgin Coconut Oil, and I will receive a discount coupon for referring you. I have used Tropical Traditions coconut oil for years and endorse their products without reservation. I am grateful for their sponsoring this review and giveaway!


Free Kefir Recipe eBook from Cultures for Health

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55 responses to Coconut Oil Review & A Giveaway!

  1. Brenda

    I’m a fan of Tropical Traditions expeller-pressed coconut oil, but I know the extra virgin is even better for you, and would love to try it.

  2. Nikki

    I just started using coconut oil for cooking. Your post makes me realize there’s a whole new world out there for me! 🙂

  3. Soccy

    We use it for baking and cooking. I’ve also made deodorant, diaper cream and use it for chapped lips and dry skin.

  4. Sadie @allnaturalme

    I love eating coconut oil right off the spoon!!

    It’s also a must for our popcorn 🙂

  5. Danielle

    I put it in my protein shake and I love using it for moisturizing my body including my lips and hair. I found a recipe on pintrest for mixing it with a kitchen aid mixer so it is whipped and you don’t have to wait for it to melt in your hands and once I get some essential & vitamin E oil to add I can’t wait to try it!!!

  6. Oh goodness, I cook with it, the dogs and cat love it, I put it on my hair and skin… it’s good for everything! Thanks for the giveaway – cokelush at gmail

  7. Kathy

    I mainly use it for cooking – I love adding a bit to smoothies or making chocolate bits with it as well. I can’t believe I am posting this on a blog, but a wonderful friend recommended it to me as a ‘personal lubricant’ if you know what I am saying :). It works great and I am quite sure my husband and I would never have thought of it on our own!

  8. Erin D.

    Kathy, that’s great! I’d seen the personal lubricant in another comment someplace else before, so you’re not alone. 😀 Thanks for sharing!

  9. R. Gordon

    Love how it smells!

  10. Cathy V

    I put coconut oil in my oatmeal, quinoa, rice and smoothies as well as in my baking and I also use it on my skin. I LOVE coconut oil!

  11. Erin D.

    R Gordon – me too. 🙂
    Cathy V – glad to see you’re using it all over!

    Thanks everyone for great feedback!

    I find myself wishing this theme did threaded comments now… I may need to go scout out a plugin for that.

  12. I love to use it when I make Black Bean Fudge! YUM!!!

  13. Char

    I’ve never used coconut oil but I have a couple of friends who rave about it as a skin cream and for cooking. I’d like to try it for myself but am hesitant to shell out that amount of money, kwim?

  14. Erin D.

    Oh, Sara – you’re making me hungry now. 😀 I’ve been meaning to make black bean brownies again for awhile, but maybe I’ll try fudge instead. 😀

    Char – I recommend it for everything, truly. I understand it can be difficult to fit into the budget, especially if you’re never tried it before. Good luck in the giveaway!

  15. I haven’t ever used coconut oil before, but I really want to start using it! I’ve heard wonders about cooking with it, but I also really want to use it to make homemade deodorant. I too have very sensitive skin (even natural brands don’t work – only one conventional “sensitive skin” product has), so I really want to find a natural, non-chemical laden (and inexpensive) solution!

  16. Erin D.

    Hi Melanie – I feel your pain with the sensitive skin issue, for sure. You’d definitely want to reduce the baking soda, I suspect – it’s not toxic, of course, but can really chafe. You could use lavender and other soothing oils, or none at all, too! Good luck in the giveaway!

  17. amy z

    My favorite uses of coconut oil are making yummy raw chocolates and as a moisturizer for dry skin. I would definitely like to try other things like soaps and deodorant or lip balms with it as a base. Thanks for the entry

  18. Deb

    I use coconut oil in soap, and would like to have some to use in cooking, but haven’t actually gotten around to doing that yet. I actually have been wanting to try this coconut oil, but was kinda waiting till I had a little more money before I ordered cause I wanted to get a gallon of it…but this would be a great way to try it! 🙂

  19. Beth

    love their coconut oil. I use it daily and did start using it for toothpaste. I am definitely going to have to try it as deoderant though!

  20. I use it in my handcrafted body creams and lip balms… oh and on my hair and I just bought a jar to try to cook with! Yum!

  21. I have curly hair and live at the beach. I have had to use hair products from the Afican American section with the coconut oil in it. Little did I know I could by it in this form and make my own hair product! Wow, so excited hope I win some so I can give it a shot!

  22. Erin D.

    Deb – I can’t wait to try it in soap, myself! I really do understand not wanting to spend the extra money. Good luck in this giveaway! 🙂

    Beth – Outstanding! Do you have a recipe you use for your toothpaste? I’m always on the prowl for new stuff. 😉

    Amanda – It sounds like you’ve got a lot of bases covered with your coconut oil use; that’s awesome! 🙂

    Thanks to everyone for the continued great ideas – I love this feedback!

  23. Bonnie Reed

    I have never used coconut oil. Can’t wait to make the foot scrub. Pick me for your give away! Thanks for all the info!

  24. Erin D.

    Hi Shalina – I feel your pain! I hope you can try out your own homemade hair product soon! A little goes a long way with the coconut oil – it may take some experimenting to find the right place of “enough control” and “not greasy.” But totally worth it!

    Bonnie – Good luck with the giveaway! I’m sure you’d love the foot scrub. 🙂 Thanks for entering!

  25. Christine

    I like using coconut oil/oil products for my hair – it’s actually really good for unmanageable curls.

    • Erin D.

      Hi Christine – I couldn’t agree more! I love using coconut oil instead of nasty, toxin-laden mousses or gels.

      Ike – Go beyond temptation; do it! 🙂 Frying coconut-flavored dishes with it adds a wonderful undernote of deeper coconut (think coconut shrimp, or curried chicken,) but for dishes in which you don’t want coconut flavor, it pretty much melts away, too. Great stuff.

      Amanda – I’m so sorry to hear of your poor hands! Remember anything you put on your skin is absorbed into your body, but if it’s pure coconut oil then you should be ok. It should be good for one year after the expiration date, if it’s unrefined. Great use for it!

      Sarah – Glad to hear you’re a coconut oil aficionado, too!

      Thank you for entering, all, and for sharing!

  26. Ike

    I am really tempted to try frying something with it.

  27. Right now, I am using their pet grade oil as a hand moisturizer! My hands got so chapped this winter, and using any sort of chemicals on it hurt so much! Their near expiration gallon was cheap, and since I’m using it cosmetically, the essential oils smell great :). I’m saving up for the edible kinds!

  28. I love coconut oil in everything from cooking, to smoothies, to stove-top popcorn, to right off the spoon!

  29. christy

    I love it for cooking and I put it in everything from oatmeal to vegetables.

  30. I just got my first jar of coconut oil yesterday. I think I’m going to make stir-fry first.

  31. Mari

    I use it as a moisturizer.

  32. Erin D.

    Howdy Mari – I do, too! It’s wonderful stuff. Thanks for entering!

  33. Jen S.

    My favorite use for coconut oil is to use it in my baking recipes.

  34. Erin D.

    Hi Jen – great use for it! Good luck in the giveaway. 🙂

  35. Juli

    Quite frankly I think I have to try this stuff even if I don’t win the freebie. Sounds like I can use it in just about every room of my home.

  36. Erin D.

    Holy wow, yes; you do have to try it! It’s so versatile, and soooo good for you. I think you’ll love it. 🙂

  37. Thank you for the shout out Erin! I didn’t know you had a blog too — great review post. Very in-depth. Love TT’s CO … well, all of their products actually! 🙂

  38. ikkinlala

    I’m not sure whether this is open to Canadians, but just in case: I love it in food, but I think my favourite way to use it (or at least the way I use it every day) is in my hair. I have curly hair, and it works way better than any other product I’ve tried.

  39. Erin D.

    Hi Jessica! You’re very welcome. 🙂 I haven’t been doing much with the blog lately (sadly) with all the web hosting stuff going on, but I’m hoping to make more time for it! I really enjoyed your CO post, too – thanks for more good ideas. 🙂

    Ikkinlala – Tropical Traditions will ship to Canada, so you’re in! I use it in my hair every day, too – glad you’re not using those toxic commercial products. 🙂 Thanks for entering!

  40. Rust

    I love it as a moisturizer — and also for cooking.

    • Erin D.

      Hi Rust – great stuff! Thanks for entering. 🙂

      Christine – Geez, I’m so sorry you had some malware/hacker problems! Thanks for letting me know about the switch, and I hope all is well now.

  41. Christine

    Had some virus/hacker issues…for verification purposes, @isabelli3619 is now @michele979. Thanks for hosting a great giveaway, and have a great weekend!

  42. Kristi

    Currently breast feeding and my babe has milk/soy intolerance issues. CO has been a life saver for cooking substitute, butter substitute etc. Havent tried it yet as a moisturizer, but plan to for both myself and baby.

    • Erin D.

      Hi Kristi – wow, it’s lucky you are able to breast feed, since your baby has those issues! I’ll be giving away 1 gallon of coconut oil very soon (probably next week,) so come on back then! That would be plenty to play around with moisturizing. 🙂

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