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.
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.
Frying: 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.
Deodorant: 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.
Frizz 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.
Dog 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.
Body 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.
Foot 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.
Seasoning 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.
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:
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.
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!