If you reside anywhere on the internet, you likely saw coconut oil in the headlines earlier this summer when the American Heart Association released a presidential position statement advising against the use of coconut oil from a “bad” cholesterol standpoint. This advisory warning sent shockwaves through the news feed unlike any other liquid fat before, resulting in an oil spill of viral magnitudes.
“Liars!” some Goop readers accused.
“The AHA is in bed with a competing oil industry!” some conspiracy theorists decried.
“WTF am I gonna do with all this coconut oil in my pantry?!?!” us face-value headline readers questioned.
If you err on the side of caution and aren’t certain about ingesting it in the midst of this confusing, fake news era, surely there are plenty of uses for coconut oil that don’t require consuming it. If you’ve seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding you know that Windex is a celebrated cure-all elixir throughout the movie. I wondered if coconut oil had a similar superpower.
For one whole month of my life, this led me to question: can you put coconut oil on that?!
Can you put coconut oil on your gums?
Answer: But, do you like actually want to?!
First things first: oil pulling. Remember that fad we couldn’t stop swearing wasn’t that bad a few years ago? The one that had unbelievable health (and superficial) benefits and we couldn’t afford not to swish oil in our mouths like every day?!
When I committed to doing this research, I promised myself I would try to get in the habit and oil pull for two full weeks. Fourteen days straight, fifteen minutes daily. Did I stick with it? Well, I had a really solid 4-day run, followed by some spotty “oh, sh*!” guilt trip sessions throughout the remaining 10 days. The results? Inconclusive due to human error.
In a last-ditch effort to avoid (not) flossing criticism at the dentist, I oil pulled like there was no tomorrow the night before an upcoming appointment. My findings were that it did assuage my anxiety a little and gave me a tiny amount of “haha fooled ya!” confidence during my examination.
Can you put coconut oil on your houseplants?
Answer: I wouldn’t recommend it.
As I stared dumbfounded at my withering mahogany natal plant that I had brought home from the nursery just a few weeks prior, I thought, hell! Throw some coconut oil on it! I tried two types of application. I applied it to the drying bark of one stem. On another stem, I applied it to the leaves. The results? The coconut-shined leaves did sparkle with a certain pizzazz, but I’m sad to report that the oil-rubbed stem seemed to suffocate and lost many of its leaves over subsequent weeks. Many glowing reviews on the internet suggest that perhaps a diluted mixture of coconut oil + water do wonders for spiffing up dull plant leaves, but I don’t recommend applying it to large areas of a plant. Let the plant breathe!
Can you put coconut oil on your aura?
Answer: Magic 8 Ball says YES!
Many, many a friend raves of coconut oil’s moisturizing prowess as a beauty routine staple. I’ve heard this time and time again. Though, I was a bit surprised when my psychic casually questioned if I was maintaining my aura.
“Oh, and you’re sealing your and baby’s aura with coconut oil after bath time, right?” She posed like duh, just reminding you. WHAT?! An internal first-time parent freakout ensued – What to Expect When Expecting never mentioned this as a necessary care provision for keeping your baby alive!
A few friends suggested that I use it as a hair mask, while one friend took it to another level when she posed “Just lay in it, with your mouth open, while cooking.” I decided that I might as well mash up a mixture of these recommendations. I doused my hair in oil and donned a shower cap. Next, I slathered my bod up and down like I was basting a turkey, before wrapping myself in Saran Wrap. Then, I waited patiently, taking deep Pranayama breaths while clutching a crystal.
The verdict? Hair: silky smooth. Skin: like a baby’s bottom. Aura: watch out for me, I’m bound to glow!
Can you put coconut oil on your genitals?
Answer: I mean, I’m sure you could. Sounds kinda sexy and tropical!
Admittedly, I am too much of a prude and far too bashful to have tested this use for the purpose of this article (hi, Mom). However, when I reached out to my Facebook friends for suggested uses, I got a resounding and unexpected response: “lube.”
Somewhat related, but with a completely different context, I can confidently report that coconut oil is great for combatting diaper rash! Supposedly, coconut oil is antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and antimicrobial, making it naturally anti BS (baby shit).
Can you put coconut oil on your warts?
Answer: the jury’s still out, but I’ll report back once testing has concluded…
Baby. Plants. Gingivitis. Did my husband honestly think he was exempt from my mad scientist probing (hi, Ahmed)? After begging, borrowing, and stealing for this very public favor, I am happy to report that “the effects of coconut oil on stubborn plantar warts” study is underway at our in-house laboratory. It is too soon to determine the effectiveness of this homeopathic remedy, but it does appear as if the wart is softening and shrinking! Or maybe this is just the result of my husband wishing the wart away – which – can we just pause to talk about the positive effects of magical thinking? But I digress and I’ll save that for a future post.
If you’re curious about this application, many articles on the internet suggest that the coconut’s medium-chain fatty acids cut the wart’s hold on your skin when the oil is massaged deep into the wart. To prep for this procedure, soak your foot in warm bath water, heat up the oil to a warm (not scalding!) temperature in the microwave, and dab, dab, dab the oil on with a Q-tip to your heart’s content!
When I set out to do this coconutty research and amateur experiments, candidly, I was looking for the wackiest uses and/or a secret coconut oil life hack. Much to my surprise, instead, I found fervent coco-mmunity, wild coco-nspiracy theories, and heated coco-ntroversial debates.
I really wanted to understand how the everyman and the everywoman were worshipping coconut oil. After posing “How do you use coconut oil?” to my Facebook and Instagram friends, I saw an overwhelming response I couldn’t have predicted. People got really riled up about coconut oil in ways I’ve never seen the same passion for olive oil, baby oil or even crude oil. I received NINETY comments on a Facebook post. I experienced a record-breaking number of direct Instagram messages. I was presented with an embroiled dissertation from a scientist friend who loathes this damn oil and followed along with her logic. After reading private message after private message of pleas and pardons and defenses from ardent coconut oil enthusiasts, I was able to deduce my final opinion on this divisive “miracle” oil.
Bottom line: coconut oil is A-OK in my humble, non-scientific opinion. I even say eat it if you want to! Placebo effect or not, it seems to have a mystical power that makes you feel better about your health, your inner AND outer beauty.
Here are some of the additionally suggested uses from my friends to you:
If you’re a CocoNut, here’s an anthem for you!
Due to my piqued curiosity, I can’t help but find myself still asking people about their coconut oil uses. I’m dying to know: what do YOU use coconut oil for?!
BY Ashley Paguyo El Shourbagy - September 6, 2017
Thank you for being here. For being open to enjoying life’s simple pleasures and looking inward to understand yourself, your neighbors, and your fellow humans! I’m looking forward to chatting with you.