This pantry staple has plenty of uses outside the kitchen.

By Priyanka Aribindi
Updated June 14, 2017
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I can’t help it—I'm absolutely obsessed with coconut oil. Of course it’s great for cooking, but there have certainly been times when I've emptied my jars without ever sautéing anything. Here, some of my favorite ways to use the multipurpose oil beyond the frying pan:

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Deep Conditioner.

There are plenty of haircare products that boast coconut oil as an ingredient nowadays, but my mom always skipped the fancy bottles and went straight to the source. She would massage warmed liquid coconut oil into my scalp twice a month before bedtime all throughout my childhood. Although I was annoyed to have to sleep with a towel around my head, boy did my hair grow fast. After washing the oil out with shampoo in the morning, I’d walk away with shiny, soft tresses, and no dandruff to be found.

Secret Ingredient in Boxed Cake Mix.

This is an easy way to make a cake that tastes 100 percent homemade—even when you’re using a boxed mix. Real Simplefood editor Grace Elkus discovered this by accident, but substituting melted coconut oil in for the vegetable oil that recipes normally call for resulted in a super-fluffy cake that strongly resembled a homemade version.

Eye Makeup Remover.

For anyone who’s walked around sporting the remnants of yesterday’s mascara, you know that some eye makeup can be notoriously difficult to remove. Instead of splurging on an extra product, try lightly dabbing liquid coconut oil onto your lower lid with a clean fingertip, and gently wiping the makeup residue away. It lifts away easily, and any remaining oil can be spread across your skin to act as a moisturizer. Voila—no raccoon eyes for you!

DIY Home Cleaning Products.

Whether you’re giving your countertops a light wipe down or need something more heavy-duty to remove stubborn sticky residue, coconut oil is a staple ingredient in two home cleaning mixes Melissa Maker of Clean My Space shared with Real Simple. When mixed with water, dish soap, rubbing alcohol, and the scented essential oil of your choice, it makes for a great solution to clean natural stone, and when paired with equal parts baking soda, it becomes a powerful Goo Gone alternative that’s all-natural.

Sunburn Salve.

Too much fun in the sun? Soothe burns by massaging a light layer of coconut oil to the affected areas. According to Dr. Joshua Zeichner, director of Cosmetic & Clinical Research in Dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital, coconut oil’s moisturizing and skin-calming properties have been shown to enhance wound healing, making it helpful for taming inflamed skin. As an added bonus, it also has antimicrobial properties, which may help prevent infections.