8 Uses For Coconut Oil In Your Beauty Routine
If you look at the back of many clean beauty products you will find coconut oil as a key ingredient. What I’ve found is that a lot of times ingredients like coconut oil or aloe vera are great all by themselves without all the extra fillers. Pure organic coconut oil is free from parabens, phthalates, sulfates or other harmful ingredients that you might find in conventional self-care products that simply “contain” coconut oil.
The reason coconut oil is used so much in self-care products is because of the many skin benefits and its ability to heal and improve skin disorders like eczema, dandruff, dermatitis, and psoriasis. Coconut oil is also antimicrobial and antifungal so it protects you from skin imbalances such as fungal infections like candida. The fatty acids (caprylic and lauric) in coconut oil reduce inflammation internally and externally. Coconut oil is also great as a moisturizer for dry cracked skin. It can be used for numerous beauty or self-care purposes. For example, many use it as a face cleanser, moisturizer, massage oil, lubricant, and sunscreen. Beauty experts also know that coconut oil is a powerful antioxidant which means it’s a great tool for anti-aging.
Here are my top 8 uses for coconut oil in my beauty routine:
- Hair Mask: Once melted, I place a tablespoon amount of oil in my hair beginning at the roots and pulling it down to the tips. I leave this mask on for a day of lounging around the house or you can sleep with it on, just be sure to cover your pillow with a towel. You don’t have to get your hair wet for the mask to work. Typically getting your hair wet with warm water to open the follicles is necessary for hair masking but the lauric acid in coconut oil has a low molecular weight, it allows the oil to actually penetrate the hair shaft, nourishing the hair with vitamins, minerals, and the medium-chain fatty acids. If I don’t want a deep mask I’ll simply apply it to my scalp and all of my hair once my hair is wet. I then wash and condition as usual. I’ll use the same method while taking a bath so the oil has longer to sit on my hair. I’ll then either leave it on for a sleeping mask or wash off after the bath. Either way masking with coconut oil is easy and inexpensive.
- Eye Makeup Remover: I use a small amount of coconut oil on my eyes to remove eye makeup. I apply a pea-sized amount to my lash and upper lid. Once I reach maximum raccoon status, I then wipe the eye makeup off with a tissue and reapply a small amount of coconut oil under the eye to draw any extra makeup away from my lower lash. You can use this technique daily and benefit from the lash conditioning effects we discussed for the hair masking and the anti-aging effects on your delicate eye area. When you’re ready to reapply makeup you’ll want to make sure you’ve removed all the coconut oil from the entire eye area including the lashes. If you don’t you’ll end up with flaky lashes, raccoon eyes, and creases in eyeshadow.
- Oil Pulling: Oil pulling is an ayurvedic practice that dates back over 3,000 years. Recent studies show that oil pulling helps against gingivitis, plaque, and microorganisms. Another study found that coconut oil may help prevent tooth decay. I use coconut oil instead of the other pulling oils simply for the antimicrobial benefit. Pulling out the bad bacteria is the goal so why not use the best oil for that purpose. Simply add a small amount of oil (just under the amount of mouth wash you might use) and swish it back and forth gently and suck it through your teeth. I do this practice for 10-20 minutes. The longer you swish with oil the more you will pull out of your system. I then spit it out into the toilet once I’m done. By swishing the oil in your mouth, the oil denatures the bacteria and sticks to it. Removing oral bacteria greatly reduces your risk of periodontal disease. I recommend coconut oil pulling three times a week for 20 minutes a day. When I started this practice, I could only do it for 5-7 minutes but then I developed a better understanding of how to do it with ease by making it a habit in my morning routine that worked for me. One tip is to do it while you’re doing something else, either catching up on emails, applying a morning mask, doing your gua-sha or making my morning drink or prepping lunch for the family. The key to oil pulling is doing it on an empty stomach and also ONLY doing it if you don’t have metals in your mouth. If you have old amalgam fillings in your teeth DO NOT oil pull. Pulling oil through metals releases metals into your mouth. Holistic dentists swear by it but there’s not enough information out there to help people understand why you don’t want to pull with metal fillings or caps in your mouth. The best thing to do when adding a new health regimen is to check with your health professional or dentist. Since oil pulling is becoming more mainstream it’s likely your dentists will have an opinion but if they’re not on board, consider a second opinion- science and ancient wisdom and practical application don’t always align.
- Moisturizer: During the winter months coconut oil keeps the bottom of my feet, elbows, knees and other dry spots from cracking or becoming course. You can use it in the way you’d use a balm since in the winter months coconut oil become hard and easy to use for this purpose.
- Shaving Balm: When it’s time for bikini season or short skirts I only use coconut oil for shaving. You can simply swap what you normally use for coconut oil. Keep in mind you don’t need much for shaving your legs so start light and add as you need to.
- DIY Scrubs: I love to make body and facial scrubs with coconut oil. You can add ingredients like ground coffee or sea salt, or Epsom salt to coconut oil and you’ll be set. This is my exact recipe for facial scrubs: 2 tablespoons organic coconut oil, 2 teaspoons organic raw honey, 4 tablespoons coffee grounds, 8 drops carrot seed oil (or neroli), 6 drops tea tree oil. This combination is anti-aging and anti-acne. It’s a great once a week treatment to get all the dead skin off.
- Beauty Bathing: I love to take baths! It’s one of my favorite self-care rituals. My bath recipe is 1 tablespoon organic coconut oil, 2 cups Epsom salt, 1/2 cup organic apple cider vinegar, 6-8 drops of my favorite essential oils. All the benefits of coconut oil in a warm bath will leave your skin feeling smooth and silky. The apple cider vinegar will balance your PH levels, whereas the Epsom salt will help balance your magnesium levels and aid in muscle recovery, and the essential oils will add an additional health benefit depending on which one you choose and provide some aromatherapy while you soak.
- Lip Balm or Scrub: Using the same ingredients for the body scrubs, I make a lip scrub to help exfoliate my lips. I also use coconut oil on my lips to help keep them moisturized. It’s a great after sun treatment for my lips and I use it to remove lip stains or lip liners as well.
If you aren’t already using coconut oil in the kitchen for cooking, learn what the benefits and uses are here.
My favorite brand of coconut oil is Nutiva but they did not sponsor this post. You can find their products at Thrive Market or at your local health food store. The reason I choose Nutiva is for the quality of their sourcing, processing and what the company stands for and it happens to be the best tasting coconut oil out there. But, as long as you’re choosing certified organic coconut oil you’re in good standing to use this for any of my recommended beauty uses.