Everybody has that friend that lathers their entire body, head to toe, in coconut oil. They swear by it and hail it like a holy grail, routinely covering every inch of their hair and skin in it. Or maybe you are that friend and all of the recent controversy about the coconut oil hype is blasphemy to you.
Honestly, we’re with you. Our Annmarie team swears by coconut oil. It keeps your skin ultra-hydrated, irresistibly supple, and all-around radiant. Plus, it’s super affordable compared to other skincare products filled with chemicals and additives. So, we were a little shook when it came under fire and decided to do some investigating of own.
After years of using coconut oil as our be-all-end-all beauty best friend, there are new concerns that the natural oil may not be as great for our skin as we think it is. Since coconut oil is one of the most comedogenic oils the worry is that it will worsen acne in those that are acne-prone by clogging pores.
There is also a holistic stand-point that is concerned with the oil's dietary benefit since it is high in saturated fat which can lead to health complications (we’ll dive deeper later on).
After looking at the pros and cons, risks and benefits, do’s and don’ts, we believe we’ve got the full shakedown. In this blog, we’ll dive into all the recent concerns that have popped up around coconut oil, explain why we still love it and walk you through our favorite ways to use it.
Fears around coconut oil and why we’re not scared
The two biggest concerns when it comes to coconut oil are clogged pores causing breakouts and the saturated fat content when ingested. After doing our research we found that it’s true–if you are someone who is prone to acne, using coconut oil on your face may be a bit too much. Know your body. If you have oily skin, maybe avoid the face when applying coconut oil.
When we looked into the health risks of consuming coconut oil, we found it really isn’t as scary as you’d assume a product with high saturated fat to be. Although saturated fat raises your LDL or bad cholesterol, the high-fat content of the oil has also been seen to raise your HDL, which is the good cholesterol. On top of that coconut oil is packed with antioxidants and vitamins that have beneficial effects on our health. Overall coconut oil is seen to do more good for our bodies than bad.
What coconut oil should you use?
Whenever possible try to use pure, extra virgin raw coconut oil. Pure or virgin refers to the unrefined nature of the oil. And raw coconut oil goes through the minimum amount of processing with no applied heat during the extraction process, to guarantee no nutrients are lost. This form of virgin coconut oil is the most natural and we believe natural is always better for the body, whether you’re applying to your skin or consuming it.
As with all products made from nature, we believe organic is the best way to go to avoid added hormones, chemicals, or pesticides.
Benefits of coconut oil for the skin
It has so many essential nutrients
Our skin needs specific nutrients to maintain its brilliance. Just like you eat Omega-3 fatty acids to promote healthy brain function, there are key players in promoting healthy skin. Vitamin E, essential amino acids, and lauric and caprylic acid all play a big role in barrier functions for your skin cells. Guess what natural oil contains them all? That’s right–coconut oil. By feeding your skin these elements of cell function you can help maintain your skin’s natural flora.
The ultimate hydration for dry skin
The saturated fats everyone is scared of actually serve a purpose within the body. Coconut oil’s high saturated fats help your body retain moisture. When the barrier of your skin cells are optimally functioning they lock in moisture better, keeping your skin looking smooth and glowing.
Slows the look of aging
Not only does it keep your skin hydrated, but the antioxidants in coconut oil protect your skin from environmental stressors. The less damage to skin you have, the less fine lines and wrinkles will show up later in life.
When consumed internally, coconut oil also helps your body increase collagen production which is crucial in keeping your skin firm and elastic.
Helps prevent infection
When taken internally, coconut oil has antibacterial properties that will help your body fight off disease-causing bacteria and keep you out of bed during cold season.
Lighten the appearance of Dark Patches
The nourishing properties of coconut oil also help lighten the look of dark circles under your eyes or anywhere on the body where your skin has become patchy.
How to use coconut oil as part of a beauty regime
There are a million different ways to use coconut oil. It honestly feels like an injustice to try to list them all in an article, as there’s no way to hit EVERY single use. We’ve done our best though, and put together an extensive list of ways that we personally use coconut oil in our beauty routines.
As an all-natural makeup remover
The oil makes for a great base to remove all makeup, even tough to remove waterproof brands.
As a leave-in conditioner
Your hair can always use an intense hydration boost, especially if you’ve spent some time in the ocean or the pool. Make sure to fully slather the tips, since these dry out fastest. Wash out after leaving in for a minimum of 30 minutes; best case, leave it in overnight and sleep with a shower cap as to not spread the oil.
The antibacterial effects of coconut oil make it great for oral hygiene. It is thought to kill bacteria and whiten your teeth.
To effectively oil pull, put a tablespoon of coconut oil in your mouth and swish it around like mouthwash for a minute. Even if the oil has solidified during storage it will melt in your mouth and swish easily. After a minute, spit it into a paper towel and toss in the trash. Don’t wash it down the sink, because it may build up and clog your drain. Finish it off by rinsing your mouth with water.
Coconut Lip Balm
Talk about kissable, luscious lips. Using it as an ingredient in some at-home lip balm or using it on its own as a lip refresher will provide quick and intense hydration to your chapped lips.
Moisturizing Coconut Oil Face Masks
There are tons of variations of DIY face masks that incorporate the moisturizing power of coconut oil. Our favorite is this Honey, Green Tea Face Mask for radiant skin. Once again, I want to remind everyone with acne-prone skin to be weary of applying coconut oil directly to your face.
Create your own blend at home or use it by itself for full body hydration.
For face and body massage
Make sure your massages are effortless and relaxing by using coconut oil to glide through a therapeutic massage.
Find your favorite DIY body scrub with a base of coconut oil. Add in some whole grain brown sugar, coffee grinds, or oatmeal to get an exfoliating and hydrating experience.
Detox with a side of hydration by adding coconut oil and epsom salt to your next bath. Get creative and add essential oils for an aromatic treat.
As Cuticle Oil
Just like every other part of your body, you can use coconut oil to hydrate your nail beds and create stronger nails.
Get rid of that aluminum deodorant and make some coconut oil based DIY deo. Find a recipe with your favorite essential oils to keep you smelling rosy and feeling healthy.
Applying coconut oil directly to your skin keeps away all sorts of bugs and it’s WAY better for you than chemically-based bug sprays.
You don’t need to buy expensive gels or shaving creams filled with chemicals. Coconut oil is perfect for helping your razor glide without irritating the skin.
Reduces the look of stretch marks
Coconut oil doesn’t remove stretch marks, but it does enhance the overall appearance of your skin to make stretch marks less noticeable.
It seems like whenever I’m at a loss for solutions to beauty problems coconut oil is generally part of the answer. Whether its hair, nails, or skin coconut oil can hydrate, help, and hack any alignment or issue. The jury is in, coconut oil is still one of our favorite beauty secrets!.
Jessica is a writer & designer who captures the spirit of her generation. She approaches her craft with an anthropological mindset to find the perspective often unseen.
Jessica has studied the art of the written word & honed her craft over the last 8+ years.