There are plenty of beauty products that claim to do it all, but the real champion multi-tasker of the beauty world isn’t in the makeup aisle; it’s in the grocery store. Coconut oil has become more than just a beauty trend. For some, it’s the only product they’ll ever need. Even supermodels like Candice Swanepoel swear by the all-natural oil for glowing and radiant skin from head to toe.
But not all coconut oils are created equal. You’ll want to look for unrefined (sometimes called virgin) oil, and go organic if you can. This variety has the most health benefits, and is less likely to clog pores when applied to your skin. Typically, a jar costs about $10 to $15 and can be found in just about any grocery store. If you’re not ready to dive into using the fresh stuff quite yet, there are tons of beauty products on the market that incorporate coconut oil in some way or another. Here are some great ways to use coconut oil (and product alternatives) to ditch the dryness brought on by the cooler months.
1. Deep conditioner
Coconut oil has been used as an all-natural hair conditioner for thousands of years. If your hair is lacking moisture and shine from the cold winter air, apply a small amount of oil to unwashed dry hair, wrap it up in a towel and sleep on it. The next morning, hop into the shower and wash it all out. You’ll want to use a good shampoo to remove any residue and follow up with your favorite conditioner. Another option is the Palmers Coconut Oil Formula Repairing Conditioner ($6.04 at iHerb) if you want all the same benefits, but with the convenience of a tube.
2. Body moisturizer
For skin that needs some serious moisture, apply a thick layer of coconut oil before bed. For best results, let it soak in a bit before hopping into bed—that way, your skin will be absorbing the moisture, not your bed sheets. Let the rest work its magic on your dry skin overnight—no need to wash it off in the morning. You’ll wake up with soft, glowing skin and smell like you spent the night on a tropical vacation. For a similar effect, you can try The Body Shop’s Coconut Body Butter ($21). It isn’t as natural, but it will still get the job done.
3. Exfoliating scrub
The next time you’re in the mood for a little DIY project, try a coconut oil scrub. There are tons of recipes out there, but this one is great because you only need two ingredients. All you have to do is mix coconut oil with a little bit of sugar for a yummy scrub that you’ll be tempted to eat.
Related: How to DIY Your Skin Care Routine
4. Makeup remover
Since most makeup is oil-based, coconut oil can easily tackle even the most stubborn cheek stains. Simply massage a small amount all over your face and wipe away with a warm washcloth. Even the trickiest waterproof eyeliner won’t stand a chance! This recipe and step-by-step guide from The Beauty Department is the perfect introduction.
5. Facial cleanser
Because coconut oil can pretty much do it all, some of its biggest fans have begun ditching their traditional cleansing routines and reaching for the oil instead. It’s antibacterial, so you’re still getting clean without losing the good moisture that your skin needs. Also, it doesn’t contain any harsh chemicals that might be lurking in your current routine. To use as a cleanser, take a small amount of oil and massage it into dry skin for about thirty seconds. Then, take a warm washcloth and wipe away all the oil. If you’ve got on any makeup, repeat a second time to make sure skin is thoroughly clean.
6. Shaving cream
If you suffer from razor burn or any type of irritation post-shaving, it might be time to switch up your routine. Coconut oil protects your skin from the razor while providing tons of moisture. The result? Fewer cuts and less irritation. It’s easiest to lather your legs with a small amount of oil before you get into the shower and shave right away. You can also try Alba Botanica’s Coconut Lime Shaving Cream ($4.99), which contains coconut oil and will leave you smelling like a cocktail.
7. Frizz tamer
Coconut oil is a great conditioner, but using it post-shower will step up the shine even more. Warning: a little goes a long way, because it can make hair look greasy if you use too much. A dime-sized amount through the ends of your hair will seal in moisture and shine and prevent frizz (especially if you heat-style). A great drugstore alternative is OGX’s coconut oil based Weightless Hydrating Mist ($7.99). This spray will deliver the same moisture, but won’t weigh your hair down—perfect for any collegiette with fine or oil-prone hair.
8. Breakout treatment
It might seem counter-productive to treat a pimple (or oily skin in general) with oil; However, coconut oil has antibacterial properties and won’t clog pores, so it fights any nasty blemish bacteria without drying out your skin. All you have to do is cover the spot with coconut oil, and not pick at it! We recommend covering it with a Band-Aid at night to protect the oil from rubbing off and really help it sink in.
9. Lip balm
We’ve established that coconut oil is the master of all moisturizers, so using it as a lip balm is really a no-brainer. It’ll make lips soft and supple, but gives a nice shine in the process; like a lip balm and gloss all in one. The coconut flavor is also a plus, so your lips will taste like an Almond Joy candy bar all day long. For something a little more travel-friendly, 100% Pure makes a great lip balm that’s easy to throw in your bag and go. It’s coconut oil-based, but comes in different flavors, like cherry and mint.
10. First aid and scar removal
The same antibacterial properties that clear breakouts can heal paper cuts in a flash, too. Coconut oil is a natural scar treatment and a good alternative to the harsh chemicals that are found in most skin-lightening treatments. Just as if you had a blemish, simply massage the oil into the area of concern and let it do the rest. You can use a Band-Aid to protect the product from wiping off.
Each of these options is an easy way to sneak coconut oil into your beauty routine, but this miracle product’s uses don’t stop here. There are literally hundreds of different functions for this magical little oil. If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, you can even try it out as an all-natural toothpaste alternative, or give oil pulling a whirl.