How To Integrate Coconut Oil Into Your Beauty Routine

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Coconut oil is a product that should be in every household — whether in the kitchen or the beauty cabinet, or both. Seriously, this miracle oil has so many uses, and on top of that, it smells and tastes great. According to clinical and culinary dietitian Huma Chaudry, R.D., coconut oil is packed with vitamins E and K, antioxidants, and polyphenols — all of which are great for your body (via MbgHealth). 


And while coconut oil does have a high saturated fat content, prompting dieticians to recommend you don't eat it too often, there are luckily no limits to using it when it comes to your daily beauty routine. From your skin to your hair, coconut oil is truly a do-it-all product that can substitute plenty of your everyday beauty go-to's. Don't have lip balm? Use coconut oil! Did you run out of deodorant? Use coconut oil! You can't find your highlighter? Use coconut oil! 

If you're curious about more ways to incorporate coconut oil into your beauty routine, we've gathered a bunch of great, expert-approved tips and tricks.

Use it as a body moisturizer

If you constantly switch between different body moisturizers trying to find the one that hydrates the best, consider giving coconut oil a try. "You can use it as a moisturizer for the body because it's rich in fatty acids and has both antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties," board-certified dermatologist Joyce Park, M.D., tells Allure.


Besides the fact that coconut oil will hydrate your skin and make it silky smooth, it also provides "good barrier control and helps us hold on to our own moisture," according to board-certified dermatologist Robert Finney, M.D. (via Allure). "Which is great because it helps both treat and prevent dryness," he adds.

However, as with any new product you might want to introduce into your skincare routine, make sure you do a test patch first. "I advise my patients to use organic virgin coconut oil that hasn't been mixed with other oils," dermatologist Marnie Nussbaum, M.D., tells Oprah Daily. "Try it on a test spot to see how your skin reacts and then slowly incorporate [it] into your skin care regimen."


Use it to condition your hair overnight

Besides being great for the skin on your body, coconut oil is excellent for your hair too. You can use it "to either condition with or leave in to help repair the damage that occurs to your hair shafts from coloring, heat, and the sun," board-certified dermatologist Robert Finney, M.D., tells Allure.


It also works wonderfully as an overnight treatment. "The best time to use coconut oil is at night, and it works best on dry hair," hair salon owner Nunzio Saviano tells Byrdie. "I recommend warming the coconut oil, so it becomes liquified and rubbing it in your hands to lather on the ends of your hair. You want the coconut oil to be warm (not hot) to open the hair cuticles, which allows the molecules to penetrate the hair."

In the morning, use a gentle purifying shampoo to wash the coconut oil out. Keep in mind that a double shampooing may be necessary to ensure no oily residue is left behind. While you can still use conditioner, if you wish, your hair will be so soft that it likely won't be necessary. Even though this treatment can do wonders for your hair, don't overdo it; one or twice per week is enough for the best results.


Use it for shaving

Since using coconut oil on your skin has numerous benefits, it's also a great choice for shaving. Instead of shaving cream, lather a thick layer of coconut oil on your legs, your underarms, or your bikini area; it is safe to use almost everywhere. Per Healthline, coconut oil acts as an antioxidant and antibacterial protectant which is beneficial in case you end up accidentally cutting yourself. Apart from that, the oil is known to reduce skin inflammation and help repair the skin barrier, which means you shouldn't experience much redness after shaving.


While coconut oil is safe to use on any body areas that you might want to shave, make sure you always apply it to clean skin. Once you're done shaving, gently rinse the area with water and apply another thin layer of the oil to soothe the skin. You'll notice that the freshly shaven area will remain silky soft for hours — something that no shaving cream can achieve.

Use it for oil pulling

Because coconut oil is edible, it's also a common choice for oil pulling. The Ayurvedic (traditional medicine) oral hygiene practice comes from India and involves swishing coconut oil around in your mouth for up to 20 minutes to remove bacteria, according to Healthline


While not many Western studies have been done on oil pulling, some dentists believe the method can be beneficial. "Typical mouthwashes freshen breath for a limited amount of time," celebrity dentist Marc Lowenberg tells Allure. "The whole concept of oil pulling is different. The bacteria in your mouth give off toxins called sulfides, and what oil pulling is doing is absorbing those toxins into the oil. If it does that, the effects will last longer than a traditional mouthwash."

Apart from improved oral health, Lowenberg claims that oil pulling can potentially help treat ailments caused by inflammation, including arthritis, eczema, and migraines.

Use it to calm eczema and psoriasis flare-ups

While coconut oil is great for everyone, it is particularly beneficial for those with certain skin issues. "Given its ability to help the skin barrier and seal moisture in, it's great for those with sensitive skin and eczema," board-certified dermatologist Robert Finney, M.D., tells Allure. In the case of eczema, while the oil is not a cure-all, it is effective at alleviating the most irritating symptoms of the disorder, such as itching and dryness. In fact, a study published in the "International Journal of Dermatology" found that coconut soothes eczema symptoms better than mineral oil (via National Library of Medicine).


Those with psoriasis can also use coconut oil to seal in moisture on their dry, itchy, inflamed patches of skin. It can even be used on the scalp to make psoriasis scales easier to loosen and remove (via Everyday Health). Just apply a tiny amount of oil to any inflamed areas and gently rub it in.

Use it to make a DIY body scrub

If you like making DIY scrubs (or if you want to attempt making one for the first time), you should definitely include coconut oil in it. Per Luxy, you can combine a tablespoon of coconut oil and a tablespoon of ground coffee, mix it thoroughly and use it to exfoliate your body. 


For a sweeter option, Perry's Plate suggests you combine 2 cups of brown sugar with 1 cup of coconut oil, plus a couple of drops of your favorite essential oil.

Regardless of what you end up using for the grainy part of the scrub, the coconut oil will help nourish the skin while it's getting exfoliated. However, ensure to only exfoliate your body 2-3 times per week, as overdoing it will do more harm than good. "As much as exfoliating is good for our skin, over-exfoliating — either by doing it too often or by using an exfoliant that's too harsh or doesn't agree with our skin — can lead to adverse reactions such as redness, peeling, and flaking," consultant dermatologist Rachael Burns tells Byrdie.


Use it to help eliminate dandruff

Apart from using coconut oil on your hair as a hair conditioning treatment, you can also safely use it on your scalp — especially if you have dandruff. "Being anti-inflammatory and antimicrobial, coconut oil can be useful for seborrheic dermatitis, a.k.a. dandruff," board-certified dermatologist Adam Friedman, M.D., tells Allure.


Per Coco & Eve, coconut oil is such a great remedy because it contains lauric, oleic, and caprylic acid, all of which are known to help with scalp dryness and dandruff.

Healthline suggests using coconut oil instead of your shampoo by warming it up with some water in your hands and then lathering it directly onto your scalp. After a couple of minutes, you can rinse it out. If you have oily hair, you can always do an additional rinse with a gentle clarifying shampoo. As always, ensure you do a test spot by applying a tiny bit of coconut oil to only a small area of your scalp. If you experience any irritation or itchiness, rinse it out and don't reapply.

Use it as a gentle makeup remover

Another part of your beauty routine that could benefit from coconut oil is face cleansing. "Coconut oil is a great makeup remover because it breaks down lipid-soluble impurities like makeup, as well as sebum, which is responsible for oily skin," board-certified dermatologist Joyce Park, M.D., reveals to Allure. "If you wear a lot of makeup or have more of an oily skin type, you can use coconut oil as an initial cleanse, but then you have to follow that up with a gentle water-based wash for a more complete cleanse after."


Per Healthline, oil cleansing is a great way to remove blackheads and whiteheads, and get rid of flakiness, makeup, and pollutants. To clean your face, take 1 teaspoon of coconut oil, warm it up on your hands and then rub it all over your face, focusing on areas with a lot of makeup and any spots with clogged pores. After a minute or two of rubbing, remove the oil with a damp cloth and use your regular cleanser to remove any oily residue properly.

Use it as a moisturizing hand cream

If you're someone who suffers from dry or itchy hands, especially during cold winter months, coconut oil can help you. "I keep a jar of organic extra virgin coconut oil by the kitchen sink and put a little on after washing my hands to keep them soft and moist," says Dr. Tieraona Low Dog, M.D., tells Prevention.


Code 8 suggests that you can even use coconut oil as a hand mask. To do so, rub a teaspoon of it on your hands, focusing on your cuticles and any dry patches. Then take a towel and wrap each hand in it. If you have cotton gloves, you can use those instead. While you should let it soak into your skin for at least five minutes, you can totally leave it on for longer, as this beauty treatment is perfect for a spa night combined with binging your favorite show. Once you remove the towel, don't wash your hands — just wipe them clean if any residue is left.

Use it to reduce the appearance of fine lines

While you may have known that coconut oil can moisturize your skin, chances are you had no idea that it could help with wrinkles. According to experts, regular use of coconut oil can help with fine lines. "When absorbed into your skin and connective tissues, coconut oil helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles by helping to keep your connective tissues strong and supple," skincare expert Danielle Conte tells Byrdie.


Of course, as with any anti-aging beauty treatment, don't expect results overnight. Consistency is key, and we recommend using coconut oil on any wrinkle-prone areas at night, as it can look greasy on the skin. A pro tip is to apply your nighttime routine (including the coconut oil) as soon as you're done with your day — there's no need to wait for bedtime. Instead, if you clean your face and apply all your products at 7 p.m. or 8 p.m., they will have plenty of time to absorb fully and won't just end up on your pillowcase.

Use it as a highlighter

Apart from using coconut oil as a skincare product, you can also use it as makeup. In particular, it is an excellent choice for accentuating parts of your face. You can use coconut oil instead of highlighter on your cheeks, instead of lipgloss on your lips, or you can even dab a thin layer of it on your eyelids for that wet eyeshadow look.


In fact, per Sarah Scoop, many highlighter products use coconut oil as a base. While the oil will give you a gorgeous sheen on its own, if you want to go the extra mile, mix a bit of pearly eyeshadow with the oil before you dab it on the high points of your cheeks. This way, you can also customize your highlighter based on which shades you prefer and how sparkly you like it. Brit + Co recommended using coconut oil under your highlighter if you want an even dewier look.

Use it to help with acne

Even though many people are afraid of putting an oil on their acne-prone skin, experts claim that coconut oil can actually calm down the skin and reduce acne. "Coconut oil may be useful in treating acne-prone skin because it has high levels of skin-soothing linoleic acid — something that's deficient in the skin of people with acne," Joshua Zeichner, M.D., a dermatologist and director of cosmetic and clinical research in dermatology at Mount Sinai Hospital, tells Cosmopolitan. "It also contains lauric acid, which is thought to be antimicrobial, so it may lower levels of acne-causing bacteria on the skin and reduce inflammation."


However, even though it might work for some, others can still break out from coconut oil — especially if they are prone to breaking out from heavier skincare products. "Everyone is different," Dr. Zeichner adds. "If you prefer a natural face oil, you can certainly try coconut oil on your skin, but if it ends up breaking you out, you'll know it's too heavy for you."

Use it as a lip balm

We already mentioned that you could use a little coconut oil on your lips instead of lipgloss, but the truth is that coconut oil is nourishing enough to work as a lip balm too. "Coconut oil's make-up of fats helps replenish lost or missing components that lead to dry, cracked lip skin," board-certified dermatologist Adam Friedman, M.D., tells Allure. "It creates a thin but effective barrier that keeps water in and irritants out."


Per Healthline, you can use coconut oil as a lip balm during the day, but you can up the intensity of its benefits by using it as a lip treatment at night. To do this, mix equal parts of honey and coconut oil to form a thick paste, and then let it sit on your lips overnight. In the morning, wipe it off, and you'll be surprised how soft your lips will feel.

Use it in place of deodorant

Another recommended way to how you should be using coconut oil is one that you probably haven't heard of. If you're on the lookout for more natural ways to eliminate bad body odor, give this magical oil a chance as a deodorant. "Given that bacteria is a cause of odor, the inherent antimicrobial properties of coconut can help cut down on odor — not to mention, most people love the smell of coconuts, so this is a great alternative to deodorant to try," board-certified dermatologist Robert Finney, M.D., tells Allure.


However, keep in mind that coconut oil will melt once it warms up from your body heat, so only apply a tiny bit of it at a time. And as with any natural substitutes for deodorant, don't expect a miracle. Coconut oil can help minimize some of the odor, but if it's summertime and you're running errands, chances are you will still notice some smell by the end of the day (and that is totally okay).