Coconut oil has seen a huge increase in popularity over the last few years with studies showing potential health benefits that can strengthen the immune system, reduce inflammation, prevent heart disease and improve brain function. Refined or raw, few kitchen cabinets are without it. But what about the benefits of coconut oil for our skin, hair and nails?
Coconut oil is a highly saturated oil traditionally made by extracting the fat from raw coconuts or dried coconut kernels. It contains Vitamin E, essential amino acids and Lauric and Caprylic Acid – some of the core components used in many skin and makeup products today that can help to maintain your skin’s natural health. Now considered a beauty staple, the benefits are endless, so here are just a few of the ways that it can be incorporated into your skincare and beauty routines.
Keeping our skin hydrated acts as a powerful barrier against harmful bacteria, and coconut oil, rich in fatty acids, is amazing at repairing our skins natural barrier function. As an effective moisturiser, it absorbs quickly and lightly into the skin without feeling greasy. Used as a body moisturiser or a massage oil, it leaves your skin feeling soft and smooth. It can also be used to moisturise your face and works effectively as a natural primer to soften the skin before applying makeup, creating a dewy and radiant finish. Alternatively, use a coconut oil based night cream for maximum benefit with the essential antioxidants that smooth fine lines and wrinkles, and reduce dark circles under the eyes.
In the same way that coconut oil hydrates and softens our skin, it also acts as a concentrated moisturising conditioner for our hair, easily penetrating the strands and preventing protein loss. As a hair mask it’s particularly effective for deep conditioning to hydrate your hair and seal in the moisture. For dry scalps, use coconut oil as a night treatment, massaged deep into the roots and washed out the following morning with a gentle shampoo. Running a tiny amount of coconut oil through your hair can also tame any frizz, as well as adding shine to leave your hair looking smooth and polished. It can be quite heavy so if you are using the raw product a small amount will go a long way, particularly if you just want to add shine to dry hair.
Coconut oil can work wonders for our nails. Loaded with Vitamin E, and naturally antibacterial and antifungal, its nourishing and moisturising properties feed the nails and nail beds to add strength and protect against damage, preventing peeling skin and split nails. Massaging a small amount into dry and cracked cuticles is a great remedy to soften the skin around the nails, reduce inflammation and acts as a soothing balm for any sore redness.
Many natural makeup brands use coconut oil as a base ingredient in their products with its ability to hydrate, nourish, and rejuvenate your complexion. If you’re using the raw or refined oil, it’s particularly effective as a lip balm, soothing dry or chapped lips, softening the skin and acting as a barrier against environmental aggressors. You can even add your favourite lipstick to the oil and create a tinted lip gloss. Coconut oil is also an excellent way to wipe away makeup – even the toughest waterproof mascara! Massage a tiny amount into your complexion, allowing it to sink into the skin, gently wipe away and then rinse with warm water.
And finally – a coconut oil top tip – it makes an excellent makeup brush cleaner! Organic coconut oil is one of the best types of oil to use. Simply massage the oil into the brush head, rub with a soft, damp cloth until you see the grime begin to come away, rinse thoroughly with a gentle baby shampoo or just warm water and then leave to dry. Simple as that – quick, safe and inexpensive!
If you want to be homespun and creative, you can use any coconut oil, raw or refined, found in your own kitchen cupboard, but if you’re looking for a coconut oil based product I recommend Kopari Coconut Melt, described by Cult Beauty as the ‘Holy Grail of coconut oil’. Multi-tasking – it literally does everything – from body moisturiser and hair mask, to massage oil, lip balm, makeup remover and more!