Among the many uses for coconut oil, there are a few essential ones when it comes to skincare and beauty. With famous figures like Miranda Kerr and Gwyneth Paltrow swearing by coconut oil, you know that this is a trend you’ve got to buy into. We’ve rounded up a one-stop shop that will take you through your ultimate guide of everything you need to know about coconut oil and how it will work for you!
What type of coconut oil
There are three main types of coconut oil: refined, liquid, and unrefined.
Refined coconut oil often has no coconut smell and is heated and bleached. Typically, as its name suggests, it has been refined, and so the key nutrients are stripped away in the process. Similarly, many people ask about liquid oil, which is often promoted as “coconut oil that stays as liquid even in the refrigerator”. This is actually fractionated coconut oil with the lauric acid removed, and as a result doesn’t contain the key beneficial properties of unrefined coconut oil but is higher in brain-boosting fats. These are great if you’re on a budget as they’re cheaper, but if you’re not one to compromise on quality, then unrefined oil is what you’re looking for. Here’s why:
Unrefined (virgin) oil is extracted from fresh coconut meat using a process (either quick-dry or wet-milling) that keeps the naturally occurring phytonutrients and polyphenols intact.
Quick-dry allows the oil to be pressed out mechanically without squeezing out the essential nutrients your skin craves.
Wet-milling processes the coconut meat into coconut milk, which is then separated from the oil through fermentation (with or without heat). The fermented wet-mill process carried out with heat is said to produce the best form of coconut oil, containing the highest amount of antioxidants.
Unrefined, raw coconut oil (aka what you see in stores as ‘extra-virgin’ or ‘virgin’ coconut oil) is made from the first pressing of fresh, raw coconut without the addition of any chemicals. This gives it its mild coconut flavor and scent, and is more superior to refined coconut oil.
The best part is that virgin coconut oil can last as long as three years before going bad – almost double the shelf life of refined coconut oil!
KEY TIP: Try not to scrimp on the quality of coconut oil that you use. Better quality coconut oils truly give better results - a great win-win in the long term!
Why coconut oil works
The biggest benefits of coconut oil are that:
It has been scientifically proven to contain molecules that moisturise your skin.
It is also anti-inflammatory.
Coconut oil contains lauric acid, which reduces candida and fights bacteria. These fatty acids also help to boost the skin’s overall immunity.
Coconut oil also contains saturated fats that help the skin stay moisturised, whilst preventing moisture loss through the skin’s pores. These are the medium chain fatty acids or triglycerides. They keep the skin smooth and hydrated while eliminating moisture loss.
And finally, coconut oil contains a healthy amount of vitamin E, which provides excellent antioxidant (and there’s the long list of benefits we all know about, including neutralising free radicals which damage cell membranes) and skin-nourishing properties - who doesn’t want well-nourished skin?
Knowing that coconut oil is packed with all these wonderful nutrients, you probably can’t wait to get some of this goodness into your hair and onto your skin.
A complete list: Coconut Oil for the skin
Lather on the coconut oil and spread it generously over your skin. It’ll leave your skin feeling delightfully soft and supple! This body scrub acts as a 2-in-1, both exfoliating and moisturising at the same time. Add essential oils, honey, and oatmeal for the best results. Here’s how:
What You Need
- ½ cup coconut oil (unrefined, of course)
- ½ cup organic honey
- 1 cup oatmeal
- 2-3 drops of essential oils (I like using lavender)
- 1 jar
How To Use It
- Mix until well-blended
- Leave on for 5-10 minutes until it dries
- Rinse off as usual
- Use 2-3 times a week
IN A CREAM CLEANSER
The best thing about coconut oil is how thoroughly it cleanses without stripping moisture; ultimately leaving the skin hydrated. It’s always a good idea to use a cleanser that has coconut oil. A good dose of coconut oil removes all traces of make-up, leaving the skin feeling luxuriously soft, plumped and fresh.
You can warm the oil in your hands first by rubbing your hands together
Gently massage onto your face in circular strokes
For even better results, try adding tea tree oil, lavender oil, jojoba oil, or geranium oil (all you need is 1-3 drops per teaspoon of coconut oil and mix well!)
If the moisturising benefits of coconut oil weren’t already apparent enough, we’ll reiterate them again. A great use of coconut oil is as a moisturiser or facial mask. Spread it all over your face and leave on for about 20mins or till it feels dry. For the best experience, try this super soothing and yummy mix with aloe vera.
Aloe vera gel
Spread all over and leave on for about 20mins
Use 1-2 times a week!
You’d be surprised the number of times I’ve heard people tell me they were scared of applying oils or moisturisers to their skin for fear that it becomes oilier. If anything, acne prone skin is a reflection that your skin is too dry and is producing excessive sebum to keep the skin moisturised. What you need, is a good dose of hydration. Treating oily skin with oil is really effective in telling the skin to stop producing so much oil. Use spot treatment by applying coconut oil directly to your acne, and watch them fade away in a matter of days!
How To Use It
Apply daily and use consistently
If puffy eyes or heavy eyebags is an area of concern for you, use coconut oil as an eye cream. It has qualities that are incredibly moisturising and yet gentle enough to use around the eye. Apply it at night before you sleep for visible results in the morning.
Perhaps surprisingly, coconut oil does have sun-protection properties, offering an SPF 4-8. While we wouldn’t recommend relying on it alone, an extra boost of protection is always a good thing. And if you’ve experienced some sunburn in spite of your best efforts, applying coconut oil immediately afterward can help to reduce the damage!
One of coconut oil’s best-kept secrets is its use as a make-up remover. It’s hydrating, quick, and easy to use. Even if the oil gets into your eyes, it may sting but it’s 100% safe. In fact, the oil is also used in many herbal preparations for eye diseases.
Another great use of coconut oil is as a massage oil. Because of its antistress and antioxidant effects, it is incredibly calming. Keep some with you on board a long flight and you’ll thank me for it later. Try it with some yoga asanas you can do on a plane!
It’s calming, soothing, and the best thing you can ask for after a long, weary day. Simply add 4-5 tablespoons to a hot tub, and you’ll leave the bath feeling refreshed, and with super smooth skin.
How much is enough?
As with everything, moderation is key. At Linda Meredith, we don’t believe in skin types. We believe that you’ll find what works for you by responding to what your skin is telling you. So, now that you’ve read about coconut oil and its benefits, give it a go and let us know what works for you and share your skincare experiences with us here!
Have we missed anything? Let us know what’s on your list of Coconut Oil hacks and what your favourite uses of Coconut Oil are!