Let me introduce you to my new secret weapon: Coconut oil!
I know, I know, am I the last person to discover just how amazing this stuff really is?
While coconut oil is most commonly considered a cooking oil (it’s great for baking too!), it’s also long been hailed for its moisturizing benefits for the skin and hair. I’ve just recently started using it for my super dry skin and I can’t say enough good things. It feels heavenly and the light coconut scent makes me feel like I’m hanging out at a tropical beach.
It’s particularly beneficial for pregnant women. I have been religiously rubbing it over my ever-growing belly to prevent stretch marks (and help the old ones). At 30 weeks pregnant, I can say for sure that using coconut oil for stretch marks is effective! It also helps relieve some of that itching as the skin stretches.
Coconut oil for stretch marks and more beauty benefits:
Reduce stretch marks
Rub coconut oil onto your belly (or legs or whatever) to reduce and prevent stretch marks. As mentioned, it also helps cut back on that itching—which can be a pesky pregnancy side effect!
You can use coconut oil as a stand-alone moisturizer (it’s all-natural too), or you can add it to your existing moisturizer for a boost of hydration. It works effectively on all types of skin, including my super dry skin. It may even help delay wrinkles and skin sagging thanks to its potential firming effects.
Coconut oil has long been used as an all-natural treatment for chronic skin conditions such as psoriasis, dermatitis and eczema. Apply a small dab on the effective area once or twice daily and you’ll likely see some positive results.
Coconut oil also helps prevent premature aging and degenerative diseases due to its antioxidant properties.
Coconut oil functions by locking in moisture by lubricating and nourishing the hair shaft. Coconut oil has not been shown to directly stimulate hair growth. However, coconut oil has been shown to improve the overall appearance, health and durability of the hair shaft. Improving the texture of the hair and prevent thermal damage to the hair may indirectly help with hair thinning and hair loss.
Thermal damage may leave the hair feeling brittle, frizzy and often may contribute to breakage of the hair shaft (termed as “trichorrhexis nodosa”) may contribute to hair thinning and hair loss. Applying coconut oil, an occlusive moisturizer, is a preventative way to minimize hair breakage.
9 Beauty Uses for Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is one of the most versatile natural beauty products. The scent is relaxing like a day at the beach, and the healing properties in coconut oil soothe and repair skin. The fats in coconut oil moisturize while its lauric acid protects and softens skin. It’s also an antiseptic and helps maintain a healthy pH level in the skin.
I find myself dipping into the coconut oil jar for everything from dry hands to curling iron burns. If you’re new to natural beauty, then coconut oil is where I would recommend starting. Get yourself a big jar and try some of our favorite do-it-yourself beauty uses for coconut oil.
1. Whipped body lotion
Slather coconut oil all over your body (including your face—don’t be shy!) right after your shower. It is best absorbed if the skin is still slightly wet. I keep the jar on the bathroom counter so the heat from the shower helps soften and melt the oil. But, hey, if you forget to slather right after your shower, just apply when your remember—you’ll still see some impressive moisturizing benefits.
Okay, yes, you can just dip your hand in the coconut oil jar, but if that’s not appealing, try whipping it. Whipped coconut oil alone (or combined with shea butter) creates such a luxurious buttery texture. It’s great for improving the tone and texture of skin bummers like stretch marks and scars.
- 1/2 cup shea butter
- 1/4 coconut oil
- Using a double broiler over low heat, melt the shea butter and coconut oil together.
- Refrigerate mixture for about an hour to cool.
- Beat the ingredients for 5-7 minutes with a hand mixer, or until the mixture becomes fluffy. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl, as needed.
- Transfer the body butter to a glass container with a lid. Should last at least 6 months.
2. Softening Detox Bath
Add a big scoop of coconut oil with about two cups Epsom salt to create a warm detox bath. It’s like using a moisturizing body wash – the oil coats and hydrates your skin. This nicely counters the drying effect of soaking in hot, salty water. You can apply more oil when you get out and go to bed all warm and oily.
3. Shaving cream
Rub coconut oil (by itself or combined with aloe vera) on your legs in the shower for an antibacterial shaving cream that helps prevent nicks and razor burn. You’ll be shocked how soft your legs feel – they’ll be moisturized, silky and gorgeous for days!
4. Conditioning Hair Mask
Implementing coconut oil into your normal hair care routine may also be helpful for the treatment of dry, itchy scalp. When using coconut oil for management of dry scalp is gently massaging the coconut oil on the scalp directly (think of it as a scalp medicine rather than for the hair). Typically, we recommend applying a thin layer or pea-sized amount of coconut oil after you shower and resume your normal hair care routine.
For the treatment of dry, frizzy or brittle hair, massaging the coconut oil to the hair away from the roots (start closer to the ends) is a helpful trick to avoid a greasy scalp at bedtime. You can also use coconut oil as a hair “mask.” In the morning, you will be pleased to wake up to smooth, shiny hair.
An easy coconut oil hair mask recipe: Mix two tablespoons oil with one tablespoon honey and heat in the microwave for a few seconds until warm enough to spread easily. Massage the mixture onto your scalp, or rub it into the dry ends of your hair to take down frizz and split ends. Then cover with a shower cap for 30 minutes to an hour. Rinse and wash hair well, and enjoy gorgeously soft, shiny hair.
5. Body scrub
Combine 1/2 cup coconut oil and 1/2 cup coffee grounds and firmly massage into your thighs and booty to increase circulation and reduce the appearance of cellulite.
An easy way to always have a scrub on hand? Whip up some Coffee-Coconut Oil Scrub Cubes (one of our most popular beauty DIYs!). To enhance the benefits of coconut oil on stretch marks and cellulite, pair it with a dry-brushing routine.
6. Lip Scrub + Lip Gloss
Mix a tablespoon of coconut oil with a teaspoon sugar for a quick, easy and edible lip scrub. Apply a small dime sized amount of coconut oil to dry lips for quick shine. Or use coconut oil in a DIY lip balm recipe.
7. Cuticle oil
Use coconut oil to soften your hands and rough feet. Massage it into nail beds for a simple cuticle cream that also helps improve nail strength. Rub on hands for a natural moisturizer that helps reduce fine lines and age spots.
8. Makeup remover
Dab a cotton pad with coconut oil for a chemical-free eye makeup remover that also moisturizes the thin skin around eyes. Gently wipe over eye area – it works great on stubborn waterproof mascara and eye shadow.
9. Massage oil
If the smell alone isn’t enough of an incentive, coconut oil works well as a massage oil. Rub it into the skin for soothing and hydrating benefits—and enjoy that beachy scent while it helps prevent and diminish the appearance of stretch marks.
More ways to use coconut oil:
Toothpaste: Ever wonder what chemicals you’re ingesting when you brush your teeth? A DIY version made with coconut oil and baking soda is tasty, natural and will also soften your lips (no post-brushing lip balm required). If coconut oil toothpaste is a little too out there for you, try oil pulling instead—it detoxes your mouth and keeps gums healthy.
Deodorant: Coconut oil and baking soda is also an effective DIY deodorant. Be warned, it may take a few days for your body to adjust, but once it does you may find that you no longer need super-strength commercial deodorants or antiperspirants.
Hand sanitizer: Combine six drops of lavender or tea tree essential oil with two tablespoons of coconut oil and rub it into your hands as a natural moisturizer and hand sanitizer.
What’s your favorite beauty use for coconut oil?
This post was medically reviewed by Dr. Rina Mary Allawh, M.D., a dermatologist who performs adult and pediatric medical dermatology, skin cancer treatment and cosmetic dermatology. Learn more about Hello Glow’s medical review board here. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor.
Photos by Ana Stanciu542