There are plenty of products that don’t quite live up to their expectations: a serum won’t completely make your acne disappear overnight nor will using a shampoo give you longer and thicker hair with a single use. But when it comes to magical cure-alls, coconut oil actually comes pretty close. Thanks to its high fatty acid content and natural antibacterial properties, coconut oil is an effective way to tame frizz, moisturize skin, remove makeup and more. Before buying a bottle, just check the label to make sure it’s extra virgin coconut oil that hasn’t been hydrogenated, bleached or refined in any way with fragrances or dyes. Read on below for all the endless ways you can incorporate this wonder oil into your summer beauty routine.
For your hair…
As a hair protectant: “Before dipping into the pool or ocean, try coating hair with coconut oil to protect your strands from the sun and chlorine,” says celebrity colorist Lorri Goddard. It provides a barrier so that your hair absorbs a minimal amount of chemicals and salt. Plus, it leaves your strands silky smooth post-pool, instead of that dreaded crunchiness.
As a frizz tamer: “Rub a pea size amount between your fingers to warm it up and then apply it to a few flyaways on your roots to smooth hair into place,” says Dakar. “Use it on your ends too from about mid-shaft down for controlling split ends and frizz.”
As a hair mask: “Coconut oil is a creamy solid when it’s at room temperature and turns into liquid when it’s heated to 76 degrees. When you’re in the shower, melt your coconut oil by running the jar under the warm water. Then, after shampooing, slather on a generous amount of oil to wet strands and let it sit for a least five minutes before rinsing. It adds the most amazing moisture and shine back into limp locks.
As a leave-in conditioner: “Soak your strands in coconut oil and wrap it into a high bun before going to sleep to reveal soft, shiny strands in the morning,” says Swift. If you’re worried about getting oil on your sheets, try covering your hair with a shower cap or covering your pillow with a towel.
For your makeup…
As a glowy makeup primer: “The key to great makeup is a flawless base, and coconut oil has hydrating, essential fatty acids that deeply absorb into your skin to keep it glowing all day long,” says celebrity aesthetician Joanna Vargas, founder of Joanna Vargas Salon and Skincare Collection.
As a makeup remover: Melt a few tablespoons in a double boiler and mix in some grapeseed oil and allow it to cool. Just a teaspoon (or less!) can take off a day’s worth of makeup — even the waterproof kind. Massage a dollop of warmed, liquified coconut oil straight onto your skin and use a damp cotton pad to gently wipe it away.”
As a makeup brush cleaner: Its anti-fungal properties make it perfect for removing grime from brushes. Combine two parts soap and one part coconut oil in a shallow bowl and swirl the bristles into the mixture. Rinse your brushes under warm water and stand them with the bristles facing down until they’re completely dry.
As a highlighter: Mix it in with your existing liquid foundation to give your skin a glowy boost. Or, dab a small amount directly onto your cheekbones and cupid’s bow for illumination in all the right places.
As a lip balm: Scoop some oil into a spare contact lens container that you can throw in your purse to easily dab it onto your lips throughout the day. If your lipstick is down to a nub, you can also scoop out the remaining color from the tube and combine it with oil to make your own gloss.
For your skin…
As a shaving oil: “It works great when you’re shaving in the shower since the slicker texture helps prevent nicks.
As a teeth whitener: Swish around a few teaspoons of coconut oil in your mouth for 20 minutes (a.k.a. oil pulling) to remove toxins from your teeth and gums and reveal brighter looking teeth. Just make sure you rinse it out and never swallow.
As a cellulite buster: Coconut oil is great for detoxing. Try using it as a unique DIY body treatment by slathering it on from head to toe and wrapping your body in Ace bandages for 45 minutes. The coconut oil increases the metabolism in your cells to help smooth out the texture.
As a bath oil: Use a huge dollop of epsom salts and a couple of scoops of coconut oil to calm and moisturize your skin.
As a body scrub: Mix half a cup of organic sugar with an equal amount of melted coconut oil — plus, a few drops of lavender oil for a calming effect. Massage on the scrub in the shower with warm water to smooth out dry patches on your feet, knees or the back of your arms.
As a cuticle and hand cream: Melt coconut oil and vitamin E oil (simply pour the contents of a gel cap into a bowl) and mix. Use your finger or a Q-tip to swipe a small amount of oil onto each of your cuticles and let it sit for a few minutes to sink in. The mixture not only strengthens your nails, but hydrates the delicate cuticles to make hands appear more youthful.
As itch relief: Its soothing properties make it great for calming eczema, bug bites and burns.
As a body butter: The creamy texture makes it the perfect light moisturizer to apply all over your skin. Microwave coconut oil in a glass bowl and mix in a few drops of your favorite essential oil before allowing it to cool at room temperature. The best time to apply is actually when your skin is still warm and damp from the shower. It helps the coconut oil to sink right in.