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16 ounces of coconutty goodness.

Can Coconut Oil Replace Your Beauty Routine? We Give It a Try. (Oil Pulling Included!)

Coconut oil is having a moment in the beauty world. Beauty and fashion sites are sprinkled with stories touting the benefits it’ll bring your skin, hair, and body. Namely, oil pulling, a system of gargling oil for a healthier mouth and teeth. Supposedly, it’s also ideal for moisturizing, shaving, conditioning, and drawing toxins from your body. I’ve been interested in giving coconut oil a try, so, I decided to go drastic. For one week, I exchanged the majority of my beauty regimen with the stuff. I used it as my moisturizer, deep conditioner, shaving cream, lip balm, and even gave oil pulling a try. See what happened.

Last Saturday I dove spoon first into a jar of Nature’s Way organic, unrefined coconut oil from Central Market. Staring into a jar of the stuff can be daunting. I know it’s cruelty-free (unless you’re a coconut), but honestly, it looks like lard. (Or, at least, what I imagine lard looks like.) It’s thick and a little bit gritty until you apply heat; then it quickly turns into a slippery liquid. Now, let’s talk about the scent. Bath and Body Works’ “Coconut Lime Verbena” is a romanticized version of a coconut scent. Coconut oil, on the other hand, smells more like a dirty coconut. And yes, if you’re using it as your entire beauty routine, you and your friends will catch whiffs of dirty coconut. All. Day. Long.

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ORAL CARE (“OIL PULLING”)
Normal Routine:
Crest Pro-Health whitening toothpaste, twice daily
Coconut Oil: A week of oil pulling resulted in two findings: it’s the perfect activity to Snap Chat to your friends, and my mouth felt squeaky clean. The first time I placed one teaspoon of coconut oil in my mouth, I gagged. At room temperature, the consistency is disgusting. But after a minute of swishing it around, it turned into a liquid. The process of swishing for twenty minutes got easier each day, and my lovely friend Hilary even remarked that my teeth looked whiter — so I’ll keep this habit going. But, just for the record, I did not experience any of the dramatic and/or life-changing claims many make associated with oil pulling. I’ll report back if any coconut oil miracles happen.

Have you given coconut oil a try? Let us know what you think — and if we’ve missed an important utilization of the stuff.

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SKIN
Normal routine: Kiehl’s Avocado eye cream, Neutrogena Sunscreen, Lubriderm lotion for face, Palmer’s Cocoa Butter for body, Smith’s Rosebud Salve for lips
Coconut Oil: Remember that greasy, post-sunscreen feeling? That’s what you’ll be experiencing when you try out coconut oil as a moisturizer. About ¾ of the way through the week, Raya gave me a good tip: pat yourself with a towel to remove any unabsorbed oil. I won’t be using it for my skin again—I kept worrying that the oil would ruin my clothing. It worked fine as a lip balm, but I don’t imagine myself carrying the jar around on a regular basis, so I’ll stick to my Rosebud Salve.

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HAIR
Normal Routine: Pureology shampoo and conditioner
Coconut Oil: After extensive research on the best way to use coconut oil as a hair treatment, I elected to completely cover my dry hair with it, secure with clips, and cover overnight with a shower cap. Needless to say, I didn’t go out in public that night. When I woke in the morning, I was confused—my color-treated hair felt like straw. I shampooed and conditioned normally, and my hair felt a little softer, but not enough for the effort to be worth it. Won’t be trying this one again. A lot of the oil melted while I was sleeping, covering my pillows with the stuff.

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SHAVING
Normal routine:
No shaving cream, Venus razor
Coconut oil: Now here’s the kind of result I was hoping for—my legs had never felt so soft after shaving. I even made my own coconut body scrub, which has resulted in super-soft skin, no lotion needed. (Recipe: combine ½ a cup of whipped coconut oil, 1 cup of white sugar, and whatever essential oils you like for a super-rich and moisturizing exfoliant.) But beware—it turns your shower floor into a slip-n-slide, and I’ve got the bruises to prove it.