The wonders of coconut oil

Best ways to use the beloved oil in your beauty routine
  • 20 Feb - 26 Feb, 2021
  • Mag The Weekly
  • Beauty

Coconut oil has long been considered a beauty "cure-all," but if we're being straight with you, that's a major stretch. Sure – in a perfect world, the sweet-smelling oil would make skin conditions like acne and eczema magically disappear. Hell, it'd make hair grow thicker and longer, too. But that's simply not the case, folks. (Sorry to break the bad news.) Now for the much-needed good news: Coconut oil is still a great beauty staple that can be used for myriad things – including skin- and hair-care treatments. Unfortunately, it's just not going to "cure" you of anything at the end of the day.

While it isn't the wonder drug some promote it to be, given its composition, coconut oil serves as a great moisturiser, plus some of the fatty acids contained in it, like lauric acid, have antimicrobial effects that can help fight bacterial, viral, and fungal pathogens. So, to recap: Coconut oil can definitely help with a whole host of issues, but it's not necessarily the panacea that some people make it out to be. Nonetheless, it's still an excellent ingredient to have on hand – and we enlisted a few pros to break down why.

Body moisturiser

Because coconut oil is fairly comedogenic, many dermatologists actually don't recommend it for use on the face – especially if you have naturally blemish-prone skin – but the body is fair game. Instead of using it to moisturise your face, which can cause breakouts, you can use it as a moisturiser for the body because it's rich in fatty acids and has both antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties.

Fatty acids in coconut oil help protect and nourish the skin in two main ways. They provide good barrier control and help us hold on to our own moisture, which is great because it helps both treat and prevent dryness.

Makeup remover

Coconut oil is a great makeup remover because it breaks down lipid-soluble impurities like makeup, as well as sebum, which is responsible for oily skin. If you wear a lot of makeup or have more of an oily skin type, you can use coconut oil as an initial cleanse, but then you have to follow that up with a gentle water-based wash for a more complete cleanse after.

Deep conditioner

Struggling with dry, brittle hair that's damaged and prone to breakage? Try using coconut oil as a leave-in treatment. Coconut oil can be a great thing to either condition with or leave in to help repair the damage that occurs to your hair shafts from colouring, heat, and the sun.

You can even use hot coconut oil as a pre-shampoo treatment to soothe dry hair before you shampoo and condition. Leave it in for at least an hour to let it really sink in and penetrate your strands.

Lip balm

Coconut oil's make up of fats helps replenish lost or missing components that lead to dry, cracked lip skin. It creates a thin but effective barrier that keeps water in and irritants out. Coconut oil is also an ideal remedy for chapped lips because it's semisolid at room temperature, making it less messy than other oils. Pack a bit in a miniature jar and smooth over lips throughout the day.


We know what some of you are thinking, but yes, you actually can use coconut oil to ward off bad odours, including body odour. Given that bacteria is a cause of odour, the inherent antimicrobial properties of coconut can help cut down on odour – not to mention, most people love the smell of coconuts, so this is a great alternative to deodorant to try.

If slathering straight-up coconut oil on your pits doesn't feel like your thing, try Kopari's Coconut Oil Deodorant.

Brush cleaner

You can use coconut oil as the first step in a double cleansing routine for your makeup brushes. We recommend first applying coconut oil to your brushes to break down the makeup, and then dabbing them off to remove any excess oil before rinsing them with soap and water. The reason for this? Combining soap and oil just ties up the surfactant in the detergent solution and it competes with the other 'dirt' on the makeup brush, so it wouldn't get the brushes as clean if you combine them.