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.
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.
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.
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.
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.