I'm a big fan of a comprehensive skincare routine, but I can't lie: Sometimes, it's nice to strip things back to basics and forgo a seven-step ritual in favour of one product that does it all. Coconut oil is nothing new—while it's been trending for the past few years, it's actually been used for hundreds of years as a does-it-all treatment for skin, hair and teeth.
As someone who's prone to breakouts, I was reluctant to jump onboard the coconut-oil bandwagon, despite everyone from Miranda Kerr to Emma Stone raving about its skincare benefits. But when a colleague in a previous job with the most amazing skin put her complexion glow down to coconut oil, I was swayed.
I have to say, although coconut oil wasn't a total skincare game changer for me (as someone with acne-prone skin, I'm hesitant to use oils on my skin on a daily basis), it's become a product I genuinely rely on during periods when my skin is going a bit haywire. Keep scrolling to find out where to shop for the best coconut oil for your face, all the ways that you can use it and how I make it work as part of my skincare routine.
Where should you shop for crazy-cheap coconut oil?
Rather than rushing out straight to Boots to pick up a jar, one of the best places to shop for coconut oil is your local supermarket. You can usually pick up a jar for just a few quid in the same section you'd find your olive and vegetable oils in. Yes, it might seem a little odd to be shopping for your skincare in the food aisles, but as long as you look for pots labelled "unrefined" or "virgin," you'll be using pretty much the same stuff as a more expensive pot marketed just for skincare purposes.
How do you use coconut oil in your skincare routine?
From cleanser to moisturiser to body lotion, there are countless ways that you can incorporate coconut oil into your existing skincare routine. But how do skincare experts recommend that you use it?
"My favourite use for coconut oil is as a facial cleanser," said Jordan LaFragola, celebrity esthetician and founder of Flora Mirabilis Face Oil. "It removes makeup (it's even waterproof!), dirt and excess oil without drying your skin out. Massage a small amount (about a teaspoon size) into your skin, rinse thoroughly with warm water, and then gently dry your skin with a towel."
"You can [also] use coconut oil as a facial moisturiser if your skin reacts well to it," explained LaFragola. "Always test on a small area of your skin first to see how you will react. To use it as a moisturiser, massage a tiny amount (pea-sized or smaller) into clean, dry skin in the mornings, evenings or as needed."
"It's also amazing as an allover body moisturiser as a base for making your own body scrubs—just add sugar or salt—and as an effective, all-natural shaving-cream alternative."
What makes coconut oil a good option for cleansing?
"Coconut oil is a good option for cleansing for many reasons," explained award-winning skincare expert and facialist Lisa Franklin. "Traditionally, it has been used to cleanse skin and hair due to its lauric acid content. Lauric acid is a fatty acid (coconut oil is made up of saturated and unsaturated fats). It's antibacterial and antifungal, and is purported to improve acne. However, it's comedogenic and forms a barrier on the skin."
LaFragola agrees on the importance of lauric acid for making coconut oil a solid cleansing option: "It's a powerful fatty acid with proven antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal and anti-inflammatory benefits," she said. "Coconut oil is loaded with antioxidants and saturated fats that moisturise, smooth and strengthen skin. It helps to reduce the appearance of fine lines, acne and irritation."
Is coconut oil good for all skin types?
While some people swear by the miraculous benefits of coconut oil, others claim that it can exacerbate skin issues—particularly if you already suffer from breakouts and clogged pores.
I have to say that despite dealing with spots and blemishes on the regular, I've never noticed that coconut oil inflames any issues. In fact, when my skin is at it's worst, I've found that the antibacterial benefits of coconut oil can actually really help to soothe and calm existing blemishes.
LaFragola explained that some "studies have shown [coconut oil] to be more effective than benzoyl peroxide" when it comes to eliminating acne. "However, if your skin is prone to acne and blackheads, coconut oil can sometimes exacerbate that."
As with most skincare products, it's always best to do a patch test to see what works for you. Tip: Dry skin types might benefit best from the protection that coconut oil provides.
Keep scrolling to shop the best coconut oil buys
I always have a tub of coconut oil on hand for days when I want only the simplest of products on my skin. I'll use it to cleanse away makeup, as an intensive moisturiser or overnight as a hydrating face mask. There are some great affordable options out there if you're ready to embrace that natural skincare life, but there are also tons of products that include coconut oil as a key ingredient. "I would recommend coconut oil when it's fractionated," said Franklin. This results in a product with all of the benefits of coconut oil but without the comedogenic aspects. "Their small molecules are [then] much more easily absorbed into the epidermis."
My coconut oil of choice. It's cold-pressed, extra virgin and 100% raw and organic, so you know it's the best quality for your skin. I tend to pick this up when I'm doing the food shop and use it for everything from cleansing to moisturising my legs.
A 100% pure coconut cream that boasts a whipped texture to condition skin and lightly nourish. Plus, the packaging is a little more Instagram-friendly than my chosen tub.
"A rich concentrated cleanser with caprylic acid fraction from coconut oil, which helps to thoroughly removes all makeup," said Franklin.
For a dose of intense hydration, this nourishing sheet mask is saturated with coconut oil to restore glow.
Not only does this rich body lotion smell like holidays, but also it's brimming with coconut oil to hydrate even the most parched of skin.