6 Things That Happened When I Replaced All My Beauty Products With Coconut Oil

Can trendy coconut oil really do it all? One woman investigates.

July 22, 2016
coconut oil beauty products
Allison Young

I admit: I’m a bit of a beauty hoarder. My makeup bag, medicine cabinet, and shower are packed with bottles of blissful aromas, pots of prettifiers, and tubes of improvement—all polished promises in pretty packaging. So what if I can’t pronounce Phenoxyethanol; there are cute little bunnies on the bottle! All this adds up to a lot of products: some I use religiously, some I save for rainy days, and some I just can’t bear to part with. Blame the bunnies. But then I heard a simple statement that made me rethink what I put on my scalp, my feet, and everything in between: “Whatever you put on your body you should be able to put in your body.” 

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And just like that, I went from looking at my medley of lotions and potions as problems instead of problem-solvers. Time to downsize! But instead of replacing the pile with organic versions that still come out of a lab, I decided to do one better: replace them all with coconut oil. Yes, coconut oil. Okay, maybe I couldn’t swap out everything under the beauty sun, but I was willing to give it a college try. So I picked up a $5 jar of cold-pressed coconut oil (the unrefined, virgin, and cold-pressed kind hasn’t been processed or heat treated and contains more antioxidants) and put it to the test. Little did I know it would replace my day cream, night cream, hand cream, body lotion, lip balm, lip gloss, makeup remover, face wash, mascara, hair goop, shaving cream…should I go on? Not that it was all smooth sailing, but the stuff definitely performed. Here’s the scoop:

eye dropper container
1/6 Early Spring/shutterstock
1. It's a portable pain in the butt

The only way coconut oil works as a multi-tasking beauty Band-Aid is if you make it easy to use, and I quickly learned commuting to the kitchen every time I needed a spritz, dab, or drop was not convenient. Reluctant to buy a different jar for every room of the house, I came up with this solution: Divvy up coconut oil into mini bottles. I made sure to have a spritzer bottle in the bathroom, a dropper bottle by my bedside, and I filled up a few mini dropper cap bottles to have on hand for on-the-go cuticle oil, hand moisturizer, and lipgloss. Easy access!

A note on storage containers: Coconut oil turns liquid at about 76°F, so if you live in a 4-seasons climate, pots trump spritzer bottles.

Related: The Only Moisturizer You Need

cotton ball soaked in coconut oil
2/6 Allison Young
2. It’s the closest thing to a beauty savior I’ve found

I already knew coconut oil was a lip savior and skin hydrator, but it’s multi-talented powers proved to be Beyoncé in scope. It took my makeup off, doubled as hand lotion and cuticle oil, worked wonders as a shave cream, elevated my homemade sugar scrub, and tamed my hair frizzies. Just a spritz between my palms and a quick scrunch padded down my flyaways. But I loved it most as after-shower moisturizer and face wash: I’d massage a few drops onto my face, rinse it off, then suds up with a dime-sized squirt of Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Castile Soap for a squeaky clean yet hydrated finish. It could do no wrong...well, almost.

Related: Homemade Coconut Oil Soap

woman washing hair
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3. But it can't do EVERYTHING

I read something about Emma Stone or Shailene Woodley loving coconut oil as a hair mask, so I coated my strands in the slippery stuff and let my hair marinade, picturing shiny, golden locks on the other side. But after washing it out, I looked more drowned rat than Rapunzel. Five washes later and my hair was still swamp monster. For the record, my porous hair picks up product faster than Taylor Swift picks up friends. Still, I’d do a strand test first.

ice cubes
4/6 Edward Fielding/shutterstock
4. Freezing it is genius

When you live in a warm climate like Arizona, coconut oil is pretty much always a liquid, which has its advantages (putting it in a spray bottle is the best!). But I found another super convenient and therapeutic way to use it: frozen in ice cube trays. I poured about a tablespoon of oil into each section then added a few drops of lavender (calming) or peppermint (energizing) essential oil before freezing them. Then at night, I’d massage the cool cubes onto my dry feet. Ahhhh!

Related: 7 Coconut Oil Hacks You've Never Heard Of

coconut products
5/6 Diana Taliun/shutterstock
5. I didn’t miss my $50 night cream or fancy schmancy day cream one bit

I know women who think nothing of dropping $250 on a pot of La Mer. I’ve never paid that kind of cash for cream, but I have splurged on face-saving serums and lotions that promise brighter complexions and fewer fine lines. And I have to say kicking them to the side in favor of coconut oil didn’t compromise my complexion one little bit. In fact, I got more than one “your skin looks great” compliments—and all I had on my face was coconut oil and a bit of blush! At night, instead of coating my face in la crème de la crème, I did a quick face massage with coconut oil and woke up with refreshed, radiant skin.

Related: 10 Coconut Oil Beauty Treatments

coconut oil toothpaste
6/6 Eskymaks/shutterstock
6. It can work wonders on lashes, brows, and lips

I didn’t just replace the obvious suspects, like moisturizer and makeup remover, I did an overhaul of my makeup bag, too—and coconut oil stepped in almost seamlessly. Instead of layering my lashes in mascara, I dipped a clean wand in the oil for that wet lash look. A spritz on a toothbrush also tamed my brows and a layer on my lips replaced my favorite gloss.

The one product it couldn’t replace: blush. I’d read online that a simple sweep of coconut oil worked as a cheek highlighter, but I’m the girl who never leaves home without blush (not ever) and unfortunately coconut oil couldn’t pinch hit.

But all in all, I have to give it a major fist pump. Coconut oil will continue to be my go-to moisturizer and a major beauty staple. Maybe I’ll draw bunnies on the bottle. 

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