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5 Reasons You Should Add Coconut Oil to Your Beauty Routine, Experts Say

This miracle ingredient can be used for skin, hair, nails, and more.

If you've paid attention to the beauty industry, you know there's a new trendy ingredient every few years. From algae to CBD to green tea to prebiotics, it can be hard to keep everything straight. However, while some buzzy ingredients are merely trends, others have staying power—and coconut oil is exhibit A. For decades, it's been used around the world to support healthy hair, skin, and more. If it's new to you, consider this your introduction. Read on to hear from experts about the reasons you should add coconut oil to your beauty routine and how to do it.

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It can hydrate dry skin.

Close up of a woman applying lotion to her leg that's propped on a table.
Drazen_ / iStock

Coconut oil is a natural emollient that soothes and softens the skin. "Its active ingredients provide deep moisturizing and rich nourishment to the skin," says Valerie Aparovich, certified cosmetologist, aesthetician, and science team lead at the OnSkin app. "It helps to retain water on the skin surface and strengthen the defense functions of the skin barrier." The oil also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents, which reduce irritation, redness, and peeling.

One thing to note: coconut oil is highly comedogenic, meaning it can clog pores and lead to pimples and blackheads. "Acne-prone people should be cautious of applying it over their chest, neck, shoulders, and back—the areas most commonly experiencing breakouts," explains Aparovich. And you should never apply it to your face.

To incorporate it into your body care routine, apply it after a shower when your skin is moist but not wet, suggests Anna Chacon, MD, a dermatologist at MyPsorasisTeam. Warm the coconut oil between your palms and massage it into your skin in a circular motion. For best results, use a cold-pressed virgin option made of fresh coconuts with no additives, Aparovich says.

It can revive dry strands.

young woman applying hair oil to curls

Coconut oil has long been an ingredient in top-selling shampoos, conditioners, and hair masks. An easy way to use it in your routine is with hair slugging.

"Apply a generous amount to your hair and scalp at night, then cover your hair with a scarf," says Ghanima Abdullah, cosmetologist and hair expert for The Right Hairstyles. In the morning, shampoo it out. "It helps avoid excessive water entering very porous hair and damaging it," says Abdullah. "It also helps prevent shampoo from entering the hair shaft, as it can be corrosive to the sensitive core."

In winter, you'll want to be careful. The oil has a low freezing point and, once it's penetrated the hair, can make it stiff and unwieldy in chilly temps.

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Use it on your lips.

Woman applying moisturizing chapstick on lips
Prostock-studio / Shutterstock

If you have chapped lips, swap your usual lip balm for a swipe of coconut oil. "It's super nourishing, smoothing, toxic-free, and safe to swallow, and, being very fatty, it can add plumpness to your lips," says Aparovich. That's pretty much all we look for in an everyday balm!

It can nourish your nails.

Hands with pink manicure

No need to restrict coconut to your body and hair—it can also support your hands and nails. "Coconut oil is great for moisturizing the hands and even allows manicures to last longer," says Rachel Apfel Glass, nail expert and founder of GLOSSLAB. "I recommend slathering it on one to two times a day, taking special care around the cuticles." By moisturizing the area, you'll promote healthier growth and a glistening appearance.

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It can help you remove makeup like a pro.

Woman using makeup remover to take off her makeup and clean her face

Done with the day? Allow coconut oil to help. "I use coconut oil all the time to remove any stubborn waterproof or long-wear makeup," says professional makeup artist Brandi Boulet. "Coconut oil is a gentle and safe remover for long-lasting or waterproof makeup—the oil breaks down the makeup easily and makes most makeups easy to wipe off."

Warm a dab of the oil between your fingertips and massage it into your skin. Cleanse as usual, and you'll be squeaky clean. Boulet notes that the oil's moisturizing quality is an added bonus.

Juliana LaBianca
Juliana is an experienced features editor and writer. Read more
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