An Affordable and Natural Alternative

I’ve been using coconut oil as an affordable and natural beauty solution for years. From moisturizing my skin to removing makeup, I continue to be surprised by the numerous ways I can use this plant-derived ingredient for health, household, and beauty needs. 

One glass jar of coconut oil substantially minimizes my waste (and the money spent on expensive regimens).

In addition to being natural and nontoxic, I love that coconut oil minimizes the number of products in my bathroom cabinet. Where I used to have shelves lined with bottles and vessels, one glass jar of coconut oil reduces that lineup, substantially minimizing my waste (and the money spent on expensive regimens). 

I’m fortunate to live near a zero waste bulk store, so I can refill my jar when it’s empty. But if you go to order some online, consider these organic brands. Not all coconut oil is the same, and neither is all coconut oil manufactured ethically.

Below are just a few of the ways I routinely use coconut oil for skin care and beauty. My list is ever-growing, so if you have your own coconut oil swaps not mentioned below, share them in the comments so we can all give them a try! 

1. Makeup Remover

This is perhaps my favorite use for coconut oil outside of the kitchen. I can’t remember the last time I bought a product labeled “makeup remover.” Instead, I use about a tablespoon of coconut oil on a cotton facial round to remove everything from foundation to eye makeup. It’s gentle on my skin and eyes and makes for a natural and affordable makeup cleanser. 

2. Moisturizer

Coconut oil has served as an excellent substitute for hydrating and nourishing my skin.

While I still love a good natural body lotion, sometimes you grab the bottle only to find it empty. On these occasions, coconut oil has served as an excellent substitute for hydrating and nourishing my skin. I especially love it after using an exfoliating body scrub, as it really lathers up and locks in the moisture.

As coconut oil is comedogenic, it can clog your pores. While I’ve used it as a body and face moisturizer without noticing build-up, you may want to test it out on your skin before fully incorporating it into your skincare routine. 

3. Lip Balm

Coconut oil can do wonders on chapped lips. As I’m always losing my lip balms (anyone else?), coconut oil has saved me more than a few times. Best of all, it’s nontoxic and entirely natural (no parabens, petrolatum, or BHA). Try it for yourself. You can use a dab on its own or mix the coconut oil with another one of your favorites (I prefer jojoba or sweet almond).

4. Lip Exfoliant

Speaking of lip remedies, coconut oil is also an excellent base for a homemade lip exfoliant or natural sugar scrub. I’m partial to this three-ingredient organic recipe that lasts for up to two weeks when refrigerated.

5. Nail and Cuticle Oil

A small dab of coconut oil on my cuticles every night heals any cracks and makes nails feel healthier.

If it isn’t obvious, coconut oil is essentially a moisturizer that can work wonders from head to toe, and our nails and cuticles are no exception. While I love using Vitamin E oil to strengthen my nails, I’ve found a small dab of coconut oil on my cuticles every night heals any cracks and makes nails feel healthier. 

6. Leave-In Hair Conditioner

Coconut oil can make a fantastic leave-in hair conditioner, especially if you have thicker locks or hair prone to frizz. For a nightly mask, apply a pea-sized amount to the ends of your hair before bed (make sure to wash out in the morning). You can also use a tiny, tiny amount to run through your hair after styling as a natural remedy for frizz. As coconut oil is heavier than other oils, I don’t recommend using it in excess (especially if you have thin or fine hair) or applying to your scalp.

7. Bonus: Pet Coats

Consult your vet first before giving your pet any oils.

Coconut oil isn’t only for my skincare routine; my dog loves it, too. We add a small spoonful to her food each morning to help heal dry and flaky skin (essential in LA’s desert climate). We also massage it into her coat after baths—she loves the taste, and the way it makes her coat shine! 

How do you use coconut oil in your skin and beauty routines? 🥥 Share in the comments below!


Kayti Christian (she/her) is an Editor at The Good Trade. Growing up beneath the evergreens in the Sierra Nevadas, she returns to California after a decade split between states—including three years lived abroad. With an MA in Nonfiction Writing, she’s passionate about storytelling and fantastic content, especially as it relates to mental health, feminism, and sexuality. When not in-studio, she’s camping, reading memoir, or advocating for the Oxford comma.