The Kitchen Cosmetician: Coconut oil

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For me, the smell of coconut reminds me of my favorite tropical getaway, Hawaii. Sadly, I am not in Hawaii. I am however back in the kitchen experimenting with a new ingredient, normally found in the kitchen, that can also be used for beauty purposes just about anywhere on your face and body – coconut oil.

The use of coconut oil has been used by many cultures for centuries. I selected it for my latest Kitchen Cosmetician experiment because it is loaded with antioxidants and is the key ingredient in many organic and high end skincare products. So I experimented with coconut oil for more than two months and said “see you later” to all of my body lotions and beauty routines.

Getting your own fresh coconut oil can be a bit intimidating because it naturally comes as a big ol’ solid. But no worries. Dixie Lincoln-Nichols, owner of bath & body line Dixie Bits learned the beauty benefits of coconut oil as a young girl growing up in Trinidad and is sharing her secrets! Watch below as Dixie’s grandmother shows us how to extract the oil in your own kitchen:

Of course, it’s also possible to purchase coconut oil. You’ll find both unrefined and refined coconut oil in the organic aisles of most grocery stores (or Whole Foods, Trader Joes, etc) and you can also find it online (try searching for a number of choices).

During my coconut oil testing, I became fond of Spectrum Organics and used both their refined (neutral scent and flavor) and unrefined (smells like fresh cracked coconut) oils.

Tip: If it is not solid and does not resemble Crisco it is not 100% coconut oil.

There are two ways to utilize this special oil. You can let it sit in warm water and let it liquefy, which I found to be a bit messy (especially when using stored liquefied oil) and with the spillage a little wasteful. The second way is to just break off a bit of the oil and rub it directly on your skin. I prefer taking a bit out of the container and let the small amount melt into my skin a bit at a time.

Coconut oil is fast absorbing and has a quality that reminds me of aromatherapy because it seemed to be calming and stress relieving.

Here are some of the areas and ways that I used this great ingredient:

Removes makeup, including eye makeup – with a small amount your makeup will melt off.
Heals chapped lips – rub a bit of coconut oil on before bed and it will heal your lips. However, you will not wake up with your lips feeling “quenched.”
Gentle moisturizer – I rubbed this on my face, neck and chest without any problems from my sensitive skin.
Acne – when dabbed on my pimples, they seemed to heal a bit quicker.

Heals chapped hands and wrecked cuticles – I only used a drop or two.
Overnight foot treatment – works on dry, calloused, even cracked feet – just apply to feet and put on socks.
All over body treatment – apply to entire body in the shower and gently rinse it off and pat dry.
Heals blisters – I know this sounds like a myth but, I had blisters on both feet from new shoes and long conference. The blister treated with coconut oil healed four days before the other.
Overnight moisture treatment – apply to entire body and go to sleep. This is my favorite way to use coconut oil. It should not stain your bedding, but lay down a towel and use an old sheet just in case.

Conditioning treatment – apply to scalp and hair and let is soak in for a couple hours then shampoo out.

After two months of regular use and visible results, I now I am in love with coconut oil and am very thrilled to have this multi-tasking ingredient in my beauty arsenal.

And by the way, should you want to cook with it, Unrefined coconut oil is best for medium heat cooking where the oil’s full flavor is intended to be part of this dish. Refined coconut oil is for medium to high heat cooking such as sautéing, stir frying or even baking, but has more of a neutral scent and flavor.

Fellow Kitchen Cosmeticians – have you tried coconut oil in the kitchen or in your beauty routine?


  • hao9703

    Holly is a Midwestern gal living in the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She loves gardening, animals and is a skin care junkie. She's always on the quest to try something new or old and live the best life possible. skin tone: NW 20 skin type: a true combo; normal, dry and oily favorite beauty product: skincare


  1. I love coconut oil, but I mostly just use it on bread (with peanut butter). I bought it because I heard it’s good for your thyroid, but I have tried it for beauty stuff too. I tried it on my face, but I worried it would cause me to break out. And I’ve used it as a hydrating hair mask, but I got lazy and just went back to my regular hair products, instead of going to the kitchen to get the coconut oil.

  2. This sounds ah-mazing! I will look for some unrefined coconut oil this weekend!
    Great post!

  3. Love this information, it’s so spot on! We love coconut oil too.. use it in healthy eating/cooking.. It’s also so amazing for beauty. *It smells wonderful to me! Great post Holly O!

  4. FYI-I get mine at Sprouts/Henry’s Market and a place on line called, Nuts Online. Here’s the website.. excellent small family company too. We get a lot of other great things there too, nuts etc.

  5. I adore the smell of coconut oil (so I’d get the scented version for sure) and these are wonderful ideas for using it. Great post, @hao9703 !

  6. AWESOME article, Holly! Super informative. I’m personally too accident prone and lazy to try making my own coconut oil at home, but I love that you included that info–it was really fun to watch. I feel like I learned so much about using coconut oil and I was so excited to see all of the different ways that you used it. I have about a pound of mango butter that I bought for soap making–I love it, it adds a slight graininess and moisturizing aspect to my soaps, but I only use a little at a time, so I still have TONS left. Your article inspired me to look up other uses for mango butter–many of which are the same as coconut oil. I ran over to my bag of mango butter and started slathering it on my hands, lips and legs. I also have some sweet almond oil laying around, and can’t wait to see what that stuff does for me. YAY! :D

  7. While I first bought coconut oil to use for cooking, I quickly learned of it’s alternate uses. Many people on the anti-SPF side of the sun argument (for various reasons there is some evidence that using so much sunscreen might not be very healthy- not that I’m ready to stop yet!) use coconut oil in the place of sunscreen, claiming that it protects the skin while allowing precious Vit D through.

    I love your huge round up of uses @hao9703 ! Fantastic post.

  8. Great science stuff again, Holly! I have a big old vat of coconut oil that’s been sitting in my pantry for a LONG time – I tried some of these experiments in the past, too…I wonder if it’s still good? Great ideas, as always!!

  9. I like to mix other natural moisturizers into coconut oil to make night cream for my very dry skin. I started adding a bit of pure shea (Allaffia brand, they give 10% to impoverished communities! And it’s the best shea), then a drop of rose hip seed oil.

    It’s a fairly good mix, but I’d gladly take suggestions if anyone can think of something else I could add. I’m looking for my next ingredient!

    So happy to see somebody extolling the moisturizing abilities of coconut oil! I was wondering if I’m the only one who uses unusual things like that for lotion, lol!

  10. Thanks for spreading the word. Coconut oil is an amazing healing oil, from q known superfood. It has been used by islanders for thousands of years for protection and as an anti inflammatory both externally and internally. As a young girl I was taught the benefits from my abuelita, I prefer the unrefined for external use, and cook with both depending on cuisine. So many health benefits.

  11. coconut oil is actually AMAZING for your skin! (mine, at least!) i’ve been using it for seven months, more or less, and i haven’t had one breakout, let alone a single zit, within those seven months. my skin has completely transformed — and that’s not an understatement!

  12. ReaderRita says:

    It can still be 100% pure coconut oil even if it does NOT resemble Crisco, if it is warm. Pure coconut oil turns to liquid when it’s warmer than 76℉. And it is wonderful!

  13. Thought I’d mention that I just saw an article in on how coconut oil can cure keratosis pilaris (aka chicken skin)! One more reason to add this to your beauty routine…

  14. wow, so many uses out of one item- i have never tried using coconut oil before, but now i must say, i am inspired to. Thanks for the tips :)

  15. I was watching Dr. OZ on TV this week and he talked about how Coconut Oil is way better for you than any lip balm and works better too. (I wish it came in a good to go container–like lipgloss!)

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