09 January 2014

Coconut Oil for Beauty

I know I've professed my love for skin oils here before, and the love is still going strong. It looks like I'm not the only one in love with them! They're all over the place and this even popped into my inbox today - http://www.sephora.com/oils

Oils are the best. I still love lotions and creams, but there's something really indulgent and satisfying about using oils, like you're bypassing the middle man and just going straight to the elements that count.

Beauty oils can sometimes be a bit pricey. In an attempt to find a less expensive solution with fewer ingredients (just one ingredient, actually!) I decided to try out everyone's new BFF, coconut oil.

I stopped by Trader Joe's and bought a 16oz jar for $5.99. Compare that amount and price to the other oils I use and love:
  • Desert Essence 100% Pure Jojoba Oil - $13.99 for 4oz ($15.99 for organic)
  • Nuxe Huile Prodigieuse Multi-Usage Dry Oil - $45.00 for 3.3oz
  • Caudalie Divine Oil - $49.00 for 3.4oz
  • Josie Maran 100 percent Pure Argan Oil - $96.00 for 4.0oz
Clearly the coconut oil is quite a steal!

My experiences so far:

Hair masque/moisturizer This was what I was most excited to try. My hair has been so dry and tangle-y lately that it's actually been hard to get a comb through it. I trimmed the ends quite a bit and since oils have been working so well for my skin, I decided to try some on my hair hoping I'd have the same result.

I applied a somewhat generous amount of the coconut oil to my hair at night, melting it in my palms and combing it through my hair with my fingers and rubbing it into my scalp. Coconut oil is quite thin and didn't feel as satisfying on my hair as argan oil. Argan oil feels straight up greasy, but in a good way, like it's actually doing something. The coconut oil smelled really good, at least. It wasn't cloying, so I didn't feel like a giant piña colada or anything. You just kind of get a subtle whiff of it every now and again. Anyway, I clipped my hair up in a top knot and went to bed.

When I pulled my hair down in the morning, it didn't really feel like anything had happened. My hair was still oily, but somehow it also felt squeaky and dry? I don't know how to explain it. I gave it the benefit of the doubt and shampooed and conditioned my hair as usual.

On the day after I used the argan oil, I kept touching my hair because it was so soft. I didn't notice as much softness with the coconut oil (it was still slightly softer than normal, though) and by the middle of the day, I felt like my hair was just plain dirty-greasy like I hadn't washed it in a day or two.

I think I'll give it another try or two, though. Maybe it takes more than one application?

Lip balm Waaaaaay too thin, doesn't last 5 min on my lips. Nope.

Facial moisturizer This is where coconut oil works best for me. I spooned out a small amount of the oil in its solid state and melted it in my palms, then gently rubbed it all over my face and neck. It's not so thick that you feel like you're slathering olive oil on your face, but not so thin that it feels ineffective (on your face, at least). It sinks into my skin pretty easily and smells so so nice, and so far has not caused any skin irritation (redness, breakouts) at all.

Body moisturizer I used the same application method as I did on my face (duh). I wish the consistency was thicker, especially for my legs. My shins get so, so dry in the winter and I always get the urge to use super thick creams to combat the problem (hello, Nivea Creme!) - anything less just feels like it isn't going to be enough to work. But the coconut oil does seem to moisturize pretty okay without making me feel uncomfortably greasy, so that's good.

Side note: My dog apparently loves the smell of coconut and whenever I apply this stuff, she won't stop licking me to the point where I have to actually push her away and maybe go lock myself in the bathroom for a bit until she chills out.

Verdict I know these reviews are more individual perception than actual science. Even if the oil felt too thin and like it wasn't doing anything, I have to admit that both my hair and skin are soft and moisturized, just not shockingly, astoundingly so.

So, no fireworks, but I would definitely continue using it. I like that it's natural and organic and cheap, I like that there's no petrolatum involved since that stuff is derived from crude oil (and crude oil derivatives are in, like, everything). I'm assuming coconut is available in abundance and TJ's extraction process seems pretty simple so it's probably environmentally friendly? I like that it comes in a glass jar that I can reuse or recycle. I can see why everyone has jumped on the coconut oil bandwagon!

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