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Nut just for cooking: The benefits of coconut oil for your skin and hair

It may already be a staple in your kitchen cupboard, but there are plenty of reasons to give coconut oil pride of place in your skincare routine too. Hydrating? Tick. Lightweight? Tick. Versatile? Double tick.

Extremely hydrating and protective, coconut oil has the ability to penetrate hair and skin - restoring and retaining moisture. Its anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties make it ideal for sensitive skin, acne, eczema and psoriasis. Made up of 50% lauric acid, a fatty acid that can easily go from liquid to solid depending on the temperature, it also makes a great base for Lush soap and naked makeup.

Thankfully, if you fancy adding coconut oil into your routine, we’ve done the hard work for you. Featured in over 40 Lush products (so far), here’s how you can get all the benefits of this multitasker with ease.

Saving face

Be it UV rays, air conditioning, or free radicals, the skin on our face is constantly exposed to the elements, and exfoliating is a way to buff away dead skin and reveal a glowing, smooth complexion. Try naked cleansing balm Gritty Politti which is made with ground coconut shells to scrub, extra virgin coconut oil to rehydrate, and antibacterial rosewood oil.

For those of us who wear makeup, having products that provide benefits beyond the selfie is usually a bonus. But with the Slap Sticks foundations and Glow Sticks highlighters, ingredients like extra virgin coconut oil, argan oil, and organic jojoba oil, provide radiance and moisture. Coconut oil’s affinity to our own skin’s sebum means it sinks in easily, leaving a lightweight but protective layer over the skin without blocking pores.

Smooth your body

We all know that our heads, shoulders, knees and toes all need a little TLC, but it’s common to forget the bits normally covered by our clothes. Thankfully, products which contain coconut oil have a great way of working harder for your skin when your time is limited. It makes a great base ingredient in soap, adding moisturising properties as well as being a good surfactant (that’s the soaping agent that leaves your skin feeling squeaky clean). Try Goddess soap, which is also rich in Fair Trade organic cocoa butter, for a really luxurious feel.

Scrub and soften with Ocean Salt’s unique blend of avocado butter, extra virgin coconut oil and sea salt, plus added brightening benefits thanks to lime oil and grapefruit infusion. Self-preserving and alcohol-free versions are also available online, so, no matter what your preference is, you can enjoy soft glowing skin.

And, for bathers who enjoy beautifully smooth skin, Floating Island bath oil provides silky soft waters, with the help of extra virgin coconut oil and Fair Trade organic cocoa butter, plus a luxurious sandalwood and labdanum fragrance.

Hair for it

No matter what type of hair you have, most of us love smooth, shiny tresses, and coconut oil soothes and strengthens meaning it works wonders in any hair product. For those with sore, itchy scalps, Superbalm scalp treatment does well to calm irritation, while the texture-promoting sea salt and shine-inducing extra virgin coconut oil in Big Shampoo are ideal for when you want a little body.

Thicker strands need an extra hand so for those who want a shampoo that won’t strip moisture, Curly Wurly takes the crown. With protective linseed infusion, softening Fair Trade organic cocoa butter, and soothing extra virgin coconut oil, this shampoo has everything you need for hair and scalp. Last but not least, R&B hair moisturiser, which was designed for afro hair, is rich in conditioning avocado butter, extra virgin coconut oil and oat milk to boost moisture, strength, and shine. If your hair is in need of some extra attention, this product will do the trick.

Lush source coconut oil from a company called Sumatera, on the Indonesian island of Nias. 10% of Sumatera’s profits go directly to support the Ono Niha Foundation: a not-for-profit organisation that provides physical and economic support for the people of South Nias and beyond.

To explore all of the products containing extra virgin coconut oil, head here.

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