Everything you need to know about coconut oil: What it is, how you should use it, and more

Everything you need to know about coconut oil: What it is, how you should use it, and more

The more ya know...

Text: Jeway Tan

Let's talk about coconut oil. Not with regard to cooking or eating, mind — but, rather, in relation to using it on your skin and hair. While it is often touted as an organic solution for makeup removal, complexion conditions, and even overall health, the ingredient has been gaining a fair bit of detractors as of late, many of which have been experiencing problems in the form of congested pores and dandruff growth. Does this mean we should be nixing it from our routines entirely? Not quite. In fact, it seems the issue seems to be rooted more in how we're using it. Below, a comprehensive guide on coconut oil so you'll be maximising its full potential.

First things first: What is coconut oil, exactly?

Essentially, it's an oil made and derived from coconuts — duh. But what you may not know about coconut oil is that it contains a large percentage of lauric acid. This fatty acid has anti-bacterial and anti-microbial properties that can help kill and block the growth of bacteria. Another acid found in coconut oil is capric. This acid, similar to lauric acid, has anti-microbial properties as well as anti-fungal properties. The last of which is unsaturated omega-6 fatty acid called linoleic acid, which is often used as an emollient and skin soother.


Are there any benefits to integrating coconut oil into your routine?

Contrary to popular belief, coconut oil does not hydrate the skin. Instead, it helps lock in existing moisture. This makes it suitable for use when it comes to folks with normal and/or combination skin, but not so much for those actually looking to moisturise their mien. Its anti-bacterial properties — which, while normally beneficial for acne — is not suited for oily skin either, as it might cause pore congestion. Instead, it should be used to aid wound healing (see: popped pimples), kill bacteria and germs, as well as prevent infections. You can also use it to boost the overall condition of your complexion, where it is known to increase collagen production with sustained use.

What about using coconut oil in your hair?

Using it on your ends is a safe bet. Putting it on your scalp, however, may cause a buildup of oil and impurities, which typically leads to dandruff growth. It'll also create the impression of greasy locks. The general consensus among haircare professionals is to start with a small amount and to coat them purely at the ends.

Are there other ways to integrate coconut oil into your routine?

Beyond using it in its purest form, it also doubles as a body scrub — just add a little salt or sugar and mix well. Other ways to use coconut oil include a deep conditioning treatment; cuticle oil; and even to provide mild eczema relief — the keyword here is "relief", where it reduces itching and inflammation caused from the condition. As mentioned above, coconut oil cannot help cure eczema.