I’ve been a fan of coconut oil for a while now. I use it on the griddle when I make a batch of my Sunday pancakes. I love it in baked goods, used as a healthy butter-substitute. And I like to add a dollop of it in my rice as it cooks, creating a delicious, coconut-scented side dish.

But I admit I’ve been a bit behind the coconut-oil-curve when it comes to using it on my skin.

I’ve been hearing for years now that it’s THE thing to use on dry, winter skin. Perfect for moisturizing freshly-shaved legs. Awesome as massage oil. While I didn’t doubt it’s skin-healing potential, I also didn’t really have the need to experiment. My usual moisturizers did the trick, and I kept the coconut oil in the kitchen.

Until this winter. While we’ve had some chilly days here in NY, it’s only the beginning of the season, so I didn’t feel like my skin should have been as dry as it was. And yet, it was. It was really, really dry. Especially my face. No amount of thick moisturizer seemed to really do the trick. I’d wake up with dry, scaly cheeks and parched lips. Feeling desperate, I ransacked my pantry and stole the coconut oil to the upstairs bathroom. I started rubbing in small amounts of coconut oil into my face, neck, and lips each night before bed. It’s only been about a week now, and I am so happy to report that IT’S WORKING!! My scaly cheeks are feeling supple, and my fine lines (that started to look like thick lines…) around my eyes are filling in as well.

Apparently, there’s a technical reason why coconut oil works so well on our skin: it has a small molecular structure that actually makes it easy for our skin to absorb it. And coconut oil is extremely high in antioxidants, meaning that it can help our skin prevent and protect against free radicals (those nasty things that lead to prematurely aged skin and wrinkles).

Want to give healthy coconut oil a go in your beauty routine? Here are some tips to get you started:

  • Bring the oil (which is a solid above 76 degrees) to a liquid before rubbing on your body parts. You can do this by placing the jar in a bowl (or sink) of warm water. Or simply place a very small chunk of the oil in your palm and warm until it starts to melt.
  • A little goes a long way! I just dip a spoon in the jar of coconut oil and pull it out – not actually spooning the oil, but simply pulling it back out to coat the front/back of the spoon. Then I take the oil that’s left sticking to the spoon and rub that small amount on my face, neck, and hands. It’s usually enough to sufficiently coat all of those areas.
  • Coconut oil has been known to help with eczema, can be used as an eye-make up remover, helps bruises and cuts heal, and can be used as a conditioning, anti-dandruff hair treatment. So have fun and experiment with this safe, relatively inexpensive, and all-natural beauty product!