When coconut oil became the panacea for one hundred percent of our beauty woes, I was extremely skeptical of any tropical concoctions packaged in Jonathan Adler-level fancy bottles. Why would I shell out a double-digit dollar amount when I can pick up a huge jar at Trader Joe’s for a few bucks?
It turns out that quality matters a lot. Like a lot a lot. For some reason, I’ve been nitpicky when choosing facial oils, but my coconut oil yardstick, well, never really existed.
After several years slathering my thirsty limbs with grocery-store coconut oil (they were all virgin and organic… I did have some standards), I wondered if there was a better way to enjoy the nutty goodness without leaving trails of grease everywhere. But more importantly, I eventually noticed that I was doing nothing more than leaving a film over my parched legs. In other words, I was physically masking the symptom instead of tackling the actual problem by healing my skin. (And as any naturopath will tell you, that’s not good.)
This is what prompted my foray into investigating the world of coconut oil.
Why Coconut Oil Is (Still) Worth the Hype
Before I get into the life-changing products I found, allow me to remind you why I use this remarkable oil in the first place. The oil, which is extracted from the fleshy meat of the coconut, is a saturated fat that consists primarily of medium-chain fatty acids, namely lauric acid. Lauric acid is the hero here, as it’s antibacterial, antifungal and anti-inflammatory.
On top of that, coconut oil is rich with phytonutrients and polyphenols that offer antioxidant benefits (without getting into detail, antioxidants fight the free radicals that expedite the signs of aging) as well as active enzymes. And because of the molecular structure of the oil, coconut oil is able to penetrate skin more deeply to regenerate cells and strengthen the delicate lipid barrier of skin, the surface layer that keeps bad stuff out and moisture in.
All good stuff, right? The thing is, you need coconut oil that’s been harvested and processed in the most diligent way possible in order to actually reap all those benefits. In other words, bathe yourself in shitty oil and you’re literally just rubbing fat all over yourself while potentially damaging your leather couch.
Here are three coconut oils I found that not only meet my newly-found high standards, but also enable me to see and feel a difference on my most problematic area: my chronically desert-dry legs.
What they say: “Cocovít Coconut Oil is harvested from fresh, organic coconuts in South India. Our proprietary extraction process allows the coconut oil to be left raw, untouched by heat, allowing the oil to retain its freshness, providing optimal nutrient and enzyme potency, and preventing alteration of the oil’s healing and restorative properties.”
What I say: Despite what I said earlier, I’m a sucker for artistic packaging (as long as what’s inside doesn’t give me buyer’s remorse). Cocovít is so pretty I wanted to slather it on every other hour just so I could feel like I was inside a Pinterest post. But that’s not the point. The coconut oil felt beyond luxurious on my anything-but-elegant legs, leaving a shine that was glowy yet not greasy. After a week, the “cracked” out look (think: elephant skin) vanished. If you know me and have seen my legs, you know this is a big deal. This is coconut oil magic!
Best for: Keeping handy at home at all times as your go-to all-purpose coconut oil.
What they say: “We use 100% pure, organic coconut oil sourced from the Philippines.
All of our products are made as natural as possible with the safest ingredients. Pinky swear. No sulfates. No silicones. No parabens. No GMOs. We use the right blend of pure ingredients with cutting-edge chemistry to enhance the benefits of coconut oil. This secret sauce delivers better results than conventional products.”
What I say: Kopari Beauty offers multiple coconut-oil-based products, each with a different blend of ingredients tailored to the intended use and texture. I chose their Coconut Balm because it seemed to be the best option for targeting my dehydrated legs. To enhance the formula, they threw in shea butter ester to help lighten the texture. This is key—the formula magically absorbed into my skin like a milky lotion but still moisturized with the power of coconut oil. I should also thank the cocoa seed butter and additional fatty acids they threw in there. I felt like my legs healed before my eyes, as if I was performing a quick-change act with my skin. Impressive!
Best for: Gals who are always on the go. Since the oil is so absorbent, you can rub it on dash out the door.
What they say: “100% USDA Organic, Fair Trade Certified™, Virgin, Cold-Pressed Coconut Oil. Our coconut oil and packaging are made free of all artificial ingredients, GMOs, fillers, parabens, alcohol, fragrances, sulfates, artificial colors, or unnatural preservatives. And we wouldn’t dream of touching an animal in the process.”
What I say: Does anybody else use products because the brand seems like your spiritual soul sister? Conscious Coconut ensures every step of their creation process changes the world, whether it’s working with fair-trade farms in Thailand or feeding a child with every tube they sell. The result is a fantastic coconut oil that makes you feel good about the world as you glisten with healthy-looking skin. This is truly an inside-out beauty product!
Best for: Travel. The squeeze-out tube is exactly 3.4 ounces, so you can get your maximum coconut fix wherever you go without worrying about spillage. Plus, it can replace your hair shine gloss, body lotion, eye makeup remover and facial cleanser!