8 Easy Ways to Use Coconut Oil for Your Skin

Coconuts and coconut oil in a metal pot. Wooden background.
Coconut oil is a suprisingly versatile and sustainable skincare product. Vladislav Chusov / Getty Images

You’ve probably heard a lot about the health benefits of cooking with coconut oil. But did you know that jar that’s sitting in your kitchen is also full of ingredients that can help your skin look and feel its best?

Keeping your skin in great shape doesn’t have to be hard or complicated. And it definitely shouldn’t be bad for the environment. Sure, you can run out and buy the latest expensive lotion, but chances are it's packed with artificial ingredients made from petroleum products. Fossil fuels are bad enough when they go into the atmosphere, but putting them directly on your skin? Probably not the best idea.

Luckily, coconut oil is a great alternative, and also happens to be one of the least expensive and most widely available natural beauty products out there.

This versatile oil can be made from either whole kernel coconut, with the brown inner skin left on before processing, or white kernel, where the skin is removed. Unlike other oils, coconut oil is made using cold-pressed or expeller-pressed processes instead of hazardous chemicals.

In Malaysia, the coconut is known as the tree of a thousand uses, and for good reason. Using all parts of the coconut tree reduces plant waste and increases sustainability. And these days, it’s much easier to find organic, fair trade brands to support, so you can feel good about buying a product that is good for the people who produce it and has a minimal environmental impact.

If you’ve been thinking about including coconut oil in your skin care routine, it’s a great time to try it out. Below are just some of the ways your skin can benefit from a daily dose of coconut oil. 

of 8

Dry Skin Exfoliator

Sugar body scrub with ingredients. Homemade cosmetic for spa.
Julia_Sudnitskaya / Getty Images

If you're looking for something to make you feel like you've just visited the spa, this DIY coconut sugar scrub will do the trick. Use it on your body, feet, and even your face for gentle exfoliation and intense hydration. Be sure to use finer sugar for more delicate skin, and be careful not to exfoliate more than a few times a week.


  • 1 cup of sugar (brown or white work great)
  • 1 /2 cup of softened (but not hot) coconut oil


  1. Mix together sugar and coconut oil in a bowl until they are evenly combined.
  2. Transfer to an airtight container, preferably glass.
  3. To use, apply the scrub in a circular motion to dry areas using a wet washcloth.
  4. Rinse with warm water and repeat as needed.
of 8

Makeup Remover

bottles of coconut aromatic oils on a wooden table with a copy of the space
Irina / Getty Images

Love to wear makeup but hate using harsh chemical makeup removers? Coconut oil is a great natural alternative for breaking up oil-based makeup and quickly removing it.

This combination of gently moisturizing oils will not only help your skin look clean and fresh, but it will leave it feeling super soft, too. 


  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/4 cup olive oil or jojoba oil


  1. Using a fork or whisk, quickly stir the coconut oil for 1 to 2 minutes in a small bowl until it takes on a whipped texture.
  2. Add the olive or jojoba oil and mix until both oils are combined.
  3. Store the mixture in an airtight container (glass works well).
  4. To use, apply a small amount to your face. Use a warm washcloth to rub the oil over the area, gently removing the makeup.
  5. Rinse thoroughly with warm water once all the makeup has been removed. It may take an extra application for certain types of mascara or waterproof makeup.
of 8

Skin Moisturizer

coconut oil and lemon

svehlik / Getty Images

Speaking of soft skin, keeping your skin’s protective barrier intact is one of the best ways to keep it moisturized and healthy. Coconut oil works to seal in the skin’s moisture, eliminating the need for petroleum-based moisturizers.

Applying some DIY whipped body butter right after a shower is a great way to keep moisture locked in place and help skin look and feel its best. And the addition of antioxidant- and vitamin C-packed lemon juice to this recipe is an extra bonus.


  • 4 tablespoons coconut oil (solid)
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice (or approximately the juice from one medium lemon)
  • A few drops of your favorite essential oil


  1. Using a whisk or electric mixer, whip the coconut oil in a small bowl until it has a light, airy texture. This could take 1 to 3 minutes depending on what you're using to whisk.
  2. Add the lemon juice to the coconut oil, being careful not to overmix the two.
  3. If you want to add a fun scent to your body butter, try mixing in a few drops of your favorite essential oil or even some vanilla extract.
of 8


Coconut oil and fresh coconuts
Angelina Panaeva / Getty Images

If your skin could use a little pick-me-up but you're not in the mood to drop money on another makeup product, you'll be happy to know that coconut oil can double as a highlighter for your skin.

How to Apply

  1. Using just your fingertip, swipe a tiny amount of coconut oil across your cheekbones.
  2. Dab a little oil under your brow bones (bonus: coconut oil can also help keep unruly brows in place).
  3. Put the lightest layer of oil on the bridge of your nose for a subtle shine that doesn't look greasy.
of 8

Lip Moisturizer

Natural diy sugar, honey and coconut oil lip scrub
sitriel / Getty Images

If you’re looking for a way to brighten up your lips, a DIY coconut scrub is the way to go.

The skin protective properties of coconut oil may help offset the slight irritation that can sometimes be caused by exfoliants, making it the perfect skin-scrubbing partner for other kitchen staples such as sugar or salt. The yummy smell is an added bonus!


  • 1/2 cup of coconut oil, soft but not melted
  • 1 cup of white or brown sugar, or salt


  1. Mix together sugar or salt and coconut oil in a bowl until they are evenly combined.
  2. Transfer to an airtight container, preferably glass.
  3. To use, apply the scrub in a circular motion to your lips using a wet washcloth.
  4. Rinse with warm water.
of 8

Natural Deodorant

A bottle of essential oil and glass cups with ingredients for homemade deodorant including coconut oil, baking soda, and more

svehlik / Getty Images 

Tired of your store-bought deodorant but nervous about trying a natural alternative? This simple DIY deodorant only has five ingredients and will leave you smelling fresh without the hard-to-pronounce chemicals. Store it in a reusable glass container and you’re good to go.


  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons shea butter
  • 3 tablespoons baking soda*
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 5 drops of your favorite essential oil

*If baking soda irritates your skin, try omitting it from the recipe and adding more cornstarch.


  1. Melt together coconut oil and shea butter in a small bowl. You can microwave it in short increments of 10 seconds at a time until fully melted, or use a double boiler on your stovetop.
  2. Add in the remaining ingredients and stir until thoroughly combined. Allow the mixture to cool.
  3. Transfer the mixture to an airtight container (glass is a great choice) and store in a cool place like the refrigerator.
  4. When it comes time to use it, scoop out a pea-sized amount and apply to underarms until it's absorbed.
of 8

Massage Oil

Coconut Oil
AshaSathees Photography / Getty Images

Why spend money on expensive massage oils when you can mix up the perfect recipe at home and have some on hand whenever you need it? This simple formula that includes a few extra moisturizers results in a smooth and saturating oil that will give you that spa experience without leaving home.


  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon vitamin E oil
  • 2 tablespoon sweet almond oil
  • 5 drops of your favorite essential oil


  1. Melt coconut oil in a small bowl. You can microwave it in short increments or use a double boiler.
  2. Add Vitamin E, sweet almond oil, and essential oil to the melted coconut oil and stir until thoroughly combined.
  3. Store massage oil in a small squeeze bottle until needed.
  4. To apply, squeeze a small amount into the palm of your hands and rub your hands together to warm up the mixture before massaging it into your skin.
of 8

Lip Gloss

homemade natural lip balm in tin pots.
Premyuda Yospim / Getty Images

You already know that a DIY lip scrub can do wonders for dull lips. But what if you want to add a bit of color, too? Homemade coconut lip balm is a simple and fun way to expand your color palette without investing in new products. And it's the perfect way to use up the last of your favorite blush or eye shadow.


  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil, soft but not melted
  • Pinch of your favorite powder or cream blush or eyeshadow


  1. In a small lidded glass pot or container, combine coconut oil and makeup.
  2. Mix well until the color is evenly distributed throughout the oil.
  3. Using your fingertip, apply a thin layer to your lips until they reach your desired color intensity. If the color isn't as bold as you'd like, try adding a bit more blush or eyeshadow to the mix.