We know the coconut oil hype isn't anything new. But, apart from feeling like everyone's watching us if we're not eating it 24/7 and slathering ourselves top to toe in jars of the stuff, we're not entirely sure what the benefits of coconut oil actually are. So what's all the fuss about?
Over to the pros.
'We use coconut oil in the majority of our products with the exception of our powders and skin beauty oils', says founder of RMS Beauty, Rose-Marie Swift. 'We have chosen organic coconut oil due to exceptionally high levels of lauric and caprylic acid (second to human breast milk). These acids are anti-fungal, antibacterial, antimicrobial and antiviral.
That's what the pros are using, but what coconut oil works for our everyday at- home purposes?
Always check the packaging; you don't want coconut oil with any additives in. Saying that, you can use the stuff they sell in supermarkets, just check what you're getting! Celeb hair stylist (VB's a big fan) Jason Collier recommends using 'pure, extra virgin raw coconut oil as it's totally natural and more gentle on your hair and scalp.'
Is Coconut Oil Good For Your Skin?
Pro Answer: Yes! According to Dr Frances Prenna Jones, one of Mayfair's top dermatologists, 'Coconut oil is a great emollient if the barrier function of your skin is disturbed. It's great at repairing and restoring this quickly as it is rapidly absorbed into the epidermis. 'Coconut oil contains Vitamin E, essential amino acids, and lauric and caprylic acid which form part of the barrier function of your skin and help maintain your skin's natural flora aka the good bugs!' Super facialist and laser expert Debbie Thomas agrees: 'Coconut oil is mainly composed of saturated fats, which are amazing at repairing your skins natural barrier function and can also keep moisture in the skin by slowing down the evaporation. It's quite light as an oil so soaks in well without feeling greasy.'
Is Coconut Oil Comedogenic? (Pore Blocking)
Pro Answer: Yes 'All oils if used excessively can be comedogenic', says Dr Frances Prenna Jones, 'so people with acne prone skin should avoid using it.'
'Coconut oil is very comedogenic', says Debbie Thomas, 'On a scale of 1-5 (5 being the worst) coconut oil is a 4. This means it's likely to cause blockages and blackheads. Not everyone will get congestion but if you are prone to blemishes and congestion I would avoid regular use on the face.'
'There are lots of ways to use coconut oil, from lip balm, as a temporary skin soother, hair mask, nail hydrators, body moisturiser, mouth wash and skin cleansing', says facialist Debbie Thomas. Coconut oil as a cleanser...
'I would use coconut oil as a make-up remover rather than a cleanser', says Thomas. 'Once you've thoroughly massaged the oil in to your skin, remove with a flannel/muslin cloth before doing your second cleanse with a skin type specific cleanser. This gives the skin time to reap some of the positive benefits of the oil without the negative side effects of leaving it coating the skin.'
Coconut oil on your body...
'I mainly use coconut oil on my body as the skin there is less reactive than your face. My favourite place to use it is my feet because of its antibacterial and anti fungal properties. I also massage it into my nails and cuticles. Apply the coconut oil after a shower, when your skin is still damp, to trap some of the moisture in.'
Coconut oil for face massage... 'When massaging the skin, you want to stimulate the circulation and get the lymphatic system working. This means use some pressure to really manipulate the tissue - you ideally want to be a bit pink after. 'Make sure you are using enough oil that your skin is slippery, this means you're not dragging any delicate skin and damaging it. All massage movements should be firm and going in a upward and outward motion to help lift the face and support circulation flow.'
Is Coconut Oil Good For Your Hair?
Pro Answer: Yes and no... 'Coconut oil is intensely moisturising and is particularly good on naturally curly or naturally dry hair rather than chemically damaged hair.' VB and Sienna Miller's go-to hair stylist Jason Collier is feeling the coconut oil love as well: 'It's one of the most nourishing deep conditioners you can get your hands on, and best of all, it's all natural and fairly inexpensive.
'Coconut oil works to hydrate and nurture dry or tired hair, transforming dull locks into thick, swishy, shiny hair to be proud of! It's suitable for all hair types and skin types too as it's so gentle. Just remember, a little goes a long way.'
Is Coconut Oil Good For Your Scalp?
Pro Answer: Yes According to Jason Collier, 'Coconut oil has natural anti-bacterial properties which can help to eradicate dandruff and keep your scalp healthy and hydrated.' How Do You Use Coconut Oil On Your Hair? Coconut oil as a hair mask VB's go-to hair stylist Jason Collier says, 'If your hair is particularly dry or damaged, using the oil as an overnight mask is a great way to rehydrate the strands and give your hair a makeover.
'Warm a few tablespoons of oil in the microwave and then apply through the hair, paying particular attention to the mid-lengths and ends. Then pop on a shower cap and head off to bed you'll wake with unbelievably soft hair. Just be sure to use a deep-cleansing shampoo in the morning to rinse out the residue.'
Coconut oil as a serum
How Much Coconut Oil Should You Use?
Pro Answer: Not too much! 'Coconut oil is quite a heavy product and you only want to use enough to condition the hair. Using too much will weigh down the hair and can make it look greasy if you're not careful', says Jason Collier. 'Long, thick or coarse hair can withstand up to three tablespoons of oil, but finer or shorter hair should only use around a tablespoon to avoid overloading the hair.'
Can Coconut Oil Help Your Hair Grow?
Pro Answer: Yes and no... 'Coconut oil can't directly improve growth unless you suffer from a dry scalp condition, in which case, it could help hair grow healthier by improving your scalp health', says trichologist Sally-Ann Tarver.
'I like to use coconut oil for a stimulating head massage', says Jason Collier. 'Not only does it de-stress and unwind your mind after a long day, but it can also help to boost hair growth. It promotes circulation to the scalp, which means that more oxygen and nutrients will be directed to your hair follicles. Warm a few tablespoons of oil and then apply to the scalp, massaging into the roots and smoothing the excess down into the lengths. Spend at least ten minutes massaging the oil in for a healthy scalp and glossy hair.'