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Ingredient Decoder: Coconut Oil

Photo: Dermstore

I don’t believe every piece of beauty hype I read, but it’s hard not to pay attention when you keep coming across rave reviews of a certain ingredient. Over the past few years, every magazine has extolled the virtues of coconut oil. Caribbean women coat themselves in it from head to toe, and more and more of us are adopting it as a staple in our beauty routines (not to mention the fact that it’s a model fave). Used on your face, coconut oil acts as an anti-aging moisturizer. On your body, it smooths dry skin and heals rough patches. In your hair, it functions as a leave-in deep conditioner. Plus, the oil smells really, really good!

Since my next tropical vacation is nowhere in sight, I decided to track down the purest coconut oil product I could find on these shores. The winner: VMV Hypoallergenics Grandma Minnie’s Oil’s Well Nurturing Do-It-Oil. This product may have a tongue twister of a name, but I love how it contains just two ingredients: organic virgin coconut oil and monolaurin, a coconut-derived antibacterial agent. I’ve been using it in place of my regular hand cream, lip balm, and moisturizer, and it’s already done wonders to soften my skin. With my curiosity piqued, I did a little digging around.

Little known facts about coconut oil:

  • Cold-pressed virgin coconut oil is more potent than the refined, heat-pressed kind. Since it’s not subjected to heat, virgin oil has more beneficial phytochemicals and antioxidants to boost collagen and skin elasticity. Besides the VMV oil, you can find other versions at your local health food store or Whole Foods
  • The oil solidifies into a milky white butter in cold temperatures, but you can still use it! Just heat up the bottle in warm water or scoop the product out.
  • It’s edible in its natural form (duh), but you probably didn’t know that eating coconut oil helps repair skin cell damage from the inside out. Sadly, the health benefits probably evaporate if you use it in a cookie recipe. 


Another product we love with organic coconut oil: Truth Art Beauty’s Coconut Body Buff.

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