The benefits of coconut oil for skin

From sandy shores to coconut shies, the coconut’s versatility is well-chronicled. So no surprise that its uses extend to skin, hair and body care. You’re a worldy one so you might have heard that the oil from this nut (well, technically, stone fruit) helps to combat dryness and lock in moisture. Coconut oil has some serious staying power, having been praised for, literally, thousands of years. It’s not just a multi-purpose, moisture-rich wonder ingredient but also a natural resource helping communities to prosper. Get the low down on all the benefits of this tropical treat.

Coconut broken open

What is coconut oil, then?

You’d never know it to look at a coconut, but this hairy, brown stone fruit, or drupe if we’re being all botanical about it, contains a little surprise inside – a refreshing pure white flesh that, when cold-pressed, becomes oil. Coconut oil has been beloved for thousands of years and not just for its exotic scent.

Going through a movie montage-style makeover, the innards of this scruffy fruit transform into an oil that’s said to help protect skin from drying out. Not to mention, due to its high fat content, formulas that use coconut oil are said to help create a protective layer on skin, so could help soothe dry/sensitive skin.

The products in our Coconut range are enriched with pure coconut oil and other naturally inspired ingredients – combined in our formulas, they help to create a caring, hydrating layer when applied to skin or hair. So, if your skin errs on the dry or sensitive side, or your hair feels dried out, turning to our Coconut products for skincare and hair care can help to keep your body and barnet comforted and moisturised. And who doesn’t want to feel their softest, smoothest selves?

Convinced by coconut oil benefits for skin? You’ll be feeling like you’re ready for your close-up with our dedicated range, dear dry skin types. From Coconut Shower Cream and soap to our indulgent Coconut Nourishing Body Butter, we enrich every product in our Coconut range with Community Fair Trade coconut oil, among other naturally inspired ingredients, to help get you there. Hydration is on the palm tree-lined horizon…

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Person breaking open coconuts

Where does our coconut oil come from?

The coconut being a member of the palm tree family, where else would we source this naturally derived ingredient but a daydream-worthy tropical island? Ours come from the midst of the Pacific Ocean – geography whizzes will be able to swiftly spot this cluster of isles – the remote tropics of Samoa. This ocean-lapped land is rich in mythology as one of the oldest Polynesian cultures.

Legend has it that coconuts originated here after the King of Fiji came disguised as an eel to Samoa to catch a glimpse of a beautiful girl, Sina. When he died and was buried in the ground, they say a coconut tree grew. To this day, the eel’s face is still seen in the three round marks on the huskless coconut. We like to think a little of the magic at work in this tale made its way into the organic coconut oil that we use in our products.

Our Community Fair Trade partners in Samoa ethically hand-harvest coconuts with the story of Sina and the Eel in mind. Coconuts fall to the ground when they’re ripe and ready, so indicated due to what the farmers call its ‘good smile’, the pleasing fish face markings that appear on the outer shell. They are then hand-cracked and pressed to release pure organic coconut oil. Cold-pressing is a more laborious task than other methods, but the proof is in the oil. The virgin coconut oil that goes into our formulations retain the highest nutrient content, as the oil is extracted without the use of chemicals.

We know you’re an avid advocate of products that don’t just do good for you. That’s why you can file our coconut oil body care products under not just vital, but virtuous bathroom essentials – our coconuts are wild-harvested by the globally recognised Women in Business Development Inc (WIBDI). Honouring the enduring indigenous ethos of Fa’a Samoa, ‘The Samoan Way,’ this local NGO empowers farming families in the community to respectfully, lovingly generate an income from their abundant natural resources. Better for people and the planet, not to mention a supremely nourishing product? That’s just The Body Shop way.

Woman applying body oil

Coconut oil for skin

Is coconut oil good for skin? Well, if you’ve got dry to very dry skin the short answer is yes. For generations, coconut oil skincare has been a go-to for people with dry skin. Regular use is said to help skin’s natural moisture retention. No wonder when you consider that organic coconut oil is rich in vitamin E, a renowned contributor to helping keep skin feeling plumped. The coconut oil benefits for skin are so far-reaching, in fact, that a small amount can go a long way in assisting with skin dehydration, as well as dry skin, as it quickly absorbs into the skin’s epidermis, helping to give hydrating relief. That’s a win win for healthier-looking skin.

That said, if you are an oily or blemish-prone skin type, you should avoid using coconut oil skincare, as it can clog pores for those susceptible to that sort of thing. (There’s even a word for pore-blockers in skincare speak – comedogenic.) Don’t write coconut oil off completely, though, as the rest of your body tends to work differently and is less delicate than the face, so you can still take advantage of our Coconut range – just skip ahead to our coconut oil body and hair care.


Explore our Coconut body care range

Regardless of your skin type, all bodies can use a little extra hydration help. Especially when everything from daily stresses to air conditioning and heaters zap natural moisture levels from skin, having drying effects. Ironic really that the coconut tree, which grows in hot and sandy climes should help to reduce desert-like dry skin, but there you go. We’ve formulated our range of coconut oil body care with your driest, hardest-working bodies in mind, helping to replenish moisture. It’s just the thing to support softly-softly strokable skin. And who can argue with that?

Helping to sustain overall skin smoothness, our Coconut Nourishing Body Butter is a sumptuous sort of moisturising ritual that can render skin feeling nourished for up to 72 hours. Though its consistency is more on the unctuous side, it’s no less easily absorbed, leaving only a soothed feel on skin and fresh and clean scent of coconut in its wake.

If you’re after more of a light touch, our Coconut Nourishing Body Milk glides on weightlessly, leaving skin feeling just as irresistibly soft to the touch. With the ever-so-smooth feelings on your body and the romantic notion of running away to a tropical paradise on your mind, how can you not fall in love?

Exotic & Hydrating Body Care Routine

Hands scooping The Body Shop Coconut Exfoliating Body Cream

Step 1: Scrub

So, you’re starting to use coconut oil body care products. What’s first? Begin your routine with our Coconut Exfoliating Cream Body Scrub, a gentle rub-a-dub-dub helping to buff away any dead skin cells that might be hanging around on the skin’s surface. This step is important in helping your newer skin cells to shine, helping your skin feel smooth and refined AKA a clean canvas to soak up the benefits of our other coconut-infused body products.

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The Body Shop Coconut Shower Cream

Step 2: Wash

Rinsed off any remaining scrub particles? Next up, depending on whether you like a creamy soap or a solid one, turn to our Coconut Shower Cream or Coconut Soap to cleanse your shoulders, knees, toes and all that’s in between. Both are enriched with our organic virgin coconut oil, naturally, so it’s your call which you go for. Standing underneath your showerhead, breathe in that sweet coconut scent. Get a good lather going, before rinsing to reveal softer, beautiful-feeling skin.

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The Body Shop Coconut Body Butter tub on sink

Step 3: Moisturise

This is where the tropical tang of coconut will really build, transporting you from the sanctuary of your bathroom to an island paradise. Once you’ve patted dry, massage a dollop of our Coconut Nourishing Body Butter or Coconut Nourishing Body Milk into your skin, paying particular attention to those drier areas (think elbows and knees, shins and forearms). It doesn’t matter which formulation you prefer, both leave skin feeling nourished with moisture.

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Woman applying lip butter

Step 4: Target

Finally, you might be dressed and ready but before you grab your coat take care of those areas that need a little more loving – the bits that are almost always exposed to the elements whenever you head outside. Your hands and lips, of course. Dry-feeling hands get on-the-go hydration with our Coconut Hand Cream. And don’t forget your smacker. Dab on some Coconut Lip Butter for instantly softer-feeling, more nourished lips. And go.

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Coconut oil for hair

Body done, you might be wondering what does coconut oil do for hair? And is coconut oil good for hair, just like it is for your skin? Well, the short answer is yes. Just like using coconut oil on your body to help your skin feel nourished and marvellously moisturised, using coconut oil on your coiffure helps every strand hold on to moisture too.

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Woman blow-drying her hair

Coconut oil benefits for hair

Coconut oil benefits for hair include helping your hair get to movie star levels of hair-swishing, looking more glossy, shiny and tangle-free. That’s because hair with the right amount of moisture in it is less likely to get brittle or break into split ends – key signs of dryness. Maintaining hair hydration means you’re helping hair to sustain water, the supporting character in your hair’s structure next to the leading lady that is keratin.

In short, coconut oil is enriched with all sorts of vitamins and minerals, making it just the sort of thing that hair needs. So, coconut for hair is said to make for an excellent conditioner for all hair types, not just dry hair. Equally, like coconut oil on your skin creates a protective layer, it can do the same for each strand of your hair, helping to protect hair from the drying effects of the elements and helping it hold on to its suppleness and a silky-soft feel.

The Body Shop Coconut Oil Hair Oil

How to use coconut oil for hair

Say hello to our Coconut Oil Nourishing Pre-Shampoo Hair Oil, a hydrating vegan formula so beloved by hair that it deserves its own little red carpet into your bathroom. It’s enriched with Community Fair Trade organic virgin coconut oil as well as soya oil and pracaxi oil from Brazil and is so flexible that it suits all hair types and can be used a number of ways. Massage it into your mane before your shower or leave it on overnight and wash out in the morning. Or, simply rub into the ends of clean hair – particularly if those ends look dry or are doing that flyaway thing that fine hair especially loves to do. It helps to leave locks looking and feeling stronger, smoother and softer with the unmistakable ride-off-into-the-sunset scent of coconuts.