Coconut oil might just be the holy grail of natural ingredients.
Chrissy Teigen revealed she uses it on her body just about everywhere, nipples included.Zooming out beyond the nip, coconut oil has a plethora of skin- and hair-saving properties. We picked the mind of New York City cosmetic dermatologist Shereene Idriss to get the real scoop on coconut oil’s benefits. And lo and behold: The humble fruit/nut/seed (technically it’s a “drupe”) can treat acne, remove makeup, and infuse the skin with long-lasting moisture. Read on for a few tips on just how to add coconut oil to your beauty routine.
Coconut oil on your face…
First, it can be used for makeup removal. “Coconut oil is rich in omega-3 fatty acids making it a powerful lubricant capable of dislodging makeup particles,” explains Idriss. But she does add that the oil is also comedogenic, meaning it clings onto pores, clogs them and can potentially cause blackheads. But no worries. By following following coconut oil with a gentle cleanser you’ll easily wash away any oily residue.
Of course, in some cases, coconut oil can be used to treat acne. “Coconut oil is rich in lauric acid, which has antimicrobial properties that help in fighting off acne-inducing bacteria,” says Idriss. But again, because the oil can be thick, it’s best to talk to a dermatologist to see if coconut oil is for you.
That being said, that very same occlusive property makes coconut oil aces for your lips. Try combining a dab of coconut oil with coarse sugar, and gently sloughing it on your lips after a warm shower. You’ll exfoliate away any unsightly dryness while also quenching your skin.
Coconut oil on your body…
This one is a bit of a no-brainer: Coconut oil is an awesome moisturizer for the body. “It’s occlusive nature combined with it being rich in vitamin E and omega-3 fatty acids, make it a well suited moisturizer for dry skin in areas not prone to breakouts,” says Idriss. For the best (and least greasy) results, slather it on damp skin after a shower—that’s when it will absorb best—and wait a few minutes for it to fully soak in before getting dressed.
Coconut oil on your hair…
This is probably one of the most miraculous properties of coconut oil, and it’s what sets it apart from lots of other botanical extracts. “Coconut oil is capable of penetrating your hair shaft much more efficiently than other oils,” explains Idriss. By working a big dollop through dry hair a half hour or so before a shower, you’ll infuse your strands with a ton of hydration, and also prevent them from absorbing too much water when you do rinse. Even better if you do it before you workout, as the extra heat can aid penetration. Either way, “your hair will be left looking lustrous and frizz-free,” says Idriss.
This article originally appeared on elle.com