Why I Stopped Using Coconut Oil as a Skin Moisturizer

CoconutOil

Every winter without fail, I get terribly dry skin on my face. The day after the we turn on the furnace for the first time in the fall, it starts. My face – especially in my T-zone – gets itchy, dry, and flaky. After my shower, it feels tight and awful, like that feeling you get when wearing a face mask that has dried and is ready to wash off. I do not appreciate this facet of my undeniably otherwise-flawless beauty. Not cool, face, not cool at all.

So what’s a natural living, crunchy mama to do?

[Enter, stage left, hero character]

Coconut oil is the darling of the natural living crunchy community. Every real food blogger worth their (unrefined sea) salt will tell you that there are literally hundreds of ways to use the stuff, from eating it on toast to lubricating your guitar strings to lubricating your something else. (Yep, it’s true!)

(Ever seen My Big Fat Greek Wedding? Remember how Windex is the cure-all? Same idea, only less hilarious and more natural.)

It is often touted as the Awesomest! Moisturizer! Ever! For the last couple of years I’ve kept some in a little sealed container in my bathroom, carried it in my purse, and even packed it for trips, just so I could swipe a little out with my finger to help moisturize my dry skin. It worked… sorta. I also tried jojoba oil for a while (holy expensive, batman). It was better, but still not awesome.

My life was forever changed when an email landed in my inbox from Hannah at Taproot Farms. (I am totally not kidding, peeps! This completely blew my mind.)

Screen Shot 2014-01-24 at 12.38.52 PM

Taproot Farms is a family-owned business located on an off-grid modern day homestead in  Chickaloon, Alaska. They offer a variety of products including lip balm, face/body oils, shea butter, perfume, and goat milk soap (made from fresh goat milk from the family homestead – how cool is that?!)

[annnd... now cue the dramatic music] 

She wanted me to review some skin care products from their shop. I was all like, OK, sure, sounds fun. Little did I know that my face moisturizing routine as I knew it was about to be forever changed.

I tried a few different products (the Creme Brulee Shea Butter – that stuff is to die for! I’m just shocked I haven’t eaten it yet because it smells like heaven.) I also tried a peach lip balm which works beautifully, and a sandalwood handcrafted soap - smells incredible, feels totally luxurious in the shower. I LOVE the silky smooth feel of it.

taproot

Then… I tried the Moroccan Argan Oil.

Backstory: when Hannah asked me what I’d like to try from their shop, I mentioned that the Argan Oil looked interesting (I had never heard of it before) because I had suffered from dry, itchy skin on my face for so long, and my current routine was not really cutting it.

This was followed by a discussion of the various oils and some brilliant explanations from her which pretty much explained everything as to why the other oils hadn’t worked for me. Here’s what I learned that blew my mind:

— “Jojoba oil isn’t actually an oil, it’s a wax that is very similar to the skin’s natural sebum. So, while it feels really nice on the skin, it can’t soak in and moisturize as deeply as an oil like Argan.”

— Coconut oil is a very light moisturizer that sinks in quickly, which appeals to a lot of people. It works well for some, but not those with very dry skin as it does not moisturize deeply enough.

Argan is non-comedogenic, so it won’t clog your pores, but it also moisturizes.

— Conversely, coconut oil is considered to be fairly comodogenic. That doesn’t bother many people, but if you have a tendency to get clogged pores (blackheads, etc), coconut oil might exacerbate that problem.

So while coconut oil might work well for people who have skin in the middle of the spectrum, it doesn’t usually work great for those of us who tend to have dry or oily skin issues.

ArganOil So I started using the Argan Oil every morning, especially after a shower (I don’t shower every day.)

The glass bottle comes with a dropper, and I dab a few drops on my driest areas (right between my eyebrows, forehead, around the base of my nose) and massage it in. It literally only takes a few drops, and my skin drinks it up thirstily.

It is especially effective if I give my face a quick exfoliation first. In the shower, I just rub my face vigorously with a washcloth and it works great.

Since using the argan oil, I have noticed an absolute 100% improvement in the way the skin on my face feels on a daily basis. As far as I can tell, the results are long-lasting too, because on the days I don’t shower, I sometimes don’t even use the oil because my skin is still happily moisturized from the day before.

It’s incredibly effective (this is about as close to defining something as a miracle product as I’ve ever gotten) and it’s frugal too, considering how little of it you need at a time. At the risk of overstating my case, to be honest, I am utterly blown away and thrilled with this product. Truly.

Now, not only does it work well and not cost me an arm and a leg, but consider these amazing factors as well:

Some fascinating facts* about the origins and production of Argan Oil:

— Argan oil is one of the rarest, most highly valued oils in the world. It is a plant-based oil that comes from the Argan tree, which is exclusive to Morocco. It is called the “tree of life” there, and it has been used by locals for centuries.

Every part of the plant is utilized: the fruit and leaves are used to feed livestock, the oil is used on skin and for cooking, and the nut shells are even used as fuel! Incredible.

— The process of extraction and selling this oil is done in a sustainable fashion. Almost all Argan oil is distributed by local co-operatives of women in Morocco. To this day, the most efficient method of extraction is hand-pressing the kernels, which provides valuable jobs to women in the country.

Argan oil’s composition is quite remarkable as well. It contains nearly 80% fatty acids and is extremely high in vitamin E, which are both traits held in high regard in the beauty industry. The industry often adds synthetic versions of these things to products to be able to market them as anti-aging and healing, but of course, the natural (non-synthetic) version is far superior.

— “Argan also contains active ingredients called phytosterols, which may have anti-tumor effects, reduce inflammation, and which also have cell stimulation properties.”

Taproot Farms is a small family business that prides itself on offering natural, affordable products of exceptional quality. They also value sustainability and top-notch service, which pretty well makes them my ideal company.

I am honoured to be able to introduce y’all to them today, and I hope you’ll take a few minutes to browse their site and see what they have to offer (and snag some of that argan oil, friends – it’s incredible stuff.)

And, a giveaway! (THE GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED! The winner has been notified by email. Thanks for participating!)

Woohoo! You can enter to win a bar of soap, a lip balm, and a 2oz shea butter all in your choice of fragrances! Use the form below to enter. (Good luck, may the force be with you, and the odds be ever in your favor, etc. etc. I wish you all could win but sadly I’ll have to choose just one. Maybe it’ll be you!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: All opinions expressed are my own. I honestly use and love these products. This giveaway was generously sponsored by Taproot Farms, and I received the products for free for the purpose of review. Top image via flickr cc, all other images via the Taproot website. Contest closes on Friday, January 31st at midnight.
*as explained by Hannah of Taproot Farms.

What do you use to moisturize your skin?

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Comments

  1. says

    Nice post, I’m Jamaican and it’s really very informative for me. I currently use coconut oil at night. I feel to use this to help me for extra glow of my skin and also remove my daily makeup and I even use it when I’m not wearing makeup. This oil provides my skin with a really healthy looking glow and it keeps my skin hydrated and soft. I also still use this as my body lotion daily. Please suggest me some other herbal and organic ideas for Cruelty free makeup as comparable like coconut or other relevant nature ingredient made products.

  2. Ariane says

    Aha ! Mystery solved as to why I have blackheads all over my thighs after switching to coconut oil a couple of weeks ago… I’m excited to try Argan oil for my face.

  3. Suzy says

    I have always had very dry skin and find argan oil works wonders on my long, thick hair and scalp, Bio oil every where else and treat myself to coconut shea body butter a couple of times a week after a bath; I can’t resist the smell and using it in that formula it has never dried me out. I use the argan and bio oil morning and night and always get compliments and questions, you would never think I had very dry skin!
    Suzy

  4. Yaya says

    I have teRrible acne and I have trouble finding a moisturizer that helps. I’ve been using coconut oil but it might be making my situation wOrst because it’s fairly comodogenic as mentIoned in the post. Just started mixing it with jojoba oil to see if that helps but now I’m curious about trying argan oil out and to see if that works. Do you have any recommendations for acne prone combinaTion skin?

  5. Bobbie says

    Thank you for the argan oil tip, I’m going to look in to it. But I had another question. What would you recommend for prevention of stretch marks that is also natural for the skin?

  6. Mahatma Paul says

    Thank you so much for posting this! I’ve been trying to switch over to all natural products and coconut oil, while making my skin smooth, does nothing to seal in the moisture! I’ve applied right out of the shower like everyone suggests and within the half hour of applying, my skin appears dry and cracked as if I didn’t put any moisturizer on at all. I eventually have to put on commercial lotion again and it really bothers me that this product that seems to work wonders for everyone else doesn’t work for me :(
    I will definitely give Argan Oil a try though. I want to be able to throw out my commercial lotions.

    • BettyMel says

      Unfortunately, I have the same problem! I really want to be able to use natural products, but every time I stop using my commercial face moisturizer to try the natural products, I end up with little pimple like bumps on my face (not like acne though) and my skin starts to feel more leathery. I also notice that my crowsfeet become more noticeable. I always end up going back to using the commercial one too :(

    • Melissa says

      I have the same issue. Coconut oil dries my skin out terribly. Like to the point of flaking off.

  7. Liz says

    Hello, just want to ask a question here. I only read that you’ve been using coco oil on your face, but how about on the body? Does coco oil work well for very dry skin on the body? I have been using some only on my body & was wondering if you meant doesnt work well for dry face. Thank you.

  8. says

    I want to thank you for the great post! I have been using coconut oil for a while now but it doesn’t seem to help my combo skin, which gets dry so I think it overproduces oil to compensate. I have read about Argan oil a few times and every time I search for it online (because the store-bought stuff isn’t pure) they want $30-$40 for a small bottle. Being a broke college student can’t afford that but I CAN afford $14, so thank you for letting us know a place that is reasonable! (:
    - Shaina

    • says

      Hurray! I’m so happy that you found this post – having dry skin really sucks, and I was getting so frustrated with the coconut oil, too. I don’t know if you have ordered some argan oil from Taproot or not, but if you haven’t done so – make sure you click on the ad at the top of my sidebar right now – they are sponsoring my site this month and next, and have set up a fantastic discount offer for R&H readers! :) :) :)

    • says

      Hi Tamara! The winner was Kate, she was notified by email. Thanks for asking – I had meant to update the post to let people know, but had forgotten. Thanks for reading :)

  9. says

    I do okay with coconut oil. I find it works really well for keeping the itchy, after-shaving, red bumps away, but I don’t care for it on my face or hands at all. I feel like it sits on top of my skin rather than soaking in, and I want to wipe ‘the excess off’.

    After reading a chapter in an Alice Walker novel where olive oil is being rubbed into dry, hurting skin, I gave it a try and was astounded at the relief I felt in skin that I didn’t know was hurting. Some olive oils have worked better than others, and I understand that this has to do with the pollution of many olive oils with cheaper oils. However the Mountain Rose Herbs olive oil works so well for me, and is affordable enough for me to use it as a body oil as well as face oil.

    • says

      Hi there! I’ve been using olive oil too! I’ve read that it contains squalene, a natural occurring substance found in our bodies and it helps moisturize skin too. It’s like the natural way our bodies retain moisture. Indeed, some olive oils have been contaminated with cheaper oils, but there are some brands that remain pure 100% olive oil. I now buy the bigger bottle of olive oil than before because my skin loves it. I also drink a lot of water because it’s got so much benefit as well, with none of the bad side effects.

  10. says

    Awesome. I’m gonna give these products a try. I was using coconut oil as well but it didn’t moisturize as well as I wanted and I still had to use a face cream afterwards. I finally found Dr. Organics but the Argan oil sounds like something I’m gonna have to try. Thanks for the info!

    militaryandmakeup.blogspot.com

  11. jennifer says

    I just started using coconut oil on my skin ( arms & legs) not my face. It makes me itch for a few minutes and then the itching eventually goes away. Have you ever heard of this happening? It does not seem to be working for me, do you have any other suggestions as to what I could use to relieve my dry, itchy skin?

  12. Jordan says

    I had been using coconut oil as my facial moisturizer for a couple years – with mediocre results. Just like you mentioned, I get the dry flaky spots on my skin during winter. I finally randomly started using something else (simply because the container of coconut oil that i keep in my bathroom had run out and I was too lazy to fill it back up), and my dry/patchy spots immediately cleared up. Right around that time I read somewhere that coconut oil can actually be rather drying for some people/certain skin types. Now I moisturize with a homemade tallow balm and it is incredible! No more dry spots in winter. No more tight skin feeling, ever. It always feels perfectly balanced – not greasy, and not dry. I might give the argan oil a try as well!

  13. Nickie says

    I have tried all of those for my poor face–I have terrible rosacea, so sensitive doesn’t even begin to describe my skin. And DRY. I do like Argan oil, but I also love Sea Buckthorn seed oil. You only have to use a tiny amount, but it helps my skin immensely. I also notice a huge difference in my skin when I am taking large doses of cod liver oil.

    • Carolyntheresa@hotmail.com says

      GRAPESEED OIL FOR BROWN SKIN FOR MOISTURE AND ACNE.WORK GREAT.I USE COCONUT OIL FOR PULLING AND AS A BASE FOR GRAPESEED & THE OLIVE OIL MOISTURIZER FOR MY BODY. FOR BUGS I MICHEAL A FEW DROPS OF AVON SSS IN THE OIL.ALSO IT DRINK QUICKLY. MY HUSBAND IS POLISH AND HE ALSO LOVE THIS FOR BABY SOFT SKIN

  14. Nicole S. says

    Wow, I didn’t know that jojoba oil is really a wax, how interesting! I actually have some argan oil that I have not been using, I think I will give it a try as my moisturizer and see how it compares for me.

  15. Alicia says

    Also have dry winter skin & hair. I really enjoy Argan oil on my hair and in a beautiful skin elixir my friend makes. Bonus it’s a 2in1 little bottle I can take anywhere. Although I haven’t moisturized my face at all in years it feels like it’s peppy and meets all my skin/hair needs. Plus Im in full agreement that a 2oz bottle has lasted all year and there is still more to go..

  16. says

    I’ve been using Argan oil for a couple of years now and while I still use coconut oil in most of my salves and such, I way prefer Argan oil for my face. I use it for oil cleansing too and like you said, a couple of drops go a long way.

  17. Michelle says

    I am so glad to have stumbled upon this blog post! I’ve been using coconut oil on my face for the past 2 years. I struggle with really dry facial skin, especially above my eyes. I wonder if your skin builds up a resistance to coconut oil over time because when I started using it it really seemed to help but for like the past year it didn’t seem to moisturize as well. I ordered some of the Argan Oil. I can’t wait to try it! I hope this is the answer I’ve been seeking!

  18. says

    C’mon, SERIOUSLY?! I ran out of my lovely facial moisturizer my friend makes and I wanted to try making my own, but I haven’t had time to order anything, and I’ve been using argan oil on my hair for years! YOU MEAN I CAN USE IT ON MY FACE TOO?! Hold the phone, my dry skin has been rescued!!

  19. Elizabeth T says

    I’ve been wondering why my skin feels so dry not too long after putting coconut oil on it. I just ordered some of the argan oil and couldn’t help but get the apple jack spice goat milk soap!

  20. says

    Glad to have come across this post…I’ve been looking for a good moisturizer to use on my dry skin. I currently use jojoba to clean my face but it doesn’t work well as a moisturizer. I’ve also tried to moisturize with coconut oil but it seemed to irritate the skin around my nose and mouth where I sometimes have perioral dermatitis. I’ll have to give the argan oil a try. Thanks!

  21. heather r says

    Thanks for this lovely give away. I personally use coconut oil Andros hi just saw that I make myself and it works great but the argon oil sounds fantastic. I make my own products and I’m excited to try the argon oil for that. everybody is different therefore things work differently with everyone else I’m glad that you found what works well for you. I just happened to stumble upon your website on Pinterest today loved it signed up for the newsletter. Also I tried to pin this on Pinterest but couldn’t figure out how to put the URL on it from my phone so hopefully my other for entries make me a big winner lol thanks again

  22. DawnFowler says

    Wow…this oil is ALOT more expensie than the Jojoba oil. you can find 4 oz. of organic Jojoba for the same price as this 1 oz. bottle.

    • says

      Actually it’s not, when you consider how much less you need of the argan oil. I literally use a couple of drops per day. When I was using the jojoba oil I needed much more than that for the level of dry skin that I have.

      • Dawn Fowler says

        Thanks for the info, it certainly seems worth a try then..I guess it will last longer than I’d assumed. I appreciate the response.

  23. says

    I have not tried Argan oil before. Not sure about the sustainability of it, and the price is what has strayed me away from using it.
    Organic Coconut Oil is still the best oil for your skin. It has actually helped control my oily/combination skin. The KEY here is to get 3 tbsp./day EATEN as well. Applying it on the skin is great, but you need to be moisturizing from the INSIDE as well. A lot of creams etc. only address the symptom on the outside, and not the health of the body that is demonstrated in the skin.
    I also do oil pulling twice/day and this has helped heal my skin tremendously.
    A combination of Organic Coconut Oil with Castor oil in an oil cleansing method is what has helped my blackheads the most. Search “oil cleansing method” and it has great explanations on why you would want to use an oil to dissolve the oils clogging your pores.

    • says

      I don’t think that you can really definitively say that coconut oil is the best oil for everyone’s skin just because it happens to work well for you. Like I said – because of the compositions of the various oils, they work differently for different skin types. I do ingest coconut oil daily, and that did not make a difference to how it worked on my skin.

      Also, I’ve read lots on the OCM. I don’t personally have blackheads – the post just says that coconut oil *might* exacerbate that problem for some people. You can google that to find lots of stories.

      Thanks for your comment!

  24. says

    I stopped using coconut oil for the same reason. I had also used to it to ‘treat’ my daughter’s eczema and was told the reason it wasn’t working was because it doesn’t stay on the skin long enough for it to moistureize as deep as needed. So I make lotion bars for both of us with beeswax, avacado oil and cocont oil and it’s great for my daughter, good for me. I will definitely check out the argan oil!

  25. Alicia says

    Coconut oil wasn’t cutting it for me this winter until I added in some Vitamin E drops. Now it works just great! The ratio was 1 tsp. E to 1 cup coconut oil, whipped up for a few minutes.

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