Chances are you have at least one friend who’s joined the cult of coconut. Many swear by the tropical fruit for its powerful health and beauty benefits, praising coconut-derived ingredients like oil, water, and extracts for their wealth of antioxidants and naturally antibacterial, anti-inflammatory properties.
According to Jessica Weiser, MD, of New York Dermatology Group, “Coconut oil is a saturated fat that is high in medium-chain fatty acids, which, when applied to the skin, have been shown to improve the barrier function and hydrate the skin.” The CliffsNotes on coconut: It’s one of the buzzy “new” ingredients that people have been using for every purpose imaginable — eating, cooking, brushing their teeth, and slathering onto their faces and bodies. And it seems that nearly everyone — well, not everyone — is pretty obsessed.
Curious to see whether coconut is capable of improving my skin and hair, I swapped my usual products for either coconut oil (based on Dr. Weiser’s advice to find “a virgin oil that hasn’t been hydrogenated, bleached, refined, deodorized, or otherwise processed”) or coconut-based products — for seven days.
The result? Not only did I smell like a piña colada for a week — though not a soul seemed to mind — but I was thrilled with my smoother skin, shinier hair, and the wonderful beachy scent that seemed to follow me everywhere.
But don’t take my word for it: Keep reading to find out which products I used, why they worked, and whether you, too, might soon become a coconut convert.