What can’t coconut oil do? It’s one of those cult products that people use for almost everything—haircare, skincare, cooking, healthcare, the list goes on. I honestly don’t go a day without lathering pure, 100% extra-virgin coconut oil all over my face. It’s so moisturizing, and I’m addicted to the healthy glow it leaves behind on my skin. I’ve suffered from eczema since I was a little girl and have severely dry skin, so coconut oil has been my saving grace for, like, ever. It’s also my go-to method for removing makeup when I run out of cleansing wipes.
With the endless uses for coconut oil floating around, the unexpected ones can easily get lost in the shuffle. For instance, using coconut oil for nails is something we’ll all benefit from. Brittle nails lead to broken nails, and you have to put in the work to keep your nail game strong. Incorporating coconut oil into your nail routine will hydrate and strengthen your cuticles, amp up nail growth, help your mani last longer, and act as a natural remedy for ridding your nails from any sort of fungus. To get the full scoop on coconut oil’s magical powers, we called on Skyy Hadley.
Meet the Expert
Skyy Hadley is a celebrity manicurist and owner of Hoboken-based As U Wish Nail Spa.
Read on for everything you need to know about this miracle oil.
It's Packed with Nourishing Ingredients
There’s a lot of good stuff packed in this cure-all product that explains why it’s so useful. Here’s a little refresher: “Coconut oil is rich in carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals, which are great for the human body,” Hadley says. “It’s also really high in saturated fats that are composed of mostly triglycerides and medium-chain fatty acids,” she explains. “This means that once it absorbs, it’ll keep your skin smooth to the touch for a long period of time. Coconut oil’s fat content helps retain the oil’s natural moisture, which keeps your skin hydrated for a very long time.”
While coconut oil is great for some people's nails and hair, it's also one of the most comedogenic oils, meaning it's super pore-clogging to those with acne-prone skin.
If you have sensitive or acne-prone skin, use coconut oil only in small amounts and never on your face for moisturizing.
It Works Wonders on Nails
Nails that are moisturized end up stronger and smoother. Since coconut oil is such an amazing moisturizing agent, it not only keeps your nails healthy, but helps them stay healthy. If you keep your nails moisturized, they're less likely to have ridges since they won't be dry and brittle.
If you’re wondering exactly how you should apply this coconut oil to your nails so that it really works, we’ve got you covered. For nail growth and strength, Hadley suggests massaging extra-virgin coconut oil onto your nail beds in a circular motion before you go to sleep. To show your cuticles some extra attention, rub coconut oil directly on top of them and let it penetrate for at least 30 minutes. This will help with any dry cuticles or hangnails you may have.
“You can certainly go as long as you want without washing coconut oil off your cuticles—the longer, the better. Doing this will help strengthen your cuticles, moisturize the skin around your nails, and get rid of hangnails,” Hadley explains.
Get Rid of Nail Fungus
Since coconut oil is a natural anti-fungal agent, it can work wonders on yellowed toenails from fungus. If you have a nail fungus on your hands or toes, coconut oil is a natural alternative to try. “Massage the oil gently on the affected nail area once it’s been thoroughly cleaned and dried. Repeating this twice a day is the most sufficient method until the fungus goes away,” Hadley says.
The Proof is in the Process
If you really commit to this coconut oil ritual in your beauty routine, you could feel (and see) a noticeable difference in your nails in a few weeks. “To ensure you’re strengthening your nails, using coconut oil two to four times a week to gain stronger and healthier nails will do the trick,” Hadley confirms. Step one is heading over to your local Whole Foods or Trader Joe’s to grab some pure, extra-virgin coconut oil. Coconut oil in its raw form will offer the best results.
Raw coconut oil is processed less than virgin coconut oil, meaning it isn't exposed to heat during the extraction process. This helps it maintain maintains more of its natural properties, because it isn't bleached or refined.
Give Yourself Some Nail Therapy
Trying to amp up your nail game even more? Hadley recommends Aila’s Coconut Nail & Cuticle Therapy. “It’s 100% natural and organic. It’s also a powerful antioxidant, offering effective anti-aging protection that gently nourishes and soothes your nails,” she says.
Next up: the other fascinating benefits of coconut oil you need to know about.