Cuckoo for Coconut


Admit it: you’ve got an addiction to coconut water. I know I do, and, judging by the chain’s dwindling supply, I’m not the only one stockpiling those Zico cardboard boxes from Trader Joe’s. Given how strongly Angelenos have embraced the coconut water trend (and its health benefits), it will come as no surprise that I’m now seeing a wide array of coconut-infused beauty launches. From shampoos to cream blushes, and mascaras to glosses, almost every brand seems to be suddenly trumpeting the healing powers of the coconut.

But do they work? Few ingredients can claim to be a cure-all, but coconut oil is one that comes pretty darn close. Part of the ingredient’s success lies in its natural ability to cool; most products do use coconut water, oil, extracts, and/or fat in its purest form. Research has consistently shown coconut oil to be effective in treating eczema, dermatitis and skin inflammation. It even prevents hair damage, as the oil is able to penetrate the hair shaft due to its low molecular weight and affinity for proteins. Coconut’s essence is gentle on irritated skin thanks to its anti-inflammatory, antioxidant, anti-bacterial and hydrating action, which are derived from a unique composition of saturated fats and essential fatty acids, both needed for maintaining skin’s elasticity.

My room may have only just started smelling like a pina-colada lover’s happy hour, but I was first introduced to the eco-smart stuff about two years ago by a celebrity masseuse who works on A-list Hollywood types at the famed holistic sanctuary Ona Spa in West Hollywood. During the comfort of a two-hour serene Nirvana massage I noticed the oil being used felt different than any other I had experienced in previous treatments. I couldn’t resist asking the masseuse what she was using. The answer: Trader Joe’s Extra Virgin Coconut Oil.

The therapist had been using the cold-pressed oil religiously throughout her nine-year tenure at the spa because it was ideal for her expert Swedish/deep massage combo. She said bought new jars of the stuff on a bi-weekly basis because her clients—celebs, non-celebs, and, well, yours truly—all loved the soft feeling of their skin after a quick rubdown.

But you don’t have to book a massage to get your hands on the goods. Here are ten seriously lavish options worth checking:

Organix Coconut Water Shampoo & Conditioner ($7.99 each)
The weightless coconut water in this set makes it ideal for oilier, fine hair types. I like the scent—it smells like suntan lotion, but sweeter— I just wish it lingered a bit longer.  The frothy lather is fun, but you might wanna add a few drops of the Hydration Oil if you still get a few frizzies.

Josie Maran Coconut Watercolor Cheek Gelée ($22)
The cream blush is made with 50-percent infused coconut water, making the translucent wash of color sheer despite the bright color shades. It almost feels jelly-like at first, but warms up quickly and spreads easily. A tip: use a Q-tip or nylon brush to scoop a little out at a time, otherwise you’ll get the product under your nails.

Tarte LipSurgence Matte Lip Tint ($24)
This is my new summer fave! It’s a creamy matte stick that doesn’t dry out, thanks to the moisturizing properties of the coconut extracts. Intensely pigmented, the color glides and last for a few hours. You don’t even need a sharpener, since the tint has a built in self-turning mechanism.

Bite Beauty Lush Fruit Lip Gloss ($22)
Sephora can’t keep this juicy coconut-oil based gloss in stock. The formula isn’t tacky but ultra-creamy and doesn’t have that high reflective shine that makes a gloss inappropriate or distracting for office wear.

Yes To Coconut Lip Oil ($4.99)
Sorry, but in my experience Chapstick won’t do a damn thing for dry, flaky lips. You need an oil to get into the dermis and heal the skin from within. Made with certified organic coconut oil and eucalyptus, this treatment is the kind you can wear layered over a liner during the day or on its own overnight.

Pacifica Aquarian Gaze Water-Resistant Mineral Mascara ($14)
It is 100% vegan. It does last. It does lengthen. And, it does condition with coconut oil. The breakage from those super clingy mascaras can lead to breakage when you try to remove the coating. Ditch the black and try Deep, which is an edgy royal blue and gives brown eyes a subtle but fun tint.

Whish Shave Crave Shaving Cream ($20)
If you’re not hip to taking a jar of coconut oil into the shower for a cleaner shave, this is for you. Coconut and jojoba oil make the base of this non-foamy thick cream, which prevent the dry, scaly skin you’d get from using just a razor and soap. Safe enough for the face? The upper lip? Oh yes, I did find out firsthand. And it is.

Lush Ocean Salt ($35.95)
If grainy, salted scrubs aren’t your thing because of the sting, here’s one made with coconut fat, which softens the slough. You do have to mix up this scrub a bit, as it’s mostly creamy in texture. It says it’s made for the face, but I feel the scrub is too abrasive for sensitive skin. Better used on the body, I say.

Laura Mercier Almond Coconut Milk Soufflé ($60)
The granddaddy of coconut body creams, this is pure delectable decadence in a jar. Coconut oil is blended with some never-heard-of-them-before ingredients like illipe butter and cinnamon bark extracts to give your skin a good dollop of moisture. Be warned: it is heavily fragranced, which invites strangers on the street to ask what you’re wearing.

Elemis Monoi Oil ($53)
This is a fantastic, tropical multi-tasker; I’m so in love with its frangipani scent, I use the oil on ragged cuticles, as an eye makeup remover, on stretch marks, and even as a scalp treatment to stimulate hair growth.  It soaks in on the spot and doesn’t leave a greasy after feel.

A native Angeleno, Navdeep Mundi is a Leo, hates cilantro, and has studied beauty products for more than 18 years. She spends her days directing media and strategy and her nights sniffing out slightly quirky yet impeccably pretty things along with her German Shepherd, Le Tigre.