Wonder Ingredient: Coconut

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Once considered a fatty foe by health advocates, coconut oil made a comeback a few years ago on the foodie scene. Now there isn’t a Trader Joe’s or a vegan bakery you'll enter without tripping over the stuff. Coconut is one of the only natural sources of lauric acid (it’s also found in breast milk), a beneficial substance noted for its antibacterial, antiviral, and antimicrobial properties.

Used topically, coconut is thought to soothe, hydrate, and balance skin of all types. So it isn't surprising that coconut-derived ingredients are popping up in more and more cosmetics. Here are some of our favorite products of the moment made with this skin saver, from basic soap to highlighter.

Caldrea Coconut Fig Leaf Perfume

A brand new light and fragrance that smells good enough to eat, we’re in love the tiny, travel-perfect rollerball bottle. The base (musk, sandalwood, and cedarwood) balances perfectly with the sweet top notes of white fig, coconut, and plum.

Burt's Bees Coconut Foot Creme

You’ve been seeing this yellow tube on drugstore shelves for quite some time now for good reason: it’s classic, natural, and it works. The North Carolina–based company is best known for its lip balm, but the coconut foot creme has a cult following, too. The products thick, honey-like consistency works best overnight. Slather it on, cover with socks, and wake up to super-soft feet.

rms beauty Raw Coconut Cream

Just a dime-sized amount of this 100% organic coconut oil, extracted in its most raw, pure form, is enough to take off even the most stubborn waterproof mascara (and all of your other makeup, too). Its antioxidant and antibacterial properties make it excellent for all skin types, acne-prone included.

Perfect Organics Grapefruit Lavendar Coconut Body Glow

For such a simple formula (there are just six ingredients) in such a simple jar, this product is a star multi-tasker. Use it to hydrate and repair parched skin or hair with a blend of organic shea butter, organic coconut oil, organic jojoba, and non-GMO vitamin E. It’s especially great on bare legs, adding a subtle glow sans stickiness or sparkle. 

Metropolis Soap Company Ginger and Lime Artisan Soap

Each paraben- and sulfate-free bar from Metropolis is hand-crafted in Brooklyn from plant-derived, sustainable ingredients including coconut, sunflower, and palm kernel oils. The entire line is also vegan and gluten-free; founder Megan Brame-Finkelstein was in part inspired by her cousin Ronnie’s severe food allergies. Our pick is the ginger and lime, refreshing and citrusy with a spicy kick.

Indie Lee Coconut Citrus Scrub

A heavenly blend of coconut, vanilla, lemon balm, and lemongrass, this scrub captures the essence of a luxurious island vacation. We love to use it before shaving to prep the skin, leaving legs and underarms silky smooth and invigorated. (Note: this product will be launching in new packaging within the next month or two, so it may look a little different!)

Pacifica Natural Minerals Radiant Shimmer Coconut Multiples

This trio of universally flattering cream highlighters work equally well on the eyes, cheeks, and lips—dab on with fingers for a sheer touch of color, or build up the pigment using a brush for more full coverage. The coconut-water base warms with the skin for a more even application, and gives the product a lightly sweet scent.