Last summer I went through what I like to refer to as a “hippie lifestyle audit.” I wanted to live a more eco-friendly life, so I overhauled many of my habits to cut down on unnecessary waste and chemicals. When it came to my beauty routine, I switched over to mostly natural makeup products and played around with a bunch of DIY beauty treatments (many of which I’m excited to share with you!). But it took me awhile to find an alternative to the products I used to take my makeup off. Storebought makeup removing formulas always left mascara on my lashes and dried out my skin. Disposable cleansing cloths worked pretty well, but they created so much waste that I really didn’t want to use them every day.
Turns out the perfect alternative was lurking in my kitchen cupboard: coconut oil.
Coconut oil is cheaper than cleansing wipes or store-bought makeup remover, it works better, and it smells like a tropical vacation. Since I started using coconut oil to remove my makeup, my skin has gotten clearer, the wrinkles around my eyes are less visible, and I’ve noticed a marked improvement in the condition of my eyelashes. When I was using traditional makeup remover or rubbing my eyes with cleansing cloths, my lashes were short, brittle, and fell out easily. Coconut oil takes my mascara off smoothly without any harsh rubbing required, leaving my lashes moisturized and luminous. Ready to try it for yourself? I thought so!
You can use the exact same kind of coconut oil you cook with to remove your makeup (and moisturize your legs and de-frizz your hair, for that matter). I love either Trader Joe’s organic coconut oil or Dr. Bronner’s Organic Whole Kernel Virgin Coconut Oil. I keep a small mason jar of coconut oil on my bathroom counter for easy access.
Step 1: Scoop a very small amount of coconut oil out of the jar (a pea-size amount is plenty). If the oil has hardened into a solid, rub it between your fingers until it becomes liquid and there’s a light coating of it on all your fingertips.
Step 2: Close your eyes and gently spread the oil over your eyelids and lashes and all around your eye area. There should be just enough oil to move your fingers around easily without tugging on your skin. You’ll feel eyeshadow and concealer come off right away. For long-wear mascara, you might need to open your eyes and use one finger to apply a bit of oil directly to your bottom lashes, and the underside of the top ones. If a little oil gets in your eye, don’t panic! It doesn’t hurt and washes out easily.
Step 3: Massage the oil into your skin in a circular motion all over your face to remove other makeup.
Step 4: Use a warm, wet washcloth to wipe off excess coconut oil (again, it should come off easily without any skin tugging or rubbing), then splash face with warm water. And voila! You’re done.
Your skin should feel dewy and moisturized right away. Try it for a couple weeks to see the other benefits (less noticeable wrinkles, luminous lashes) kick in, and I doubt you’ll be buying regular makeup remover again anytime soon.
READ MORE: 14 Ways Coconut Oil Will Make Your Life Better