Coconut Oil Lotion Recipes for Healthier Skin

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Wellness Mama » Blog » Beauty » Coconut Oil Lotion Recipes for Healthier Skin

I’ve gone through quite a few jars of coconut oil over the years. Our family has used it in everything from coffee to toothpaste to sunscreen. One of the most popular ways to use it though is in skincare and personal care products (or just straight coconut oil). Here are 3 of my favorite coconut oil body lotion recipes and why you should use them!

Skin Benefits of Coconut Oil Lotion

Coconut oil (cocos nucifera) is high in saturated fatty acids which give it a creamy taste in cooking and baked goods. It’s also really high in lauric acid. Our body converts this into monolaurin, a compound that’s mildly antimicrobial, anti-viral, antibacterial, and anti-fungal when used topically. Coconut oil also moisturizes leaves skin feeling soft, and provides a protective barrier on the skin.

Unlike mineral oil and petroleum jelly, coconut oil is a natural lipid emollient. This means it hydrates dry skin to help make it softer and smoother. Studies also show it can help damaged skin, infections, and speed wound healing. Because it’s naturally antifungal and wound healing, it can be good for acne-prone skin.

Moisturizing Lotion for Eczema

Some dermatologists recommend using petroleum jelly on eczema patches to provide a skin barrier. There are several reasons why I don’t think that’s a good idea! If you’re looking for an alternative with natural ingredients, then coconut oil is an excellent choice.

A 2008 trial compared coconut oil with olive oil for atopic dermatitis ( the most common type of eczema). The researchers found that virgin coconut oil helped reduce skin symptoms and helped fight fungus and viruses on the skin. The majority of people in the coconut oil group had staph bacteria on the skin at the start of the study. After using coconut oil though only 1 of them had the bacteria on their skin.

Who Should Use Coconut Oil?

Coconut oil can be pretty magical for skin. It doesn’t work the best for all skin types though. Some people find it too drying on its own, which is why it can work better as part of a blend. If you’re prone to oily skin and clogged pores, it could make it worse.

However, some people love it as a body moisturizer to help with skin hydration. It’s also great for people with eczema and little ones with sensitive skin. While coconut milk and coconut meat allergies are on the rise, coconut oil allergies still seem to be rare. To be safe you can always test a little bit of coconut oil on the inner wrist and monitor for any reactions before you use coconut oil skincare products.

What Blends Well With Coconut Oil?

You can certainly rub straight organic coconut oil from the jar on your skin. Some people use oil cleansing with coconut oil as part of their skincare routine. I prefer to mix the coconut oil with other skin-loving ingredients. If you’re making your own coconut oil lotion (or buying some), here are some nourishing ingredients to consider adding:

  • Cocoa butter
  • Vitamin E (an antioxidant)
  • Shea butter
  • Jojoba seed oil
  • Glycerin
  • Aloe vera

You can even infuse your coconut oil with soothing herbs like lavender, calendula, and chamomile.

Where to Buy Coconut Oil Lotion

If you don’t have the time or desire to make your own DIY coconut oil lotion, there are some good store-bought ones. Just be sure to read the label and make sure it’s not hiding any harsh ingredients! I look for skincare products that are cruelty-free and don’t have parabens, sulfates, or phthalates. Even natural products may have preservatives like phenoxyethanol which can be harsh on skin.

This whipped body butter features shea butter and coconut oil and has clean ingredients.

Refined vs. Unrefined Coconut Oil

So I may have convinced you to try coconut oil on your skin, but what kind?? Unrefined or virgin coconut oil is pressed from the fresh coconut meat. Refined coconut oil is made from dried coconut and doesn’t have a strong coconut scent. Either will work, but virgin coconut oil is my preferred option in skincare recipes.

Some brands of refined coconut oil are more chemically processed than others. Both Tropical Traditions and Nutiva’s refined coconut oils are expeller-pressed and deodorized with steam. These are healthier options than the chemically processed, solvent-extracted versions!

1. Coconut Oil Lotion Bars

Coconut oil is naturally solid at cooler temps (below 76 degrees). This makes it the perfect ingredient for lotion bars. Lotion bars (used on dry skin) combine the nourishing benefits of lotion without the need for a liquid to create an incredibly moisturizing bar.

These bars are meant to be used on dry skin and are best used after showering on warm skin. I like making variations of these lotion bars but sometimes I’ll also make these lotion bar sticks. The stick version is even more portable and doesn’t get hands messy!

The lotion bar sticks are super simple with only 3 ingredients, coconut oil, beeswax, and essential oils. The lotion bars have the same, with the added benefits of shea butter.

Get the recipe for lotion bars and coconut oil lotion bar sticks here.

2. Luxurious Homemade Lotion

Just like the lotion bars above, this recipe doesn’t add any liquid so it’s incredibly nourishing. And because we’re not adding any water-based ingredients it has a much longer shelf life (6-12 months). You can customize it to your preference by adding your favorite essential oils. For a firmer lotion, use more beeswax. For a smoother lotion, use less and add more of a liquid oil like almond oil.

Get the recipe for homemade lotion with coconut oil here.

3. Magnesium Body Butter

Magnesium is another thing I’ve written about a lot in the past. I make my own magnesium oil which has been tremendously helpful for replenishing lost magnesium. My kids will often use it at night for better sleep. Magnesium oil also helped me avoid morning sickness during pregnancy.

Unfortunately, magnesium oil can sting and dry out the skin if you’re deficient.

An easy solution is to turn it into a magnesium-infused body butter instead. It packs a punch of magnesium but also moisturizes skin to keep it from getting dry. My kids prefer this version and they’ll often rub either this or magnesium oil on their feet.

Get the recipe for magnesium body butter here.

Do you use coconut oil for skincare? What is your favorite way to use it? Share below!

These three coconut oil lotion recipes are my favorites: coconut oil lotion bars, magnesium body butter and moisturizing lotion.
Katie Wells Avatar

About Katie Wells

Katie Wells, CTNC, MCHC, Founder of Wellness Mama and Co-founder of Wellnesse, has a background in research, journalism, and nutrition. As a mom of six, she turned to research and took health into her own hands to find answers to her health problems. is the culmination of her thousands of hours of research and all posts are medically reviewed and verified by the Wellness Mama research team. Katie is also the author of the bestselling books The Wellness Mama Cookbook and The Wellness Mama 5-Step Lifestyle Detox.


77 responses to “Coconut Oil Lotion Recipes for Healthier Skin”

  1. Kristi Avatar

    I find it so interesting that there are so many traditions in India that come to find out have very real, valid, and amazing health benefits. My husband is Indian and coconut oil is used in India not only as a daily skin moisturizer, but the women also use it in their hair. They have beautiful black hair and the oil actually looks good on them…I am blonde and it just looks like I have dirty hair. LOL!
    Understanding that coconut oil is beneficial in protecting the skin against fungus and bad bacteria makes a lot of sense as to why they have been using it daily for centuries. Turmeric uses are another thing that fascinate me…I am sure there will be many other things in their daily rituals that will prove to be very useful and healthy for our bodies which we Americans will ultimately find many scientific benefits important to our health and wellness!
    I am really excited to use it with our magnesium oil and use it to benefit our body’s magnesium levels!
    As always, thank you for your great content, Katie.
    There is nothing like waking up on a Sunday morning and relaxing with the Wellness Wednesday…or in this case Sunday morning email! Mahalo Nui Loa for making a difference in all of your subscribers’ lives!
    You kick butt!!! 🙂

  2. Nancy Padulsky Avatar
    Nancy Padulsky

    I use organic unrefined coconut oil on my body, especially legs, and it keeps me nice and moisturized, no dry spots on legs, particularly after shaving. The coconut oil moisturizes much better than lotion I used previously!

  3. Lance Avatar

    I have a question if i may. When you come to making the lotions etc – can I use ‘Borax Oil’ as an essential oil ? The reason why is due to Borax eliminating Flouride in the body.
    Thanks so much

  4. Louise Avatar

    I don’t have any beeswax at the moment, is it possible to use the lotion in a liquid form? I live in the tropics and unless stored in the fridge coconut oil doesn’t solidify, I prefer to keep my lotion next to my bed!

  5. Mae Avatar

    Can I substitute anything for the beeswax? i cant really find it anywhere in my local grocery store.

  6. celine chen Avatar
    celine chen

    I can only get the liquid type of coconut oil at the local stores here, does it work the same?

  7. Leigh Avatar

    I would LOVE some coconut oil!! I’m signed up to both wellnessmama and tropical traditions! Coconut oil has done souch for me and my health! I’m excited to learn more about it! I’d love to get some for free!

  8. Maheen Avatar

    OHH do i loooovvveee coconut oil…I apply it on my hair so that it grows out to be long,strong and luscious (Just to name a few!LOL!)

  9. nathan Avatar

    there is one thing you have to keep in mind when using coconut oil, skin absorption and high saturated fats.

    while there may be mixed reviews on saturated fats, no doctor in their right mind would recommend anyone needing to intake ‘more’ fat.

  10. KathyP. Avatar

    What would happen if I added a vanilla essential oil to liquified coconut oil?

  11. Cheri Hogrefe Avatar
    Cheri Hogrefe

    I just signed up for the Coconut Oil…I had been using LouAna until I read a post that helped me understand that there is a difference in Coconut Oils. Only pure for me from now on out! The smell is the thing that got me…when I finally got the real stuff I could totally tell just by the smell.

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