I've switched to coconut oil for about 90% of my regular cooking (organic butter and olive oil round out the list of course). It's fantastic with beef, chicken, fish, you name it. But aside from its uses in the kitchen, I decided to explore some of the other recommended uses...like shaving.
Now, don't get me wrong. I appreciate a well-established shaving ritual. I have one myself. But I'm open to change when something has the potential to be better. As many of the store-bought grooming products contain factors that can both dry your skin (requiring an aftershave moisturizer of some kind) and contain chemical ingredients that actually have an estrogenic effect when absorbed by the skin (always bad news for dudes), I thought I'd give this a shot.
Experiment #1 took place this morning, and consisted of the simplest form possible: a shave with only coconut oil.
Now, the key here is that it has to be liquid, which happens above a certain temperature. If you're going to do this, make sure you warm the oil first.
I got out of the shower, toweled off, and proceeded as normal; about a minute with a hot, damp cloth on my face to soften the beard (do this regardless of your usual regimen...it works wonders).
I then scooped out about a teaspoon of coconut oil (you may try it with less, but more is definitely not necessary). Applied this to my face and went to work.
First reaction: Holy shit this is smooth!! No kidding...the blade was gliding like a figure skater. Better than any commercial shave oil product I've used to date. I rinsed that off, applied oil again, and went at the detail shave. Again, it was amazing!
Note: some of you may freak at the idea of a "second shave." I've seen more than enough videos of professional barbers to know this is not only standard, but necessary for the closest shave. Just make sure your blade is good and you'll be fine.
So, what's the takeaway from this experiment?
- an unbelievably smooth shave that's closer than I think I've ever experienced;
- zero toxic additives;
- environmentally friendly, sustainable product;
- cheaper by volume than 100% of the other shaving products out there;
- the oil actually coats the razor blade as well, which actually reduces oxidation (rust) and retains a sharper edge for longer (I was using a 2-blade disposable, and it was still the best shave ever);
- absolutely NO moisturizer needed...the product is the moisturizer!
- because it's oil, the whiskers stick to everything...water alone wont rinse it out of the sink either;
- you're left with a faint aura of coconut scent following you around.
Now, that's a pretty short list of negatives. I'm told by friends in the know that there are ways around these though:
For the first, use the coconut oil as a base shave oil (as you normally would) under a foam. The foam catches the whiskers for easier rinsing. A natural glycerin soap with tea tree oil was recommended for the shaving soap. I've been using a green tea soap. This will be experiment #2.
For the second, a dedicated jar of coconut oil scented with essential oils was recommended. Peppermint, sandalwood, and eucalyptus were suggested (as three separate scents, although I imagine you could mix and match...I'm not an aromatherapy expert by any means, but I know what I like!). This will be experiment #3.
Experiment #4 will combine these two solutions.
So that's it. Straight coconut oil on skin is a winner in my books. If you don't mind a very tiny bit of cleanup and the scent of coconut, go for it. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!