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Move over, shaving creams. There’s another option in town: coconut oil.

This highly moisturizing oil can be a natural way to soothe skin and provide a slippery surface for shaving.

Keep reading to find out why coconut oil works as a shaving oil as well as how (and where) you can use it.

Coconut oil has many beneficial effects when applied to the skin. According to an article in the International Journal of Molecular Science, its benefits include:

  • acting as an antibacterial protectant
  • acting as an antioxidant
  • reducing skin inflammation
  • repairing the skin barrier

Coconut oil contains a number of free fatty acids that make it highly moisturizing. Examples include lauric acid, linoleic acid, and palmitic acid.

Most of the studies related to benefits of coconut oil on the skin use virgin coconut oil, according to an article in Dermatology Times. This type of oil hasn’t been chemically altered and has no extracts added to it.

You can shave with pure coconut oil or mix it with other skin-friendly ingredients, such as aloe vera, to create a more traditional creamlike application.

Here are some ways you can use coconut oil as a shaving cream:

  • Apply a thin layer of pure coconut oil to a cleansed area of skin. Coconut oil can be thick at room temperature, and may require rubbing between your hands or the application of steam from the shower to soften it.
  • Allow the coconut oil to sink in and soften the skin. You can also use coconut oil in this way as a pre-shaving treatment and apply another cream or soap on top of it.
  • Rinse your razor frequently to keep the coconut oil from building up on it.
  • Rinse your skin with warm water or wipe it gently with a soft, warm towel. If you’ve removed the extra hairs off while shaving, you can skip this step.
  • You can apply additional coconut oil to your skin after shaving to keep the skin soft.

As a general rule, if you have fine hairs, such as those on feet, the less likely you are to need shaving cream components. Pure coconut oil usually works well on fine hairs.

From your face to your pubic area to your legs, you can pretty much use coconut oil in all areas as a shaving cream. The exceptions may be if you have especially oily skin on your face.

If you have oily skin, you may find that coconut oil is blemish-inducing. This isn’t always the case as coconut oil also has some anti-inflammatory properties against acne.

If you’re the DIY type, here are some recipes for making your own coconut oil shaving cream at home.

Shea butter + coconut oil shaving cream

This combination from Skinny & Co. is a sweet-smelling, highly moisturizing shaving cream option. The directions include:

  1. Mix 3 tbsp. of coconut oil and 4 tbsp. of shea butter in a glass bowl.
  2. Warm a pot of water on low heat and place the bowl over the hot water. The water will create a steam that warms the ingredients, helping to melt them.
  3. Carefully remove the glass bowl from heat once the mixture is completely melted, using protection to avoid burning.
  4. Add in a few drops of sweet almond oil.
  5. Place in your refrigerator and allow the mixture to harden.
  6. Remove the mixture from the refrigerator and use a mixer to whip the contents until it has a frosting-like texture.
  7. Store the shaving cream in an airtight glass container. Use when you’re ready to shave.

Tropical coconut oil shaving cream

This shaving cream recipe from Bulk Apothecary combines aloe vera and coconut oil along with the essential oils of your choice for a tropical experience.

  1. Combine 1/4 cup of aloe vera, 1/4 cup of coconut oil, and 4 to 6 drops of an essential oil of your choice, such as peppermint or lavender.
  2. Keep the mixture in an airtight plastic container.
  3. Apply a thin layer to the desired area for shaving. Allow it to sit a few minutes on the skin to start moisturizing as well as melting on the skin.

If you find the mixture starts to harden in between uses, try placing the container in your shower before applying. The steam will help to liquefy it and make it easier to apply.

If you’re not into making your own coconut oil shaving recipes, there are some products on the market with coconut oil that you can purchase. These include:

  • Cremo Coconut Mango Moisturizing Shave Cream. This coconut oil-based shaving cream is mixed with aloe vera, calendula, and papaya to soften the skin. Find it online.
  • Kopari Organic Coconut Melt. This 100 percent organic coconut oil can be used for dry shaving in addition to use as an overall moisturizer. Shop for it online.

You can also purchase virgin coconut oil at most health food stores and online.

Some people may find coconut oil irritates their skin. Coconut oil causes skin irritation in 3.0 to 7.2 percent of people who use it.

Signs you have irritation from coconut oil include redness, itching, and mild swelling after applying. You may want to try coconut oil on a small area of skin just to make sure it doesn’t irritate it before you use it on a larger area.

Coconut oil can be an excellent alternative to the over-the-counter shaving cream mixtures. This versatile beauty product can also moisturize and protect the skin.

A small percentage of people may be allergic to coconut oil. Apply coconut oil to a small area of your skin before shaving to make sure it doesn’t irritate your skin.