Frugal Tuesdays: a natural, inexpensive moisturizer–coconut oil


I know you might already be a minimalist & not spending very much money on face lotion or makeup, but prior to my scaling back, I spent a good chunk of money on high quality skin & beauty products.

I love Aveda products (organic & natural stuff) & the Body Shop used to have a lot of tempting things as well. I was fine spending more on organic, more natural, & cruelty free products because my skin is rather sensitive & I can’t go near the cheap stuff or else I’ll break out, get a rash, have skin irritation, etc. Also, I believe in supporting companies whose philosophy is based on ethical business practices. So, that meant I shelled out a good chunk of change as part of my beauty routine.

Since we’re on the get-out-of-debt-quick plan, & I revamped our budget some time ago, I racked my brain with how I could scale back on my beauty products. I shared some of those tips with you, in this post, & around the same time, I found out I was pregnant, which was a great time for me to recommit to not putting anything on my body that would conflict with a growing fetus. I’ve been doing this for about 7 months, & it’s so ridiculously simple & it works, I thought I’d pass it on to you.

(Also, as a side note, my skin when pregnant is even more sensitive than usual, so I pretty much have to eliminate everything anyway.)

Here’s what I do: 

I buy my coconut oil from Costco–it’s $15 for roughly 7 cups. I fill a small glass mason jar with about 1/2 c. of oil & it lasts me about 3 months. Face moisturizer, wash, & makeup remover for a little over a dollar for 3-4 months is a pretty good deal to me. And I don’t have to worry about chemicals, breakouts, & best of all–it works! I love the smell & it leaves my skin soft & smooth. I use the rest of the coconut oil in cooking & baking as a more natural replacement to Earth Balance (a non-dairy butter).

Here are some tips:

1) If wearing eye-makeup, dip a cotton ball into coconut oil. My house is warm for 8 months of the year–about 80-82F–so my coconut oil is semi-solid. Coconut oil hardens below 76F. Gently press cotton ball on eye, and dab until eye make up is mostly removed. Run a wash cloth under warm water, wring out excess water & lay on face for 15 seconds to soften any remaining makeup. Using warm water, rinse your face & dry with a clean towel.

2) Once face is dry, take a small amount of coconut oil & gently rub into face & neck area, dabbing around the eye area. All oil should be absorbed, so you shouldn’t feel like you have an oil slick on your face. A little goes a long way!

That’s it. I apply a little oil after a warm water wash in the morning, or after morning shower, then again at night before bed.

Simple, inexpensive, & it works.

Have you ever used coconut oil as a moisturizer? If not, would you be willing to try it out, or does it seem “weird” to you? 


  1. suri
    on January 20, 2015 at 8:36 pm said:

    If you cannot afford an expensive moisturizer, please just try the Sensitive Moisturizer by Citrus Clear. You will see results instantly. And its under $25….and they always have discounts they mail to customers, so I got mine for like $16. It last 2 months, and has saved my face.

  2. Melanie
    on October 19, 2013 at 8:28 am said:

    A friend of mine recently told me that she has used only sunflower oil as her face/body lotion for about 15 years now! She is almost 40 and I’ve always thought of her as having such radiant skin and a great complexion. I don’t know how it compares to coconut oil for cost per ounce… I’ll have to calculate that sometime. I’ve started trying it and sometimes add a few drops of pure Vitamin E to my sunflower oil now.

    As a body wash, she has used (also for about 15 years!) oat flour (she grinds it herself) and adds warm water from the shower to make it a kind of paste. It exfoliates and cleans…and no harsh chemicals! It’s super cheap in bulk, too! I’ve been trying it and I like it. 🙂

    • Janae Wise
      on October 19, 2013 at 8:38 am said:

      Wow, I love the oatmeal idea. Isn’t it funny how the most simple, frugal stuff often is what works best? Nature really has provided 🙂

      One nice thing about the coconut oil is it does provide a natural SPF (about 10 spf). Not sure if sunflower does the same, but I will look into it. If it’s comparable to coconut oil in price, I’ll give it a try. Thanks for the tips, Melanie!

      • Melanie
        on October 19, 2013 at 8:49 am said:

        Ooh, I didn’t know coconut oil had a natural SPF! Cool! I don’t know if sunflower oil does, but when my husband gets a sunburn (he burns EASILY – red head skin!) we apply Vitamin E and it heals it much quicker than anything else! So I added the Vitamin E, hoping it would help protect against sun damage in some ways (or at least heal it back as the damage is being done…?)

  3. Sarah C
    on October 16, 2013 at 10:20 pm said:

    I have been using coconut oil to wash my face/remove make up for the last 9 months or so too and I have been loving it as well! I have been using th WF cheap face wash after with my Clarisonic but have been debating the usefullness of it. I guess I am scared to completely let go of soap 😉 Same thing with moisturizer. Not crazy about the cheap one from WF I use but I broke out the last time I slept with coconut oil on my face. Maybe I need to give it another try. Anyway, new to your blog and absolutely loving everything. You are just lovely!

  4. Joya
    on October 16, 2013 at 8:02 am said:

    I’m a little obsessed with coconut oil. I use it for washing my face, oil pulling, I mix it with baking soda as a tooth polish..and I use it together with a couple of other things (shea butter, almond oil, vanilla) as a body lotion and also used it in a homemade aftershave for my husband. If I need oil for cooking, that’s what I use as well. It’s just great stuff! I haven’t made my own deoderant yet because I have a natural one but when it’s used up, I’m going to do that as well. I love Mercede’s idea of mixing with coffee grounds, I’ve gotta try that!
    I’m looking forward to hearing about your hair routine!

  5. Rika
    on October 16, 2013 at 5:46 am said:

    What an adorable blog and thank you for this tip about coconut oil! I didn’t know it was available at Costco – it’s about 5 minutes away from our flat in Oregon. I’ve some questions. My eyes are naturally oily, and my Doctor recommends to use non-oily products to clean my eyes often, do you think coconut oil will make it oily?

  6. Heather
    on October 16, 2013 at 12:05 am said:

    Great post! I use coconut oil for the exact same thing! I actually feel prettier using it than I did all those scary and pricey products I used to use. Plus my skin looks so young, even more than when I was a teen. My favorite part is the smell though, so luxurious. I find it makes the perfect remedy against those awful dry hands in winter and chapped lips! I buy mine from Vitacost for $16 for a 54 ounce container. It lasts me about 4 months and is the best I’ve had yet that’s organic and extra virgin for the price. I will have to try the Costco kind if I get a chance;)

  7. Emma
    on October 15, 2013 at 2:30 pm said:

    I really need to try this! I’ve heard of coconut oil as a moisturizer before but haven’t tried it as my skin’s also super sensitive. I’m going to take your word for it though and give it a go. I’ve just finished my Origins moisturizer which I do love but it’s just so expensive 🙁

  8. Delight
    on October 15, 2013 at 1:46 pm said:

    I use coconut oil to remove eye makeup, and as a moisturizer all over my face after showering. I love the way it feels, and my skin has never been better! Before switching to coconut oil my face would alternate between super dry and flaky skin, to super oily – sometimes at the same time – go figure!! Now I don’t break out, and my skin stays even – not dry, not oily, just right! Try it, you’ll love it!
    Janae, I would like to know what you use as soap, shampoo, and conditioner. I use Dr. Bronners castile soap on my face and body, and currently do not use any shampoo or conditioner since my children dumped my nice Origins brand of those down the drain 2 months ago! I was using those once every two weeks, and washing my hair with water twice a week. Now I just use water twice a week. I’ve been debating replacing my pricy stuff….but it’s pricy, and we are trying to get out of student debt too….what do you use? Thank you!

    • Janae Wise
      on October 15, 2013 at 2:27 pm said:

      I’ve been doing a baking soda/vinegar routine on my hair for about 6 months & have really liked it. I can’t imagine going back to shampoo. I think I may add a silcone-free conditioner treatment to my routine once every two weeks or so once I start wearing my hair down (it’s still so blasted hot in TX)–but I’ve always struggled with build-up (even with salon brands, & believe me, I’ve tried ’em all!) & I don’t have that problem with my current routine. When I want my hair straight, I still use a blow dryer, straightener & a dab of smoothing serum. My use of baking soda/vinegar hair care routine is a post that will be coming up soon–so more details then. I love Dr. Bronner’s soap! It’s amazing stuff.

  9. Mercedes White
    on October 15, 2013 at 12:20 pm said:

    i LOVE coconut oil as a makeup remover. because of the antibacterial properties of coconut oil–its also really great for people with acneic skin (like me).

    My other favorite way to use coconut oil is to combine it with with coffee grounds to make a paste and then take it into the shower and use it as a body scrub.The coconut oil helps moisturize the skin and caffeine in the coffee is supposed to help reduce bloating (in addition to removing dead skin). i’ve only done it a few times—but i’ve LOVE the way it makes my body feel (the smell is pretty great as well).

    • Janae Wise
      on October 15, 2013 at 2:29 pm said:

      Wow! I’ve never heard of the coffee grounds/coconut oil routine–I think I would love that! I’m actually a bit obsessed with the smell of coffee grounds (I gravitate towards it when in the grocery store)–Joseph gives me a hard time about that since we’re not coffee drinkers. I will have to try, thanks for the suggestion Mercedes.

  10. Alanna
    on October 15, 2013 at 10:01 am said:

    I’m loving that you just posted this. I have a new container of coconut oil ready to go, little containers that I bought especially for this purpose, and several natural care recipes pinned on Pinterest. There is one using coconut oil, baking soda, and essential oils for deodorant that I’d really like to try. The underarms are my sensitive area.
    Just yesterday I was kicking myself for not having started this routine. I ran out of my old products over a month ago and haven’t been using anything at all (on my face).
    Thanks for the reminder. I’m totally going to try it out. 🙂

    Isn’t it funny that it’s counter intuitive to put oil on your face? When I first heard of it I thought for sure it would make anyone breakout.

    • Janae Wise
      on October 15, 2013 at 11:53 am said:

      “Isn’t it funny that it’s counter intuitive to put oil on your face? When I first heard of it I thought for sure it would make anyone breakout.”

      Yes, but my skin has never been better. Also, when you look at some of the stuff they put in face products, it seems a little crazy we’re okay with putting it on our skin, since our skin does absorb whatever we put on it.