Common Mistakes People Make When They Use Coconut Oil

And Some Easy Ways to Fix Them

Coconut oil has many wonderful uses, but there are some very common mistakes people make when using it at home in DIY skin and hair products and remedies. Find out what they are and how to avoid them.

Also, be sure to read my 26 Genius Ways to Use Coconut Oil.

Mistake: Getting water into a homemade coconut body product.

DIY products on a shower shelf.
Avoid getting water into your DIY coconut oil product. Image Source/Getty Images

Many people keep their DIY coconut oil products for skin, hair, and nails in the bathroom, but wet hands and humidity can lead to mold growth in the container.

Try not to store your DIY product in the shower, bathtub shelf or anywhere it will get wet when you are using it. Keep the lid closed tightly when not in use and use dry, clean hands and a clean spoon to scoop out what you need.

Mistake: Using it on color-treated hair.

Avoid putting coconut oil on color-treated hair.
Avoid putting coconut oil on color-treated hair. MoMo Productions/Stone/Getty Images

Homemade coconut oil hair products are popular, but it's a good idea to consult your colorist before applying it on color-treated hair. DIY coconut oil hair products may strip color from color-treated hair.

Mistake: Not doing a patch test before applying it on their skin or hair.

Woman with an itchy skin rash.
Do a patch test before using coconut oil products. Ian Hooton/Science Photo Library/Getty Images

Some people may develop skin rashes when using coconut oil. Rub a tiny amount into skin and leave it on for a day, noting any rashes or itchiness that develops. If you have a skin condition, have tree nut allergies (see #10), or tend to react to products, consult your doctor first.

Mistake: Using it on acne-prone skin.

Woman cleansing her face.
Avoid coconut oil on acne-prone skin. Jamie Grill/Getty Images

Not everyone who is prone to acne will break out when they use coconut oil, but it can be comedogenic (tendency to clog pores and encourage the formation of blackheads), so it's a good idea to avoid it or at least test it in a small area over a couple of weeks if you have oily or acne-prone skin.


Mistake: Viewing it as a cure-all, or even a cure.

Woman doing an internet search.
Coconut oil shouldn't replace medical treatment. Ivan Solis/E+/Getty Images

There are numerous articles on the web touting the many health benefits of coconut oil and even promoting it for the treatment of conditions such as cancer, Alzheimer's disease, and hypothyroidism. While it can be useful and may help with some minor ailments, coconut oil should not be used in place of standard treatment for any medical condition. Self-treating and delaying treatment can have serious consequences.

Mistake: Using just any coconut oil.

Coconut oil
Choose a high quality coconut oil. Jessica Boone/The Image Bank/Getty Images

Much of the stigma of coconut oil can be traced to studies that were done using coconut oil that had been partially hydrogenated, a process that creates trans fats and destroys some of the good components of coconut oil such as antioxidants. Buy a good quality coconut oil that has been expeller-pressed and is non-hydrogenated and hexane-free, preferably an organic virgin (or extra-virgin) oil.

Mistake: Pouring it down the drain.

Woman standing in the shower.
Too much coconut oil down the drain may clog sensitive pipes. esthAlto/Frederic Cirou/PhotoAlto Agency RF Collections/Getty Images

Most coconut oil is solid at room temperature, so avoid letting too much of it go down the drain, especially if you have sensitive pipes that tend to get clogged. Remove as much of it as you can from your body before rinsing. For example, if you're using it as a shaving cream or face mask, wipe off any excess before rinsing. Another tip is to run hot water down the drain for 30 seconds to help flush it down while it is melted.

Mistake: Using too much of it, making floors slippery.

Coconut oil can make floors very slippery.
Avoid getting coconut oil on floors to prevent slipping. Cathy Wong

Rinsing coconut oil-treated hair and skin in the shower or tub can make surfaces slippery for you or the next person. Be sure to clean the shower or tub floor after each use and/or use a slip-resistant mat. Also be cautious when using coconut oil on your feet, as it makes your own feet slippery and may track oil on your floors, making it slippery for others.

Mistake: Not checking with an allergist.

Woman consulting a doctor.
Know when to consult an allergist. Laflor/E+/Getty Images

If you have allergies to tree nuts, check with your allergist before using coconut products, given the severity of many tree nut allergic reactions and the potential for cross-reactivity. Although coconuts are classified as fruit, the Food and Drug Administration considers coconut to be a tree nut.

Disclaimer: The information contained on this site is intended for educational purposes only and is not a substitute for advice, diagnosis or treatment by a licensed physician. It is not meant to cover all possible precautions, drug interactions, circumstances or adverse effects. You should seek prompt medical care for any health issues and consult your doctor before using alternative medicine or making a change to your regimen.

Mistake: Getting it on clothes, towels, and bedding.

Avoid getting coconut oil on your sheets and towels.
Avoid getting coconut oil on your sheets and towels. Cathy Wong

Coconut oil can cause oil stains, so be sure to protect bedding, clothing, and towels from coconut oil. If you are doing an overnight hair treatment, cover your hair with a shower cap and use an old towel to protect your pillows. Always use coconut oil sparingly on your body and wipe off any excess.

Related: Massage Oils to Try

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