• Kate Foster


Love it or hate it, most people feel passionate about coconut oil in beauty products.

Person A: "I use it on my hair, skin, cuticles, kids, kitchen counters....

(continues for 10 minutes).

Person B: "It's so greasy and makes me break out!"

But did you know that there are actually dozens of coconut derivatives used in products? They serve almost as many functions, too—from moisturizing and cleansing to making formulas foam or feel thicker.

We use coco-caprylate (or coco-caprate) and coconut alkanes in some of our most popular products. But what do these ingredients do? And will they affect you or your skin the same way coconut oil does? Let us help clear the confusion.

First: Yes, coconut ingredients could be breaking you out or causing an allergic reaction.

If you suspect you're breaking out from a product that doesn't have any actives in it (like Vitamin C or acids), you might want to check for coconut derivatives because, yes, you may have a sensitivity.

But don't write off coconut derivatives just because you're sensitive to coconut oil.

Of course, some people have a sensitivity to all forms of coconut-derived raw materials, but it isn't super common. Here's why: coconut oil is ultimately considered highly comedogenic, or pore-clogging, because of its thickness. Your skin tends to have a harder time adequately absorbing thicker oils, which then form a film over your pores. Beneath this film, pore-clogging dead skin cells and bacteria fester, causing your skin to produce even more acne-causing oil. This tends to be true of both extra-virgin coconut oil and fractionated (or processed) coconut oil.

But the thickness and molecular structure varies greatly between different coconut-derived ingredients. (Just think of the coconut water you drink!) For the average person, the lower the viscosity of the ingredient, the less likely it is to clog your pores—and the more likely you are to benefit from its natural moisturizing properties.

Why and how do we use coco-caprylate (or coco-caprate)?

Many clean beauty advocates have sworn off mineral oil and certain silicones. Coco-caprylate and coco-caprate are skin-feel enhancers comprised of coconut alcohol that are great natural alternatives to mineral oil and cyclical silicones. We use them in Liquid Skin Tint, Hydratint, and Hydraglow.

Why and how do we use coconut alkanes?

Another skin-feel enhancer. This one's a mixture of coconut oil's fatty acids that's hydrogenated and made solid. This way, it serves as a natural alternative to synthetic oils, waxes, and silicones. We use coconut alkanes in Liquid Skin Tint, Hydratint, Hydraglow, Conceal + Correct, and Lip Velvet.