You can reap its health benefits by cooking with it, oil pulling, and even using it on your skin in place of lotion. Coconut oil is an extremely versatile product, and no wonder it’s all the rage! It contains fatty acids and proteins that are moisturizing, antimicrobial, and promote healing. The vitamin E in coconut oil contributes to its ability to keep your skin silky and prevent cracking and dryness. And its Antioxidant content prevents and reduces wrinkles and stretch marks.
To truly benefit from coconut oil, it’s important to select a quality product — an oil that is pure and produced in a way that maintains its nutrient profile. How do you choose the right coconut oil? What buzzwords do you look for to make certain you’re buying the right thing?
Worrying Over the Wrong Words
We’ve been trained by the olive oil industry to think there’s a difference between virgin and extra virgin oil. We immediately gravitate toward extra virgin, thinking we’ve made a superior selection. But wait. Welcome to the coconut oil industry, where those two phrases mean the same thing. Instead, focus on whether an oil is refined or virgin, also labeled unrefined. Unrefined coconut oil comes from fresh-pressed coconut meat or milk, whereas refined coconut oil is from the coconut copra, or dried kernel.
Refined Isn’t So Fine
There are high quality refined coconut oils, but most refined products have toxins added for consumer appeal. The refining process can involve distillation which uses harsh solvents such as lye, or the oils are composed of the rancid byproducts of dry coconut flakes. These products are then bleached and deodorized to tone down the natural taste and smell of coconut. Many of these refined products are hydrogenated, which degrades the oil with synthetic trans-fats. Higher quality refined coconut oil is non-hydrogenated, and is cleaned without the use of toxins, using steam or diatomaceous earth instead.
Centrifuged, Cold-pressed, Expeller-pressed: Which One?!
These are more key words in the coconut oil industry. In short, centrifuged oil is exposed to the least amount of heat, followed by cold-pressed, then expeller-pressed. Though coconut oil can withstand high temperatures, heat still destroys nutrients and denatures proteins. There are a number of cold-pressed brands on the market. Centrifuged is not as common, so perhaps look for a company who cold presses and extracts their product via centrifuge.
Brands to Check Out
I personally use cold-pressed unrefined coconut oil for my skin. Some quality brands are Nutiva and NOW Foods. Nutiva wins my dollars because their coconut oil is made from fresh-picked coconuts, is reasonably priced, and they offer their cold-pressed coconut oil in a glass jar. NOW Foods brand is perfect for the person who is on a budget or needs to save money. NOW Foods coconut oil is organic and cold-pressed, but is priced low because it is made from coconut kernels rather than the fresh-picked fruit. This coconut oil is in a plastic jar, which doesn’t appeal to me because I don’t want chemicals leaching from the plastic into the oil.
If you’re seeking out centrifuged, Ojio coconut oil is up your alley. It is exposed to minimal heat during the extraction process, so it is rich in nutrients and proteins. Note that there is a considerable cost difference between cold-pressed and centrifuged. Centrifuged is obviously priced higher because it is of the highest quality. Ojio’s coconut oil has a reasonable price compared to other brands. I recommend sticking to unrefined cold-pressed oil, which isn’t too pricy, doesn’t contain harmful chemicals, and is still rich in nutrients. Check out the best coconut oil post to learn about how these brands compare when compared side-by-side.
A little goes a long way. Apply too much coconut oil, and you’ll have a layer of grease on your skin. You can combine the coconut oil with cold-pressed aloe vera gel to make it more absorbent.
Making a Choice
The best coconut oil for your skin went through minimal processing, and maintains its health properties. You don’t want to cheap out on your skin care, but there’s no need to break the bank either. Next time you’re browsing your favorite online retailer, or standing at the grocery store, you’ll have more knowledge about what to buy to properly care for your skin.