Natural products have fully saturated the beauty industry over the last decade. It looks like consumers are nowhere near the end of their quest for cleaner, more plant-based options.
One ingredient that has certainly staked its claim firmly in the clean beauty movement is coconut oil. As its popularity continued to rise, an overwhelming multitude of varieties suddenly appeared on shelves. The most recent addition is what’s called “fractionated coconut oil.” Despite its scientific name, fractionated coconut oil has a very simple origin and a variety of fantastic benefits. Read on to discover what exactly it is, how to use it, and why it should be on your shelf.
What Is It?
Despite sounding rather clinical and complicated, fractionated coconut oil has simply gone through a chemical refining process. Natural beauty buffs will already know that in its raw form, coconut oil remains solid at room temperature and will only liquefy when heated. This is caused by the oil’s chemical structure, comprised of long and medium-chain fatty acids. Through an extraction process of steam and pressure, the long chain fatty acid components and medium-chain fatty acid components are separated. The long chain fatty acids are then discarded, leaving only the medium-chain fatty acids. What’s left at the end of the fractionating process is oil that will remain liquid at any room temperature.
There is one significant disadvantage when the fractionating process is applied to raw coconut oil. Removing the coconut oil’s long chain fatty acids also causes the oil to lose all Lauric acid. This has been shown to have antimicrobial and acne-fighting powers. Those who use coconut oil to spot treat acne or skin imperfections will want to stick to raw coconut oil instead of opting for the fractionated variety.
The benefits and uses of this oil, however, far outweigh the negatives.
Fractionated coconut oils are actually quite useful in the kitchen. The refining process extends the shelf life exponentially, allowing it to stay fresh in the pantry for months. Most fractionated oils sold for consumption are labeled “MCT” (for medium-chain-triglycerides). So, make sure to read your label and ensure that the oil has been formulated for consumption. Because the oil is consistently in liquid form, it is a fantastic alternative for oils with a higher fat content such as olive oil. Certain kinds can also be added uncooked into a smoothie or used in a salad dressing.
Beauty & Self-Care
As a beauty and self-care product, fractionated coconut oil is extremely versatile. The most universally applicable oil we found is Ellie’s Best, whose mission is to help their customers live healthier and less complicated lives. Along with the product itself, Ellie’s offers tips and suggestions on how to make the most out of your fractionated coconut oil at home.
Fractionated coconut oil’s moisturizing power and neutral scent make it a top choice to use as a base for natural cosmetics and personal care products, including lip balm, lotion, soap, and even natural insect repellent. It is also a perfect carrier oil for essential oils. It allows the pure scent of your choice shine through and facilitating the absorption of the essential oils themselves.
Therapy & Spa
Massage therapists and spa product manufacturers prefer to use coconut oil as a base for scented massage oils. Because of its small molecular structure, coconut oil is easily absorbed into the skin. It provides a hydrating and nourishing barrier to protect the skin from free radicals.
Using scientific terms like “fractionated” when referring to a natural products can be discouraging and even alarming. A little bit of research, however, reveals the process behind the word itself and simplifies the clean and plant-based shopping experience. Fractionated coconut oil is not to be feared, but to be embraced as a part of your daily regimen.