Thursday, December 3, 2009

Virgin coconut oil

Virgin coconut oil is very similar in fatty acid make-up to coconut oil, but they are processed differently. Whereas coconut oil is taken from the dry kernel of the coconut, virgin coconut oil (or VCO) is taken from the coconut meat itself, being "wet milled" at first, then "dry pressed" coconut milk. This process may or may not contain a heated phase. It is not bleached or de-odorized like regular coconut oil, so it has a very coconut-y scent that is very appealing!

VCO could contain up to 7 times more polyphenols than coconut oil in the form of ferulic and p-coumaric acids, which are good anti-oxidants. One study showed VCO with a phenolic content of 7.78 to 29.18 mg per 100 grams of oil vs. 6.14 mg per 100 grams of oil for coconut oil. (Although this works out to almost 5 times more). Ferulic acid is a very effective anti-oxidant, more powerful than Vitamin E, that can prevent skin aging, reduce age spots, and help repair light and radiation induced damage. It penetrates skin to soften and moisturize, soothes wind chapped and sun burned skin, and reduces itching and inflammation. P-coumaric acid is a good anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory polyphenol.

VCO doesn't contain a lot of Vitamin E, again around 36 ppm, but it has great anti-oxidizing power due to the ferulic and p-coumaric acids, just like coconut oil.

Why use VCO? Some websites claim it will never go rancid - this is not possible as there are still some unsaturated fatty acids, however small an amount. It's safe to assume it has a shelf life of 18 to 24 months.

You can use VCO wherever you might use coconut oil - in body, bath, and hair products! A lot of people leave these products unscented because the VCO smells so lovely!

Join me tomorrow for fun with sea buckthorn oil!


Rose said...

I do so love VCO! Especially if I add it to my hair and leave it for a few hours - then wash. Hair looks so nice!

Anonymous said...

I bought Soaper's Choice Extra Virgin Coconut Oil and it's just liquid. The only time it's somewhat solid is if I put it in the fridge. I'm guessing I shouldn't use it in a body butter as a hard oil since it's just liquid?

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Anonymous. What is the temperature where you live? Generally, coconut oil melts at 76˚F, so if you're in summer, you're probably at over 76˚F, which is why it's liquid. Put it in the fridge until it's solid and leave it there until summer's over! I wouldn't use it in a body butter as the main oil until the temperature in your part of the world is lower than 76˚F on a daily basis!

Anonymous said...

Right now it's 74˚F, and the extra virgin coconut oil is still liquid. It's from Soaper's Choice. I've seen other companies with the same product but there's are solid. =/

A Z said...

Hi Susan

Do you know the HLB value for virgin coconut oil?
I am trying to mix emulsifiers (PEG 40 HCO and glycol distearate) with vco.



Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

I would go with the HLB value of regular coconut oil and I'm sure that'll be fine. It really isn't that different from regular coconut oil.

Chloƫ W said...

Hi there! I've been trying out pure virgin coconut oil on my skin + utilising it in some simple whipped butter recipes and i've noticed that after a few days my skin actually gets drier, to the point where it is white, flaking and visibly looks very unhappy/unhealthy. Could the coconut oil be the cause (other oils I use are hazelnut, apricot, macadamia and mango butter with some cocoa - I have also noticed the drier skin in simple oil blends where coconut is not present, but not as bad) Or could it be poor quality ingredients of any of the above-mentioned?
I'm desperately trying to track down the cause and how to correct it, since I really want to continue making my own products but my skin seems so unhappy that i'm almost nearly forced to go back to store-bought! Help!

Susan Barclay-Nichols said...

Hi Chloe! I think your problem is slightly simpler: You are putting oils on skin that needs water. If you're using just oils on your skin, you're trapping in what's there, but aren't adding any hydration to the mix. I would suggest using something like witch hazel or aloe vera or rose water or even just tap water as a spritz, then putting the oils on top of it. This way you're trapping the moisture next to your skin, which will hydrate it. Oils aren't very good at helping solve the dry skin problem when there's no water there!

I would suggest using something like babassu oil over coconut oil as it is more silky feeling than coconut and melts at skin temperature. So luxurious!

And can I suggest that you try making a lotion? Check out my newbie section for some great beginner recipes. You'll be shocked at how a simple lotion can make your skin feel awesome!

Unknown said...

super helpful information! thank you!! - anne