Friday, May 10, 2013

A quick note on coconut oil and warm temperatures!

I know everyone seems to love coconut oil these days - not sure why from a nutritional perspective as it's a saturated fat, but I know all about the awesomeness it offers your hair - but remember that it has a low melting point of 24˚C or 76˚F, which means it'll turn from a brittle oil to a liquid oil on a warm summer's day or in your car on even a slighty cool spring day. Please don't use it as the primary oil in a whipped butter as you'll get meltiness and a huge mess before you realize it's over 20˚C! You can use it in things like balms or lip balms because the other butters or beeswax raise the melting point, but you'll still have a slightly liquidy lip balm if you're walking around the farmers' market with it in your pocket in the middle of July.

I don't know how obvious it is in the picture, but I scooped the oil out with a spoon and it was thisclose to being liquid with the kitchen at 21.9˚C this morning. (I melted it slightly in the microwave and covered my hair with it this morning! I smell great, but I'm just a tad oily. If you tend towards oily hair, keep it away from your scalp or be prepared to rinse and repeat more than twice today!)

If you want some extra coconut-y goodness, try virgin cocout oil, which smells absolutely of coconuts! So lovely! 

Related posts:
Conditioners: Adding oils - coconut oil
Coconut oil in hair products
Weekend Wonderings: Using coconut oil in emulsified scrubs
Weekend Wonderings: Which oils are good for our hair?


Alex said...

Funny that you mention everyone being obsessed with coconut oil lately because I was just thinking the same thing! I absolutely love it in mu hair and skin care products as well! I made an amazing simple intense conditioner with it by following and tweaking some of your recipes :)

I am also still researching and not entirely convinced about health benefits of eating it, but this blog talks about the benefit of eating different types of fats:

i would love to see some actual scientific studies before i am entirely convinced, so i will continue the hunt for hard facts and evidence!

Tara said...

Nothing wrong with saturated fats (unless you're a North American, I suppose). The idea that saturated fats are bad for our health is really a dumbfounded myth, which has never been proven.
Enjoy coconut oil!

Diane said...

I can vouch for the unpleasant surprise that waits if you use coconut oil in a lip balm. At first I was delighted at the "meltiness" and made up a balm with a lot of coconut oil in the recipe, resulting in a big mess in the pants pocket!

Alexis said...

Wiki lauric acid and coconut oil. Both cite this study:

Mensink RP, Zock PL, Kester ADM, Katan MB (May 2003). "Effects of dietary fatty acids and carbohydrates on the ratio of serum total to HDL cholesterol and on serum lipids and apolipoproteins: a meta-analysis of 60 controlled trials". American Journal of Clinical Nutrition 77 (5): 1146–1155. ISSN 0002-9165. PMID 12716665.

Excerpt from "Individual saturated fatty acids" section:

"Although lauric acid was the most potent total and LDL cholesterol–raising SFA (Table 2⇓ and Figure 3⇓), it actually decreased total HDL cholesterol relative to carbohydrates. Thus, the cholesterol-raising effect of lauric acid is proportionally higher for HDL than for LDL. The ratio of total to HDL cholesterol was less affected by the other 3 SFAs, although it was somewhat more favorably affected by stearic acid than by myristic or palmitic acid."

The study looked at this question: "What happens to the ratio of LDL and HDL levels if we replace fat X in the diet with carbohydrates?" That's why the reduction in HDL when carbs replace lauric acid is important.

So even though lauric acid, the highest % sfa in coconut oil, raises total cholesterol, it raises the good HDL more than it raises the bad LDL. Plus it is totally awesome in brownies and cakes!!!!!!! And granola %-) Want to make easy flaky pie crust? Have a food processor? Substitute up to half of the butter in the recipe with coconut oil. Coconut oil is gritty, meaning it makes large lumps if you do this by hand. The blade of the food processor will chop it finely into the flour but still allow some grittiness, which melts upon baking which in turn makes for flakiness heaven.

Diane said...

Another reason I like coconut oil is that it washes out of clothes etc much better than others. Is there a measure of relative hydrophilic content of oils or some measure that might translate into "wash-out-ability"?