Coconut Oil Basics: What You Need To Know
This is the first of a four-part series.
I’ve been experimenting with coconut oil.
I ran out of my trusty argan oil some time ago. And although it’s still one of my favorites, it’s expensive. I then tried castor oil but it’s much too heavy and sticky for me.
So I took a trip to Trader Joe’s to pick up a jar of their organic virgin coconut oil or, as some naturals like to call it, the Holy Grail of Oils.
I’ve been using it as my sole moisturizer for the past three weeks (more on that later) and have started using it as a pre-poo.
Of course, I did my research, and now I’m going to share it with you. Let’s start with the basics.
How coconut oil is made
Coconut oil is made by extracting the oil from the meat of a coconut. The dried meat of a coconut after the oil has been removed is called copra. Extraction can be done in two ways: non-heated and heated.
Wet Milling Fermentation (Non-Heated)
During the wet milling process fresh, raw coconut is ground and the oil is expressed. The liquid is then separated by allowing the water, which is heavier, to fall to the bottom while the lighter oil remains on top.
The oil is then heated to liquefy any solid pieces before being filtered and bottled.
Wet milled coconut oil is considered the traditional method and contains the highest amount of antioxidants.
Dry Processing (Heated)
Dry processing, on the other hand, uses fire, sunlight, or kilns (a type of oven) to dry the meat before the coconut oil is extracted. Once dried, the copra is pressed or broken down using solvents or more high heat, producing the oil.
This method produces and oil with virtually no taste or aroma which must then be filtered, washed, and refined.
Dry processed coconut oil is mass produced and usually cheaper. It’s good for cooking.