Your guide to buying the best coconut oil in 2019 | finder.com

Find the best coconut oil for every purpose

Shake up your routine with a health and beauty multitasker.

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Coconut oil’s known for its rich vitamin and fatty-acid content that contributes to a slew of purported health benefits. And it’s so multifunctional that you can use it in your beauty routine or cook with it. But the best pick for you depends on what you use it for.

Best coconut oil for hair

The fatty acids in coconut help moisturize and condition your hair. It’s a great deep treatment that adds shine and tames flyaways.

Coconut oil is quite absorbent, but keep in mind it could weigh down finer hair. Dry, curly or kinky hair can better handle coconut oil as a leave-in treatment.

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How to make a deep hair treatment with coconut oil

  1. Warm the coconut oil on low heat.
  2. Apply to damp or dry hair.
  3. Massage it into your scalp, working down the length of your hair and concentrating on the ends. If you have fine or thin hair, avoid the roots.
  4. Put on a shower cap and leave it on for at least 30 minutes.
  5. Rinse hair thoroughly. Depending on your hair type, you might need to use shampoo for this step. If you have dry or very curly hair, plain warm water might do the trick.
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Best coconut oil for skin

You’ll find coconut oil in products like primers, foundations and facial wipes. Adored for its light texture and absorbency, it can be used on your face as the last step in your skincare routine to seal in moisture. It also doubles as a makeup remover and shaving lubricant.

Virgin coconut oil is usually considered best for direct use on the skin — especially on the face — because it’s unbleached. Just be cautious if you have oily, acne-prone skin — coconut oil can cause breakouts for some people.

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Best coconut oil for cooking

Most dietitians and cooks would agree that virgin coconut is the healthiest choice. However, refined coconut oils can also be used.

There’s some controversy as to whether or not cooking with coconut oil is healthy. Some health experts say that it’s a much healthier alternative to peanut and canola oils. But others say that its high saturated fat content makes it unhealthy.

Remember: Like with any oil, moderation is key. Before you decide to make the switch, speak with a doctor or nutritionist.

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Why is coconut oil so good for your skin?

Coconut oil is filled with fatty acids and good saturated fats, making it an excellent moisturizer. See its other benefits:

  • Saturated fats. Medium-chain fatty acids help coconut oil seal moisture inside the skin and give it a smooth and glowing appearance.
  • Protein. Using coconut on the skin gives scars, cuts and other blemishes the boost they need to heal faster. Proteins help the skin repair itself more efficiently.
  • Antioxidants. Coconut oil is loaded with antioxidant-rich vitamin E, which combats free radicals and helps your skin look and feel healthy and youthful.
  • Antibacterial properties. Thanks to its capric, caprylic and lauric acids, coconut oil even has antibacterial properties. These help keep your skin protected from infection.

Best beauty uses for coconut oil

Body moisturizer

Coconut oil makes an amazing body moisturizer because its high fatty acid content helps prevent water loss in your skin. The result? Soft, glowing skin. Try using coconut oil as a body moisturizer just after a shower.

Hair mask

Coconut oil penetrates your hair more deeply than other oils, allowing fatty acids to nourish and repair on a deeper level. Try massaging coconut oil through your hair and then covering it with saran wrap. The heat from your head will keep the oil in liquid form. Leave it in as long as you like and then wash it out in the shower.

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women using a lipstick

Makeup remover

Using oil to remove your makeup is much more effective than using harsh soaps or cleansers. Just put a dollop of coconut oil on a cotton pad and wipe over your face. Make sure you wash your face thoroughly with water afterward.

Coconut oil can be a bit too rich to leave on certain skin types for a lengthy period of time. If you’re looking for an oil you can leave on your face, try rosehip oil — it’s great for clearing congested skin and blemishes.

Lip balm

Coconut oil is a lifesaver if you have chapped lips. The vitamin E and fatty acids in coconut oil will have dry, flaky lips back to their plush selves in no time.

Cuticle softener

When your cuticles grow too far down your nail, they can split and peel – ouch! Try rubbing coconut oil on your cuticles to soften them before pushing them back.

Hair serum

Rub a very small amount of coconut oil through the lengths of your hair to tame frizz.

Shaving cream

Coat your legs in coconut oil before shaving. Unlike soap, coconut oil doesn’t wash away as soon as your leg gets wet – it stays put until you wash it off. Also, its antibacterial properties make it an ideal shaving lotion, as it protects any nicks and cuts from infection.

Difference between refined and virgin coconut oil

Two main production methods are used to create coconut oil, which result in either refined or virgin oil.

Refined coconut oil

Refined coconut oil is generally considered to be lesser-quality than virgin coconut oil — though it’s the most common and economical choice. It goes through a refining process, usually at very high temperatures and sometimes with the assistance of different chemicals to help extract the highest quantity of oil from the coconut.

Refined coconut oil is made from the dried white “meat” of the coconut, called copra. To extract the oil, copra is pressed, heated and blended. Then the oil is extracted and processed. Some brands actually take the coconut smell and flavor out of the oil to make it more like a general-purpose vegetable oil.

For this reason, refined coconut oil is sometimes called and labeled “RBD oil,” which is an acronym for refined, bleached and deodorized.

If you prefer to buy products that have been through as little processing as possible, then you’ll probably prefer virgin coconut oil.

Virgin coconut oil

First things first: unrefined coconut oil and virgin coconut oil are the same product.

And despite different labeling, there is also no measurable difference between “virgin” coconut oil and “extra virgin” coconut oil. The extraction process that olive oil goes through that differentiates between virgin and extra virgin does not apply to coconut oil.

Virgin coconut oil can also be extracted by a method called “cold pressing” which keeps more of the original nutritional compounds intact. Cold pressing isn’t really that cold, and the coconut is still heated to extract the oil — but at much lower temperatures than traditional extraction methods.

Virgin coconut oil is extracted from the fresh milk and raw meat of the coconut soon after it’s picked. The process of selecting ripe coconuts and the timely oil production means that virgin coconut oil tends to be higher-quality and more expensive than refined coconut oil.

Frequently asked questions

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