Coconut oil has shot up to fame, thanks to its several health benefits, among many other of its uses. There is quite a fidele fan-following of this humble oil across the world. It is also consumed as a part of a standard diet in some countries because of its high saturated fat content. The Philippines is one of the largest producers of coconut oil with India and Indonesia following them as the second and third largest producers respectively. Coconut oil has been used as folk medicine and food ingredient for millennia in the west tropical regions where coconut trees are grown abundantly.
You’ll find coconut oil to be versatile to use in personal care, cooking, nutritional supplement, shortening, biofuel, antimicrobial agent and much more. To fully benefit from the magical properties, it is important to be aware of the two variants of coconut oil available in the market: virgin coconut oil(also referred to as unrefined coconut oil) and refined coconut oil. Let’s find out more!
How is the extraction process different for virgin and refined coconut oil?
The major difference between virgin coconut oil and regular coconut oil lies in its extraction. Virgin coconut oil is extracted from coconut milk and does not use any heat. In some cases, the oil is extracted through the process of micro-expelling. In this method, the coconut oil is directly extracted by cold compression of fresh coconut meat. The whole process is carried out with utmost care and attention to not expose the oil to any external heat or sunlight.
Moving on to the regular coconut oil or refined coconut oil, it is extracted from dried coconut kernels i.e copra. The dried kernels are pressed with a moisture content of around 6%. This extracted oil is refined, deodorized, and bleached in order to separate it from water and moisture, then making it suitable for consumption.
The differences between virgin and refined coconut oil can be observed in many ways including smell and taste. The flavour of virgin coconut oil is sweet with the smell of dried coconut due to its natural coconut flavor still retained in the oil whereas refined coconut oil or regular coconut oil has a neutral taste and smell. As heat is involved in the process, the beautiful coconut flavour and smell is ripped off the oil.
Which oil to choose for hair and skin?
Due to its supreme quality and high effectiveness, it is advisable to use only virgin coconut oil for your hair and skin. You might notice that virgin coconut oil is priced higher in comparison to the refined version but it is definitely worth it as the benefits are so much better. Whether you want to massage your hair with oil, moisturise your skin or use it for oil-pulling, virgin coconut oil is completely safe and gives you better results.
Here are some interesting ways for you to use virgin coconut oil:
- Use virgin coconut oil as makeup remover to get rid of all products and grime whilst hydrating your skin.
- Apply it as a lip balm if having dry or cracked lips.
- Use as a moisturizer if you have dry skin.
- The oil also brings in moisture by nourishing your cuticles and cracked skin.
- Use as a natural cleanser.
- Acts as an excellent natural hair conditioner.
- Helps get rid of the frizzy hair.
- Can be used to treat dry scalp and dandruff.