We’ve been formulating a few new products recently, and in doing so I’ve been looking for oils that are not only hydrating and absorbent, but light, thin, and very stable. In my search I began experimenting with an oil that we use for our Oh Baby! oil due to its mildness and almost completely hypo-allergenic nature: fractionated coconut oil.
Fractionated coconut oil is exactly what is sounds like: a fraction of pure coconut oil (which is semi-solid at room temperature). To obtain this, the coconut oil undergoes hydrolysis, then this product is steam distilled. The result is that almost all of the long chain fatty acids (triglycerides) are removed so that only the medium chain saturated triglycerides remain. This produces a thin, liquid oil rich in medium chain triglycerides and with a very very long shelf life because of its complete saturation. In its virgin state, coconut oil is already a very stable oil with many beneficial uses. After fractionation, it becomes even more stable, and its antioxidant and disinfectant properties increase since the comparative concentration of capric and caprylic (medium chain) triglycerides is even higher. What a perfect, versatile, nutritive oil!
It turns out that fractionated coconut oil has a wide range of uses, such as:
- *In preparation of soaps, lotions, ointments and other cosmetics.
- In aromatherapy, as carrier oil, since it facilitates absorption of other oils and herbal extracts.
- In massage.
- In medicines, due to its anti septic and disinfectant properties.
- In hair care.
- And of course, in cooking, as it does not go rancid easily and is very stable.
Obviously, since it involves a lot more processing (such as hydrolysis and steam distillation), fractionated coconut oil is more costly than ordinary coconut oil. But then, it has its own benefits and justifications. Keeping in mind it’s very-very long shelf life, stability and rancidity resistant properties, it is worth the price you pay.*
I’m very excited to have discovered this fantastic oil, which happens to be exactly suited to some of our upcoming products- a cooling after sun skin oil, and a new line of pure perfumes scented with 100% essential oils. Look for them soon, and enjoy the coconut oil!
** passages excerpted and edited from an article by Aparup Mukherjee