Coconut is known in the tropics as the miracle tree, and for good reasons. Every part of this tree, from the leaves to the roots, can be harvested and utilised for a wide range of applications. Its roots are boiled to make medicine and tonic, the leaves weaved to make roofs and food wraps, the shell burnt to produce activated charcoal, and much more.
One product from coconut that has been taking the pharmaceutical and cosmetic industry by storm for years now is its oil. Considered one of the best carrier oils for essential oils, coconut oil exhibits amazing properties, capturing the interest of experts from various scientific fields.
Extra virgin coconut oil contains 8 different type of fatty acids, about 50 per cent of which is lauric acid or C12. These fatty acids give coconut oil its thick and oily characteristic, which isn’t as beneficial for some applications like, when the coconut oil must be kept in fluid form for longer. That’s when fractionating coconut oil became a practice.
What is fractionated coconut oil?
The fatty acids in coconut oil come from its medium-chain triglyceride (MCT) content. These fatty acids are characterised by their atomic composition or molecular structure, which also defines the rate by which they solidify at room temperature.
To keep the coconut oil in liquid form, some of the fatty acids, particularly those that solidify quickly are separated or removed through a process called fractionation. Simply put, fractionated coconut oil is just regular coconut oil but without some or most of its fatty acids. What’s usually left are caprylic/octanoic acid and capric/decanoic acid.
How to Fractionate Coconut Oil
As mentioned earlier, fractionation is the process of separating fatty acids that have high melting points. This is carried out simply by melting coconut oil and letting it cool down slowly at room temperature. After a few minutes, long-chain fatty acids or those with high melting points such as lauric acid, which represent a “fraction” of the entire volume of the coconut oil, are expected to solidify. This fraction is then removed, hence fractionation.
Cosmetic Benefits of Fractionated Coconut Oil
If you’re not a big fan of coconut oil due to its high viscosity, consider using fractionated coconut oil instead. Its unique properties make it extremely useful for applications where regular coconut oil isn’t suitable.
- Fractionated coconut oil works so much better than regular virgin or extra virgin coconut oil when mixed with essential oils used for body massage. Not only is it less greasy when applied on the skin, but it’s also more soothing. Massage therapists prefer it to virgin coconut oil because its low viscosity allows for more comfortable strokes.
- Viscosity affects a carrier oil’s ability to dilute essential oils. The higher the viscosity, the longer dilution takes. Because fractionated coconut oil has fewer fatty acids than regular coconut oil, it dilutes essential oils faster.
- Experts advise against moisturising the skin with regular coconut oil because it’s too greasy for the skin to absorb. It stays on the surface of the skin and block pores, which leads to the formation of black heads. In some cases, this obstruction of the pores could trigger inflammation, which can cause an acne outbreak. Fortunately, there’s a less oily and safer option—fractionated coconut oil.
- A mixture of fractionated coconut oil, rosewater and some essential oils could produce a serum that brings relief to your facial skin after shaving. Apply this serum on your newly shaved face and you’ll feel rejuvenated. And it doesn’t end in the soothing sensation; the fractionated coconut oil will give your face a healthy, natural glow, too.
If this is your first time using or learning about fractionated coconut oil, consider consulting with experts from N-Essentials. They can help you identify the essential oils that mix well with it.