Wondering what the difference between refined vs unrefined coconut oil is? There are so many labels, so little time! Here’s your guide to selecting the best coconut oil for your body.
In its purest form, coconut oil is incredibly healthy for your body. It’s rich in medium-chain triglycerides and contains antioxidants and polyphenols. But not all coconut oils are pure. Some are cut with other oils or are cosmetically altered with potentially toxic chemicals. Coconut oil’s popularity has led to many different types being invented and developed. Not all of these different types are bad, but not all of them may serve your body’s needs.
Refined vs Unrefined Coconut Oil: What’s the Difference?
There are so many types of labels on coconut oil! Which coconut oil is the best? Here’s your guide to choosing the best coconut oil for you:
The real stuff! And the best coconut oil in my opinion. Virgin coconut oil is oil derived from fresh coconut meat. It’s the good, fatty oil that comes as a result of processing the meat. No chemicals needed to extract all that goodness.
Virgin coconut oil is my personal preference. It’s by far the purest grade, and you’ll definitely reap the most benefits from using it. But it has a very definite coconut flavor. If you don’t like the taste of coconut, you may want to look for an alternative. Watch my video of making virgin coconut oil from dried coconut meat here!
You may be wondering what is extra-virgin coconut oil? I’ll tell you a secret: Extra virgin coconut oil is really no different than virgin coconut oil. It’s not comparable to olive oil, simply because they’re made with very different substances. Don’t fall into the trap of paying more for something for no reason!
This coconut oil isn’t the purest out of all the options I’ve described here. But it’s a favorite among many because it provides all the benefits of coconut oil without the distinctive coconut oil taste. It’s also has a higher smoke point and is potentially less triggering to those with allergies.
Don’t be afraid to use refined coconut oil! Refined doesn’t mean that unhealthy additives have been added. As long as the coconut oil is expeller-pressed (a natural, non-chemical extraction process), you definitely won’t be exposing yourself to any harmful chemicals in your coconut oil.
LIQUID COCONUT OIL
Now it’s time to go to talk about the less natural coconut oil substances. Liquid coconut oil is natural coconut oil that has been fractionated, with some remaining solids extracted as well. It actually stays in liquid form at room temperature, while virgin coconut oil does not.
But there are some downsides. Liquid coconut oil is processed to achieve its unique characteristics, and some key aspects of coconut oil are removed. One of these is lauric acid, a very healthy fat found in most forms of coconut oil. So while this version of coconut oil (also labeled mct oil) is safe to use on the skin and in recipes, you’re really not getting all of the benefits of coconut oil by using it.
RBD COCONUT OIL
This one is the worst coconut oil product on the market. RBD stands for the manufacturing process Refined, Bleached, and Deodorized. That’s referring to the oil, folks!
Like refined coconut oil, this oil has no coconut-y taste. It definitely has its fans among people who want the features of coconut oil without that signature taste. But you won’t be reaping all of the benefits (like healthy polyphenols and antioxidant properties) of coconut oil if you use RBD coconut oil. Worse yet, you’ll be putting unnatural substances in your body. You’re best off sticking to the most natural product possible and avoiding the chemical solvents the bleach!
My Favorite Coconut Oil
I use virgin coconut oil in my kitchen and in most of my homemade beauty products. When I’m cooking for friends or family members who don’t particularly like their food to taste like coconut, I’ll use refined organic coconut oil instead.
Which Brand Do I Think Is The Best Coconut Oil?
I personally like using Nutiva and Artisana coconut oil in my home for both DIY skincare and baking. Both companies make excellent organic coconut products. When buying coconut oil I shop at my local Costco or health food store to check prices before I order online. Sometimes you can find great deals at your local stores!
When I buy coconut oil online I do it here. They have some great products as well.
How To Use Coconut Oil: Coconut oil can be used in place of butter or oil in almost any recipe. It’s an excellent choice for vegan baking, since it’s high in saturated fats like butter.
What’s your favorite type of coconut oil? What type of coconut oil do you use in your home? Tell us in the comments below!
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This article was originally published on July 30th, 2015, and was updated with current content and new images on March 26th, 2021.As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.