Coconut is common in the tropical and subtropical parts of the planet and has been used for millennia as a source of food, fibre, oil, and so on. Coconut oil, which is extracted from the coconut’s core, has been used since ancient times as a cosmetic ingredient to moisturize the skin, as well as the hair.
Most of the coconut oil on the market is actually extracted from the copra, the dried flesh part of the coconut – a mass produced oil requiring huge amounts of energy and giving essentially an oil with low quality. This oil, produced in this way requires additional refining, bleaching and deodorising (RBD). This requires chemicals and large amounts of heat to produce a good product. This process takes away many of the wonderful natural flavours and benefits found in coconut oil. This means that coconut oil obtained from coconut copra and natural coconut oil are two very different products.
Collecting and extracting of coconut oil
The nuts are collected before they burst and open, then the white meat is pulled out by hand. This fleshy part is then carefully dried before being passed through a manual hydraulic press to obtain a naturally cold pressed coconut oil. The production process is extremely fast – especially in comparison to the traditional use of dried copra. In fact, cold-pressed coconut oil is produced one hour after the opening of the coconut. This process keeps all volatile substances, giving the oil a unique scent and coconut flavour.
Use and benefits of coconut oil
Due to its high content of saturated fats, coconut oil is stable and has a long shelf life, making it ideal for use in cosmetics. Coconut oil is easily absorbed into the skin, as can be seen by generations of users. It contains high levels of antioxidants which, when used as an ingredient in cosmetic formulations, help to protect against free radicals and consequent damage to the skin.