What is Fractionated Coconut Oil? And Why You Should Use it
While fractionated coconut oil might sound like a feat of molecular gastronomy, it’s actually a simple and natural product that is a perfect addition to your health and wellness regime.
This form of coconut oil is distilled down to its fattiest acids. Don’t be scared by the word “fat”--it’s this distilling that makes fractionated coconut oil shelf stable and the perfect addition to your beauty routine.
This versatile product is suitable as a moisturizer, makeup remover, and can help protect your skin and hair from harmful UV rays...to name just a few of its many benefits!
Interested in hearing more? In this post, we’ll explore all things fractionated coconut oil, including what it is, how it’s made, and some of the many reasons why you should use it.
What Is Fractionated Coconut Oil?
Fractionated coconut oil is not the same as regular coconut oil. As the name implies, it’s a fraction of coconut oil, where certain fatty acids have been separated.
Coconut oil itself is chemically composed of two types of fatty acids: long chain fatty acids and medium chain fatty acids.
With fractionated coconut oil, the two key fatty acids are separated, leaving you mostly with the medium chain fatty acids.
Fractionated coconut oil is mainly composed of the saturated fatty acids and medium-chain fatty acids that are rich in coconut oil. Note: these medium-chain fatty acids are also referred to as medium chain triglycerides.
How is Coconut Oil Fractionated?
While separating the fatty acids in coconut oil might seem like some complicated mad science, it’s actually a pretty simple process. It’s performed via a steam distillation process called hydrolysis.
While the oil does have to go through a process to become fractionated, it’s important to note that no added products or chemicals are incorporated into the mixture during this time, so fractionated coconut oil remains a natural product.
Once the process is complete, the thinned-out coconut oil that remains is with primarily the medium chain fatty acids.
The first thing you’ll notice about fractionated coconut oil is that it’s a liquid, both at room temperature and when heated.
Regular coconut oil, on the other hand, is solid at cool or room temperature, but liquid when heated. Because it has such a high concentration of saturated fat, fractionated coconut oil is much more stable than regular coconut oil.
Uses for Fractionated Coconut Oil
Once the oil is fractionated, it boasts all sorts of uses, both as a food source and as a beauty product.
As a culinary product, it’s often referred to as MCT oil. MCT refers to the medium-chain triglycerides that fractionated coconut oil is reduced to during the distilling process.
If you’ve ever heard of the keto diet-friendly “bulletproof” coffee that is made with butter and coconut oil, it’s food-grade fractionated coconut oil that is included in the recipe. MCT oil is said to decrease hunger, improve digestion, and help the body run at its optimal performance.
While these health benefits are certainly interesting, the primary focus of this article is on fractionated coconut oil as a beauty product, so let’s move on to some of the most beneficial uses for this unique substance in your beauty routine.
1) Use as a Carrier Oil
In recent years, there has been a lot of interest in the many benefits of essential oils, which can be used for all manner of health, beauty, and wellness purposes.
However, essential oils are highly concentrated, and a little can go a long way. For effective delivery, a carrier oil is often used. A carrier oil is pretty much what it sounds like: a vehicle to help “carry” essential oils to the desired source. So, for instance, if you wanted to receive the benefits of rubbing peppermint essential oil in the scalp, it could be diluted with a carrier oil so that it’s less astringent on the scalp and easier to apply.
Fractionated coconut oil is an ideal carrier oil for essential oils for several reasons:
It blends well. When you combine fractionated coconut oil with essential oils, they mix well, making for even distribution.
Dilutes the oil. A little goes a long way with highly concentrated essential oils. A carrier oil can dilute them (in a good way) so that they are more gentle on the skin yet still offer all the benefits.
Enhance the effects of essential oils. Fractionated coconut oil is packed with nutrients, and has significant moisturizing abilities, so it can help enhance the effects of the essential oil you’ve chosen to use.
2) Use as a Moisturizer
Fractionated coconut oil is a natural emollient, which means it has softening properties. While regular coconut oil is also an emollient, the lighter texture of fractionated coconut oil means it’s absorbed quickly and easily into the skin, without leaving a greasy film.
This easy absorption of fractionated coconut oil means that it can easily penetrate the pores, allowing it to deeply and effectively hydrate and soften the skin.
As a moisturizer, fractionated coconut oil isn’t just well suited to your face. It’s an effective moisturizer for the entire body, as well as the lips, nails, and hair.
Since it’s a gentle and all natural product, it’s gentle on the skin and appropriate for just about every skin type. Of course, it’s important to note that individuals can have different skin sensitivities, so always apply any new product to a test area of skin first!
3) Use as a Makeup Remover
Many commercial makeup removers are no better than industrial janitorial products for your skin. Sure, they can take off your makeup, but in the process these chemical-laden products can strip away moisture and natural oils from the skin, leaving your skin dried out. Dry skin can be more prone to showing visible signs of aging, and who wants that?
Fractionated coconut oil is a great alternative to traditional makeup removers that have mile-long ingredients lists. It’s composed of a single, natural ingredient, and it has the ability to bind with all sorts of makeup, including waterproof makeup. Fractionated coconut oil can remove makeup safely, without stripping your skin with harsh chemicals. As an added benefit, it will moisten and moisturize the skin as it removes the makeup!
To use fractionated coconut oil as a makeup remover, put a few drops of it on a clean surface such as a tissue or makeup wipe, and use to gently wipe off the makeup.
Once the makeup is removed, you can apply a few drops of coconut oil directly into the skin to help it absorb the oil and moisturize.
4) Use as a Treatment for Dry skin, Psoriasis or Eczema
In reading through this post, you’ve probably already gotten the idea that fractionated coconut oil is a fantastic all purpose moisturizer. However, what you may not know is that it may be helpful in treating conditions like dry skin, psoriasis, or eczema.
You’re probably familiar with dry skin, but what about the other two? Let’s briefly define:
Psoriasis is an autoimmune disease. Among its effects? Portions of what are referred to as “plaques” on the skin--painful, flaky, and very itchy areas.
Eczema is another immune system-related condition. Sufferers can have patches of skin that become rough in texture and/or inflamed, sometimes to the point of intense itching and even bleeding.
These conditions tend to yield dry, tough, cracked skin. Happily, fractionated oil’s powerful softening capabilities may be able to help alleviate symptoms.
While there hasn’t been conclusive medical evidence that coconut oil is a cure for either psoriasis or eczema, the anecdotal evidence of its effectiveness is pretty strong.
In fact, the National Psoriasis Foundation even recommends coconut oil for relief of symptoms, suggesting massaging it into the scalp or taking a warm bath with coconut oil to alleviate symptoms.
According to the National Eczema Foundation, coconut oil retains lauric acid, which is a natural antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory agent. So in addition to softening and deeply moisturizing the skin, coconut oil may be able to alleviate symptoms and fight potential infections.
Of course, it’s also an appropriate moisturizer for run of the mill dry skin. For particularly concentrated areas of dryness such as the heels or hands, massage the oil into the area and cover with socks or gloves overnight. In the morning, chances are you’ll see a notably softened texture on the skin.
5) Use for UV Protection
Your body needs sun for optimal health. However, too much of a good thing can be detrimental. Excess sun exposure to UV rays can cause all sorts of health ailments, from sunburn to eye damage to an increased risk for skin cancer.
On a day to day basis, one of the most common issues with excess sun exposure is that it dries out the skin and hair. Not only does this dryness not feel good, but it can result in increased visible signs of aging and weaken the hair, making it brittle and more prone to breakage.
Coconut oil may be able to alleviate these symptoms once they’ve occurred, and it can also act as a powerful preventative measure.
If you know you’ll be logging some serious time under the sun, work some fractionated coconut oil into your hair and your skin. It can help create a protective seal on the hair and skin, keeping it safer from the potentially harmful rays of the intense sun.
Of course, always remember to wear a hat and protection from the sun for the best protection possible...love the skin (and hair) you’re in!
Where Can You Buy Fractionated Coconut Oil?
While fractionated coconut oil used to be hard to find, these days raised awareness about its many benefits have made it a readily available item at better grocery stores, mass market retailers, and health food stores. However, it’s still important to note that not all fractionated coconut oil is created equal.
As with any beauty product, it’s important to use the highest quality product you possibly can to receive the maximum benefits.
At Art Naturals, we dedicate ourselves to finding and sourcing the highest quality products possible. Our premium fractionated coconut oil is distilled with a hydrolysis and steam distillation process that eliminates unsaturated fats, leaving you with a pure, refined liquid. It may not be gold in color, but it’s worth its weight in gold in terms of health benefits for the skin and hair.
Rich in saturated fats, it’s the perfect product to moisturize, use as a carrier oil, or protect the hair against harmful UV rays.
It’s shelf stable, too: if you store it in a cool, dark place, it will last for about 2 years--or even longer! Of course, once you start using it and seeing the positive results, you’ll probably go through it far faster than that!
How to Use Fractionated Coconut Oil
Curious about how to get started with fractionated coconut oil? It’s easy!
Fractionated coconut oil can be used as a stand-alone moisturizer, makeup remover, scalp hydrator, or a variety of other purposes. Here are some common ways to use it:
As a moisturizer. Fractionated coconut oil can be used as a stand-alone moisturizer. Using your hands, rub a small amount thoroughly into the skin, and let it absorb. It’s non-comedogenic, which means it won’t clog the pores--so it’s perfect to use in tandem with your other favorite beauty products like hyaluronic acid serum.
As a scalp moisturizer. Got a dry, itchy scalp? Rub a few drops of fractionated coconut oil into your hair and let absorb to hydrate the scalp and hair.
To enhance your conditioner. To give your hair conditioner an added moisturizing oomph, add a few drops into your conditioner. Rinse as usual.
As a carrier oil. Interested in combining fractionated coconut oil with essential oils as a carrier oil? Place a small amount of oil in a small, nonporous bowl, Add a few drops of the essential oil, and use a spatula or spoon to blend. Looking for essential oils? Find them here.
The Final Word on Fractionated Coconut Oil
Fractionated coconut oil may be only a fraction of traditional coconut oil, but it offers full-fledged benefits. To review:
Fractionated oil is made by a process of distilling regular coconut oil, leaving behind only the medium chain fatty acids.
Because fractionated oil is composed of saturated fats, it is shelf stable, and remains liquid even at cool temperatures.
Fractionated coconut oil is a natural emollient, which means that it’s effective at moisturizing and softening the skin and hair.
In addition to being a natural emollient, fractionated coconut oil is non comedogenic, meaning it won’t clog the pores or leave your skin or hair oily.
Fractionated coconut oil is not only an effective everyday moisturizer, but it may help with skin conditions such as psoriasis and eczema.
Be sure to use the best quality fractionated coconut oil possible for the best results!
Have you incorporated fractionated coconut oil into your beauty routine? What were your results?