Coconut Oil Types: The Ultimate Guide to Choosing The Right One For You

Coconut oil has been used for centuries for its amazing benefits on skin and hair.

It’s no wonder that this versatile oil has been gaining popularity in recent years as a staple in many beauty routines.

With so many different types of coconut oil available, it can be overwhelming to choose which one is right for you.

In this blog post we’ll explain each of the coconut oils and what they are used for.

Coconut Oil Types

There are several types of coconut oil, including:

  1. Refined Coconut Oil: made from dried coconut meat (copra) and is highly processed. It has a neutral flavor and odor.
  2. Unrefined Coconut Oil (Virgin Coconut Oil): made from fresh coconut meat and is less processed. It has a distinct coconut flavor and aroma.
  3. Extra-Virgin Coconut Oil: a marketing term that is not recognized by industry standards. It is similar to unrefined coconut oil, but may be made from a specific variety of coconut or processing method.
  4. Organic Coconut Oil: made from coconuts that are grown without the use of synthetic pesticides or fertilizers.
  5. Fractionated Coconut Oil: a liquid oil that has had its long-chain fatty acids removed, making it a medium-chain triglyceride oil. It has a higher smoke point and is often used as a cooking oil or in cosmetics and personal care products.
  6. Cold-Pressed Coconut Oil: made from fresh coconut meat and extracted using a method that does not generate heat, preserving its natural flavors and aromas.

Why use coconut oil for skin care? Here are just a few of the many benefits:

Moisturizing: Coconut oil is a natural emollient, which means it helps to keep skin moisturized by locking in moisture. It’s especially helpful for those with dry or flaky skin. Apply a small amount of coconut oil to your face and body as a moisturizer.

Anti-Aging: Coconut oil is rich in antioxidants, which help to protect the skin from free radicals that can cause damage and aging. Regular use of coconut oil can help to improve the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.

Acne-Fighting: Coconut oil has antimicrobial properties that can help to fight bacteria that cause acne. It also has anti-inflammatory properties that can help to reduce redness and inflammation associated with acne.

Healing: Coconut oil has been shown to promote wound healing and can be used to help soothe sunburns, rashes, and other skin irritations.

Makeup Remover: Coconut oil can be used as a gentle and effective makeup remover. Simply apply a small amount of oil to a cotton pad and gently wipe away makeup.

Hair Treatment: Coconut oil can also be used as a hair treatment to help nourish and strengthen hair. Simply apply a small amount to your hair and scalp and leave on for 30 minutes before washing out.

Lip Balm: Coconut oil can be used as a natural lip balm to help soothe and moisturize dry, chapped lips.

Body Scrub: Mix coconut oil with some sugar or salt (for feet) to create a natural body scrub that will help exfoliate and moisturize your skin.

Coconut oil is a great addition to any skin care routine. Its moisturizing, anti-aging, acne-fighting, and healing properties make it a versatile and effective natural ingredient. With so many different ways to use it, it’s easy to see why organic coconut oil is a must have in any self-care routine.

Coconut Oil Types: They’re Not All the Same!

Refined Coconut Oil: Straight to the Basics

This type of coconut oil is made from dried coconut meat (copra) and undergoes a high level of processing to remove impurities and create a neutral flavor and odor. Refined coconut oil is often used in baking and cooking because it has a high smoke point and a longer shelf life than other types of coconut oil. However, it’s important to note that the refining process can strip the oil of some of its nutrients and beneficial properties.

It’s made from dried coconut meat and is cleaned up, so it doesn’t smell or taste like coconuts. Great for cooking, but let’s keep our skincare options open.

How Do They Make Refined Coconut Oil?

To make refined coconut oil, people take the inside part of a coconut, which we call the meat.

They dry this meat, either in the sun or with machines, and it becomes what is known as copra.

They then press this copra to get oil. But, this oil is not very clean, so they have to purify it.

They use heat and filters to clean the oil and remove things that shouldn’t be there.

Making It Smell Less Like Coconuts

Refined coconut oil does not smell much like coconuts because it goes through a special cleaning process.

This process is called deodorizing, and it takes away the coconut smell.

What Can You Use Refined Coconut Oil For?

In the kitchen, refined coconut oil is very useful. You can use it to fry food or cook in a pan because it can handle high heat without making too much smoke. Since it doesn’t smell or taste like coconuts, it won’t change the flavor of your food.

For skincare, refined coconut oil can be used, but some people prefer unrefined coconut oil because it is more natural.

If you don’t want your skin to smell like coconuts, refined coconut oil is a good choice because it doesn’t have a strong smell. 

This is also the most popular type of coconut oil used in soap making.

Look for Good Quality

It is important to know that not all refined coconut oils are made in the same way.

Some might have chemicals that are not good for your skin or food.

Look for a label that says “expeller-pressed.” This means that chemicals were not used to make the oil.

To Sum It Up

Refined coconut is good for cooking, especially at high heat.

Some people use it for skincare, especially if they don’t want to smell like coconuts.

It is always a good idea to choose good quality coconut oil.

Unrefined Coconut Oil (or Virgin Coconut Oil):  Nutrient Rich Choice

Unrefined Coconut Oil (Virgin Coconut Oil): Made from fresh coconut meat, unrefined coconut oil undergoes minimal processing and retains its natural flavor and aroma.

It’s a popular choice for skin and hair care because it’s high in antioxidants and has antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory properties.

Unrefined coconut oil is also a great option for cooking and baking, but it has a lower smoke point than refined coconut oil, so it’s not ideal for high-heat cooking.

It retains all the fragrance and taste. It’s packed with nutrients – a big YES for skincare!

How Do They Make Unrefined Coconut Oil?

To make unrefined coconut oil, people use fresh coconut meat and the milk.

They don’t dry it like in refined coconut oil.

They press the fresh meat to get the oil. Because they use fresh coconuts and don’t do a lot of cleaning processes, the oil keeps the smell and taste of coconuts.

Full of Good Things!

Unrefined coconut oil is full of nutrients – the good things that are healthy for our body and skin.

Because it’s not heavily cleaned and processed, it keeps all the natural things from the coconut.

This makes it a very good choice for skincare.

What Can You Use Unrefined Coconut Oil For?

In the kitchen, you can use unrefined coconut oil for cooking, but remember it has a coconut taste and smell. So, it will add a coconut flavor to your food.

It’s great in dishes where coconut flavor is a good match.

For skincare, unrefined coconut oil is amazing.

It makes the skin soft and smooth. Because it has so many good nutrients, it can help make your skin healthier.

It’s like giving your skin a treat!

Choosing Unrefined Coconut Oil

When you buy unrefined coconut oil, just check that it says “unrefined” or “virgin” on the label. This tells you it’s made from fresh coconuts and has all the good stuff.

To Sum It Up

Unrefined coconut oil is made from fresh coconuts and is full of nutrients.

It’s great for skincare and can be used in cooking where you want a coconut flavor.

It’s like a party for your skin and taste buds!

Extra-Virgin Coconut Oil: A Familiar Friend

Extra-Virgin Coconut Oil is like the twin brother of unrefined coconut oil, but it likes to act like it’s very special. In reality, there isn’t much difference between them. It’s mostly about the fancy name.

The term Extra-Virgin is not recognized by industry standards.

Is There a Difference Between Extra-Virgin Coconut Oil and Unrefined Coconut Oil?

When it comes to extra-virgin coconut oil and unrefined coconut oil, they are almost the same.

They are both made from fresh coconuts and keep the coconut smell and taste. But, “extra-virgin” sounds fancier.   

They taste the same, but the Extra Virgin sounds more exciting!

Why the Fancy Name?

Sometimes, people like to make things sound more special than they really are. By calling it “extra-virgin”, it sounds like it might be better or more special than regular unrefined coconut oil. But, in the world of coconut oil, there isn’t a real difference. They are like twins!

What Can You Use Extra-Virgin Coconut Oil For?

Just like unrefined coconut oil, you can use extra-virgin coconut oil for cooking and skincare.

It’s great for making your skin soft and adding a coconut flavor to your food.

Choosing Extra-Virgin Coconut Oil

If you see coconut oil labeled as “extra-virgin” and it makes you feel fancy and happy to use it, go for it!

Just know that it’s pretty much the same as unrefined coconut oil. So, you can choose either one and get the same goodness.

To Sum It Up

Extra-Virgin Coconut Oil is like the twin of Unrefined Coconut.

It’s made from fresh coconuts and is great for skincare and cooking.

The name sounds special, but they are pretty much the same. Choose whichever one makes you happy.

Organic Coconut Oil: Nature’s Best

Organic Coconut Oil: It comes from coconuts that aren’t exposed to pesticides.  

It’s coconut oil in its most natural state – definitely a friend of your skin.

This is the cleanest of all the coconut oil types.

How is Organic Coconut Oil Made?

Organic coconut oil is made from coconuts that are grown and harvested without the use of synthetic pesticides, fertilizers, or other harmful chemicals.

The process of making organic coconut oil typically involves the following steps:

Harvesting: The coconuts are harvested from organically grown trees.

Separating the meat from the shell: The meat of the coconut is removed from the shell and separated from the milk.

Extraction: The coconut meat is then dried or left fresh and pressed to extract the oil. This process can be done using either a wet-milling or dry-milling method. 

Wet-milling and dry-milling are two methods used to extract oil from coconut meat. They are named based on whether water is used during the process. Here’s a closer look at both:

  1. Wet-milling:
  • Wet-milling involves using water or coconut milk during the oil extraction process. This is why it’s called “wet” milling.
    • In this process, the fresh coconut meat is grated and mixed with water or pressed to extract coconut milk. The coconut milk is then boiled, fermented, refrigerated, or separated by enzymes or centrifuge to extract the oil.
    • Wet-milling is known to retain more nutrients because it doesn’t expose the coconut to high temperatures. However, it is more labor-intensive and often yields less oil compared to dry-milling.
  • Dry-milling:
  • As you can guess, dry-milling doesn’t involve water.
    • In this method, the coconut meat is removed from the shell and dried quickly using heat. This dried coconut meat is called copra.
    • The copra is then pressed to extract the oil.
    • Since high temperatures are used to dry the coconut meat, some nutrients may be lost during this process.
    • Dry-milling is generally considered faster and more efficient in terms of oil yield compared to wet-milling, but the quality of oil might be slightly lower.

Each method has its own advantages and disadvantages, and the choice between wet-milling and dry-milling depends on various factors such as desired quality, production scale, and available resources.

Refining: The oil is then filtered and refined to remove impurities, if necessary, to meet organic certification standards.

Certification: Finally, the oil is certified as organic by a recognized certification agency, such as USDA or ECOCERT.

The entire process of making organic coconut oil must meet strict organic farming standards to ensure that the final product is free of harmful chemicals and meets the criteria for being labeled as organic.

Organic Coconut comes from coconuts that are grown without using any chemicals like pesticides. This means it’s coconut oil in its purest and most natural form – and wow, does your skin love it!

Why Is Organic Coconut Oil Special?

Because organic coconut oil is made from coconuts that are not exposed to chemicals, it’s like giving your skin food that is free from anything bad.

Out of all the coconut oil types, this is my favorite.

It’s very kind to your skin and packed with all the goodness that nature intended.

What Can You Use Organic Coconut Oil For?

Organic coconut oil is awesome for your skin. It helps to keep it soft, smooth, and healthy. It’s also full of nutrients that are good for your skin.

You can also use it in cooking. Just like other coconut oils, it adds a yummy coconut flavor to your dishes. And because it’s organic, you know you’re eating something that’s clean and close to nature.

Choosing Organic Coconut Oil

When you’re shopping, look for coconut oil that says “organic” on the label. This means it’s made without any chemicals and is in its most natural state. Your skin and body will thank you!

To Sum It Up

Organic Coconut Oil is made from coconuts that are grown without chemicals, and it’s packed with natural goodness.

It’s amazing for your skin and great in the kitchen. It’s like a big nature hug in a bottle!

Fractionated Coconut Oil: Light and Versatile

Fractionated Coconut Oil is created by removing the long-chain fatty acids from unrefined coconut oil, leaving behind a medium-chain triglyceride oil.

Fractionated coconut oil is often used in cosmetics and personal care products because it’s liquid at room temperature and has a longer shelf life than other types of coconut oil. It’s also a popular carrier oil for essential oils because it’s lightweight and absorbs easily into the skin.

This is the only liquid form of the coconut oil types.

What’s the Magic?

Normal coconut oil has these long-chain fats that make it heavy and solid at room temperature.

With the magic of science, we are able to take these out and Fractionated coconut oil was born! It’s lighter, and it stays liquid even if it’s cold.

Why Is It Fractionated Coconut Oil Amazing?

Fractionated coconut oil is great because it’s not greasy and it absorbs very quickly into your skin. 

It’s also perfect for massages – it helps your hands glide smoothly, and your skin feels so good afterward.

What Can You Use Fractionated Coconut Oil For?

Aside from being your new favorite massage oil, you can use fractionated coconut oil as a moisturizer. Because it’s so light, it’s great for people who don’t like the feeling of heavy oils.

It mixes well with essential oils. If you want to smell like lavender or any other lovely scent, you can mix a few drops with this oil, and you’ve got yourself a customized natural fragrant oil.

Choosing Fractionated Coconut Oil

When you’re looking for coconut oil for massages or a light moisturizer, go for the fractionated coconut oil. Just look for the word “fractionated” on the label.

To Sum It Up

Fractionated Coconut Oil is like regular coconut oil but it is lighter, always liquid, and fantastic for massages and moisturizing. It makes your skin feel amazing!

Cold-Pressed Coconut Oil: Gentle and Nutrient Packed

Cold-pressed coconut oil is made from fresh coconut meat that has been extracted using a method that does not generate heat, preserving its natural flavors and aromas.

Cold-pressed coconut oil is a popular choice for skin and hair care because it retains more of its nutrients and beneficial properties than other types of coconut oil. It’s made by gently squeezing the oil out of the coconuts without using any heat. This way, all the goodness, like the vitamins and rich flavors, stays in the oil

How Do They Make Cold-Pressed Coconut Oil?

Instead of using a lot of heat to get the oil out (which can remove some of the goodness), cold-pressed coconut oil is made by using a special press that squeezes the oil out of the coconut meat. It is the freshest out of all the coconut oil types.

It’s like when you squeeze an orange to get the juice, but very, very gently. This way, all the wonderful nutrients and flavor stay right where they should be – in the oil!

Why Is It So Special?

Since cold-pressed coconut oil is made so gently, it keeps all the amazing things that are naturally in coconuts.
It’s got more nutrients, and the taste and smell are like you’re sitting on a tropical beach with a fresh coconut in your hand!

What Can You Use Cold-Pressed Coconut Oil For?

Cold-pressed coconut oil is super versatile. You can use it in your cooking – it’s delicious in stir-fries and baked goodies. It gives an amazing, tropical taste to your food.

And let’s not forget about your skin and hair! Because it’s so rich in nutrients, it’s like a spa treatment in a bottle. Use it as a moisturizer or a hair mask.

Choosing Cold-Pressed Coconut Oil

When you’re shopping, look for a jar that says “cold-pressed” on the label. That’s your sign that it’s made with that gentle, no-heat method, and all the goodness is packed in there.

To Sum It Up

Cold-Pressed Coconut Oil is like the gentlest version of coconut oil. It’s made with lots of care, keeping all the awesome nutrients, taste, and smell. It’s wonderful in the kitchen and luxurious on your skin and hair.


Each of these coconut oil types has its own unique characteristics and benefits.

Whether you’re using it for cooking, baking, or skin and hair care, it’s important to choose the right type of coconut oil based on your specific needs and preferences.

Organic and unrefined coconut oil are great options for skin and hair care because they retain their natural properties and are free of harmful chemicals.

Refined coconut oil is a good choice for high-heat cooking, while fractionated coconut oil is ideal for use in cosmetics and personal care products.

What is your favorite out of all the coconut oil types?

Learn more about what you can make with this wonderful oil in our Soap Making School Courses.

Happy Self-Care and Soaping!


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