What Is Fractionated Coconut Oil? Fractionated Coconut Oil Uses Explained

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Let me just start by disclaiming that I do indeed use coconut oil for practically everything in my life. Coconut oil for makeup remover, coconut oil for shaving, coconut oil for cooking -- you can sign me up. It’s a wholly nourishing oil and a common ingredient in Pina Coladas. Any ingredient that’s also used in a cocktail is one I’m willing to use more of.

Coconuts, especially in their oil form, are really getting their time in the sun these days. And there are plenty of good reasons why. Their benefits range from giving you glowing skin to shinier hair to healthier and tastier food. While I mostly agree with the old adage, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”, there’s sometimes room for exception, and improving on the already-awesome coconut oil is one such exception. This brings us to fractionated coconut oil.

What Is Fractionated Coconut Oil?

Three coconut halves held by hands.

Coconuts.

If you’ve ever cooked with or used coconut oil, you’ll know how much it can add to a dish, and how amazing its benefits for your skin and hair are. But what is fractionated coconut oil? And how is it different than regular coconut oil?

Fractionated coconut oil (FCO) is made from regular coconut oil – but it’s only a fraction of what coconut oil is (hence the name, of course). While regular coconut oil contains long-chain fatty acids, fractionated coconut oil has had these fatty acids removed via processes called steam distillation and hydrolysis. All that remains now is the medium-chain fatty acids; also called medium-chain triglycerides. This is why fractionated coconut oil is often called MCT oil since it only contains medium-chain fatty acids.

The absence of the long-chain fatty acids makes fractionated coconut oil more stable than regular coconut oil, and also gives it a longer shelf life. It works extremely well in skincare products since it absorbs easily into your skin and doesn’t leave it feeling oily.

Top 6 Benefits Of Fractionated Coconut Oil Explained

1. Fractionated Coconut Oil For Dry Skin

Woman smiling in the mirror.

Woman admiring clear skin in mirror.

Both fractionated coconut oil and regular coconut oil can be used successfully for skincare. However, due to the fact that they have different properties, the way to choose the right oil is by determining your skin’s needs. FCO absorbs into the skin completely, and much faster than regular coconut oil. However, regular coconut oil has strong antimicrobial properties, which is awesome if you suffer from acne and the like.

If you have dry skin, though, you’re not focusing on getting rid of pore-clogging bacteria; rather, your skin needs moisture. Due to its fast and total absorption, fractionated coconut oil is ideal for dry skin. It’s incredibly moisturizing and even works for those super-dry areas like elbows and heels. Even if your skin is dry, you don’t want it to feel oily – you just want it to stay hydrated and healthy. With other oils, your skin can sometimes feel oily after you use them. With FCO, though, this doesn’t happen. Your skin is left feeling soft, but not greasy; the perfect balance.

2. Fractionated Coconut Oil For Cooking

Yes, cooking. Now, you’ve probably used regular (or extra virgin) coconut oil in a dish or two and loved the strong, coconutty flavor it gave your dish while knowing that you were choosing the healthy oil option over vegetable or canola oil. But taste is a personal thing, and what if you, or someone you are cooking for, is not such a fan of coconut flavor?

No need to reach for the canola oil; just use the liquid coconut oil which has no taste and no smell.  Yep, I used a different term here. Liquid coconut oil is the safe-for-consumption version of the otherwise inedible fractionated coconut oil. You’ll never know the difference!

Because it’s extremely stable, liquid coconut oil can withstand very high temperatures, so you can even use it for frying and all kinds of dishes (though it does give food a different texture than regular frying might). It also goes great in dressings, your morning coffee, or in condiments like hollandaise sauce.

3. Fractionated Coconut Oil As Makeup Remover

Woman with hair in towel wiping face with cotton pad.

Woman removing her makeup.

You might not think about how your makeup remover is affecting your skin – after all, it’s just a necessary step before you can start your real skincare routine. But the truth is, the stuff you use to take off your makeup gets absorbed into your skin, too, so it’s important that you’re using the right product for your skin. I used to use a certain product to remove my makeup, and each time I used it, I’d suffer from painfully stinging skin. This was until I realized that it was the makeup remover that was causing the irritation. I switched removers and never had stinging again.

Of course, natural ingredients are ideal for skin products (including makeup remover), since you know that they are not transferring harmful chemicals to your skin. Some people are surprised to find that natural ingredients actually work just as well, or better, than the chemicals you buy from the drug store.

Fractionated coconut oil is awesome at removing makeup. Plus, it doesn’t leave your skin feeling oily, and it acts as a moisturizer at the same time. It’s also gentle, even around the eye area, and can remove those bits of stubborn or waterproof makeup that you’re struggling with.

4. Fractionated Coconut Oil For UV Protection

Woman smiling with sunglasses

Woman in the sun.

As the beauty industry has expanded, people are starting to care more about how they treat their skin. Another area that is being addressed more in recent years is cancer awareness. And what applies to both cancer prevention and skin care for beauty? Protection from the sun, of course.

A lot of people prefer not to use conventional sunscreen, due to the chemicals that are found in a lot of products. Luckily, there are loads of natural oils that you can use to protect your skin – and yourself – from harmful UV rays. And yup, one of those is FCO. Combine ½ cup fractionated coconut oil, at least ten drops myrrh essential oil (you can add up to forty drops), and 5 drops carrot seed essential oil.

Rub them over your skin wherever you need protection, and keep applying regularly throughout the day. Keep in mind though; if you’re extremely fair, this might not be enough protection for your skin.

5. Fractionated Coconut Oil As A Carrier Oil

A carrier or base oil is a vegetable oil that you add to an essential oil to help it absorb into your skin. Essential oils can often cause irritation or burning, so you need to dilute it with a base oil. Because fractionated coconut oil absorbs into the skin so easily, it’s ideal as a base oil, and also provides additional health benefits and moisture.

In aromatherapy, as well – not just in skincare – fractionated coconut oil is often used as a carrier oil. Aromatherapy uses essential oils to calm and benefit the body and mind. Some of the ways essential oils are used in the practice are by taking an oil-infused bath or rubbing the oils directly on the skin. Once again, carrier oils are needed here to avoid irritation. Aside from being easily absorbed, FCO is also gentle and soothing, so it’s a great all-around choice for your skin and makes the whole aromatherapy experience that much more enjoyable and effective.

6. Fractionated Coconut Oil For Hair

Woman with curly hair putting hair oil drops in her hair.

Woman using coconut oil on hair.

The nutrients found in fractionated coconut oil make it an effective hair care ingredient. It contains powerful moisturizing properties that deeply hydrate and nourish your hair strands from the inside out. You can use it as a stand-alone conditioner by massaging it into damp hair. Leave it to sit with a shower camp for a minimum of 30 minutes (the longer the better) before rinsing out thoroughly. This leaves your hair glossy, silky-smooth, and most importantly, balanced.

Another easy way to use fractionated coconut oil for hair is by just running a little through dry hair. If you experience flyaways and frizz the same way that I do, then coconut oil just might be able to work some miracles on your hair, like it did on mine! When you notice any unwanted frizz, just use a tiny bit of coconut oil and brush it through your hair with your fingers. This also works as a detangler for your luscious locks.

DIY Fractionated Coconut Oil Bath Bomb Recipe & Guide

Womans hands pouring essential oil on cotton pad.

DIY bath bomb.

Who doesn’t love bath bombs? A relaxing, hot bath is always welcome, but bath bombs make it even more enticing – especially when they’re chock-full of nourishing ingredients. You can also use them as presents for your family members or friends. Homemade presents are that little bit more special, and bath bombs make for a fun and original gift for a birthday or holiday. Go ahead and make a little extra to keep for yourself; I won’t tell.

Recipe Credit: naturalbeautyworkshop.com

Ingredients

The main ingredients in this bath bomb are Epsom salt, baking soda, cocoa butter, and our star ingredient, fractionated coconut oil. These ingredients work in synergy to create the bath bomb. Each of the ingredients on this list has its own set of benefits for your skin and health.

  • ½ cup Epsom salt.
  • 1 cup baking soda.
  • ½ cup citric acid.
  • ¾ cup cornstarch.
  • 1-ounce cocoa butter.
  • ¼ cup buttermilk powder.
  • ¼ cup honey powder.
  • 1-ounce vegetable glycerin.
  • 1-ounce fractionated coconut oil.
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder.
  • 3 tablespoons oat straw powder or parsley powder.
  • 1 teaspoon peppermint essential oil. (Peppermint essential oil can be dangerous for young children and babies, so, if necessary, leave the scented oil out altogether.)

Directions

Start by melting the cocoa butter fully over a double boiler, and then add coconut oil and vegetable glycerin. Set the liquid aside. In a large bowl, mix Epsom salt and baking soda, making sure to break up any clumps. Add the peppermint essential oil to the salt mixture and thoroughly combine. The peppermint oil gives your skin a much-needed cleanse. You can use alternative essential oils depending on the added benefits that you wish to reap. If you’re looking for a way to soothe your worries and your muscles, add some lavender essential oil to the mixture instead. You can also add some lemon essential oil to energize your senses and give your body a boost.

Moving on to the next section of the recipe. Add cornstarch, citric acid, buttermilk powder, and honey powder, and mix well. Divide the mixture in half, and put each half in a separate bowl. One bowl will be your brown bath bombs; the other will be the green bath bombs. Add cocoa powder into one bowl and parsley powder to the other. Stir the butter-oil mixture that you had set aside, and then pour half of it into the first bowl. Knead the mixture until you are able to work with it, and then form balls with your hands or a scoop.

Repeat this process with the second bowl so both mixtures are at the same stage. Allow the bombs to dry and harden on a flat baking sheet for 24 hours. Once they’re fully hard, store them in airtight containers or bags until you’re ready to use them or give them as a gift.

Where To Buy Fractionated Coconut Oil

Hands taking coconut pieces from coconut.

Coconut chunks.

If you’re not sure where you can get the best-fractionated coconut oil, you’re not the only one. You’re most likely to find good quality fractionated coconut oil at your local health store. In terms of sustainability, there is a lot to be said for buying locally and supporting small local businesses. That being said, there are plenty of online options too. With this in mind, it’s important for conscious consumers to become familiar with the ingredient labels of ‘natural’ products. The beauty industry is rife with the phenomena of greenwashing. This means that companies use all sorts of loopholes to make sustainable and natural claims on their products.

If you want to buy pure fractionated coconut oil, check the ingredients before you order online. Don’t assume that just because a product says ‘natural’ or ‘pure’ on the front, that they actually are. You have to dig deep and know what you’re looking for. You might be wondering what’s so bad about a few misplaced ingredients, but let me explain. When you buy a product that you want to do X, adding other ingredients can mean that you’ll end up with a different result entirely. Knowing that your product is 100% pure, or at the very least, only contains ingredients that you would expect in such a product, means that you know exactly what you’re putting onto your skin. And when you know what you’re putting onto your skin, you can be sure that you’re nourishing it in the right way.

I’m a big fan of online shopping, but it has meant that I’ve had to significantly hone my ingredient label reading abilities. Fractionated coconut oil is a particular product to be cautious around when purchasing online. This is because there are so many different options available. Sometimes the difference between ‘fractionated’ and regular coconut oil isn’t clearly distinguished. The bottom line is that you need to know what you’re looking for when you’re buying fractionated coconut oil -- and any natural ingredient!

Conclusion

If you’re already a fan of coconut oil, it’s time to get acquainted with its cousin, fractionated coconut oil. Even though it’s derived from coconut oil, as you can see, its uses are different, and it definitely has a place in your home! Have you used regular coconut oil on your dry skin without success? Then you might want to think about giving FCO a try, as it’s especially hydrating.

Whether you use it for your skin, hair, as a carrier oil in a massage oil solution, or a whole host of other uses, there are plenty of ways to incorporate fractionated coconut oil into your life. Whatever you decide to use it for, though, it’s bound to become a staple – and you can bet on that. And if you’re not sure where to start you can try making your very own bath bomb to reap the powerful benefits of fractionated coconut oil for both body and mind.

I always make a point to warn people that although coconut oil has bountiful uses, it’s not a miracle oil in its own right. It does what it claims to do, which makes it an attractive product for many people. That being said, it’s important not to forget about the other natural oils on offer. As much as I’m a fan of coconut oil, I’m acutely aware that there are other oils hidden in the shadows who aren’t getting the limelight that they deserve. Some of these natural oils include grapeseed oil, castor oil, and apricot oil.

I’m a big fan of trying new things, and with that in mind, although coconut oil has been in my beauty kit for some time, I do recommend changing it up from time to time. Caring for your skin means understanding that it doesn’t need the same attention 24/7. Different natural oils have different uses, and while fractionated coconut oil certainly has its place, don’t forget that there are other options out there too!