|What is it?||The oil pressed from the meat of coconuts. Depending on the ambient temperature where you live it can be either liquid or solid.
You can also purchase fractionated coconut oil, which is coconut oil that has been modified so that it’s always liquid, but that’s not what I’m talking about here.
|Appearance||When solid it’s a chunky white butter-like oil, and when liquid it’s an unassuming clear liquid.|
|Texture||Coconut oil is a solid soft white oil that liquefies on contact with skin. If you live somewhere with an ambient temperature above 24°C/75°F then it’ll be a liquid oil. Once melted it’s an extremely smooth oil with excellent lubrication properties.|
|Scent||Delicious! The virgin stuff smells like piña coladas and will leave you thinking you’re on a tropical vacation. It smells incredible. The RBD (refined/bleached/deodorized) variety smells like nothing.|
|Why do we use it in recipes?||In soap coconut oil contributes incredible bubbly lather that’s nearly impossible to get with other oils, which is why coconut oil is in nearly every single soap recipe you’ll find.
In body products I love to use it for its incredible scent and for its glide; coconut oil is so slippery that it pairs beautifully with stiffer oils (like shea butter). It’s also lovely in lip products for great slip.
|Approximate Melting Point||24°C/75°F|
|Do you need it?||Yeah! It’s super versatile and smells amazing.|
|Refined or unrefined?||I have both; I use the refined/bleached/deodorized stuff for soap (it’s much cheaper), and the virgin variety for everything else.|
|Strengths||Delicious scent, ability to flip-flop between liquid and solid.|
|Weaknesses||It’s a bit thin to be a great moisturizer in very dry climates.|
|Alternatives & Substitutions||Coconut oil is really unique—babassu oil is the best alternative out there.|
|Storage & Shelf Life||Stored somewhere cool, dark, and dry, coconut oil should last at least a year or two. I recommend storing it in a wide-mouthed tub so you can still get to it if it solidifies.|
|Tips, Tricks, and Quirks||Virgin coconut oil is one of a few ingredients that will scent a final product; it smells amazing when paired with golden beeswax and raw cocoa butter!|
|Recommended starter amount||250mL (8fl oz) unless you’re using it for soap, in which case I would get at least 1L (34fl oz) of the refined & bleached variety.|
|Where to Buy it||Buy it from an online DIY ingredient supplier or Amazon.|