Medium chain triglycerides

What is it? Medium chain triglyceries (MCT) is a blend of isolated caprylic and capric triglycerides. It is usually isolated from coconut oil. MCT functions as a carrier oil in our products.
INCI Caprylic/capric triglycerides
Appearance Clear, thin liquid
Usage rate Up to 100%
Texture Smooth, thin liquid
Scent None
Absorbency Speed Fast
Approximate Melting Point -5°C (23°F)
Solubility Oil
Polarity Medium to high
Why do we use it in formulations? Medium chain triglycerides are inexpensive and lightweight with little to no scent. I like MCT in products like cleansing oils and balms, which are wash-off products. It can also be a good base for massage products, and works well as a simple base for blends of more expensive oils in facial serums.
Do you need it? No, but I really like it—it is versatile and inexpensive.
Refined or unrefined? MCT only exists as a refined product
Strengths Inexpensive, lightweight.
Weaknesses Possibly not considered totally “natural”.
Alternatives & Substitutions Other lightweight, inexpensive oils like fractionated coconut oil, grapeseed oil, safflower oil, or sunflower oil would be good choices.
How to Work with It Include it in the oil phase of your products; if can be hot or cold processed, as needed.
Storage & Shelf Life Stored somewhere cool, dark, and dry, MCT should last at least two years.
Tips, Tricks, and Quirks Fractionated coconut oil and MCT (medium chain triglycerides) are not the same thing. Medium chain triglycerides are just the medium chain triglycerides found in coconut oil (caprylic/capric triglyceride while fractionated coconut oil is coconut oil without the long chain triglycerides, but still containing short and medium chain triglycerides. This distinction is rarely important, though it is very important to anyone who suffers from fungal acne.

Despite the “not-the-same-thing” thing, you will very often find them sold as if they are. This usually takes the form of MCT being sold as fractionated coconut oil (they’re often both listed on the label as if they are synonyms). Check the INCI to see what you’re getting—MCT will be Caprylic/capric triglyceride, fractionated coconut oil will be Cocos Nucifera Oil.

If you can only find one or the other it doesn’t really matter (unless you’re formulating for fungal acne). Purchase whatever you can get and use them interchangeably.

Recommended starter amount 250mL (8fl oz)
Where to Buy it  Buy it from an online DIY ingredient supplier or Amazon.

Some Formulations that Use Medium Chain Triglycerides


Posted on

January 29, 2019