Carrier oils are often overlooked because they don't contain the therapeutic constituents of other essential oils. But, they can the perfect companions to essential oils for topical applications.
Carrier oil are naturally derived from vegetarian sources and typically have a neutral aroma. They are not volatile like essential oils, making them the perfect medium for dilution and application.
Here at Essential Oil Labs, we offer three main carrier oils – fractionated coconut oil, castor oil and sweet almond oil. In Part 1 of this three part series, we’re going to explore our most popular carrier oil – fractionated coconut oil.
Getting to Know Fractionated Coconut Oil
You’re probably familiar with standard coconut oil and its various uses. Standard coconut oil is made up of saturated fatty acids, while fractionated coconut oil has had most of the long chain triglycerides removed. This leaves only the medium chain triglycerides behind, resulting in a completely saturated oil; this gives it better stability and a much longer shelf life. Furthermore, since the fatty lauric acid is removed, the fractionated coconut oil can remain in a liquid state instead of solidifying in cooler temperatures like standard coconut oil would. Fractionating coconut oil also raises the concentration of caprylic acid and capric acid, which increases the oil’s antioxidant and disinfectant properties.
Did you know? Because of the extraction and distillation process, fractionated coconut oil does not smell or taste like coconuts.
How Fractionated Coconut Oil Is Made
Coconut oil is first extracted from the actual meat of the coconut (this is either done with heat, chemical extraction or pressing). Then, in order to create fractionated coconut oil, the oil goes through hydrolysis (a chemical breakdown of a compound through a reaction with water), and then through fractional/steam distillation – this is when a liquid is separated into fractions based on its boiling point. Finally, the oil goes through esterification, which is when an alcohol and an acid react to create water and ester. What is left is a thinner oil that is made up of medium-chain triglycerides – fractionated coconut oil.
Did you know? It’s best to use hexane-free fractionated coconut oil. Hexane is a rather toxic chemical that is often used during the extraction process. EOL’s fractionated coconut is guaranteed hexane-free!
How To Use Fractionated Coconut Oil
There are so many uses for fractionated coconut oil! It can be used in cosmetics, bath and body products, home remedies, aromatherapy recipes and so much more.
Using Fractionated Coconut Oil in Skincare
Fractionated coconut is colorless, odorless, fast-absorbing and highly nourishing, making it a great tool in your skincare arsenal. It can be used alone or paired with complimentary essential oils to target your specific needs. Here are some of our favorite ways to use this carrier oil in skincare…
- To repair cracked and dry skin all over the body (hands, elbows, feet, etc.)
- As a makeup remover
- To reduce the appearance of cellulite
- To repair cuticles
- To soothe razor burn (also use it as a shaving lubricant!)
- And so much more!
Fractionated coconut oil is also routinely used to create soaps, lotions and even cosmetics – the possibilities are endless!
Using Fractionated Coconut Oil in Hair Care
Much like its effects on the skin, fractionated coconut oil’s moisturizing properties can aid in the repair of dry and damaged hair. It soaks in quickly, won’t weight the hair shaft down, and is highly nourishing for the follicle.
- Apply it directly to your hair as a mask, leave in for 30 minutes, and then shampoo as normal
- Massage it into the scalp to treat dryness and dandruff
- Add to the ends of towel-dried hair as an all-natural styling oil to tame split ends and frizz
Using Fractionated Coconut Oil as a Carrier Oil
Fractionated Coconut Oil can be used as a carrier oil to dilute essential oils in aromatherapy or massage therapy. Because FCO is odorless, colorless, affordable and has a long shelf life, it makes an excellent carrier oil for these purposes. You can use FCO to help stretch the amount of essential oil you’re looking to use. For example in massage therapy, by diluting with a carrier oil you’ll be able to use less of an essential oil while still having enough oil to cover a large area of the body (back, legs, etc.).
How To Store Fractionated Coconut Oil
Unlike many other oils, fractionated coconut oil needs no special treatment. It is shelf-stable and does not need to be refrigerated; and, as it does not solidify there is no need to keep it warm. Generally speaking, fractionated coconut oil has a shelf life of two-three years when stored in a cool, dry cabinet.
Tip! Don’t heat FCO beyond 350 degrees Fahrenheit (the smoking point of the oil) as it will result in a depletion of some of the nutrients and benefits of the oil.