Coconut oil is extracted from the kernels, meat, and milk of coconut palms and fruit. Many people use it to coat their pans when they’re frying food on the stovetop as it holds its structure better than vegetable oils. It’s also popular as a base in homemade salad dressings and other recipes. Coconut oil isn’t solely used for cooking, however. Plenty of people have begun using it for cosmetic purposes to improve the appearance of their hair and skin. Some even use it as a moisturizer or as an ingredient in homemade or DIY lotions, creams, moisturizers, lip balms, and body scrubs. It absorbs easily, smoothes skin, hydrates, and may even provide temporary redness relief. Some find it a useful tool for dandruff and dry scalps, others to moisturize and seal hair. Some pet owners even use it topically on their dogs’ skin and fur (though you should always consult with a vet before doing so). Here are some coconut oils we recommend.
What Should You Consider in Coconut Oil?
Here are a few things to think about before buying coconut oil:
- Purpose: Do you plan to use your coconut oil mainly for cooking or for cosmetic purposes? While it’s possible you can buy a jar of coconut oil and use it interchangeably for both, some brands are aimed at one or the other. If you plan to use coconut oil in your beauty routine, cosmetic-grade coconut oil is a better choice since they tend to have a less greasy feel.
- Type: Whenever possible, look for raw/unrefined/virgin coconut oil instead of refined. Unrefined coconut oil isn’t processed or bleached with any chemicals and retains all of its natural beneficial antioxidants and nutrients, as well as its natural scent and flavor, unlike refined coconut oil. Cold-pressed coconut oil is also seen as superior since it means the oil wasn’t extracted with high heat, which preserves more of those nutrients as well. You may also prefer to look for organic coconut oil to ensure it’s chemical-free and farmed in an environmentally friendly way. Some coconut oils are mixed with other oils like canola oil, which causes the whole jar of oil to oxidize faster, so make sure the ingredients are listed as “100% coconut oil” before you buy.
- Quantity: How often do you plan to use coconut oil? Will it be used daily, weekly, or otherwise regularly, a few times a month, or less? Do you plan to use it to make lotions and other similar products? Do a lot of your recipes call for it? All these factors are worth considering when deciding how big of a jar of coconut oil you should buy. Coconut oil is generally measured in fluid ounces. It can be sold in small jars containing only a few ounces or in massive jars of 50, 75, or even 100 fluid ounces or more. 8-to-16-fluid ounce jars and bottles are the most common and standard measurements.
Best for Cooking: Nutiva Unrefined Virgin Coconut Oil
Coconut oil has become an increasingly more popular and common ingredient in many recipes. If you’re looking to buy coconut oil primarily for cooking purposes, this product is a perfect choice. This virgin coconut oil is organic, unrefined, and cold-pressed, with no extra ingredients or added preservatives. Thanks to the cold-pressed extraction process, the oil retains its nutritional value and has a light taste that won’t overpower other foods, and its extraction doesn’t require harmful chemicals, hexane, or heat. The packaging is BPA-free in order to ensure the coconut oil remains safe for consumption. It’s vegetarian and vegan-friendly, gluten-free, and compatible with raw, paleo, and keto diets. It’s also USDA certified organic and non-GMO verified. While this coconut oil is ideal for cooking, it can be used in hair and skincare regimes as well. This product offers purchasing size options of 15, 54, 78, and 128 fluid ounces.
Nutiva Organic, Unrefined, Virgin Coconut Oil, 54 Fl Oz (Pack of 1)
Organic, unrefined, and cold-pressed virgin coconut oil in a BPA-free container that is perfect for cooking.
Best for Body: COCO & CO. Beauty Grade Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
If you intend to buy coconut oil to supplement your beauty routine, this coconut oil is made specifically for hair and skincare routines. It’s 100% raw, virgin coconut oil with a unique extraction process that makes it beauty-grade, more effective on skin and hair than most coconut oils. It’s light, silky smooth, and odor-free, so it won’t leave you with a greasy, smelly feeling after use. The oil won’t go rancid, and the extraction process means it retains all the useful nutrients like vitamin E and fatty acids that benefit your hair, skin, and body. Whether you intend to use it as a daily moisturizer and skin softener to reduce the appearance of blemishes and wrinkles, or to get thicker, shinier hair, this beauty-grade coconut oil has you covered. It’s ideal for all skin types: dry, combination, normal, and oily. You can purchase this coconut oil in four different size options or as a two-pack of 8-fluid-ounce jars.
100% RAW Coconut Oil for Skin & Hair, Clean Beauty Grade, Pure and Organic Extra Virgin by COCO & CO. 8 Fl Oz (Pack of 1)
A beauty-grade coconut oil designed to be lightweight and odor-free so that you won't feel smelly and greasy after use.
Best for Dogs: Handcraft Blends Fractionated Coconut Oil
If you’ve talked to your vet about using coconut oil on your dog’s fur or skin, this fractionated coconut oil is a completely safe choice. It’s 100% vegan, cruelty-free, and doesn’t contain alcohol, parabens, sulfates, fragrances, hexanes, and preservatives. It’s also full of antioxidants and has antiviral properties to improve scalp health, stave off infections and fungi, enhance hair growth, and make hair appear shinier. This pure, all-natural coconut oil is lightweight and moisturizing, thanks to the fatty acids it contains. It’s suitable as a carrier oil for diluting essential oils, aromatherapy, massages, hair and skin moisturizer, and a topical oil for dogs and pets. It’s also suitable for all skin types, as it is silky smooth and won’t clog pores.
Handcraft Fractionated Coconut Oil - 100% Pure & Natural Premium Grade Coconut Carrier Oil for Essential Oils, Massage Oil, Moisturizing Hair Oil & Body Oil - 16 fl. Oz
Vegan, cruelty-free, fractionated coconut oil that is free of alcohol, parabens, and other harmful substances, safe for use on dogs and pets as well as humans.
Also Great: Viva Naturals Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
This cold-pressed, organic coconut oil made from fresh coconuts is ideal for cooking and beauty treatments alike. It has a naturally high smoke point (350 degrees Fahrenheit) and can be used for baking, sautéing, and frying alike, giving your food a rich flavor and releasing a pleasant aroma as it cooks. You can also spread it on toast or bagels as a healthier substitute for butter. It’s compatible with keto, paleo, and gluten-free diets. This coconut oil is USDA-certified organic and non-GMO, sustainably grown and harvested without dangerous chemicals or pesticides. As far as hair and skincare are concerned, this coconut oil is full of nutrients that make it an excellent lotion or hair conditioner and won’t leave you feeling sticky or greasy after use. Refrigeration is not required. You receive a 16-ounce (1-pound) jar of coconut oil with your purchase.
Organic Coconut Oil, Cold-Pressed - Natural Hair Oil, Skin Oil and Cooking Oil with Fresh Flavor, Non-GMO Unrefined Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (Aceite de Coco), USDA Organic, 16 oz
Cold-pressed and organic coconut oil that is equally useful for cooking and beauty routines alike.