Welcome to the second installment of our Ingredients Spotlight journal entries. It's been a hectic schedule here at Lockhart's HQ so I haven't been able to update the blog as often as I'd really like to. I AM scheduling the blog into my weekly calendar so there will be more content coming soon. I've got plenty of material to cover so keep an eye on this space.
Lets get on with it. Today's Ingredient Spotlight is Coconut Oil.
WHAT IS IT?
Coconut oil is a food grade natural oil that is extracted from the meat of coconuts of course. It is high in natural saturated fats, vitamins, and other nutrients which promote stronger, softer, and healthier hair.
HOW IS IT EXTRACTED?
There are a few different ways of extracting coconut oil from the meat of a coconut. The two we will cover are the RBD process and the cold pressed process.
RBD stands for "Refined, bleached, deodorized" and I'm sure you're thinking hold up, bleached? Well yes but it's not a chemical bleach like your common household cleaner, instead the bleaching process is a filtering process using a bleach clay to remove impurities from the coconut meat. Coconut oil first goes through an Expeller Pressed process to remove the oil, then the filtering process, then steam is used to deodorize the oil.
Many misconceptions float around the blogosphere online claiming that RBD coconut oil is far less healthy than virgin coconut oil and this is hardly the case, although some nutrients are removed in the refining process, RBD coconut oils have been available for many many years and are consumed by billions of people all around the world and are a significant dietary source of healthy fats. The RBD process doesn't change the fatty acid profiles of the oil and only removes a small amount of the vitamins and nutrients compared to the cold process, leaving you with a clean, virtually odorless, nutrient rich oil that is safe on skin and safe to eat.
The Cold Pressed Process coconut oils are the ones typically labeled as Virgin or Extra Virgin. What's the difference between virgin or extra virgin? Nothing, they're just marketing terms and nothing else. There are two separate methods of cold process extraction.
- Coconut oil is derived from pressing the oil out of dried coconuts. In this process the meat of the coconuts is first dried and then later pressed out resulting in a clean, unfiltered, pure coconut oil.
- Coconut oil is derived through a wet milling process where the oil is extracted without drying the meat out first. Coconut milk is first expressed by pressing it out of the coconut meat. The oil is then further separated from the water through a process of boiling, refrigeration, enzymes, fermentation, and/or a mechanical centrifuge. This method is less common than the first.
The cold process method results in a far less refined oil with it's entire nutrient makeup being mostly unchanged. Resulting in a slightly more nutrient dense oil than the RBD method with higher levels of vitamins and antioxidants.
Lockhart's uses both types of coconut oils in different products. The RBD oil works well in products that need a low odor level while still retaining it's fatty acid profile and a healthy dosage of vitamins, the cold process oils work best in products that will be applied directly to the skin since it does contain slightly higher levels of vitamins.
COCONUT OIL BENEFITS:
- Coconut oil is very high in saturated fats containing more than 85% of saturated fats, the majority of which are medium-chain triglycerides which is made up of mostly lauric acid. These medium chain fatty acids allows the oil to penetrate hair follicles for efficiently acting as a deep conditioning treatment that will leave your hair strong and soft.
- Coconut oil contains Vitamin E which is an antioxidant that helps repair and build hair tissue. It helps to reduce inflammation and repairs damaged hair follicles.
- Coconut oil also contains Vitamin K which is essential in the production of certain proteins that help to maintain healthy skin cells.
- The high fat content of coconut oil provides a healthy shine to the hair.
- Coconut oil can be used on dry scalps to add moisture and prevent flaking. Used in combination with shea butter in our Hair Groom for example, you can leave the product in overnight to promote healthy, soft hair and a moisturized scalp.
- Potentially boost hair growth. The fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals in coconut oil are known to help your hair grow thicker, longer, and faster.