Essential oils are concentrated oils made by pressing or steaming parts of a plant to extract the particular compounds that produce fragrance. These oils may be derived from the plant’s fruit, leaves, bark, or flowers. They’re most commonly used in the practice of aromatherapy to treat a wide range of conditions, including chronic pain, insomnia, anxiety, and depression. Massage therapists may also add a drop or two of certain essential oils to their regular massage oils to help soften up stiff muscles, promote relaxation, and achieve other therapeutic effects.
Pure essential oils are highly potent and may have an irritating effect on the skin. For this reason, it’s best to dilute them with a carrier oil before applying them directly to the body. Fractionated coconut oil (FCO), which is one of the most popular products to come out of coconut oil manufacturer activities, is widely touted as among the best and most versatile carrier oils available today. Produced by heating regular or virgin coconut oil above its melting point, FCO is a colorless, scentless liquid oil that mixes well with just about every essential oil you can think of.
Here are a few reasons essential oil enthusiasts should choose fractionated coconut oil over other carrier oil alternatives, and why wellness and personal care brands should promote using their essential oil products with FCO:
It Retains Its Liquid Form at Almost All Temperatures
Unlike regular coconut oil, which solidifies at room temperature, fractionated coconut oil stays liquid in most temperatures and environments. This is because FCO is composed mainly of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs), which have a very low melting point. The fractionation process separates out lauric acid and long-chain fatty acids, both of which take longer to melt than MCTs. Once these solid compounds are removed, what remains is a liquid oil that will retain its fluid state unless exposed to below-freezing temperatures.
Because fractionated coconut oil doesn’t solidify, it’s the perfect carrier oil for essential oils that are meant to be applied topically. Essential oil blends containing FCO will spread easily and evenly across the skin due to its naturally smooth texture.
It’s Completely Odorless and Colorless
Fractionated coconut oil is completely odorless and therefore will not alter or compromise the scents of any essential oils mixed into it. This property allows essential oil enthusiasts to enjoy the aromatherapeutic qualities of their chosen essential oil blend to the fullest. FCO is also totally colorless and will not stain clothing, sheets, towels, or any other fabrics it comes into contact with. This is a good selling point for businesses that deal in essential oil products with FCO as the carrier oil.
It Has Powerful Moisturizing Properties
Fractionated coconut oil is also a potent moisturizer that can soothe and soften dry or damaged skin, protect hair from protein loss, and even promote wound healing. While these properties make FCO a wildly popular product to use on its own, blending it with essential oils makes these nourishing properties shine all the more. Massage oils, bath and body oils, hair oils, and roll-on oils are just some moisturizing products that can be created by mixing one’s preferred essential oil with FCO.
It Leaves Behind No Greasy Residue
Many heavier body oils can leave behind a sticky or greasy residue that feels unpleasant on the skin and takes a long time to fully dissipate. Fractionated coconut oil, in contrast, is comparatively lighter and more emollient and thus penetrates the skin quite easily. As a result, essential oil blends containing FCO shouldn’t feel greasy when applied.
Moreover, while regular coconut oil is known to be highly comedogenic, fractionated coconut oil won’t clog pores. Users can apply it safely during baths or massages without fearing that doing so will lead to nasty breakouts.
Though fractionated coconut oil is likely to be more expensive than regular or virgin coconut oil due to the additional treatment it requires, it’s still relatively cheap to produce overall. It’s also fairly easy to acquire nowadays, considering the booming popularity coconut oil currently enjoys in markets all over the world. FCO can thus be used as a carrier oil for essential oils for easy and cost-effective essential oil combinations.
It Lasts Longer than Other Carrier Oils
FCO’s naturally long shelf life makes using it as a carrier oil an even more cost-effective move. Over time, exposure to moisture, light, and air causes oils to oxidize, a process known as rancidity. Because coconut oil is highly resistant to oxidation, a bottle of FCO could last years before going bad—much longer than other popular carrier oils like olive, avocado, and sunflower oil.
One of the best parts of working with FCO for essential oil blends is that it doesn’t need any special storage or handling procedures to maximize its long shelf life. Simply keeping it in an airtight container and storing it in a cool, dry place is all a consumer needs to do ensure the longevity of their FCO. Because exposure to air can hasten the oxidation process, it’s best to keep the oil container tightly sealed when not in use. It’s also possible to store FCO in the refrigerator if preferred.
As outlined above, there are many compelling reasons to use fractionated coconut oil in your essential oil blends. Its versatility, accessibility, and longevity make FCO the best carrier oil to work with by a significant margin. Consumers shouldn’t hesitate to experiment with it and find recipes that work for them, and wellness brands shouldn’t be remiss in promoting FCO as the best companion oil for their essential oil products.