Image by iStock/Magone
Coconut oil is a natural woman’s best friend. This nature-derived superfood and ingredient is known to do wonders for our hair, skin, and nails.
But with supply and demand increasing the cost of a jar of coconut oil at the grocery store, it’s refreshing to know that there’s an easier way to extract your own oil from a coconut. Here is the complete guide to coconut oil, and a simple method to get oil out of a coconut by boiling.
What you need to know about coconut oil
Coconut oil is a natural emollient that is extracted from a mature, harvested coconut. Unlike some natural emollients that lie on the surface of your hair, coconut penetrates the hair shaft to provide and maintain moisture. Coconut oil is a light, natural emollient that helps to prevent your hair from becoming dry, and helps maintain its natural elasticity and avoid breakage. This is why coconut oil is a favorite among curly women.
What you need to know when working with coconut oil
Coconut oil doesn’t mix with water because of different chemical properties. Coconut oil is a fat molecule, and is defined as a non-polar solvent, while water is a polar solvent. Polar and non-polar molecules will never mix.
It has a high melting point.
Ever wonder why your coconut oil is sometimes solid? Coconut oil has a melting point that is above room temperature (about 78 degrees”>, which means that it will be solid at room temperature. When storing your coconut oil, keep it out of direct heat such as sunlight, and store it at room temperature. It can easily turn to liquid with just the heat of your fingers, but this consistency is an important factor to understand when working with coconut oil.
It can be used for a variety of purposes.
You can get much more use out of your coconut oil aside from just using it on your hair. It can be used as a makeup remover, for chapped lips, and as a natural moisturizer for skin and stretch marks.
The Boiling Method
This boiling method from Idiots Guides will help you make unrefined, virgin coconut oil at home just using distilled water and a coconut.
What you’ll need:
- 2 cups distilled water
- 1 mature, brown coconut, nutmeat removed
- Small saucepan
- Kitchen sieve
- Medium saucepan
Step 1: Heat water in small saucepan over medium heat.
Step 2: Grate coconut meat into a bowl.
Step 3: Place coconut and hot water in blender and cover securely. Allow to sit for a few minutes before blending, so the liquid does not overflow the blender and burn your hands.
Step 4: Puree coconut and water in the blender.
Step 5: Line the sieve with a layer or two of cheesecloth and place in a medium sized bowl.
Step 6: Pour the coconut puree into the sieve and press the liquid into the bowl using a rubber spatula or the back of a large spoon. When the pulp has been pressed dry, add a little more water to the pulp and press again.
Step 7: Place liquid in a medium-size saucepan and bring up to a boil over high heat, stirring constantly. The coconut oil will separate from the cream and the water will evaporate.
Step 8: When the separated and curdled cream has browned, strain the liquid oil through the kitchen sieve into a container. Cover and store for later use.
Are you interested in making coconut oil at home, or do you have your own recipe? Share with us in the comments below!
This article was originally published in 2016 and has been updated for grammar and clarity.