INSTYLE, May 2016
It seems the minute we discovered that coconut oil could be the single cure for just about all hair and skin woes, brands came out of the woodworks to introduce a million different versions of it. Very quickly, grocery ad health food stores became troves of coconut oil, designating floor-to-ceiling shelves stacked with jugs, tubs, and bottles of the stuff. And now, navigating the aisles for your coconut oil fix has become as complicated as choosing a meal off of a lengthy brunch menu—yes, sometimes a girl can have too many options. Refined, expeller-pressed, virgin, organic. We turned to NYC-based facialist Georgia Louise to help us sift through the many types of coconut oil on the market to find the right formula for all of our beauty needs. Her resounding answer? Organic virgin coconut oil, for the win.
"Don't pay attention to unnecessary glorified marketing terms like extra-refined, raw, cold-pressed," says Louise, adding that such labels are included as savvy ploys to influence your purchase. In short, there are two terms to hone in on: refined and unrefined. "Refined [oils] are filtered with a bleaching clay to remove impurities, which can strip some of the nutrients that are key for skin care." Leave those to your cooking needs. "Virgin [or unrefined] oils are better quality."
Other lingo that you can typically find on coconut oil labels, like cold-pressed, expeller-pressed, and extra-virgin are essentially secret code for unrefined oils. Louise explains that pressed oils are produced through mechanical refining and are considered cleaner than refined oils, however, she recommends avoiding getting won over by the fancy terminology. "A 'pressed' mark on the label is derived from a method of pressing the oil out of dried coconut—which is the same [process for] virgin oils."