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What is the Difference between Plain Coconut Oil and Virgin Coconut Oil?

Updated on July 2, 2016

Coconut oil is an edible grade oil. It is extracted from the meat of coconuts plucked from the coconut tree (Cocos nucifera). Coconut oil has many health benefits. It is used in extensively in the cosmetics, medicine and food products.

Coconut oil has anti-fungal, antibacterial and antioxidant properties. It is very good for skin care, hair care and is also used for cooking.

Difference Between Plain Coconut Oil and Virgin Coconut Oil

Virgin coconut oil is extracted from the fresh white meat of the coconut by using mechanical pressing methods. It is produced without involving any form of heating process. No chemicals are added during the extraction of the virgin coconut oil.

The plain coconut oil is extracted from the copra (dried meat of coconut) using chemicals and is then further bleached to sanitize the oil. Bleaching helps to increase the period during which the coconut oil will remain in a good condition without being spoiled.


How is Plain Coconut Oil Produced?

The plain commercial grade coconut oil extracted from the dried meat of the coconut also known as copra.

The fresh coconut meat is first dried by smoke drying, sun drying or kiln drying methods or a combination of all the three methods. The coconut oil is then extracted using mechanical force.

The coconut oil extracted is purified or refined to remove impurities by passing the oil through bleaching clay. After the bleaching process, steam is used to deodorize the oil. This method of extraction is called the Refining Bleaching and Deodorizing method. Sodium hydroxide is used to remove free fatty acids and prolong shelf life.

During the RBD process, the original beneficial properties of the coconut oil are lost.

How is Virgin Coconut Oil Produced?

Virgin coconut oil is produced using the wet-milling process.

In this method -

1. fresh coconut meat is pressed mechanically to get coconut milk

2. coconut oil is separated from the coconut milk without heating or adding chemicals

Heat and chemicals are not used in the production of pure virgin coconut oil. Due to this, the original properties of coconut oil is preserved, and the antioxidants are not destroyed.

Composition of Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has a maximum content of saturated fats in the form of medium chain triglycerides that are digested and absorbed by the body easily. Lauric acid makes up more than 40 percent of the coconut oil along with capric acid, caprylic acid, myrstic acid and palmitic acid.

Coconut oil also has the following -

  • polyunsaturated fats – Linoleic acid
  • mono-saturated fats – Oleic acid
  • polyphenols are also known as gallic acid responsible for the fragrance and taste of the coconut oil.
  • derivatives of fatty acids such as betaines, ethanolamide, ethoxylates, fatty esters, fatty sorbates, monoglycerides and polyphenol esters.
  • fatty chlorides, fatty alcohol, ether sulphate
  • vitamin E, vitamin K
  • iron

Benefits of Virgin Coconut Oil

Virgin Coconut Oil has all the natural goodness of coconut oil preserved and has the following benefits -

  1. Caprylic acid in coconut oil kills harmful bacteria and helps to kill and prevent the spread of candida.
  2. Lauric acid in coconut oil helps to reduce bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol thereby protecting the heart.
  3. Coconut oil helps to reduce weight because the healthy medium chain fatty acids are not stored as fat in the body but are sent directly to the liver and are converted into energy.
  4. It helps to control diabetes and does not produce a sudden increase in blood sugar after consumption.
  5. Coconut oil boosts production of insulin by the liver.
  6. It is rich in lauric acid that helps to boost the immune system and helps to fight off diseases.
  7. Coconut oil is antibacterial, anti-fungal and helps the skin to heal and promotes the growth of new skin cells.
  8. Coconut oil is good for hair care. It boosts blood circulation and keeps scalp and hair healthy. It also helps to treat dandruff and other scalp infections.

Virgin coconut oil is good for cooking and adds extra flavor to the dish.



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    • Vellur profile imageAUTHOR

      Nithya Venkat 

      15 months ago from Dubai

      srsddn thank you for your visit and comment. Coconuts plays an important role in Kerala's economy.

    • srsddn profile image


      15 months ago from Dehra Dun, India

      Very interesting and quite useful information about coconut. During my visit to Kerala many years back someone explained to me the importance of coconut to the economy of the State as also the various uses to which virtually every part of coconut is put. This Hub further adds to my knowledge about coconut. Thanks for sharing.

    • Vellur profile imageAUTHOR

      Nithya Venkat 

      17 months ago from Dubai

      aesta1 yes elder people know a lot of natural remedies than we do today and they were right, Virgin Coconut oil is great for skin and hair.

    • aesta1 profile image

      Mary Norton 

      17 months ago from Ontario, Canada

      I remembered as a child how we would use this Virgin Coconut oil for our hair. We were told by the older ones that this will make it healthy.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 

      2 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      Thank you!

    • Vellur profile imageAUTHOR

      Nithya Venkat 

      2 years ago from Dubai

      Hi! Audrey, nice to see you here. If you heat coconut oil beyond its smoke point, it loses its nutritional benefits. When you cook with coconut oil do not heat it to the point where the oil starts giving off smoke.

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 

      2 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      I'm back again for another read and I have a question. I use virgin coconut oil for cooking. When the oil is heated does it lose any of the nutritional value?

      Thank you my friend.


    • Vellur profile imageAUTHOR

      Nithya Venkat 

      3 years ago from Dubai

      FlourishAnyway Virgin Coconut oil is great and it will soothe the skin. I am sure your mother will get some relief by using virgin coconut oil.

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      3 years ago from USA

      I'm back to say that I thought of your excellent hub when my mother was complaining to me about her hands recently. For over a year she's been seeking treatment from several doctors (dermatologists and other specialists) for what is assumed to be psoriasis or eczema which included every sort of antibiotic, rounds of laser treatments, wearing gloves 24/7. Nothing has helped. Now they tell her they're all out of options short of the "big gun" drugs that are cancer-type drugs. I bought her some virgin coconut oil. It's not like it'll hurt. She's tried everything else.

    • Vellur profile imageAUTHOR

      Nithya Venkat 

      3 years ago from Dubai

      quildon great that my hub brought back childhood memories for you, thank you for reading, the vote up and share.

    • quildon profile image

      Angela Joseph 

      3 years ago from Florida

      Hi Vellur, this hub brought back memories of my childhood in the islands when I used to watch my mother make coconut oil in the same way as shown in the first video. We used it in our hair and on our skin. I have never tried making coconut oil so now I buy it. Great hub. Voted up, useful and sharing.

    • Vellur profile imageAUTHOR

      Nithya Venkat 

      3 years ago from Dubai

      kevin murphy-87 am glad you came to know, thank you for stopping by.

    • kevin murphy-87 profile image

      kevin murphy 

      3 years ago from Ireland

      I'm so glad I stumbled upon this. I've always wondered. Thanks :)

    • Vellur profile imageAUTHOR

      Nithya Venkat 

      3 years ago from Dubai

      rajan jolly thank you for reading. Thanks for the vote and share too.

    • rajan jolly profile image

      Rajan Singh Jolly 

      3 years ago from From Mumbai, presently in Jalandhar,INDIA.

      Excellent information presented in a very interesting, informative and readable style Nithya.

      Voting up and shared.

    • Vellur profile imageAUTHOR

      Nithya Venkat 

      3 years ago from Dubai

      vocalcoach am glad you enjoyed reading, thank you for the many votes and share. Much appreciated.

      DealForALiving thank you for your visit and do check it out.

    • DealForALiving profile image

      Sam Deal 

      3 years ago from Earth

      I haven't used coconut oil but have heard about it from people in this neck of the woods. I guess I should really check it out!

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 

      3 years ago from Idyllwild Ca.

      I've been using Coconut Oil for a very long time. I love it on my skin. I pick mine up at Trader Joe's. It's organic virgin coconut oil - I think it's compressed or solid.

      Enjoyed this informative hub and voted up, useful, amazing, interesting and will share. Audrey

    • Vellur profile imageAUTHOR

      Nithya Venkat 

      3 years ago from Dubai

      tobusiness thank you.

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 

      3 years ago from Lincolnshire, U.K

      Great hub! The Coconut is an incredible fruit with many health benefits. Nicely done.

    • Vellur profile imageAUTHOR

      Nithya Venkat 

      3 years ago from Dubai

      midget38 thank you for your visit, go ahead and treat yourself with fresh coconut scrapings!

    • midget38 profile image

      Michelle Liew 

      3 years ago from Singapore

      You've given me a coconut craving, Nithya!!

    • Vellur profile imageAUTHOR

      Nithya Venkat 

      3 years ago from Dubai

      LeslieAdrienne coconut oil does add a unique flavor. Thank you for stopping by.

    • LeslieAdrienne profile image

      Leslie A. Shields 

      3 years ago from Georgia

      I use coconut oil to cook with... the flavor difference is wonderful....

    • Vellur profile imageAUTHOR

      Nithya Venkat 

      4 years ago from Dubai

      Deborah Nehyens thank you for your visit.

    • DeborahNeyens profile image

      Deborah Neyens 

      4 years ago from Iowa

      I have been hearing so much about coconut oil lately. I need to give it a try. Thanks for the information.

    • Vellur profile imageAUTHOR

      Nithya Venkat 

      4 years ago from Dubai

      FlourishAnyway thank you.

      lyns thank you.

    • lyns profile image


      4 years ago from USA

      This is an excellent hub on coconut oil, love it thanks for sharing hope you have a great day. 7514436a lyns

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      4 years ago from USA

      I have only recently discovered coconut oil and appreciate both the explanation of the differences and highlighting the benefits.

    • Vellur profile imageAUTHOR

      Nithya Venkat 

      4 years ago from Dubai

      Nell Rose thank you and it is a great choice to buy virgin coconut oil.

      teaches12345 great that you use it in your cooking and coffee. I use it for cooking but in the coffee I do not know how it will taste. Thank you for stopping by.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 

      4 years ago

      Thanks for explaining the differences. I started using coconut oil for cooking and in my coffee for the health benefits, especially as an aid in regulating blood sugars.

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 

      4 years ago from England

      Hiya, I never knew there was a difference! Wow! now I am definitely going to buy the virgin oil from now on! that's amazing! great hub Vellur and I learned something new!

    • Vellur profile imageAUTHOR

      Nithya Venkat 

      4 years ago from Dubai

      Suzanne Day thank you and am glad you came to know about virgin coconut oil. thanks for the vote up too.

      travmaj thank you and virgin coconut oil is the best if you are going to use it on your skin, hair or for cooking.

    • travmaj profile image


      4 years ago from australia

      Hello Vellur - had to dash to see which coconut oil I had bought - thankfully it's the virgin oil. I had no idea when I bought it. I will know in future thanks to your excellent hub. Thank you. voting.

    • Suzanne Day profile image

      Suzanne Day 

      4 years ago from Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

      Hi, I didn't even know there was a virgin coconut oil, so will be sure to look out for it in future! Voted useful. x

    • Vellur profile imageAUTHOR

      Nithya Venkat 

      4 years ago from Dubai

      DDE thank you for your visit and vote up.

      always exploring oh yes coconut oil works magic for skin and hair. It is also great to cook.

    • always exploring profile image

      Ruby Jean Richert 

      4 years ago from Southern Illinois

      I am a firm believer in using coconut oil, i add it to my oatmeal, plus salads, ect. I buy 100% pure Louana coconut oil. I was unaware of virgin oil. I will check it out. I also use it in my hair, after washing and rinsing, i apply the oil and wrap a towel around my head for about 30 min. It really makes it shine. Thank you..

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      The two oils are beneficial though new to me about virgin coconut oil. Voted up!

    • Vellur profile imageAUTHOR

      Nithya Venkat 

      4 years ago from Dubai

      ChitrangadaSharan thank you, I use a lot of coconut oil too. Thanks for the vote and share.

      billybuc thank you for your visit, much appreciated.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Very helpful my friend. Thank you.

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 

      4 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Very nice and informative hub!

      I have been using coconut oil since childhood for various purposes. It is indeed very healthy for skin and hair. I had no idea that there is something like virgin coconut oil as well.

      Thanks for sharing this useful and interesting information!

      Voted up!

    • Vellur profile imageAUTHOR

      Nithya Venkat 

      4 years ago from Dubai

      Jackie Lynnley thank you for your visit. Coconut oil can be used to make many skin products.

    • Jackie Lynnley profile image

      Jackie Lynnley 

      4 years ago from The Beautiful South

      Great info; I have been using coconut oil for a few months now and I love it. I bought wax and made some lotions I love and some coconut oil essence I plan to put in the next batch. I also make my own deodorant from it and it is the best deodorant possible! I got the recipe here at HP. Thanks for sharing such good info! ^


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