- Fresh Pressed - this refers to oils that are made from the first pressing of fresh, raw coconut without the addition of any chemicals.
- First Pressed - this just means that the fruit was crushed exactly one time.
- Virgin - Unrefined, pure coconut oil. Virgin and Extra Virgin coconut oils are the same. They are made from first pressing of fresh, raw coconuts without any chemicals.
- Expeller Pressed - this is a mechanical, chemical-free process that extracts oil from nuts/seeds/fruit. No external heat is used, but the harder the nut/seed/fruit the more pressure is required to extract the oil, which creates higher friction resulting in higher heat. Temperatures can reach up to 200 degrees F.
- Cold Pressed - the oils are expeller pressed in a heat controlled environment. Temperatures do not exceed 120 degrees F. This is useful in delicate oils to preserve their flavor (like olive oil).
- Unrefined Oil - this is the least processed, highest quality oil you can get. The oil is extracted from fresh coconut meat and there is no bleaching or additives/chemicals used in the process. There is a 'Quick Drying' process where the coconut meat is promptly dried and the oil is mechanically expressed. The oil is not exposed to any high heat, so it keeps it's luscious coconut flavor and scent. This oil is great for skin and hair care due to it's pure properties and lack of chemicals.
- Refined Oil - This is oil that has been cleaned, bleached, and deodorized. The process for this usually involves high heat to deodorize, then Sodium Hydroxide is added to preserve it, then chemical solvents are used to extract the most oil from the meat of the coconut. Usually the oils are partially hydrogenated as well, adding ugly trans fats that are terrible for you. Sometimes this oil is made from dried coconut or from rancid oil byproducts left over from making dry coconut flakes. (Refined oils are good for cooking because they are tasteless and odorless and have higher cooking temperatures before they smoke). I know all of this doesn't sound too good, does it? Well, not all 'refined' oils are bad.
- Naturally Refined - this type of oil has been cleaned using a natural chemical-free process. Although some of the health benefits are lost in the process, lots are kept (fatty acids, etc).
Where to get them....I got the Dr. Bronner's Coconut Oil from Vitacost for around $11. That's what makes Vitacost so great, they have such high quality products for very little $. I found the Spectrum Coconut Oil at my local grocery store, but it is also available from Vitacost for around $7. Both really good quality and both really affordable. And when you are using these, it takes so very little for what you need. They last FOREVER. Definitely a wise investment.
Overall, I love both of these oils. While I prefer them for different purposes, you could use them both for any purpose. They are both good quality and I highly recommend them. Hopefully you learned a thing or two from this. Let me know your favorite brands and how you use them!