It’s fair to say that coconut oil has now transcended the ‘fad’ stage and has become a mainstay for many dietary and beauty regimens, and for good reason. This nutritious oil has numerous health benefits and uses - from boosting fat burning and raising good cholesterol, when used in in your cooking - to protecting your skin, hair and teeth, when used cosmetically.
However, the surge in popularity for health-aware, keto and paleo diets has also meant a surge of coconut oil options on the shelves, making it difficult to identify which type to buy. Below we’ll examine the differences between virgin, organic, raw, refined and unrefined oils, before moving on to pin-point some of the best coconut oils available, from sites like Amazon, Tesco and eBay.
Emily is a registered integrative, naturopathic nutritionist trained in the principles of functional medicine, biomedicine and human sciences, and she has a Master’s Degree in nutrition. She has extensive clinical experience in both private practice and the public health and wellbeing sector. Her work embraces the interplay between nutrition, bio-individuality and mindset, educating and empowering clients to make lasting changes wherever they are on their health journey.
A recommendation service that carefully researches each product and consults with experts across many disciplines. We are constantly creating new content to provide the best shopping experience from choosing ‘cosmetics’ to ‘food and drink’, ‘home appliances’ to ‘kids and baby’ products, reaching users all across the United Kingdom.
The expert oversees the Buying Guide only, and does not determine the products and services featured.
Table of Contents
Emily is a registered integrative, naturopathic nutritionist and has a Master’s Degree in nutrition. Her work embraces the interplay between nutrition, bio-individuality and mindset, educating and empowering clients to make lasting changes wherever they are on their health journey. You can check out her work from her Instagram account and website.
Refined coconut oil is made from dried coconut meat (copra). It can be processed in one of two ways: either steamed or through a chemical process. If it has gone through a chemical process then it will often contain the letters RBD (refined, bleached, deodorised) on the packaging.
Refined coconut oils have a neutral scent and flavour, and a higher smoke point (204°C). This makes them ideal for those who cook at higher temperatures whilst stir-frying or sautéing, as well as for baking or when you simply don’t want a coconutty flavour. They're also capable of being used in body care and are the cheaper option.
Smoke point is the temperature at which fat begins to break down and oxidise. Whilst refined coconut oil does have a relatively high smoke point, it is still important to remember that this type of oil is high in saturated fat.
Although some findings do suggest that saturated fat from plants isn’t as harmful as once thought, research has yet to confirm this. So if you are going to opt for refined coconut oil, make sure that you are being mindful of how much you are using, as one tablespoon of coconut oil contains around 120 calories.
Unrefined (or virgin) coconut oil is made from fresh coconut meat that has not been dried. This is then put through a process called cold-pressing, where the oil is separated. It results in a higher quality crude oil, made without any additives.
This type of oil has a lower smoke point (176°C) and a stronger coconut aroma and taste, which makes this a better addition to tropical recipes where its flavour is desired. Again, this can be used on the body and hair, as well as in cooking.
It is generally advised by practitioners that if you’re looking for an oil that is high in nutrients, then unrefined is the way to go. Of course, the quality of virgin coconut oils does mean you'll pay more.
If coconut oil for 'pulling' (mouth swilling) is your main focus, consider these selected oil pulling products too.
Many studies show refined and unrefined coconut oil has almost the same nutrition panel. They both have around 120 calories of fat per tablespoon and contain similar ratios of lauric acid and saturated and unsaturated fat. However, there is some evidence suggesting that unrefined may contain more nutrients like vitamin E.
Other than refined or unrefined, you’re going to see a lot of marketing speak on the labels of coconut oil. While some of them are useful, others can be misleading and result in you paying more for essentially the same product.
'Virgin', 'unrefined', 'cold-pressed', 'raw' (it has not been heated over 45 degrees), 'refined', 'RBD' and 'fairtrade' (if certified) are all concrete terms used to describe a manufacturer’s product, whereas ‘organic’, ‘non-GMO’ and ‘extra virgin’, are sadly often used incorrectly. Also, the difference between virgin and extra virgin olive oil isn’t the same for coconut oil, so the price may be raised for no real reason.
In terms of organic, coconuts aren’t shown to have significant pesticide residue, so even non-certified oils won't contain significant levels of pesticides, although if you'd like the peace of mind (and the environmental reassurance) of the certification, you can look out for it. There are actually no known genetically modified varieties of coconut.
Ideally, coconut oil should be packaged in glass. This is not only many user's choice environmentally, but also due to the fact that glass is more protective than plastic - coconut oil can spoil if exposed to multiple temperature changes.
Plus, some research suggests that plastics containing BPAs can seep toxins into products over long periods. This is not so much of a problem if you use your oil often, or you don’t intend to eat it. But with coconut oil's 2-year shelf life, it's possible that it'll stick around in your cupboard for a while, so BPA-free containers may be the best option.
On a related note, some plastic packaged products are available in a spray instead of a traditional jar. This can make applying them during your beauty routine or watching how much you cook with that little bit easier.
BPA is Bisphenol-A, a substance used during the manufacturing of plastic. The concern about BPA is its ability to potentially act as an endocrine disruptor, which can alter hormonal processes.
BPA may leach from containers into food, especially when the contents are highly acidic, high in fat or heated, so when it comes to coconut oil, a high-fat product, it’s best to opt for a glass container.
Click to purchase
Raw Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
100% Ethically Sourced, 100% Raw and Full of Natural Nutrition
Bio Organic Virgin Coconut Oil
Unrefined and Affordable Coconut Oil From Small Farms in Sri Lanka
Extra Virgin Organic Raw Fair Trade Coconut Oil
Delicious Unrefined Oil From an Ethical and Fair Trade Family Run Business
The Groovy Food Company
Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
Nourishing Virgin Coconut Oil Made With Hand-Picked Coconuts
Pure Coconut Oil
Tasteless and Odourless Refined Oil for Those That Strictly Want the Health Benefits
The Body Source
Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
1l Jar of Unrefined Coconut Oil for Regular Use on Your Hair, Cooking, Skin and Body
Organic Virgin Cold Pressed Coconut Oil
100% Cold Pressed Coconut Oil Perfect for All-Round Use
Coconut Oil Formula Hydrate Replenish Body Oil
Spray on Coconut Oil With a Summer Scent to Moisturise and Replenish Your Skin
Organic Virgin Coconut Oil
High-Quality, 100% Pure Virgin Coconut Oil, Perfect for Skincare
Organic Virgin Coconut Oil
An Excellent All-Round Cold-Pressed Oil With a Light Taste and Aroma
Coconut Merchant produces the world's largest range of coconut products, so that's why they're clued up on coconut oil. Furthermore, their products are ethically sourced, with the owner (a former UN employee) working alongside a partner and the farmers.
The resulting coconut oil is 100% raw, giving it a mildly sweet aroma and taste, and ensuring that all the natural goodness is maintained. So this is a winner that's good to you on the inside, good to the world outside and good to those those who farm your goods!
Cultivated on small farms in Sri Lanka, a place famously in love with coconuts, this unrefined coconut oil is gently processed to preserve all the nutrients and vitamins, but also an absolute bargain at less than a tenner.
We're sure this could easily become a cupboard staple in any home thanks to the price and quality, just ask the 8000+ raving reviewers who have given this an overall of 4.7 out of 5 on Amazon.
The Lucy Bee company is a UK-based, family-run operation and makes cruelty-free, ethical products, the first of which was this coconut oil. These credentials haven't gone unnoticed by those in-the-know: Joe Wicks, fitness guru and respected nutritionist, loves this stuff - to the extent that the product gets a (loud) mention in many of his Instagram 'Lean in 15' videos.
It's certified Fair Trade, packaged in glass, and is completely unrefined, so you can enjoy the taste, beauty and health benefits as well as confidently knowing that your money is going to a good place.
Groovy want to make sure they use only the best when it comes to their coconut oil, and that's why each jar is made from freshly hand-picked coconuts. This virgin, cold-pressed coconut oil is full of all the nourishing stuff that'll keep your body in tip-top shape, whether you're smothering your face or your food.
If you're looking to nourish your palate as well as your body then take a look at The Groovy Food's recipe suggestions for salads, roasts, noodle-dishes, curries, stews, taco-fillings and healthy breakfast ideas too - yum!
If you're not too keen on the taste of coconut, but you're still looking to replace your usual butter or oil, then this refined option from Tivi will be right up your street. Although refined, they still do not use any chemicals when extracting the oil, so you'll get all the goodness, without any added nasties.
The fact that this product has no scent as well as no coconut taste is also good for those that don't want to leave the house smelling like a tropical island – though we can't say we relate!
This 1 litre size jar from The Body Source is perfect for those coconut addicts who want to use high quality coconut oil multiple times daily, whether for hair, cooking, skin and body, or all of the above.
Being unrefined, it's made with only fresh coconut meat, and it's also non-deodorised, non-fermented and non-bleached. So if you're looking for that subtle coconut taste in your dishes or you want a tropical scent in your body care routine, this is sure to satisfy.
Vita Coco are from New York and broke into the business world selling coconut water. This attracted endorsements from many celebrities, such as Madonna. The owners soon realised that coconuts aren't just good for their water - they expanded and one of their ventures was coconut oil.
Their oil has one ingredient: 100% cold-pressed coconuts and can be used for everything from baking to removing makeup – just don't try this at the same time! Vita switched to BPA-free plastic and has fortunately, since returned to the glass packaging - a wise choice.
Focused on the beauty side of things, this offering from Palmers is a spray-on product to hydrate, rejuvenate and replenish your skin's moisture and radiance. Furthermore, it's infused with Tiare flower petals, which will leave you smelling like summer. Divine.
Users have also commented on how easy it is to apply and how quickly it soaks into the skin thanks to the thinner consistency. As it contains added ingredients this one should not be ingested, so it is less versatile than the other oils mentioned. But if you're looking specifically for skincare, this would be a great choice.
Crafted using only the freshest coconuts from the Philippines, this coconut oil has many uses, from deodorant or moisturiser to baking or frying. However, the fact that it's virgin and 100% pure make it particularly good for those wanting to use the oil for skin care.
The comparatively high price point makes this 500ml jar a luxurious item, rather than something to slather on / use up in everyday baking - luckily the chic jar encourages that feeling of understated luxury and will help create a spa-like feel when used for massage and other self-care rituals.
Produced using the cold-press procedure, Nutvia's extra virgin coconut oil has a light taste, pleasant aroma and pure white colour, making it rich in all the goodies that the nutritionists recommend. It's also USDA certified organic.
We do have a couple of issues though. Firstly, it's packaged in a plastic container, which is neither good for the taste, nor the environment. Furthermore, it's rather expensive considering how much you get.
Dieticians advise between 2-2.5 tablespoons per day, depending on your calorie intake. This amount should see that you get the benefit of the medium-chain triglycerides (MCT’s), but also leaves room for other healthy fats in your diet. For total newcomers, avoid possible diet-changer side effects by starting slowly, with 1 tablespoon per day and gradually increase up to 2 tablespoons over 1-2 weeks.
Yes, in small quantities coconut oil is an excellent hair mask, split end smoother and scalp calmer. Quantity is the key, however, as slathering on too much will result in greasy hair which will need vigorous (hair damaging) washing to remove! So use just 1/8 teaspoon at most - and less if your hair is short.
Yes, if applied to non spot-prone areas - so avoid using it on acne plagued faces, backs and chest areas - as coconut oil is rather comedogenic. However, slathering it onto legs, arms and tummies is a good idea, as it is moisturising, delicately scented and naturally antimicrobial. If you are lucky enough to have a spot-free complexion then go for full body use!
Written and researched by Lewis Clarke
No. 1: Coconut Merchant｜Raw Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
No. 2: Mituso｜Bio Organic Virgin Coconut Oil
No. 3: Lucy Bee｜ Extra Virgin Organic Raw Fair Trade Coconut Oil
No. 4: The Groovy Food Company｜Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
No. 5: Tivi｜Pure Coconut Oil
View Full Ranking
When you purchase products mentioned in the article, part of the sales may be returned to mybest.
The descriptions of each product is referenced from the content available from the manufacturer, e-commerce sites etc.
PC and cameras
Home appliances and electronics
Cosmetics and skincare
Food and drinks
Kids and baby
Interior and furniture
DIY and tools
Sports and fitness
Books, CDs, DVDs
Cars and motorcycles
Housing equipment and renovation
Smartphones and mobile phones