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Many of us don’t realise the sheer amount of uses that Coconut’s have in beauty products. Their use is not just in natural beauty products, as they are often used to create other ingredients that find their way into your shampoo bottle, or toothpaste. Often you wouldn’t even be aware that these ingredients are made from Coconuts. It’s why it makes Coconuts difficult for us to categorize, are they a good, or a bad ingredient? Well that’s why we thought we’d let you know where you might find Coconuts being used both good and bad.
One of Coconuts not so positive uses from an ingredient perspective; is that it is often used in creating surfactants or foaming agents such as SLS, (Sodium Lauryl Sulfate) and you’ll know our views on that as an ingredient! Whilst not all SLS is produced in this way, some can be. This is due to Coconut oil being a large commercial source of Lauric acid. The Coconut oil is processed in such a way as to produce fatty acids and fatty alcohols that help create the foaming action found in many everyday shampoos and shower gels. This fatty alcohol (Lauryl alcohol) is then converted into Lauryl sulfate by a process called Sulfonation. Then finally it is reacted with sodium hydroxide to produce sodium Lauryl sulfate.
On the other hand, Coconuts have plenty of positive uses in beauty products, Evolve Beauty utilize the shell in their heavenly body polish as a natural exfoliant. One of our favourite brands Dr Bronner’s makes use of Coconut oil in a different way to the large cosmetic and beauty companies, using it to create the time honoured liquid castile soaps that Dr Bronner is famous for. Rather than utilizing some complex process mixed with various chemicals to produce detergents such as SLS. They utilise Coconut and Olive oil which is put under a process called Saponification. This creates a natural, organic soap that can trace its routes back centuries. Again it is the fatty acids and alcohols from Coconuts that are particularly good at creating these effective soaps, however they are harnessed in a different way and one that is kinder to skin.
You can also find Coconut added to many moisturisers and body butters, due to the natural fatty acids that are contained in them, they make a great addition due to the chemical structure Coconut oil is easily absorbed by the skin. As a refined oil, it is a rich emollient and will rehydrate and add moisture back to dry skin. As you can see Coconut is a vastly versatile ingredient in the beauty industry, both in natural beauty products and conventional products. We much prefer when they are used positively for skins health.