Skip to Content

The Difference Between Virgin & Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (EVCO)

Is there any difference between virgin and extra virgin coconut oil? Find out the answers before you buy your next jar of coconut oil. 

In the previous article, I discussed the subtle differences between virgin olive oil and extra virgin olive oil.

Coconut oil is another popular oil for hair, health, and beauty. However, virgin and extra virgin coconut oil are marketed as different grades of oils.

The Difference Between Virgin & Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (EVCO)

This implies extra virgin is of a higher quality and costs more than the virgin variety.

There is also the organic coconut oil variety, which costs more than the virgin and extra virgin variety but is there a difference between all these grades of coconut oil.

In order to determine this, let’s take a look at the process involved in producing coconut oil.

How is Coconut Oil Made?

1. Refined Coconut Oil (RBD Oil)

Ordinary/basic/refined coconut oil comes from coconut meat aka copra.

The coconut meat is dried out on a rack. The dried meat is then pressed, bleached, and filtered to sanitize the oils.

Some brands even partially hydrogenate the oils which add unhealthy trans-fats into the product. This type of coconut oil usually doesn’t have much taste or odor.

2. Virgin/Unrefined Coconut Oil

Virgin/unrefined coconut oil is pressed from soft immature coconut meat without the use of any chemicals. 

The coconut flesh is cut into pieces and then ground into a paste. Coconut oil is then mechanically expressed from the paste. 

The video below shows a similar process for producing coconut oil in Thailand:-

3. Wet Milled Coconut Oil

Another process used to express coconut oil is known as wet milling. The coconut meat is boiled, fermented, or separated from the milk through centrifugation.

As this is done quickly, bleaching or filtration isn’t required. The video below shows wet milling using the boiling process in Kerala:-

Full coconut flavor and taste are retained during the methods used for refined coconut oil and wet milling coconut oil. 

Virgin Coconut Oil Vs Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Unlike olive oil, however, there’s no distinction between virgin and extra virgin coconut oil in the market.

The “extra virgin” label appears to be a way for manufacturers to make more money. Virgin and extra virgin coconut oil are the same. 

What About Organic Coconut Oil?

It’s the same thing as virgin/unrefined coconut oil and is just another fancy way to label a product. Don’t get hung up on the exact phrase as long as it’s unrefined or virgin coconut oil. 

How is coconut oil made

What is Extra Virgin Coconut Oil Good For?

Extra virgin coconut oil is great for oil massages on hair, pre-poo treatments, oil pulling, oil cleansing method, and a host of hair and beauty treatments.

Read related articles on the best coconut oil uses, DIY coconut oil recipes, and best coconut oil brands below:-

There is also a great freebie that you may like – Best DIY Massage Oils for the Body. Check it out HERE.

Where to Buy Coconut Oil?

Virgin coconut oil is readily available at your local health store. You can also order it online on Amazon or iHerb. I have made some recommendations below:-

trader-joes-coconut-oilTrader Joe’s Organic Virgin Coconut Oil


Lucy Bee Extra Virgin Organic Coconut Oil

nutiva-coconut-oilNutiva Organic Coconut Oil

You can view more best coconut oil recommendations at 7 Best Coconut Oil Brands for Curly Hair

Overall, unrefined coconut oil is best for hair and can usually be identified by checking the labeling on products and doing some research before purchasing.

Unrefined coconut oil is also usually snow-white in color. The next article will address a recent claim that coconut oil is dangerous.

You May Like This

Interested in finding out more about how to use natural oils for specific purposes to get more effective use out of them? 

Check out How to Grow Hair Healthy & Long with Natural Oils, a guide that goes in-depth into which specific oil (s) works for each hair issue for optimal length and health. Learn more HERE.

This post contains affiliate links which means I will make a small commission if you purchase through those links. Read full disclosure HERE.


Tuesday 3rd of July 2018

You could also make virgin coconut oil using fermentation method by using coconut milk extracted from over ripe coconuts

Chief Curly in Charge

Tuesday 3rd of July 2018

Yes, you can. I'm researching that now and will write a new article about this soon.


Monday 15th of December 2014

I hadn't heard of this before: There being a difference in coconut oil in the marketplace. I guess I just haven't seen or noticed any brands that say extra virgin coconut oil before. Well, it's good to know that isn't really a difference in the "varieties".

It was neat to learn about how coconut oil is made. I use the unrefined kind all the time for my hair, oil pulling, and baking/cooking.