Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil

What Is It?

Coconut Oil, also called Cocos Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, is a pale-yellow, semisolid, edible oil. Coconut Acid is a mixture of fatty acids derived from Coconut Oil. Other ingredients made from Coconut Oil and/or Coconut Acid that may be used in cosmetics and personal care products include: Hydrogenated Coconut Oil, Hydrogenated Coconut Acid, Coconut Alcohol, Butylene Glycol Cocoate, Caprylic/Capric/Coco Glycerides, Cocoglycerides, Coconut Oil Decyl Esters, Decyl Cocoate, Ethylhexyl Cocoate, Isodecyl Cocoate, Lauryl Cocoate, Methyl Cocoate, Octyldodecyl Cocoate, Pentaerythrityl Cocoate, Tridecyl Cocoate, Magnesium Cocoate, Potassium Cocoate, Sodium Cocoate, Ammonium Cocomonoglyceride Sulfate, Sodium Cocomonoglyceride Sulfate, Hydrogenated Coco-Glycerides, Potassium Hydrogenated Cocoate and Sodium Hydrogenated Cocoate. Among these ingredients made from Coconut Oil and/or its fatty acids, Coconut Oil is the most frequently used in the formulation of cosmetic and personal care products. Coconut Oil can be found in many categories of cosmetic and personal care products including bath products, eye makeup, hair care products, shaving creams, suntan products, skin care products and lipsticks.

Why is it used in cosmetics and personal care products?

When used in cosmetics and personal care products, Coconut Oil and Coconut Acid, and the ingredients derived from Coconut Oil and Coconut Acid have the following functions.

  • Anticaking agents – Magnesium Cocoate
  • Emulsion stabilizers – Coconut Alcohol, Butylene Glycol Cocoate
  • Hair conditioning agents – Cocus Nucifera (Coconut) Oil,
  • Opacifying agents – Hydrogenated Coconut Acid
  • Skin-conditioning agents – emollient – Caprylic/Capric/Coco Glycerides, Cocoglycerides, Ethylhexyl Cocoate, Isodecyl Cocoate, Lauryl Cocoate, Methyl Cocoate, Octyldodecyl Cocoate, Hydrogenated Coco-Glycerides
  • Skin-conditioning agents – miscellaneous – Cocus Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Pentaerythrityl Cocoate
  • Skin-conditioning agents – occlusive – Cocus Nucifera (Coconut) Oil, Hydrogenated Coconut Oil, Coconut Oil Decyl Esters, Decyl Cocoate, Lauryl Cocoate, Tridecyl Cocoate
  • Slip modifiers – Magnesium Cocoate
  • Surfactants – cleansing agents – Coconut Acid, Hydrogenated Coconut Acid, Potassium Cocoate, Sodium Cocoate, Ammonium Cocomonoglyceride Sulfate, Sodium Cocomonoglyceride Sulfate, Potassium Hydrogenated Cocoate, Sodium Hydrogenated Cocoate
  • Surfactants – emulsifying agents – Potassium Cocoate, Sodium Cocoate
  • Surfactants – foam boosters – Coconut Alcohol
  • Viscosity increasing agents – aqueous – Coconut Alcohol Viscosity increasing agents – nonaqueous – Coconut Alcohol, Butylene Glycol Cocoate, Magnesium Cocoate

Scientific Facts:

Coconut Oil is obtained by expression from the dried inner flesh of the coconut, Cocos nucifera. Coconut Oil is a source of lower chain length fatty acids, including lauric acid, capric acid, myristic acid and palmitic acid. The traditional use of Coconut Oil and the salts of the Coconut Acid, Potassium Cocoate and Sodium Cocoate is in the manufacture of soap. Coconut Oil has many other uses including in baking, candy making and in the manufacture of candles.

Safety Information:

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) permits Coconut Oil to be used as a direct food additive as a substitute for cocoa butter. Coconut Oil, Coconut Acid and Coconut Alcohol are permitted for use as indirect food additives as defoaming agents in the manufacture of paper and paperboard used for food packaging. Coconut oil is also listed as a substance Generally Recognized as Safe (GRAS) by the FDA for use in cotton and cotton fabrics used in dry food packaging. The safety of Coconut Oil, Coconut Acid, Hydrogenated Coconut Oil, Hydrogenated Coconut Oil, Coconut Alcohol, Butylene Glycol Cocoate, Caprylic/Capric/Coco Glycerides, Cocoglycerides, Coconut Oil Decyl Esters, Decyl Cocoate, Ethylhexyl Cocoate, Isodecyl Cocoate, Lauryl Cocoate, Methyl Cocoate, Octyldodecyl Cocoate, Pentaerythrityl Cocoate, Tridecyl Cocoate, Magnesium Cocoate, Potassium Cocoate, Sodium Cocoate, Ammonium Cocomonoglyceride Sulfate, Sodium Cocomonoglyceride Sulfate, Hydrogenated Coco-Glycerides, Potassium Hydrogenated Cocoate and Sodium Hydrogenated Cocoate has been assessed by the Cosmetic Ingredient Review (CIR) Expert Panel. The CIR Expert Panel evaluated the scientific data and concluded that Coconut Oil and Coconut Acid and the other ingredients made from Coconut Oil and Coconut Acid were safe for use as cosmetic ingredients.

More safety Information:

CIR Safety Review: The CIR Expert Panel reviewed acute, chronic, and subchronic oral toxicity studies indicating that Coconut Oil and Hydrogenated Coconut Oil were nontoxic by ingestion. Neither substance produced significant skin or eye irritation. No sensitization was reported. Clinical assessment of cosmetics and personal care products containing Coconut Oil and other coconut oil-derived ingredients produced very minimal skin irritation reactions. There was no indication that these ingredients were primary irritants, sensitizers, or phototoxic compounds following human testing. Based on the safety of Coconut Oil and the components of the other ingredients that have been reviewed previously, the CIR Expert Panel concluded that all of the coconut oil-derived ingredients reviewed in this report were safe for use in cosmetics and personal care products.

Link to FDA Code of Federal Regulations for Coconut Oil and Coconut Acid

Coconut Oil and its derivatives may be used in cosmetics and personal care products marketed in the European Union.

More Scientific Information:

Coconut Oil and Coconut Acid are mixtures of fatty acids where approximately 90% of the oil is saturated. Hydrogenated Coconut Oil and Hydrogenated Coconut Acid are derived from the controlled hydrogenation of Coconut Oil and Coconut Acid, respectively. Coconut Oil and its derivatives are used as surfactants (cleansing and foaming agents) and stabilizers in cosmetics and personal care products.

Resources:

Find out more about the regulation of Food Additives by the Food and Drug Administration