This ingredient keeps popping up in many “natural” skincare formulas, often mistakenly described as fractionated coconut oil. Now, I don’t know about you, but this certainly doesn’t sound like a lovely natural oil to me. They tend to sound more like Avocado oil or Argan oil etc. Capric/caprylic triglyceride doesn’t have a normal oil name. So there’s obviously a lot of confusion about what this ingredient actually is. And confusion about ingredients is what the skincare/cosmetic industry love.. The more confused consumers are about what is in our products the easier it is to pull the wool over our eyes. right?
Capric and caprylic acids are saturated fatty acids naturally present in coconut oil. They are considered to be medium-chain fatty acids. Capric acid is also known as decanoid acid and caprylic acid is also known as octanoic acid. To isolate these fatty acids they are separated from the glycerine compound and the other fatty acids present in the coconut oil. This is usually achieved by steam hydrolysis where intense heat and pressure is applied to break apart the structure of the oil. The capric & caprylic acids are then isolated from the other fatty acids and combined together with the glycerine compound by a process called ‘esterification’ to form the ingredient ‘capric/caprylic triglyceride’. This new ingredient has different physical properties than the original oil it came from. It feels dryer, less greasy and is highly stable.
Fractionated coconut oil is created by melting the coconut oil and removing the harder saturated fatty acids as it gently cools back down. Leaving the liquid portion of the coconut oil which consists of the less saturated fatty acids. Ever taken a bottle of olive oil out of the fridge and seen the harder bits floating around? They are the more saturated fatty acids present in the olive oil.
So capric/caprylic triglyceride is created through a number of complicated chemical reactions and fractionated coconut oil is created through the simple physical process of heating and cooling down. Capric/caprylic triglyceride is a much more refined oil than fractionated coconut oil and with refinement comes loss of therapeutic properties. Especially through high heat processes like steam hydrolysis, that’s why everybody shouts about how good their COLD pressed oils are!
For the skincare industry capric/caprylic triglyceride is used to replicate the feel & absorbency of oils like camellia, rosehip, macadamia or hazelnut but with a much higher shelf life and for a lower price. So it’s great for saving money and increasing profit margins on a product while still benefiting from some really useful properties. But, in our opinion it’s not the real deal and not really a natural oil. You can make up your own mind on this of course.
As you may know, Old Faithful use unrefined oils wherever possible because they have a higher therapeutic value that benefits our skin, hair & nail system. Unrefined, organic oils are more expensive, have scent, colour, are less stable and are harder to formulate with. But we think they are worth it.
We hope this helps to clear up any confusion you may have about this ingredient and skincare formulas in general. Please feel free to ask any questions in the comments section!