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Does Coconut Oil Smell Like Coconut? Analyzing the Aroma

August 10, 2021

The smell of coconut oil can vary based on the type of oil. Some coconut oil may have the aroma of coconut, while others may have different scents.

Growing up in India, I knew the aroma of coconut oil well – it was in my hair, on my skin, and in my food. I know a lot of people worry about the smell of the oil and how it can impact their natural scent as well as food aromas.

Below you can learn what coconut oil actually smells like and why this may change from one kind to another. Let’s get started!

Does Unrefined Coconut Oil Smell Like Coconut?

The scent of coconut oil will vary depending on how it is processed. There are two main ways that coconuts can be processed, resulting in either unrefined coconut oil or refined coconut oil.

With refined coconut oil, the coconut meat is exposed to high heat to extract the oil. The oil then undergoes various other processes to remove any contaminants or other components in the oil. As a result, much of the smell is stripped away from the oil.

organic white coconut oil

There is a possibility that some of the various processes can impact the odor of the oil in other ways. Thus, these oils may smell entirely different.

In the case of refined or virgin coconut oil, the oil is extracted through pressure – a process that is referred to as cold pressing. Here, the oil doesn’t undergo any other physical or chemical procedures. Due to this, it is able to hold onto much more of the scent.

Remember that this isn’t necessarily true for all unrefined coconut oil. The strength of the scent can vary from one brand to another as there are other factors at play here as well. Thus, one brand may have a rather potent scent, while it may not be noticeable with another oil at all.

Does Cold Pressed Coconut Oil Smell?

Now, this doesn’t automatically mean that all cold pressed coconut oil smells the same. In some instances, the extraction process for virgin coconut oil can lead to a less than pleasant odor. Most manufacturers seek to get rid of this scent as it isn’t pleasing to customers. 

In doing so, the natural coconut-like odor of the oil may be stripped away during these various methods as well. Naturally, the oil will have a more neutral scent.

Why Does My Coconut Oil Not Smell Like Coconut?

There is another type of refined coconut oil known as fractionated oil. With this type of oil, the long chain triglycerides are removed, allowing the oil to remain liquid at room temperature.

Another feature of fractionated coconut oil is that it is nearly or completely odorless. Therefore, it will not smell like anything at all. More often than not, fractionated coconut oil is used for skin care, hair care, and as a carrier oil for massage oils.

Believe it or not, there are some people who don’t like the natural coconut odor of coconut oil. This is often because the coconut taste can be overpowering, particularly when cooking certain dishes in the oil.

Thus, you may find coconut oils where the scent has been purposefully removed. In some instances, the oil is marketed as unscented and in other cases, it is not.

If you do like the smell of coconut oil, pay attention to the type that you are buying. The same advice can be applied to if you care for the odor, either.

little oil jar with flowers

Why Does My Coconut Oil Smell Weird?

Now, what if the coconut oil smells odd or just straight up awful? In this case, there is a good chance that the coconut oil has gone bad or may have expired.

The first thing to do is to check the expiration date of the coconut oil. If it is past this due date, then it has gone bad. Even if this isn’t the case, though, coconut oil can spoil under certain conditions. Thus, if the oil smells rancid, it is best not to take any chances.

Discoloration of the coconut oil as well as the presence of mold will indicate that it has gone bad. If so, you will need to toss it immediately. Don’t add it to your food or use it on your skin and hair.

There is a small chance that the coconut oil smells odd due to other ingredients or components added to it. This is especially true in the case of skin or hair products. Thus, it is a good idea to check the ingredient list, just in case.

How Do You Get Rid of the Smell of Coconut Oil?

If the smell of coconut oil is just too overpowering for you, you may be wondering what you can do about it. Well, if it is in your hair or on your skin, then the best way to get remove the smell is to remove the oil as well.

For your skin, soap and water should do the trick. For your hair, a clarifying shampoo followed by a thorough conditioning should help to remove most of the oil from your strands.

In case you would rather just cover the scent up, lemon juice or some diluted tea tree oil (you can dilute it with coconut oil!) are good options for your hair. For your skin, something like aloe vera gel or a diluted essential oil may work.

As for cooking, it is best to dilute coconut oil with some other kind of cooking oil. If you want, you can use a vegetable oil that doesn’t have much of a natural odor. Or, you can use something like olive oil as this scent should be strong enough to mask the smell of coconut oil.

As you can see, while coconut oil can smell like coconut, this isn’t always the case. Unrefined coconut oil is much more likely to smell this way than refined and fractionated oil. Also, remember that expired or spoiled coconut oil won’t smell like coconut either – it will probably smell rather awful.

Did you enjoy this post? If so, make sure to check out our Pinterest page. We have tons of other posts on coconut oil, its benefits, how to use it and more!

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Riya Borah
Nutritionist Educator | Riya Borah is a nutritionist educator and her job involves guiding people towards a healthier lifestyle. Growing up in India, Riya was aware of just how much coconut was used on a daily basis. This encouraged her to research the properties of this versatile drupe. It opened her eyes to both the limitation and possibilities of coconut. Her aim is to now educate as many people as possible about the best ways to utilize coconut in their own lives.
An Important Disclaimer
The information on this page should not be used as a substitute for professional medical advice. Consult a doctor if you wish to consume any kind of tea regularly for the purpose of treating any condition or illness.
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