A few months ago, I went to Perth, Western Australia during winter for a holiday. I brought a bottle of HowSmooth’s Deep Hydrating Body Oil that contains mainly Extra Virgin Coconut Oil as it would be perfect to keep my skin moisturised and hydrated throughout the trip. Unexpectedly, I realised that the oil solidified when I took it out from my luggage to apply on my skin after a warm bath and it was impossible. So the next few days, what I did was I placed the body oil bottle in front of my portable heater for a few minutes so that the oil returns to liquid form before applying onto my skin.
I later did some research on coconut oil and found out the following:
Temperature is an important attribute determining the physical state of any oil. In other words, every fat and fatty acid has a range of temperatures at which is freezes (congeals, gets solid). To complicate matters a bit more, most fats and oils are actually combinations of many chemical types of fats and fatty acids; not all of them are solidifying at the same temperature.
As a general rule, saturated fats (animal fats, but also coconut and palm oils) congeal at higher temperatures than unsaturated fats. This is why butter or ghee is solid at room temperatures, but olive or cotton oils are liquid. It is, in fact, the main distinguishing point between fats and oils.
Coconut oil on cooling down to near freezing conditions starts solidifying, through condensation and by virtue of their inter atomic distances becoming shorter also start crystallizing. Coconut oil has more saturated fat and thus you cannot stop it by solidifying.
So don’t be surprised the next time you see your HowSmooth’s Deep Hydrating Body Oil solidify in cold weather. Maybe you can try my ‘melt it with heater’ trick but be sure not to leave it heated for too long as you don’t want to kill the goodness in that bottle.