Though virgin coconut oil offers the greatest health benefits of all types of coconut oil, you can't just hop into any health food store to buy any type or brand of virgin coconut oil. I've been there and the first couple of brands of virgin coconut oil I bought many years ago suck to the core (can't recall the brands already). That's because I was inexperienced then.
But now, I'm experienced enough to share some good tips on buying virgin coconut oil. And you can use them as a guide to help you get one that best fits your needs.
1. Buy as food or supplement?
Ask yourself, "Why do I want to buy virgin coconut oil? What is my objective?"
If you know you're in bad shape and you wish to give your health a big boost, you absolutely need to take it as food in order to reap its health benefits to its fullest.
In that case, you should buy virgin coconut oil that is packed in jar so that you have an abundance of virgin coconut oil in hand to keep you strong and healthy.
But if you think you're robust enough and just want to give your health a boost and take it to the next level, you might be interested in getting the oil in capsule (softgel) form, which is so portable that you can take it with you and supplement your health anywhere you go.
Another reason for people who choose to eat virgin coconut oil in capsules is that they want to step up their health but they can't imagine themselves eating the oil as food in every meal and making their lips so oily. If you're like them, purchasing virgin coconut oil in capsules is your best bet.
If you decide to buy virgin coconut oil in capsules, make sure you choose those that are kept in veggie capsules because animal-derived softgel may get contaminated with antibiotic and hormone residues, as well as diseased animal tissues. By the way, it costs you more to buy virgin coconut oil in capsules.
2. Research first... purchase later
Get on Amazon to do some research first because you can find lots of different brands of virgin coconut oil there. And what makes it an interesting and attractive place for research is their customer reviews.
I know, each review is subjective. But it does serve as a great reference no doubt. I always go there as part of my research effort.
Make a list of your top 5 brands. Choose those that score at least a 4-star and have 50 reviews or more with a mixture of mostly good and some bad reviews.
Take your time to go over those reviews. If you don't spend time studying them, you might wind up getting a bad virgin coconut oil that stinks.
Once you're done with the research and know which brands you're after, you can buy virgin coconut oil straight off from Amazon or iHerb (you'll pay a few bucks more at iHerb for more robust packaging to ensure the goods arrive in perfect condition) or check with your local health food store to see if you can get a better bargain there.
If you don't like the first brand on your top 5 list in terms of taste, smell and quality, you still have other 4 to try out until you get one that you really like.
Virgin coconut oil should possess a natural coconut scent in itself. It could be subtly mild or strong, depending on its country of origin and how it is being extracted etc. But if it smells or tastes like pork lard, cheese or it simply stinks, you might be getting a rancid virgin coconut oil. If it tastes or smells smoky or nothing, or it appears yellowish (or brownish), you might be getting a refined coconut oil in disguise. So, beware. Even if you buy it in capsules, it's always good to sample a few caps by cutting them open to check on their color, smell and taste.
3. Get small jar first
It may cost slightly higher to buy virgin coconut oil in smaller quantity. But that's what I normally do when I was testing out a brand. If it's not what I want, then I only have that small amount to deal with, rather than having to stomach a big jar of virgin coconut oil I don't like. Agree?
Once you lock on to a specific brand, you can start purchasing them in bulk to save cost.
You might see many brands labeling their products as extra-virgin coconut oil. Actually, there's no such thing as "extra-virgin" as far as coconut oil is concerned. It's just a marketing gimmick. But that doesn't mean they're of low quality. Few brands (like Nutiva) have fallen back to their original term – virgin coconut oil.