Coconut oil for hair: benefits, uses and tips

Coconut oil is an extremely versatile health and beauty product.

People use it for all kinds of things , from cooking and cleansing to moisturizing the skin and removing makeup.

Others often use coconut oil to help improve the health and condition of their hair.

This article explores the pros and cons of using coconut oil on hair.

Excessive care for your hair can damage it

Daily care practices like washing, brushing and styling can damage your hair and make it look frizzy, broken and dry.

To understand why this happens, you need to know more about the texture of your hair. Your hair consists of three layers:

  • The medulla : this is the central and soft part of the hair shaft. Interestingly, thick hair contains large amounts of pith, while fine hair has almost none.
  • The cortex : This is the thickest layer of your hair. It contains a lot of fibrous proteins and the pigment that gives your hair its color.
  • The cuticle : The cuticle is the tough and protective outer layer of your hair.

Washing, styling and coloring your hair can damage the cuticle, making it unable to protect the central parts of the hair shaft.

This causes you to lose some of the fibrous proteins that make up the cortex of your hair, making it thin, brittle and prone to breakage.

Why coconut oil is better for protecting hair than other oils

It is often said that coconut oil is the best oil to use on hair to reduce protein loss and keep it healthy.

Given the current popularity of coconut oil, this would be easy to dismiss as a trend.

However, there is some evidence behind this claim.

One study looked at the effects of applying coconut oil, sunflower oil, or mineral oil to hair before or after washing.

To see which oil was best for protecting hair health, the researchers measured the amount of protein lost from the hair after each of these treatments.

They found that coconut oil was more effective at preventing protein loss than both mineral and sunflower oil when applied before or after hair washing.

In fact, coconut oil was the best in all of their studies and reduced protein loss in hair that was undamaged, bleached, chemically treated and exposed to UV rays.

On the other hand, both mineral and sunflower oils did not have this effect and were not effective in reducing the loss of protein from the hair.

The chemical structure of coconut oil is thought to underlie its superior ability to protect hair.

Coconut oil is predominantly made up of a medium-chain fatty acid called lauric acid . This gives coconut oil a long, straight texture, which is more easily absorbed deep into the hair shaft.

Sunflower oil mainly contains linoleic acid, which has a much more voluminous structure, so it is not so easily absorbed by the hair.

This means that oils such as mineral oil and sunflower oil can coat the hair, but they are also not absorbed into the hair shaft.

Rubbing the oil into your hair before or after washing will help prevent damage

There are a few ways you can apply oil to your hair to protect it from damage.

Firstly, applying the oil to your hair before it is washed can help reduce the amount of damage it takes while washing and while it is wet.

Interestingly, hair is most vulnerable to damage when wet. This is due to subtle structural changes that occur when it absorbs water.

When you wet your hair, the thick central cortex absorbs water and swells, causing a structural change in the cuticle.

The hair cuticle is actually made up of flat, overlapping scales that are attached to the end of the hair root and point towards the tip.

When the bark of your hair absorbs water and swells, these scales are pushed outward so that they stick together. This makes wet hair much easier to damage , especially when brushing or styling.

Applying oil to the hair before washing it can reduce the amount of water absorbed by the hair shaft and the degree of “adherence” of the cuticle scales. This makes it less prone to damage while wet.

Secondly, coating the hair with oil after washing helps make it softer and smoother. This reduces the amount of friction caused by styling, reducing the chances of the hair getting tangled and breaking.

Coconut oil may help you grow longer hair

Many people want their hair to grow long, smooth and shiny.

However, the daily wear and tear of the hair caused by styling, care, bad weather and pollutants can damage it.

This can make it difficult for longer hair to grow, as the longer the hair grows, the more tired and worn it can become.

Coconut oil may help you grow longer hair because:

  • Moisturizes the hair and reduces breakage
  • Protects your hair from protein loss and damage when wet
  • It protects your hair from environmental damage such as wind, sun and smoke

To get the most out of coconut oil, you will likely need to make it an integral part of your beauty regimen.

Other benefits of coconut oil for hair

Coconut oil can also have other benefits for your hair. However, many of them have not been tested in properly controlled studies.

Possible benefits include:

  • Lice prevention : A small study found that when combined with anise in a spray, coconut oil was 40% more effective at treating lice than the chemical permethrin.
  • Sun protection : UV filters can help protect hair from sun damage. Some studies have found that coconut oil has a sun protection factor of 8, so applying it to your hair could be helpful.
  • Dandruff Treatment : Dandruff can be caused by an overgrowth of fungus or yeast on the scalp. Although no studies have looked at coconut oil specifically, it has antimicrobial properties and may be useful for treating dandruff.
  • Hair loss prevention : Excessive cleaning can damage the hair shaft, which in extreme circumstances can cause hair loss. Coconut oil can help keep hair in good condition and prevent it.

It has also been claimed that consuming coconut oil can be beneficial for hair health due to the nutrients it provides. However, there is little evidence that this is the case.

Does coconut oil have any negative effects on hair?

Coconut oil is generally considered safe to apply to skin and hair.

However, using too much can cause oil to build up on your hair and scalp.

This could make your hair greasy and dull, especially if you have very fine hair.

To avoid this, make sure you start with just a small amount and start by rubbing the coconut oil into your hair, from the middle to the ends . People with very fine hair may want to avoid putting coconut oil on their scalp altogether.

Additionally, while it is normal to lose around 50-100 hairs per day, many people also report losing a lot of hair when using coconut oil.

But coconut oil is usually not the culprit . Just apply the oil to make the hair that has already detached from the scalp fall out.

How to use coconut oil for beautiful hair

Here are some ways to use coconut oil to improve the health of your hair.

  • As a conditioner : shampoo as usual and then comb the coconut oil through your hair, from the middle to the ends.
  • As a post-wash detangler : After shampooing and drying your hair, rub some coconut oil into your hair to protect it while you brush it.
  • As a hair mask : Rub coconut oil into your hair and let it sit for a few hours (or even overnight) before washing it off.
  • As a hair protection before washing : Rub coconut oil into your hair before washing.
  • As a scalp treatment : Before going to bed, massage a small amount of coconut oil into your scalp. Leave it overnight and wash it off with shampoo in the morning.

These techniques can be used regularly or once in a while (depending on your hair type) to give you beautiful, healthy and shiny hair.

The amount of coconut oil you will need will depend on the length and type of hair . Most people use just enough to cover the middle to the ends of the hair to prevent the hair from becoming greasy.

The best approach is to start with the smallest amount you think you need and gradually increase from there.

There are also many different types of coconut oil to choose from. Some people prefer to choose virgin (unrefined) coconut oil, as they also use it in their diet.

However, there are no specific studies on whether one type of coconut oil is better for your hair than another. Additionally, both unrefined and refined coconut oil have the same moisturizing properties.


by Abdullah Sam
I’m a teacher, researcher and writer. I write about study subjects to improve the learning of college and university students. I write top Quality study notes Mostly, Tech, Games, Education, And Solutions/Tips and Tricks. I am a person who helps students to acquire knowledge, competence or virtue.

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