Coconut Oil is an edible Oil extracted from the kernel of mature Coconuts harvested from the Coconut palm. The largest Coconut producing countries according to the World Atlas are Indonesia, Philippines, India, Brazil and Sri Lanka.
What are the benefits of Coconut oil on 4C hair? Due to its nutritional composition, Coconut Oil has a high affinity for hair proteins and when applied to the hair, it penetrates fast and deep compared to other oils. This makes it excellent for hair. In summary here are the top 6 benefits of Coconut Oil on 4C Natural hair:
- Promotes hair growth.
- Deep conditions the hair.
- Protects hair from damage.
- Reduces protein loss in hair.
- Prevents Dandruffs.
- Used as a Pre-poo and for detangling.
Keep on reading as I will be delving deep into the details of how Coconut Oil benefits your hair, the types of Coconut Oils and how to select the best type for your hair.
What does research say about Coconut Oil?
According to ‘A Review. Indian Coconut Journal’, “ Coconut Oil has the natural sweet taste of coconut and contains 92% of saturated fatty acids(in the form of triglycerides), most of them (about 70%) are lower chain saturated fatty acids known as medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs).”
Coconut Oil is a triglyceride of Lauric acid (principal fatty acid) which has a high affinity for hair proteins.The Oil has low molecular weight with straight, linear chain thus making it easy to penetrate inside the hair shaft.
Coconut Oil has vitamin K which allows oxygen to penetrate your cells which in turn are able to regenerate and cause hair growth. It also has vitamin E which reduces inflammation and repairs any damage to the hair follicles.
What are the Benefits of Coconut Oil on 4C Hair?
1. Promotes Hair Growth
Consistent use of Coconut Oil on your hair will result in longer, thicker and healthier hair. Coconut Oil contains Vitamins and Essential Fatty Acids that nourish the scalp and hair strands thus promoting healthy, strong hair that does not break easily. The oil acts as a protective barrier that protects the hair, and adds luster and shine. Its richness in fatty acids also stimulates hormones in your body cells which contribute to hair growth.
2. Deep Conditioning
Coconut Oil penetrates hair more deeply and faster compared to other oils due to its molecular structure and thus is very effective when added as an ingredient in your homemade deep conditioner. When used as a deep conditioner, the oil conditions the hair from within; by protecting it from heat and environment damage when applied on the hair shaft. Coconut Oil retains moisture, especially if it is applied as a sealant which is important for well-moisturized and strong hair.
3. Protects Hair from Damage
Hair gets damaged by sporadic swelling and shrinking of fibers, because of water retention and absorption. Coconut oil consists of properties that inhibit the penetration of water from the surrounding air and environment which in turn helps prevent the swelling of the strands by absorbing a lot of water and also aids with retaining moisture sealed into your hair by acting as a barrier. People who have high porosity hair will find this property highly beneficial to them and thus highly recommended to use the Oil in their hair care routine.
4. Reduces Protein Loss in hair
Hair is made up of a protein called Keratin and sometimes this hair protein is lost because of too much exposure to damaging elements like chemicals and heat. The loss of this protein from the hair ends up in weak and unhealthy hair. Coconut Oil significantly reduces this protein loss from hair because its Lauric acid component that has a high affinity for proteins.
5. Prevents Dandruffs
Coconut Oil has antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal properties which makes it ideal for protecting the hair and scalp from bacteria/viral infections which are the root causes for Dandruffs.
6. Coconut Oil for Pre-poo and De-tangling
Because of its deep penetrating and shielding property, Coconut Oil can be used to effectively detangle matted hair. When applied as a pre-poo, the Oil surrounds the hair, protecting it from damage and making it soft hence easier to remove knot when detangling or washing.
Types of Coconut Oil
There are two main broad classifications of Coconut Oil: Refined and Unrefined. Each of this types have their advantages and disadvantages. This classification is based on the method of extraction as described below.
1. Unrefined Coconut Oil
Unrefined Coconut Oil, also known as ‘Pure’, or ‘Virgin’ is a type of Coconut Oil that is pressed from soft immature Coconut meat without the use of any chemicals hence it is not adulterated. Unrefined Coconut Oil can be extracted using two different methods, quick-dry or wet-mill process. Quick drying process involves quickly drying out the meat and then mechanically pressing the oil out. Wet-mill process is achieved by processing the Coconut meat into Coconut milk, this is followed by boiling, fermenting and finally separating the milk from the oil.
2. Refined Coconut Oil
This type of Coconut Oil is also known as ‘Ordinary’ or ‘Basic’ Coconut Oil. The Oil is extracted from dried Coconut meat known as Copra. The dried meat is pressed, bleached and filtered to sanitized oil. This type of Coconut Oil usually doesn’t have much taste or odor because it goes through a high heat process. To increase its shelf life, manufacturers often add Sodium Hydroxide.
What is the best type of Coconut Oil to use on your 4C hair?
A popular question that most 4C Naturals ask is: Do I use refined or unrefined Coconut Oil?
From my experience and that of my readers, the most preferred type to use on your hair is the Unrefined/Virgin Coconut Oil. For the very simple reason that while the refining process that refine Coconut Oil goes through strips away impurities, it can strip away necessary nutrients defeating its purpose. Unrefined Coconut Oil thus is the best option to make sure you are getting the most out of your product and reaping its full benefits.
What properties should you look out for when choosing Coconut Oil for your hair
- Consistent pearly white appearance.
- Odor should always be sweet and pleasant.
- No strange particles loitering around at the bottom.
- Free from chemical processing.
- Made from fresh Coconuts.
How long should I leave Coconut Oil on my hair?
Leaving Coconut Oil in your hair for prolonged periods, i.e between wash days is not harmful to your hair, especially if you choose the Unrefined type. You can apply and leave in as long as overnight or for 30-60 minutes. The time you use is solely depended on you and your hair’s reaction. As always allow trial and error; it is your personal choice to dictate how long you will leave your Coconut Oil in your hair
An important note: Some people have reported experiencing a drying effect when using Coconut Oil, while we all have different hair types and thus we react differently to products, my advice would be that you test the oil without mixing it with any other oils to see how your hair behaves, then slowly start mixing with other oils to find the perfect combination. The claims of the drying effects of Coconut oil could be the reason why many cosmetics products blend the Coconut oils in their formulas.
Coconut is just one of the many types of Oils that you can use to grow long healthy hair. You can incorporate it in your hair care routine by using it as an ingredient in your DIY hair care products or simply mixing it with other essential oils to give you even better results.
To learn about other oils that you can incorporate in your hair care routine, here are links to articles about, Olive Oil, Castor Oil, Tea Tree Oil and Shea Butter.
As always, hope you found the article useful. Feel free to share what you have learnt with your friends and family. They say, sharing is caring
Loving Kinky Curls