Is Coconut Oil Good for Your Hair? (Science-Based Evidence)

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Is Coconut Oil Good for Your Hair?

Coconut Oil is a common natural oil that has been praised for its health benefits.  It’s been used for centuries for culinary purposes, health and skin care.

That said, Is Coconut Oil good for your hair?

Coconut oil has several benefits for your hair. It is rich in fatty acids that strengthen the hair proteins thus good for damaged hair. It’s also good for moisturizing dry hair as it has a low molecular structure which makes it easy to be absorbed into the hair shaft.

In addition, it contains antioxidants which helps to keep the scalp clean and healthy.

As with every good thing, caution must be exercised to avoid abusing it. The same goes with coconut oil.

If you use too much coconut oil on your hair, it may dry out your hair and make it dull. This is because using too much coconut oil will lead to protein build-up or overload.

This happens more often to people with low porosity hair as this type of hair does not easily absorb products. [1]

Still with me? Let’s look at the evidence-based benefits of coconut oil on hair and how to use it to promote healthy hair growth.

Benefits of Coconut Oil On Hair

Prevents hair damage

Coconut oil is good at preventing hair damage as it contains fatty acids that strengthen the hair proteins.

Using coconut oil before washing (as a pre-poo) and after washing the hair reduces the chances of hair damage. The hair cuticles absorb it and raise less when your hair comes in contact with water.

Promotes hair growth

Coconut oil is filled with antioxidant. It’s also rich in anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties. This helps keep the  hair clean and healthy thus promoting hair growth.

It reduces the protein loss experienced by hair in damaged hair when added to your hair routine. [2]

Conditions the hair

The Lauric acid in coconut oil helps condition hair. It’s a triglyceride with a straight linear chain, low molecular structure, and this works perfectly with hair proteins.

It easily penetrates and nourishes the hair shaft, and this keeps your scalp and hair well-conditioned.

One of the best ways to use coconut oil as a conditioner is my making a DIY hair mask by combining it with honey and an egg.

Alternatively, you can use it as a pre-poo to condition and protect the hair from the harsh shampooing process.

Softens the hair

Coconut oil has emollient properties, so it easily softens hair and makes it manageable. It’s also occlusive, thus prevents moisture and emollients from escaping your hair. It means that your hair stays moisturised and nourished.

Fights dryness and dandruff

In most cases, dandruff is caused by fungus. Coconut oil has anti-fungal and anti-bacterial properties thus good for preventing dandruff.  

It’s also effective against lice and lice eggs when used with anise. [3]

Coconut oil also moisturises the scalp hence prevents it from drying out and causing dandruff.

Natural heat protectant

Coconut oil can withstand a high temperature compared to other oils, and it easily penetrates and moisturizes natural hair. So it’s an excellent heat protectant for styling your hair with heat tools.

Naturally, coconut oil has an high Sun Protection Factor (SPF), so it offers some sunscreen protection from harmful UV rays that can damage your hair. [4]

How to Use Coconut Oil For Hair

Coconut oil  can be in different ways to get the most out of it. Try utilising coconut oil in versatile ways to discover the best way to add to your hair care routine.

Test out coconut oil on a smaller section of hair to see how your hair reacts before fully incorporating it into your hair care routine.

For conditioning the hair

  1. Split your hair into sections and slowly massage the coconut oil on your hair strands.
  2. Wrap your hair and leave it on for 1 to 2 hours if you need an intensive conditioner treatment.
  3. Alternatively, use your regular conditioner, then layer coconut oil on top of your head leave it for 15 minutes to an hour.
  4. If you have low porosity, use heat to open up your hair cuticles so that your hair can easily absorb the coconut oil
  5. Rinse as usual with shampoo.

Coconut oil for pre-poo

  1. Damp your hair and part it  into smaller sections and massage the coconut oil into your scalp.
  2. Cover your hair and let it sit for at least 30 – 45 minutes or overnight
  3. Wash it out and shampoo your hair as usual.
  4. Shampoo twice if your hair feels too oily after the first rinse
  5. Follow this with conditioner to leave your hair feeling fuller and moisturised.

As a moisturizer

  1. Slowly massage hair oil from your hair roots to the ends.
  2. Using your fingers or a wide-tooth comb slowly, comb out knots and tangles.
  3. Use heat for low-porosity hair so that the coconut oil moisturises your natural hair.
  4. Remember that coconut oil also acts as a heat protectant, so don’t worry about heat damage to your hair. Style your hair into your favourite hairstyle.
  5. For good hair results, apply coconut oil to your hair once or twice a week.

Hair mask

  1. Using a clean bowl, mix ½ cup honey and 2 tbsp Coconut oil
  2. Heat the mixture by placing it over a larger bowl with hot water. Heat until it feels warm to touch.
  3. Add 1 egg and mix well
  4. On clean and damp hair take your coconut oil mask and work it into your hair using your fingers or a brush. Start from the scalp and slowly apply it along the strands.
  5. Pay more attention to the ends and ensure the whole head is fully covered.
  6. Using your fingertips, gently massage the scalp in a circular motion
  7. Cover your hair to seal in the moisture from the mask
  8. Leave it on for 20-30 minutes
  9. Proceed to rinse off the mask making sure you have removed all the iingredients.

Heat protectant

  1. You can mix one teaspoon of coconut oil with ¾ cups of water.
  2. Shake it well and place it in a spray bottle.
  3. Use the spray bottle mixture on your hair before applying heat to it.

In conclusion,

The benefits of coconut oil on hair are many, they include: preventing hair damage, promoting hair growth, conditioning hair, fighting dandruff and dryness, and acting as a heat protectant.

All of these help your hair stay moisturised, glossy, strong and thick. It’s perfect for normal hair or treating severely damaged natural hair.

Did you know hair porosity plays a key role in hair growth? Take this simple hair porosity test to determine if your hair HIGH, LOW or NORMAL porosity.

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