What does Coconut Oil Do for Your Hair ?

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Coconut oil offers numerous advantages for hair. It can effectively combat dandruff, bring back the shine to dull and damaged hair, control frizz, and protect hair from styling harm. It is suitable for use on most hair types.

Coconut oil is rich in fatty acids, making it a powerhouse for hair health. It is a common ingredient in shampoos, conditioners, styling gels, and other hair care products. You can also use plain coconut oil directly from the jar in your kitchen as a pre-wash treatment or conditioning mask.

This article explores the benefits of using coconut oil for hair. It delves into how coconut oil can repair daily damage, enhance hair texture, and improve hair health.

Benefits of Coconut Oil for Your Hair

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There is some evidence to suggest that lauric acid, a type of saturated fat that is abundant in coconut oil, may have a positive impact on hair by shielding it from protein loss.

Hair is composed of protein, specifically keratin. The use of hair dyes, bleach, shampoos, and styling products can harm this protein, leading to lackluster and weakened hair.

Damaged Hair

In a 2015 research report, the researchers evaluated several studies that examined the impact of plant-based oils on human hair. The authors pointed out that coconut oil is similar to natural hair proteins and that it has a unique capability to penetrate the hair shaft (the visible portion of the hair above the scalp).

By penetrating the hair, coconut oil can minimize the amount of water absorbed, which helps reduce daily hair damage. Moreover, one of the studies reviewed found that coconut oil was the only oil that could effectively reduce protein loss, both for undamaged and damaged hair, when used as a pre-wash and post-wash grooming product.

This study also compared the effects of mineral oil and sunflower oil on hair and found that neither of them reduced protein loss.

Dry Scalp, Dandruff

There is evidence that coconut oil can be used to alleviate dry, itchy scalps and accompanying dandruff.

A 2021 study involving 140 individuals in India, with 70 having dandruff and 70 without, found that topical use of coconut oil on the scalp has antifungal properties and promotes the growth of beneficial bacteria while reducing scalp flaking.

Other studies suggest that coconut oil may aid in repairing the skin barrier, which is the top layer of skin, making it a useful treatment option for both dandruff and dry skin.

Evidence from a single study indicates that coconut oil has anti-inflammatory properties, and the study participants also experienced increased collagen production, which is the main structural protein in skin and other tissues.

Although there is no scientific research connecting collagen and hair, personal accounts and theories suggest that collagen treatments can be beneficial. However, there is no evidence that taking collagen supplements specifically improves hair health, and the best way to obtain collagen is through a nutritious diet.

Read More: 6 Way to get rid of acne fast

Ways to Incorporate It Into Your Routine

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Coconut oil is a highly versatile hair care oil, and it can have remarkable effects when used as a pre-shampoo treatment, conditioner, styling aid, or mask.

Here are four straightforward ways to incorporate coconut oil into your hair care routine:

1. Pre-wash protection: Apply coconut oil to your hair before shampooing to reduce the amount of water absorbed and prevent damage and dryness. Use about 15-30 minutes before washing, focusing on the midsection and ends of your hair.

2. Conditioner: Coconut oil can help strengthen the hair shaft and prevent breakage. Use as a substitute for your regular conditioner or add a few drops to your conditioner to enhance its smoothing effects. 

3. Styling aid: A small amount of coconut oil can effectively control frizz. Apply the oil to damp hair for easier absorption and styling.

4. Hair mask: For a deep-nourishing treatment, massage 1-2 teaspoons of oil into your hair. Leave it on for a few hours or overnight for extra-dry or damaged hair before washing it out.

For optimal results, some hair care experts recommend using coconut oil 2-3 times a week.

Tips for Using Coconut Oil in Hair Care

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Coconut oil can be beneficial for all hair types, including dry, damaged, or color-treated hair. However, there is some worry that if used frequently, it may cause hair to become stiff for people with a coarser hair texture.

To maximize the benefits of coconut oil in your hair care routine, consider the following tips:

- Heat the oil: Warming up the coconut oil makes it easier to apply. Simply place a teaspoon of the oil in a bowl and put the bowl in a container filled with warm tap water. Wait a few minutes for the oil to become liquid or rub the solidified oil between your palms to melt it. Avoid using the microwave to heat the oil as it can become too hot. 

- Create a mix: Enhance the benefits of coconut oil by adding a few drops of essential oils, such as lavender or peppermint, for added aroma therapy. You can also blend coconut oil with other natural hair-nourishing ingredients like yogurt, honey, or avocado.

- Apply it before bedtime: Coconut oil needs time to be fully absorbed by the hair, so if you use it in the morning, it may leave your hair looking and feeling greasy. Instead, apply it at night and shampoo it out in the morning. 

- Use sparingly: While it is a relatively light oil, excessive use of coconut oil may make your hair appear weighed down. To prevent buildup, start with a small amount, no more than a teaspoon, and gently work the oil into your hair, starting at the middle and working your way towards the ends. If you have thick hair, you may be able to use a little more.

- Be careful when applying to scalp: While applying coconut oil directly to the scalp may help with dryness for some, others may experience irritation or clogged pores. If you are new to using coconut oil on your scalp, start with a small amount and see how your skin reacts. 

- Double shampooing: To completely remove the oil from your hair, it may be necessary to shampoo twice. 

- Alternate oils: If you have coarse hair, rotating coconut oil with other oils like Argan, avocado, or castor may be helpful.

Choosing Coconut Oil

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When searching for the top coconut oil for hair care, choose the unrefined type, also known as virgin or extra-virgin oil. If feasible, select organic and sustainably sourced options.

• Unrefined Coconut Oil

- Obtained from the initial pressing of fresh coconuts

- No chemical substances included

- Has a distinctive coconut scent

• Refined Coconut Oil

- Derived from dried coconut kernels

- Undergoes deodorization and bleaching through various procedures

Cold-pressed options are a smart choice as they use neither heat nor chemicals during extraction.

Consider products such as The Garden of Life Raw Extra Virgin Coconut Oil or Dr. Bronner’s Organic Virgin Coconut Oil, which feature symbols on their labels indicating their premium quality, such as the Fair Trade Certified or non-GMO verified seals.


Coconut oil can potentially moisturize and heal damaged hair and has been shown to reduce dandruff. It can be utilized as a pre-wash treatment, conditioner, hair mask, or styling product.

Start by using a small amount to see how your skin reacts. If you are satisfied with the results and do not experience any adverse reactions, apply the oil 2-3 times per week.

Keep in mind, a little amount goes a long way, so use only a teaspoon, focusing on the midsection to the ends of your hair. Opt for unrefined coconut oil for the optimal results.


- Should coconut oil be applied to wet or dry hair? 

Either way works. It can be used as a pre-conditioner prior to washing your hair, or applied to wet hair after washing as a leave-in treatment or for styling purposes. Additionally, it can be used to control frizz in between washings.

- Is coconut oil suitable for curly hair? 

Yes, coconut oil can be used on curly hair. It can be beneficial for any hair type, both damaged and healthy hair.

- Does coconut oil help with hair growth after chemotherapy? 

There is no scientific evidence to suggest that coconut oil can promote hair growth. However, it is common for hair to grow back naturally after chemotherapy is completed, usually within 4 to 6 weeks (the timeline may vary).

- Are there any drawbacks to using coconut oil on my hair? 

There are a few potential drawbacks. Excessive use of coconut oil can cause fine hair to look weighed down, limp, flat, and greasy. Additionally, overuse can make coarse hair appear stiff.

Read More: How to Get Glowing Skin

Source: https://www.verywellhealth.com

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