Coconut oil is everywhere these days. You can use it to flavor your food, remove your makeup, freshen your breath or moisturize your skin. And, as you may have heard, it does wonders for your hair!
The Benefits of Coconut Oil for Hair
Coconut oil is fundamentally different from traditional hair products because it is all-natural and free of synthetic chemicals. It also surpasses other oils’ abilities to moisturize hair because of its chemical composition, which is more compatible with the shape of your hair strands. Here are just a few benefits you may see from adding coconut oil to your beauty routine.
1. Strengthens and moisturizes hair
Coconut oil is made of a medium-chain fatty acid called lauric acid, which has a straight structure that easily penetrates the center of your hair strands. Moisture-deprived hair will soak the oil right up and look glossier and fuller as a result.
2. Prevents protein loss
Hair and nails are both made of a protein called keratin. Coconut oil has been found to reduce protein loss more effectively than both mineral and sunflower oil, keeping hair healthier. This means you can use coconut oil for nail health as well!
3. Detangles hair
If you have wild, untamable locks, work a smidge of coconut oil into your hair and comb through it again. You’ll be amazed at how quickly the tangles smooth out.
4. Fights off frizz
The heaviness of the oil keeps those pesky flyaways in their place. As an added bonus, your hair will look shiny and smooth all day long while being conditioned as you go about your day.
5. Protects hair from the sun
Coconut oil has an approximate SPF value of 8, though it isn’t strong enough to protect your skin from sun damage the way sunscreen would. Still, it is certainly better for your scalp than no sun protection at all.
6. Banishes bacteria
The lauric acid in coconut oil has antimicrobial properties, meaning it can cleanse your hair and scalp and even eradicate infections. While you shouldn’t ditch prescribed medications in favor of coconut oil, it can prevent germs from flourishing.
How to Use Coconut Oil
Coconut oil can be used as a pre-wash protectant, conditioner, frizz fighter or overnight hair mask. You can place it on either dry or damp hair, and you can leave it in for as short or as long of a time as you want. The longer you leave it in, the greater the effect it will have on your hair!
The hardest part of applying coconut oil is knowing how to get it to a workable consistency. Coconut oil is solid at room temperature, but you’ll want to warm it up to a liquid for use on hair. Resist the urge to microwave your coconut oil – while this is a speedy way to heat it up, it reduces its effectiveness. Instead, get two bowls that fit inside of each other. Put the solid coconut oil in the smaller bowl, then fill the larger bowl with warm water the way you would if you were softening butter or double broiling chocolate. Coconut oil also melts with your body heat, so you can skip this step if you work it in your hands until it melts.
After the oil has become liquid, you can apply it to your hair and scalp. It’s appropriate to use anywhere from one teaspoon, for finer, thinner hair, to a few tablespoons, for thicker, coarser hair. If you’ve never used coconut oil before, it’s best to start with a smaller amount, as this may be plenty to get the full effects without making your hair overly greasy.
- To use as a pre-wash protectant, massage the oil into your hair and comb it through to make sure it’s evenly dispersed. This will create a barrier against the water that strips your hair.
- To use as a conditioner, apply the same way and let the oil soak in for 30 minutes to an hour. Then shampoo and rinse to get the greasy residue off.
- To use as a frizz fighter, put a teeny bit of oil into your hands, rub your palms together, and work it into your hair gently as if you were using a light serum. Keep roots oil-free by applying oil to the middle and ends of your hair only.
- To use as a hair mask, rub the oil throughout your hair and scalp, comb your hair, then cover it overnight with a shower cap or towel. When you wake up, shampoo thoroughly to get rid of the oil. You may find this treatment especially beneficial for scalp itchiness, as the oil can cause dead skin cells to slough off more easily.
Coconut Oil Myths and Misconceptions
There are a few myths circulating out there about the benefits of coconut oil. While we’d like to think it’s a miracle elixir, it’s simply not! For example, the jury’s out on whether it can make your hair grow faster. It’s also uncertain whether it can cure dandruff. While coconut oil moisturizes skin and kills off bacteria, claims about its dandruff-fighting power are mostly based on anecdotal evidence.
If you have lice, you might also want to reconsider saturating your hair with apple cider vinegar and coconut oil. This study found that many home remedies, including apple cider vinegar, are ineffective at killing off lice. And while coconut oil may help you ward off adult lice and comb them out of your hair, it does absolutely nothing to thwart lice eggs and stop the cycle of hatching, according to this Bustle article.
The Drawbacks of Coconut Oil
Like any beauty product, using coconut oil can go horribly, horribly wrong if applied improperly. For instance, you don’t want to glop the oil on for extra hydration – that will just make you look greasy!
Coconut oil also gets a four out of five comedogenicity rating, which is a fancy way of saying it causes acne – lots of it. People whose pores clog easily may prefer other products to keep their skin clear. Of course, if you have any sort of coconut allergy, it’s best to avoid coconut oil treatments altogether.
Some people even say coconut oil makes their hair worse. If coconut oil seems to be drying out your hair or irritating your skin, there are other great alternatives to choose from, like argan oil. Ultimately, listen to what your body is telling you.
Learn More Hair Care Tips at Houston Training Schools
If you crave more online hair care tips, you may want to consider a career in cosmetology. At Houston Training Schools, our Certificate of Cosmetology program can prepare you for a career as a hairstylist or salon owner and open up doors to other career paths in the beauty industry.
Houston training Schools offers affordable coursework in multiple locations across Texas so you can easily access the education you need to get started. Our classes can be taken in both English and Spanish. Call us at 877-640-4747 to schedule your tour or apply today!