Most women use a lot of beauty products to take care of their tresses. But some of these products damage and dry hair.
That’s why many women are turning to coconut oil. It’s trendy, but coconut oil is staying in vogue thanks to its many health benefits. Not sure where to start?
Here’s your basic introduction to coconut oil for hair care.
Choose High Quality Coconut Oil
Because coconut oil is very popular these days, it’s easy to buy it in supermarkets. But not all coconut oil is the same. So, here’s a quick breakdown of common terms.
- Organic: This guarantees that the coconut oil is grown according to high standards.
- Refined: This oil is processed more than any other. So, it’s usually odorless and colorless.
- Unrefined: Because there is less processing in this oil, it’s more nutrient dense.
- Cold-pressed: The coconut oil is squeezed out with low temperatures. And this prevents damage to the oil.
- Expeller-pressed: This process squeezes coconut oil at a slightly higher temperature, but there is still minimal loss to the oil’s nutritional value.
- Virgin or Extra Virgin: There really isn’t much difference between these two terms, but they’re usually used for unrefined oil.
In the end, your best bet for high quality coconut oil is one that’s organic, unrefined and cold-pressed.
Why Is Coconut Oil Good for Hair?
Without enough protein, you can experience hair loss or brittle, damaged hair. And scientists have found that coconut oil is very good at providing necessary protein to your hair. In fact, it’s better for your hair than mineral and sunflower seed oil.
This is because the structure of the fat (medium-chain fatty acids) is easily absorbed into the hair, allowing it to penetrate, replenish and moisturize.
Coconut oil also comes with many beneficial qualities. It’s antifungal, antibacterial and antiviral, as well as rich in antioxidants.
In its most natural state, coconut oil is free of harmful and damaging chemicals that many other hair products have. So, it’s easy to see why coconut oil has found its way into many beauty arsenals.
Here’s how you can use it, too.
Melting Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is solid at room temperature, unless the temperature rises above 75° Fahrenheit. You will probably need to warm it up during cooler temperatures, so that you have a workable product for your hair.
Avoid heating it on the stove top, or in the microwave. This will damage the beneficial properties mentioned above and leave you with a subpar product. Instead, pour heated water into a large bowl. Then, scoop out some coconut oil and place it in a smaller bowl. Now, place the smaller bowl within the first bowl. The heat of the warm water will melt the oil safely and easily.
With melted coconut oil, you can try any of the following hair treatments.
Coconut Oil as a Conditioner
Did you know that your hair is the most fragile and vulnerable when it’s wet?
That’s why an oil treatment before washing your hair can be beneficial. This is also true for oily hair types. So, if your hair is naturally oily, just remember to condition your hair a couple inches away from your scalp.
Start by melting the oil into liquid form (see above), and then gently massage it into your scalp, roots and hair. You can leave it in for one to two hours (or even overnight). Just be sure to wear a shower cap or towel so you don’t stain clothing and bedding. When you’re ready to remove the oil, simply wash your hair with warm water and shampoo.
Coconut Oil as a Dandruff Remover
The simplest dandruff treatment is to use coconut oil as a conditioner (see above). The only difference is that you will use more oil, and massage it deep into the scalp. You can leave the coconut oil in for as little as one hour or even overnight. Washing with warm water and shampoo will remove both the oil and all that unwanted dandruff.
Dr. Axe recommends adding an essential oil, such as wintergreen, thyme, lavender or tea tree to coconut oil before applying it to your scalp. This helps combat the yeast and fungus that’s causing dandruff in the first place.
Coconut Oil Prevents Sun Damage
Most of us know how important it is to protect our skin from sunlight. But you should also protect your hair. Coconut oil has an SPF of 8 and can keep your hair healthy and strong even on the sunniest of days.
To use coconut oil as hair protection, massage it into your hair before heading out into the sun, and leave it in. Not only will it nourish and hydrate your hair shafts, but it will also minimize sun damage, too.
Coconut Oil to Promote Hair Growth
Because coconut oil can prevent protein loss and nourish hair roots and shafts, it also promotes healthy hair growth if you apply it to your tresses. But you can take it one step further and include coconut oil in your diet. This way, your digestive system will absorb the nutrients and nourish your hair from the inside out.
Coconut Oil as a Detangler
If your curly or snarly hair is getting out of control, start by conditioning your hair with coconut oil (see above), and then with a wide tooth comb, begin to sift through your strands. You’ll be amazed at how easily they acquiesce.
Then, wash with warm water and shampoo to remove oil. After you’ve dried and styled your hair, you can apply a small amount of coconut oil to prevent future dryness and tangles.
Coconut Oil to Combat Lice
This study found that coconut oil, along with anise oil, is more effective than many other popular anti-lice products. So, the next time you get that dreaded call from the school nurse, you’ll know how to remove the problem safely, quickly and naturally.
Is Coconut Oil Right for Your Hair?
Even though coconut oil is a wonderful product for many hair types, it doesn’t work for everyone.
This can be because of allergies, sensitivities, hair quality or hair nutrition. To find out if you, too, can tap into the many benefits coconut oil, start with a small amount of coconut oil, and then, let your hair be your guide.