Here at Sitting Pretty we're always on a mission to find the hidden gems of hair care.
So naturally the coconut oil phenomenon was on our radar from the get go.
Everyone was hyped, us included, that the same oil we've been cooking with, moisturising with and whitening our teeth with could also work miracles on our hair.
Then a few articles came on my radar that exposed coconut oil should not be used on your hair.
Sooo, what is it then?
Is coconut oil good or bad for you hair?
I was skeptical that an oil so many experts had raved about could actually be bad for your hair.
So I did some serious digging in the tangled webs of google to uncover the true facts.
If you're thinking about using coconut oil as natural, multi-purpose substitute to other hair care products, read this before you go ahead.
Why is coconut oil good for your hair?
Coconut oil stands out from other oils as it's molecule make-up allows it to deeply penetrate the hair shaft.
A study by the Journal of Cosmetic Science found the combination of fatty acids in coconut oil have a high affinity to the protein in our hair.
As a result:
Putting coconut oil in various hair types drastically reduced protein loss.
This was seen on both undamaged and damaged hair when used before or after washing.
The benefits of coconut oil in hair include:
- Repairing hair damage
- Nourishing the scalp to promote hair growth
- Preventing dandruff
- Smoothing hair and controlling frizz
- Hydrating and conditioning the hair
So it makes sense why many people are experiencing impressive results quickly when introducing coconut oil to their hair care routine.
There are some cases of hair falling out after using coconut oil in hair.
Which is pretty scary.
The last thing we want is anyone trying coconut oil based on the wrong information.
And causing hair loss.
3 factors that determine if you can use coconut oil in your hair
1. Coconut oil responds differently to various hair types.
Here's the deal:
Coconut oil does have many benefits, but it's not for every hair type.
According to Wellness Mama, typically women with fine to medium shiny hair can enjoy the perks of putting coconut oil in their hair for stronger, shinier hair with more volume.
If you've got coarse or dry hair:
It's best to know why your hair is dry before treating your hair with coconut oil.
Coconut oil in hair is great to help retain the hair's natural protein.
If your hair is lacking natural protein, that is.
However if your hair is dry for other reasons...
And you don't have an issue with low protein at all, coconut oil may cause brittle hair and hair loss.
2. The amount of coconut oil used on your hair is important.
Okay, I'll admit.
When it comes to hair treatments, my initial approach is the more the merrier.
I've been guilty of smothering my hair in more product with the idea it'll cause a more intensive hair treatment.
If this is you, stop right there.
Coconut oil, like any natural oil, is highly concentrated.
Avoid harming your hair with too much coconut oil and use small amounts.
3. Combining coconut oil with other oils can make a significant difference.
Mixing coconut oil with other oils can change the way coconut oil reacts in your hair.
The combination of fatty acids from various oils changes the effects of coconut oil in your hair.
Not to mention, you're reducing the quantity of coconut oil in your hair when combining with other oils.
This is a great option for using coconut oil on hair types that may otherwise not respond well with coconut oil.
Mixing coconut oil with olive oil, argan oil or marula oil will hydrate your hair without making the hair dry and brittle.
Honey is another great option to mix with coconut oil for a smoothing mask.
Hair hack: How to grow your hair faster in a week
When it's risky to use coconut oil in your hair
Take into consideration your hair type before using coconut oil for these generic purposes:
Coconut oil for detangling hair
You can put coconut oil in hair to as a natural conditioner.
However I'd only recommend using it to detangle, if you know your hair is lacking protein.
Coconut oil to protect hair from sun damage
One article mentioned the structure of coconut oil allows it to act as a natural sunscreen (SPF 8), protecting both skin and hair from sun damage.
Again, while this could be a benefit of coconut oil for some hair types, be sure that coconut oil agrees with your hair type first.
Coconut oil to defeat dandruff
You may have heard regularly rubbing coconut oil on your scalp can help eliminate dandruff.
The multiple fatty acids in coconut oil are scientifically proven to repair a dry scalp.
This is done by mixing coconut oil with warm water and castor oil as an elixir to rub into the scalp.
Or by creating a mask of coconut oil and sesame oil and leaving on your hair for 30 minutes before shampoo. (Source draxe.com)
If you're tempted to try this at home:
Make sure you know your hair type and scalp type first.
Otherwise you may over-saturating your hair follicles with protein.
Or clog the pores of your scalp, causing irritation.
Severe dandruff is a medical condition, so I'd suggest consulting with a dermatologist before putting coconut oil in your hair to treat dandruff.
Coconut oil to cure hair loss
In ancient Indian culture there are said to be natural remedies for hair loss that involve boiling sage or gooseberries with coconut oil.
While some may have experienced results from doing this, coconut oil doesn't solve the underlying cause of hair loss.
With google at our finger tips it's tempting to be our own doctor and self diagnose.
However hair loss is a serious medical condition which can be caused by many health factors, so it's best to seek advice from a specialist or naturopath.
Interesting: Why Georgia's Hair Started Falling Out
How to use coconut oil on your hair
So, you know your hair type and you're confident in testing out the benefits of coconut oil in your hair.
The next step is to make sure you use the oil correctly.
Applying a natural oil in your hair is kind of like a science experiment.
You have to control all the elements to get the right benefits.
To correctly apply pure organic coconut oil in hair:
Heat up the coconut oil before applying to dry or towel dried hair.
Some recommend it's more beneficial to apply coconut oil on dry hair.
Others say it's easier to apply to damp hair.
I say see what works best for your hair, since there's evidence to support both methods are effective.
Apply coconut oil in your hair before bed or when you're not planning on going out in public.
Your hair is about to go from 0 - 100 in the oily department.
How to correctly heat coconut oil:
This is important.
Do not warm coconut oil in the microwave or directly over high heat.
It can risk degrading the quality of coconut oil, causing it to lose it's incredible benefits.
Instead, follow these steps:
Step 1 Boil water in a kettle and pour into a bowl.
Step 2 In a separate small cup put a scoop of coconut oil, enough to cover all your hair. This should be around a table spoon or more depending on how much hair you have.
Step 3 Place the cup of coconut oil into the bowl of warm water.
Step 4 Once the coconut oil melts, apply the coconut oil to your hair and use a comb to spread the oil evenly.
If you're scalp gets oil easily, you may want to avoid rubbing the oil into your scalp.
Tuck all your hair inside a shower cap and leave for 30 minutes. Or for a more intense treatment, you can sleep with the coconut oil in your hair overnight.
The bottom line: Is coconut oil good for your hair?
Ultimately, coconut oil can be a great natural remedy for many hair problems if you take into consideration the following:
- Make sure you know your hair type
- Use coconut oil in small amounts
- Combine coconut oil with other fatty acid oils
This will help you achieve the best results when using coconut oil in your hair.
If you're not sure on your hair type...
Or you've used coconut oil before and didn't see the amazing results you expected...
The safest way to enjoy the perks of coconut oil in your hair is to include it in your diet.
Eating coconut oil in moderation will still benefit your hair health.
If you don't like coconut oil, there are other high fat foods that you can eat which are equally as beneficial to your hair.
Got more suggestions on natural oils that benefit your hair? Comment below to share your recommendations.