Coconut oil has been a natural beauty darling for a while now. It's used to moisturize skin, remove makeup, whiten teeth, and more. According to haircare experts and science, it may also be the best way to keep your hair soft, shiny, and healthy.
Natural hair care has come a long way since the early days of synthetic-free products. Those goopy concoctions that left hair either straw-like or waxy are a distant, not-so-fond memory. Today, you can have your gorgeous hair product and eat it, too — or at least, that's the case with coconut oil. Coconut is definitely not the only natural oil used in hair treatments, but it is the best at moisturizing and giving hair that bouncy shine you love. The natural oil has also been found to diminish hair fall, promote hair growth, and add body to limp locks.
Why Is It Especially Good For Hair?
What makes coconut oil work so well on hair? A 2003 study compared the effects of coconut, sunflower, and mineral oils on preventing hair damage. Coconut oil was the only one of the three to reduce protein loss "remarkably" on both damaged and undamaged hair. Coconut oil is a triglyceride of lauric acid (a fatty acid) with a low molecular weight. Because of its unique composition, coconut oil has the ability to penetrate the hair follicle and reach the hair shaft, protecting and repairing from the inside out. Other natural oils, including sunflower and mineral oils, do not have this ability and simply coat strands.
Many organic beauty creators are savvy to the healthy hair benefits of coconut oil. Josh Rosebrook, founder of Josh Rosebrook organic skin and hair care, says, "Coconut oil is ideal for hair due to the molecular structure of the oil having the ability to penetrate the hair shaft and soften and add shine to hair."
What Products Can You Find It In?
Coconut oil is added to leave-in products, hair conditioners, and treatment products like hair masks. A once-weekly application of a coconut-oil-based hair treatment, like St. Tropica Organic Coconut Oil Hair Mask, not only keeps hair moisturized and manageable but also fights frizz, prevents split ends, and treats dry scalp issues. Those experiencing excessive dryness or hair damage may use a coconut oil treatment twice weekly and will benefit from a daily use product that contains the ingredient, like Josh Rosebrook Nourish Conditioner.
As with skin, hair and scalp types respond to coconut oil differently. If you are sensitive to coconut oil or tend to break out on your scalp, you may want to avoid the oil. You can also create a personalized coconut oil hair mask by adding other natural ingredients, like Tara Mackey of Organic Life Blog. "I love to use coconut oil as a hair mask at night. I warm it up on the stove first and add in a few drops of lavender and rose essential oil to give it a subtle scent. When it is warm but not too hot, I then transfer it to a bowl and dip my brush in the oil. I gently brush the warm coconut oil through my hair from roots to ends until it's entirely saturated. This helps to stimulate hair follicles and aids in healthy growth, length, and less breakage. I wash it out in the morning and my hair has a natural shine and luster from the natural fatty acids and vitamins contained in the oil. Love this little beauty ritual and recommend everyone do it at least once a week!"
What to Know Before You Buy
If you have yet to get in on the goodness of coconut oil for hair, time to get started. You can either purchase a ready-made product or grab a jar at your local grocery. Before you pick up a jar of CO, it's important to note that not all coconut oil is created equally. If you've ever shopped for coconut oil before, you've likely noticed there are two types — virgin coconut oil (VCO) and refined, deodorized, and bleached coconut oil (RDB). VCO is obtained by pressing the meat of the coconut and is usually processed in small batches. RBD is made from dried coconut and, as the name implies, is chemically treated. Check product labels before you buy as it's easy to get the two types confused. Another way to tell if you have VCO or RBD is the smell. VCO smells and tastes like coconuts, while RBD has little to no coconut scent or flavor.
Whether you mask, use a daily use product, or whip up your own DIY coconut oil hair treatment, this natural oil will keep your locks healthy and repair damage. Added bonus? The yummy, tropical scent. And with celeb and science backing, this natural oil has a bright future in hair care.