Oh, how we love coconut oil. It smells like a beach vacay, hydrates dry elbows and cuticles, and–maybe the best benefit of all–improves the health of your hair! Let’s take a closer look at this amazing multitasking natural oil to see how it can work for you.
How does coconut oil work?
Scientists have studied the effects of certain oils on hair (including coconut, sunflower, olive and mineral). And the results for coconut oil are pretty exciting–it has been shown to actually have the ability to penetrate hair. So why does this matter? Most hair products and ingredients can only coat the surface of the hair to add shine, smoothness, conditioning, etc. However, coconut oil–because of its chemical structure–can actually penetrate the cortex (the inner part of hair) which can help improve its strength and flexibility.
This means hair is less likely to break and less likely to get damaged from combing and even heat styling! Another benefit: coconut oil has super staying power. Since most oils and hair ingredients sit on top of your hair, they rinse off when you suds up your mane. Not coconut oil! It’s “inside” your hair, so it’s less likely to rinse away. If you have dry, damaged hair and are susceptible to hair loss and breakage then you should definitely stock up on coconut oil.
Is coconut oil hard to find?
Nope! It’s already in a ton of relatively affordable hair care products. Look for leave-in products that list coconut oil as one of the top two or three ingredients. If it’s listed low on the list, then you won’t really get much benefit.
Even better: try using pure coconut oil. You can find it at most grocery and natural food stores. For around five dollars you’ll have enough coconut oil to last you for years! Just be sure to use sparingly and only apply to the ends of your hair. I apply it to my damp hair before I heat style. The only downside? Coconut oil is solid at room temperature, but it does melt easily. I recommend melting some over low heat (or in the microwave) and then transferring to a small jar to make it easier to use and easier to transport. Before applying to your hair, just use the heat of your hands to warm it up.
Are there other downsides?
Just one more: Because coconut oil penetrates hair, it doesn’t do such a good job at coating the outside of your strands (the cuticles), so you’ll still want to use a rinse-out conditioner to help smooth cuticles and add shine.
Coconut oil is a great (and natural!) way to help improve the health of your hair. Whether you buy hair products that already contain this tropical treat or use pure coconut oil, your hair will be sure to thank you!