The coconut tree is called the ‘tree of life’ because all of its parts, from the roots up to its fruits and leaves, are all usable. In the hair care industry, coconut oil remains to be one of the main ingredients of most shampoos, conditioners, hot oil treatments, etc.But what does coconut oil really do to your hair? What should you look for when buying coconut oil? Which products are the best?
What Coconut Oil Does for Your Hair
Coconut oil has been used as hair treatment for centuries. It’s natural, easily obtainable, and doesn’t have side effects unlike its synthetic counterparts.
- Prevents Hair Fatigue – The shrinking and swelling of the fibers due to water absorption and retention can damage your hair. Coconut oil makes hair fibers stronger to prevent fatigue. Hair fatigue is the common cause of breakage and split ends.
- Reduces Loss of Protein – Hair is basically all protein. Thus, unhealthy and weak hair is usually caused by lack or loss of protein. Treating your hair with coconut oil has been proven to significantly reduce loss of protein from hair.
- Conditions from the Inside – Moisture retention is one main functions of coconut oil. This feature keeps your hair strong and well-moisturized. It also accounts for that silky feel and shiny look. Coconut oil does that by conditioning from within and protecting hair from environment damage and heat.
- Prevents Bacteria – Studies show that coconut oil has potent antibacterial properties. It prevents hair and scalp diseases caused by bacterial, viral, and protozoan infections. It also helps prevent lice infestation and dandruff.
- Stimulates Hair Growth. One of the most common treatments for thinning hair is regular application of hot oil. To make it even more effective, coconut oil is mostly used in spas and salons. Coconut oil stimulates the growth of thicker hair strands and also slows down hair loss process.
What to Look for in Coconut Oil?
Not all coconut oils are created, well, produced equal. Some will be better than others on the way they are manufactured, the raw products used, or the process itself. When choosing a coconut oil, it should be as close to being natural as possible. Here are terms to look for.
- Cold Pressed – Cold pressed coconut oil means that it was extracted from coconut meat. The cold pressing method is carried out in a temperature-controlled environment in order to maintain as much nutrients as possible in the resulting coconut oil.
- Organic – This is the ‘buzz’ nowadays and simply means that the coconut from which the oil is extracted did not undergo intensive farming methods and is free from pesticides. Also, you should look for the Organic Food Federation logo to ensure the product’s authenticity.
- Raw – This is as natural as coconut oil can be. Raw coconut oil is extracted using minimal heat to prevent destruction of nutrients and other beneficial compounds. Temperature should be kept within 40 to 45 degrees Celsius.
- Refined and Unrefined – Refined coconut oil is derived from copra or dried coconut. The process involves deodorization and bleaching. Unrefined coconut, on the other hand, is extracted from mature, fresh coconuts and did not undergo any processing. It’s also called virgin coconut oil.
- Fair Trade – This means that buying coconut oil helps farmers get their fair share of the product’s price.
The Best Coconut Oils
There are many coconut oil brands and products out there, but a handful stand out. Here’s a rundown on a few of them.
- Honeydew Therapeutic Grade Coconut Oil – This is a multipurpose coconut oil that can be used on skin as well as hair. It moisturizes skin by penetrating deeply and providing antioxidant benefits. It also accelerates and stimulates hair growth by hydrating hair fibers and infusing them with nutrients. Honeydew Therapeutic Grade Coconut Oil is priced at $9.45 for a 9oz bottle.
- Maple Holistics Pure Fractionated Coconut Oil – Maple Holistics is also known for selling oils extracted from almonds, avocado, and grapeseed but one of their bestsellers is coconut oil. Their Pure Fractionated Coconut Oil is 100% all-natural and can be used to repair damaged hair. It also nourishes the scalp and prevents the ageing process. Maple Holistics Pure Fractionated Coconut Oil is priced at $9.52 for an 8oz bottle.
- Baebody Naturals Fractionated Coconut Oil – This softening and moisturizing coconut oil is odorless so it can be used as carrier oil for oil combinations. Loaded with essential fatty acids, Baebody Naturals Fractionated Coconut Oil is great for your face, nails, hair, and skin. The company is also against animal cruelty and doesn’t test their products on animals. Baebody Naturals Fractionated Coconut Oil is priced at $11.95 for a 16oz bottle.
Shea Moisture 100% Extra Virgin Coconut Oil – This product comes in solid or cream form which makes it more suitable for hair treatment because it doesn’t run down. Shea Moisture 100% Extra Virgin Coconut Oil can soften and hydrate even the driest hair and skin. Restores naturally with minerals, vitamins, and fatty acids. Provides protection, smoothing, and moisture retention. Shea Moisture 100% Extra Virgin Coconut Oil is priced at $13.86 for a 15oz jar.
- ArtNaturals Premium Fractionated Coconut Oil – Therapeutic grade, unadulterated, and 100% pure – these words best describe ArtNaturals Premium Fractionated Coconut Oil. It’s also produced cruelty-free, vegan, and sustainably sourced. This coconut oil is known for antifungal and antibacterial use. It also protects against aging and sun damage. ArtNaturals Premium Fractionated Coconut Oil is priced at $9.95 for a $16oz bottle.
Coconut Oil Recipes
Beneficial to hair as it is, coconut oil may not be the do-all or silver bullet solution for all your hair problems. There are also products or even other oils that can do what it does.
Fortunately, coconut oil is pretty non-reactive, meaning it can be used in combination with other ingredients to maximize or augment its potency. That’s why many brands incorporate coconut oil into their products mixing with other natural or synthetic ingredients. The goal is to maximize the natural beneficial effects of coconut oil.
You can also combine coconut oil with ingredients that you may already have in your home to treat common hair problems such as the following.
- Hair Breakage – Coconut oil, which restores hair proteins, can be combined with apple cider vinegar, which strengthens hair.
- Deep Conditioning – Organic coconut oil can hydrate and nourish hair so it can be combined with honey which is known for hair follicle strengthening and moisture retention properties. You may also mix in apple cider vinegar for added hair strength.
- Repair and Nourishment – Avocado oil is known to lubricate dry strands, revitalize hair follicles, and protect hair from breakage. Mixing it with coconut oil which promotes and stimulates hair growth can repair and nourish damaged hair.
Here are a few recipes that you can try at home.
Wrapping it Up
Coconut oil has many benefits to our body and those for your hair are just a few of them. But you need to be careful in choosing the right coconut oil for your hair problems.
Choose a well-known brand and a product which has undergone meticulous production to ensure purity. It’s also good to buy from companies that support farmers and are against animal testing.
Coconut oil doesn’t have to be used alone. You may combine coconut oil with other oils and ingredients to reap the most benefits out of it.