As it turns out, coconut oil has a lot of uses when it comes to keeping hair and skin healthy, and people have been using it to treat hair for hundreds of years. If you like using all-natural products, you’ll love coconut oil.
What’s better is that you don’t need to invest in the latest hair products touting their own special type of coconut oil to reap the benefits – you can just buy a bottle of plain coconut oil from the grocery or drug store. Even better than that? Most of the time, you don’t need to use much of the oil, so even a small jar will keep your hair healthy and smelling great for a long time.
Something coconut oil does very well that other oils or products don’t (or at all) is penetrate the hair shaft. This is due to the oil’s fatty acid structure. Coconut oil is comprised of medium chain fatty acids that have an easier time crossing cell membranes than short or long chain fatty acids. Most other oils are long chain.
Once the coconut oil has penetrated the hair shaft, it prevents water from getting in. If water gets into your hair shaft, the surface of your hair, called the cuticle, rises. Raised cuticles equal damaged hair andfrizz. The penetration also means that all of the moisture, proteins, vitamins, and other good things found in coconut oil actually make it inside of your hair rather than sitting on top.
Why are these fatty acids and vitamins good? We all know what happens to dry hair, but the fatty acids, vitamin E, vitamin K, and iron found in coconut oil help to keep your hair from losing protein. Fatty acids bind to the proteins in your hair, protecting each strand. If your hair isn’t losing as much protein, it’s less prone to breakage. Plus, coconut oil doesn’t the leave greasy or oily residue that so many other products do.
About half of the fatty acids in coconut oil come from lauric acid. Lauric acid doesn’t occur very often in nature, but when it does, it works very well for killing bacteria. Especially if you wear your hair in dreads, braids, or any other style where you may have some concern about microbes or fungus, applying coconut oil is a good way to keep your hair fresh.
In addition to the great hair care, coconut oil does wonders for your scalp, too. Massaging the oil into your scalp increases the skin’s circulation and absorption of nutrients and oxygen.
Just smoothing a dollop of coconut oil into your hair or scalp can help fix a number of problems. These uses include:
There are a number of hair treatments you can do that involve coconut oil. The oil can be mixed with other ingredients to create hair masks, dandruff treatments, and conditioners. Here are a few suggestions:
If you decide to give coconut oil a try, you want it to be virgin. Avoid products with additives, such as fragrances, or ones manufactured using any type of refining process. After all, you’re trying to stop using chemicals that dry out and damage your hair. Coconut oil smells great, but if you’re not a fan of the oil’s scent, you can also find odorless products.
Shinier, stronger, conditioned hair is just a trip to the store away (and every time you use the coconut oil in your hair, you’ll be moisturizing your hands, too). That being said, there aren’t any products that can help your hair if you’re not following recommended practices when washing, styling, or dying your hair, so start there and add coconut oil as necessary to boost your hair’s health when needed.
If you’ve tried coconut oil, let me know how it worked for you. What brand worked best for you? Also, don’t forget to share these tips with your friends or pin them to save for later .
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