Hair Benefits of Coconut Oil

Posted by Nazish Otuyelu on

Coconut Oil Hair Benefits: Why You Might Need It

Coconut oil truly is a beauty powerhouse.  It has proven antibacterial and antioxidant benefits and can improve the look and texture of the skin.  When it comes to hair, coconut oil is no slouch either. Coconut oil has many scientifically proven benefits that can give you healthier, stronger and longer hair.

Coconut oil has some amazing benefits for your hair. Besides improving the shine and smoothness of your hair, other benefits of using coconut oil may include:

  • Penetrates hair shaft
  • Reduces protein loss from your hair
  • Increases strand strength
  • Improves elasticity
  • Decreases breakage
  • Improves length retention
  • Reduces environmental (sun/wind/chemical) damage

Coconut Oil for Hair: Who Needs It Most?

While many people can benefit from using coconut oil on their hair, coconut oil is especially useful if:

  • Your hair is damaged
  • Your hair breaks easily
  • You have high porosity hair
  • Your hair is colored or chemically treated

What Makes Coconut Oil Better Than Some Other Oils?

What oil to use on your hair is definitely a personal choice.  However, you should know that all oils are not created equally.  To understand why, let’s take a look at a diagram of a hair strand:


hair benefits coconut oil

Your hair shaft is composed of three layers:

  • Cuticle (outermost)
  • Cortex
  • Medulla (innermost)

The cuticle is composed of dead cells that look like shingles on a roof.   

coconut oil hair benefits

You can think of your hair’s cuticles as your hair’s body armor!  The cuticle gives the hair a lot of its strength and resilience, and it’s the first line of defense for your hair. The cuticle is what determines the water content of your hair too.

An amazing hair benefit of coconut oil is that it’s one of the few oils that is widely accepted to actually penetrate into your hair shaft. Most oils simply sit on your hair cuticle.

Coconut oil has a high affinity (really likes) to hair proteins, and because of its low molecular weight and other characteristics it’s able to penetrate inside the hair shaft.

Why Coconut Oil Benefits Damaged Hair

When your hair is damaged, your cuticle is usually frayed, and the fragile proteins of its inner cortex becomes exposed.  The cortex, or middle part of your hair is the primary source of your hair strength.

When the proteins of your hair’s inner cortex become exposed and damaged, your hair becomes weaker and breaks.

coconut oil hair benefits

Coconut oil is believed to help strengthen and fortify the inner proteins of your hair.  One study comparing coconut oil, sunflower oil and mineral oil found that coconut oil was the only one of the three to reduce hair protein loss when used as a prepoo or after wash product.

While the other oils might coat the hair, they weren’t absorbed as well as coconut oil, and weren’t able to penetrate and strengthen the hair the way the coconut oil did.

Coconut Oil Hair Benefits: How To

There are a lot of ways to begin to incorporate coconut oil into your hair routine.

  • Prepoo
  • After shampoo deep conditioner
  • Overnight mask
  • Daily fortifier on dry or damp/spritzed hair

Coconut oil can be kind of polarizing in the natural hair community.  I’d love to know what you think.  Some people feel like their hair is coconut oil sensitive.  What do you think about coconut oil?  Comment below!

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