Coconut oil isn't just for skin - it's packed with benefits for your scalp and hair. Many store-bought hair products contain coconut oil, but they might also be filled with ingredients you don't want or need. A few dabs of pure coconut oil will soothe your scalp for just pennies per treatment.
The Best Oil To Reduce Protein Loss From Hair
Coconut oil is often said to be the best oil to use on your hair to reduce protein loss and keep it looking healthy. Given the current popularity of coconut oil, this would be easy to dismiss as a trend. However, there is some evidence behind this claim. One study examined the effects of applying coconut, sunflower or mineral oil to hair before or after washing. To see which oil was best for protecting hair health, the researchers measured the amount of protein the hair lost after each of these treatments. They found that coconut oil was better at preventing protein loss than both the mineral and sunflower oils when applied either before or after the hair was washed.
In fact, coconut oil came out on top in all of their studies and reduced protein loss in hair that was undamaged, bleached, chemically treated and UV exposed. On the other hand, both the mineral and sunflower oils did not have this effect and weren't found to be effective at reducing protein loss from hair. It's thought that coconut oil's chemical structure is behind its superior ability to protect hair. Coconut oil is predominantly made up of a Medium Chain Fatty Acids called lauric acid. This gives coconut oil a long, straight structure, which is more easily absorbed deep into the hair shaft.
Benefits for Hair and Scalp
If you have a dry, itchy scalp, coconut oil can help. The oil moisturizes skin and may help correct redness and irritation. Coconut oil soothes scalp conditions, including dandruff and cradle cap, an issue commonly seen in babies. Its antibacterial properties may ward off folliculitis, an infection of the hair follicles. Coconut oil can also fight fungal infections, such as ringworm of the scalp. Daily washing strips hair of its sebum, which can lead to dry, frizzy locks. Coconut oil acts as a protective barrier between washes so hair stays soft and silky.
Make a Coconut-Oil Treatment
To make your own scalp treatment, put 3 to 5 tablespoons of coconut oil in a small bowl. The amount of oil to use depends on the length of your hair. Microwave the oil for 30 seconds. Stir well, then heat a few seconds more until the oil has melted fully. Let the oil cool a bit, then massage it into your scalp and the roots of your hair. Use a plastic comb to work the oil through your hair. Wrap your tresses in a towel or shower cap, then let the oil soak in for two hours. Finish by shampooing as usual.