Coconut oil, sometimes called copra oil, is oil that was extracted from mature coconuts. It is completely edible, but has high levels of saturated fat that is why consumption should be limited. Aside from its use in the kitchen, coconut oil also has several benefits for weight loss, improving digestion, skin care, and of course, hair care.
Coconut plantations are mostly abundant in tropical countries, but that does not mean that the wonders of coconut oil are limited in these countries as well. Because of its great properties and benefits, more and more people are discovering this amazing oil and it is continuously gaining popularity in different countries all across the globe.
Types of Coconut Oil
There are different types of coconut oil that you can choose from, depending on your preference and its availability:
- Unrefined Organic Coconut Oil
This type of coconut oil has the most benefits that is why it is also considered as the gold standard. Oil is extracted from fresh coconuts using a wet-milled fermentation process, which does not affect the beneficial properties of the coconut. Although it uses heat, the extraction process does not harm the oil or reduce the nutrient levels.
- Extra Virgin Coconut Oil
This type of oil is produced by cold-pressing the oil, but the process does not preserve the antioxidants as well.
- Refined Coconut Oils
This is often tasteless and has no coconut smell. Although healthy options are available, many refined coconut oils do not have the same benefits as unrefined.
- Fractionated Oil or MCT Oil
This is a liquid coconut oil, which does not get solid below 76 degrees, like unrefined oil. It is higher in brain-boosting fats, but it does not contain all the beneficial properties of unrefined coconut oil.
For internal use, gold standard or unrefined organic oil is the best, but for external uses, other types of coconut oil will work just fine.
Coconut Oil’s Nutritional Profile
Coconut oil contains a lot of saturated fats, but they are in the form of Medium Chain Triglycerides or MCTs. They affect the body differently than short and long chain fats and are composed of Lauric Acid, Caprylic Acid, and Capric Acid. They increase your body’s metabolism rate and aids in weight loss.
Coconut oil also has Vitamin E, which keeps skin and hair healthy. Like other vitamins, it also keeps organic system functioning smoothly.
Coconut Oil and Hair Growth
Coconut oil is one of the most popular hair treatment and conditioner from nature because it does not only improve hair cuticle and scalp health, it can repair damaged hair too. It also has antifungal properties which eliminate the need for dandruff shampoos that have harmful ingredients.
When it comes to improving hair growth, a lot of factors come to play but proper health and hair care are essential as well as using the right products. Coconut oil helps in protecting and moisturizing the scalp, while also nurturing the growth of healthier and stronger hair.
- Coconut oil shields hair protein.
The oil’s fatty acids protect the roots and hair strands from breakage by binding the protein in hair. Lauric acid, which is found in coconut oil, also provides great results when it comes to achieving healthy hair.
- Coconut oil provides essential nutrients.
Coconut oil has natural antioxidants and nutrients which can deliver critical resources to make your hair softer and shinier. It is rich in Vitamin E, Vitamin K, and Iron, which can eliminate dandruff effectively while also boosting hair growth.
- Coconut oil seals in moisture.
To achieve healthy hair, moisture is an essential factor. That is why, regular and consistent use of coconut oil is a helpful technique. Coconut oil penetrates the hair shaft, protecting it against environmental impurities as well as excess heat.
- Coconut oil improves blood circulation.
A scalp massage using coconut oil can greatly improve blood circulation in the scalp. It can also boost nutrient and oxygen delivery to your hair.
- Coconut oil has antibacterial and antifungal properties.
This property of coconut oil is beneficial because the scalp and hair can be a breeding ground of bacteria, and coconut oil can effectively deal with this issue. It can also protect the hair against dandruff and lice, which are potential problems that may limit hair growth.
Side Effects and Safety
Coconut oil is an edible oil, so it is generally safe to take it by mouth or apply it on the skin.
However, coconut oil has saturated fatty acids that are typically bad for the health. These fats can accumulate in our bodies and may even cause blockages within the arteries. They can also stick to our arterial walls and cause the blood passageway to be smaller, resulting eventually to high blood pressure.
Coconut oil may also cause allergic reactions and serious anaphylaxis, which can be potentially life threatening. People who are allergic to hazelnuts may also develop a similar reactivity to coconut. This may be very rare, but it can happen.
For children, and pregnant or lactating women, coconut oil is also likely to be safe, especially when used in moderate amounts. Just make sure to stick to food amounts for safety. But, if coconut oil will be used topically, it is generally safe.
Benefits of Coconut Oil for Hair
These days, there are so many commercially available hair treatments claiming and promising to do wonders to our hair. While they may be effective, some of them may contain certain ingredients that can be harmful to our health, especially when used long term. They may also be more expensive compared to coconut oil, which can also give a lot of hair benefits such as below:
- Hair Loss. Coconut oil can be mixed with other natural ingredients like gooseberries or lime water then applied to the scalp for prevention of hair loss.
- Hair Growth. Coconut oil can help improve blood circulation in the scalp and conditions the hair follicles, promoting faster and healthier hair growth.
- Hair Damage. Coconut oil can help reduce protein loss in hair as it is rich in lauric acid and can easily penetrate the insides of the hair shaft.
- Hair Conditioning. Coconut oil can easily beat any synthetic conditioners that can be bought in the market. It can keep hair healthy, strong, shiny, and soft.
- Moisture Retention. Coconut oil has a high moisture retaining capacity, which means it does not let moisture escape, keeping the hair moist and soft. As a result, there will also be less or no breakage.
- Dandruff Prevention. Coconut oil consists of fatty acids that can also serve as anti-dandruff agents, beating commercial anti-dandruff shampoos any day.
- Gray Hair and Baldness. Coconut oil is also beneficial in preventing or delaying signs of aging such as gray hair and baldness.
Best Ways of Using Coconut Oil for Hair
- For Hair Growth
Coconut is a safe, effective, and affordable way to help grow longer and thicker hair. Just apply coconut oil to hair and shampoo after a couple of hours. You can also leave it overnight for better absorption and deeper treatment. It is best to use a chemical free shampoo which is gentle, yet effective in removing oil residue so that your hair will not look greasy after.
- For Dandruff
Dandruff can also be a cause of hair loss and other hair and scalp problems. Since coconut oil has has medium-chain fatty acids such as lauric acid and capric acid, which have strong antiviral, antimicrobial, and antifungal properties, it is also a good way to get rid of dandruff permanently. To use, just heat some coconut oil, but make sure that it is not burning hot before you rub it on your scalp. Gently massage and leave it on for a while before rinsing your hair with a good anti-dandruff shampoo.
- For Damaged Hair
Again, warm up some coconut oil, but make sure that it is not burning hot before you massage it into your hair and scalp. When applying, target trouble spots or those that have the most damage. Wrap your hair in a warm towel or cover your hair with a shower cap. After two hours, wash away the oil with an herbal shampoo. Avoid using a shampoo with harsh chemicals as it may just impede the restoration process.
Top 5 Coconut Oil Products
1. Pure Organic Virgin Coconut Oil for Hair, Skin, Body, Scalp and Hair Growth By COCO&CO. Cosmetic Grade 100% RAW
Coco & Co.’s Pure and Organic Virgin Coconut Oil is exceptionally pure and is extremely high grade as it goes through a special extraction process that is even better than cold pressed virgin coconut oil. It is definitely 100% raw and organic, specially formulated for health and beauty.
It is enriched with the best nutrients and minerals that can benefit the hair and make it thicker, healthier, and shinier. It is crystal clear when in liquid form and is milky white when in solid form. It also has a non-greasy texture and can be absorbed easily.
2. Majestic Pure Fractionated Coconut Oil, 16 fl. oz. For Aromatherapy Relaxing Massage, Carrier Oil for Diluting Essential Oils, Hair & Skin Care Benefits, Moisturizer & Softener
Mejestic Pure’s Fractionated Coconut Oil is made with premium quality and is processed in a way that only the healthy medium chain fatty acids are left. It has miraculous skin benefits, with its high concentration of antioxidant and disinfecting properties. Aside from skin care, it can also be used in a number of hair care applications.
The good thing about the product is that it is free from hexanes, parabens, and sulfates. It is 100% pure and natural, making it safe and non-irritant. It is easily absorbed by the skin without the greasy feel, and does not aggravate skin problems or clog pores, that is why it is ideal for scalp massage to promote hair growth.
3. Coconut Moisture with Retinol Organic Coconut Oil Face Moisturizer with 2.5% Retinol Plus Vitamin C, Vitamin E, and Organic Blend of Argan Oil, Aloe Vera, Chamomile Oil, & Jojoba Oil
VoilaVe’s Coconut Moisture with Retinol is designed as an anti aging moisturizer for the face and neck. It is rich in antioxidants, which repair damaged skin cells and provide protection against free radicals. Its Retinol content, which is a form of Vitamin A, helps in rebuilding collagen, diminishing wrinkles, shrinking pores, rejuvenating skin, and brightening complexion.
It does not contain sulfates, parabens, preservatives, and other harsh chemicals. It is purely organic and naturally softens the skin and retains its moisture for a healthier glow.
4. Fractionated Coconut Oil Skin Moisturizer – Natural & Pure Carrier Oil Massage Oil Skin Moisturizer Therapeutic Odorless – for Skin & Hair 16 Oz Clear Premium Nature
Premium Nature’s Fractionated Coconut Oil is also 100% natural and can be used even by those with sensitive skin. It has a wide variety of purposes and benefits for the skin and hair. It helps hair grow longer, thicker, and stronger as it contains a great balance of saturated fats.
The good thing about Premium Nature’s Coconut Oil is that it does not dry up easily and has a longer shelf life than other brands. It can also be mixed with other essential oils and natural products to have the best treatment for skin and hair. It is also made with high quality, without taking a toll on its price.
5. Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil by Sky Organics 16.9 oz- USDA Organic Coconut Oil, Cold-Pressed, Kosher, Cruelty-Free, Fairtrade, Unrefined- Ideal as a Skin Moisturizer, Hair Treatment & Baking
Sky Organics’ Extra Virgin Coconut Oil is versatile and has multiple health benefits for weight loss, digestion, skin, and hair. It is cold pressed and unrefined, meaning all the essential nutrients and numerous health benefits are retained and preserved, without any additives.
It can be used to as a conditioner to revitalize your hair and make it healthier and fuller. It can also be used as a styling aid and to protect your hair from irritants and from the harmful UV rays. It also fights dandruff and works as a great hair mask to invigorate the hair from roots to tips.
The Bottom Line
Coconut oil is definitely one of the most beneficial oil not just for the hair, but for the skin as well. Using it is also one of the best things that you can do to avoid having to use products containing strong ingredients and harmful chemicals. It can protect your hair from various elements while also keeping it shiny, manageable, strong, and nourished.
When deciding which coconut oil to use, look for the unrefined organic or extra virgin coconut oil to fully maximize its benefits. Also, aside from using the best coconut oil that you can get your hands on, it is also important for you to be mindful of what you eat and to keep your hair and scalp clean and healthy at all times.