Will Coconut Oil Work for All Hair Types?

Studies show that coconut oil is considered safe for general use on hair and skin (1). Not only is it safe, but many people find that coconut oil is the single best oil to keep their hair healthy, long and shiny, all year round. Coconut oil is touted for its many benefits, both in the kitchen and the bathroom, but is coconut oil right for everybody? Especially when it comes to hair care, is coconut oil right for you?

does coconut oil work

What Makes Coconut a Great Hair Oil, Anyway?

Coconut oil can benefit your hair in many ways. However, let’s quickly review some of the highlights:

1. Coconut Oil Helps Your Hair Grow Long
long hair

Coconut oil penetrates the hair shaft better than most oils due to its medium chain fatty acid content (2). It is an exceptionally good oil for moisturizing and preventing breakage and damage due to environmental conditions (wind, cold and sun, for example) and over-styling (3). Many people find that, for these reasons, coconut oil allows their hair to grow longer and healthier, and prevents hair loss.

2. Coconut Oil Protects Hair Better Than Other Oils

Coconut oil can help your hair stay healthy and shiny by preventing protein loss. One study compared coconut oil to other mineral oils commonly used in hair care, and coconut oil came out on top for preventing protein loss that occurs during washing (4). This is largely attributed to the lauric acid content of coconut oil and its unique chemical structure that allows it to deeply penetrate the hair shaft, better protecting it from damage.

3. Coconut Oil Treats and Prevents Dandruff

Also thanks to coconut’s lauric acid content, coconut oil can work well to prevent and treat dandruff. Often, dandruff occurs because of an underlying fungal (yeast) infection. Lauric acid is a powerful anti-fungal agent, so we can conclude that coconut oil will help in the case of dandruff (5). More studies are needed, however.

Will Coconut Oil Work for All Hair Types?

While coconut oil might be the perfect hair oil for some (and the most versatile), it might not be for others. Similarly to how healthy foods are recommended to everyone and offer major health benefits to most, everybody’s body and hair are unique and have varying needs.

coconut oil hair types

Coconut oil helps to retain the naturally occurring proteins of the hair cortex, which is helpful for people who lack enough of these proteins. This rule won’t apply across the board, but typically those with fine to medium-thickness hair will experience fuller and shinier hair with coconut oil use. However, those with thicker, drier hair might actually find that coconut oil leads to hair loss and more brittle hair. This group may well benefit from a lighter oil, such as argan. Check out our article on 5 other excellent hair oils, here.

When to Use Coconut Oil For Your Hair, and When Not To

To determine if coconut oil is right for you, you’ll just need to experiment a bit. If you have hair that tends to be dry, try incorporating coconut oil into your hair care routine and see if you like the results. No matter your particular hair thickness or texture, using too much oil, too often can lead to greasy, dull hair (probably not the end goal). If this happens, simply use less and make your usage less frequent.

Also, remember to rinse your coconut oil out well, as this can lead to greasy and heavy feeling hair, not to mention clogged drains.

Those with very thin, fine hair might want to avoid applying coconut oil directly to their scalp, and stick to  using it only on the middle and ends of the hair. This can reduce protein loss and help you achieve the same benefits of healthy, shiny hair that coconut can provide.

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