Using coconut oil for hair styling is crazy popular. Loaded with nutrients, healthy fats, and other (scientifically proven) health properties, it’s not hard to see why we’ve fallen so head over heels for it.
However, before you reach for that expensive coconut oil conditioner from that celebrity stylist, take a few minutes to gain a deeper understanding of the science behind why it works (and when it doesn’t). Coconut oil is amazing if you use it properly. We dive deep into the science behind using coconut oil for hairstyling to help you enjoy its maximum benefits.
Why Everybody Loves Coconut Oil
The use of coconut oil in the United States goes back further than a lot of people think. It’s been used for thousands of years in many parts of Asia and the South Pacific. However, it first entered the European and American food markets sometime around 1890, where it rapidly established itself as a staple. Until extra virgin olive oil became affordable in the 1940s, coconut was one of the main sources of dietary fat for Americans.
Coconut oil fell into obscurity for the next few decades, until it was rediscovered in the 1980s as something of a natural miracle cure for a variety of physical and aesthetic maladies. Since then, it’s been a darling of the health and beauty worlds. It’s been used for healthier hair, to treat hair loss, and even address dandruff.
A lot of research has been done to identify exactly what makes coconut oil so great for hair care. We do know that the oils and acids in coconut oil have specific properties that make them conducive to your hair. Specifically:
- Coconut oil is loaded with short and medium-chain fatty acids that absorb readily into hair follicles due to their smaller size.
- One of the main compounds, lauric acid, is known to possess antibacterial and antiviral properties.
- It’s an emollient, meaning that it can moisturize and improve the softness of hair and skin.
- It’s got large amounts of nutrients that support hair health including vitamin E, phytonutrients, phenolic acids, and flavonoids.
Best of all, coconut oil delivers all of these benefits in a completely natural form, which makes it attractive to people trying to avoid harsh products. With coconut oil, there are no chemicals or sulfates involved.
When It Might Not Be the Best Choice for Your Hair
With science actually confirming the properties of coconut oil for hair styling goodness, it’s hard to imagine it as anything other than a panacea for all your hair care woes. In fact, science also tells us that there are a few specific instances when you may not want to use coconut oil for your hair:
- You’ve got low porosity hair. Due to the type of fatty acids prevalent in coconut oil, it tends to have a sealing effect on the hair. If you’ve got hair that struggles to take in moisture, the last thing you want in it is something that makes moisturizing even harder. Coconut oil is not for you.
- Your hair has protein overload. Suffering from dry, brittle, stringy hair? You may have too much protein on your strands from your other products. In this case, coconut oil will be useless – even harmful because of its sealing effects. You need a clarifying shampoo, instead.
5 Ways to Use Coconut Oil for Hair Styling
Conventional wisdom (and also science) says that coconut oil works best on thin, medium-to-high porosity hair that isn’t dry or brittle. If that’s your hair, then congratulations! You’re in a prime position to take advantage of its wonders. Here are five ways in which you can use coconut oil for hair styling.
1. Use It as Leave-In Conditioning
Coconut oil is an excellent leave-in or deep conditioner. Apply a dime-size amount of pure coconut oil to your hair by working it from an inch above the roots all the way to the tips.
In general, don’t apply coconut oil directly to your scalp. Its sealing properties can trap sebum, resulting in itchiness and scalp buildup.
2. Slay Frizz and Frazzled Tips
If you’re struggling with frizz that’s the result of sun damage or split ends, try using a bit of coconut oil to tame it. The emollient properties will help soothe and smooth raised cuticles. While it won’t fix your frizz or split ends permanently (nothing will), it provides a bit of relief until you can get a trim.
3. Deploy It as a Pre-Poo
Getting ready to subject your mane to a shampoo treatment? Use coconut oil as a pre-poo. It will help protect your hair from being “over-cleaned” and give your regular conditioner something to hold onto when you apply it.
Along these lines, coconut oil is also a useful extra layer for pre-poos that need to last several hours or overnight. Apply it over another oil, like argan oil, or your deep conditioner to help your hair retain its moisture.
4. Protect Your Hair from the Elements
If you’re off to the pool or the beach, consider throwing some coconut oil into your hair before you do. Coconut oil can not only help prevent your hair from getting dried out by pool chemicals or salty beach air, but the fatty acids function as a natural sunscreen.
The SPF of coconut oil is only around 4 or 5, so we don’t recommend using coconut oil as a sunscreen for your skin as well. However, that small amount is enough to help protect your hair.
5. Eat It Up!
Yep, you read that right. There’s a lot of evidence out there that coconut oil is more effective when it’s ingested because it’s able to fight inflammation in the body. So, try eating a spoonful every day and see how it makes your hair (and skin) glow.
Yes! Coconut Oil Works for Hair Styling
Here at Turbie Twist, we’re huge fans of coconut oil. It’s a fantastic natural treatment for many different types of hair. We’ve gone over some of the scientific evidence which supports its use for hairstyling. Coconut oil is rich in fatty acids, nutrients, and health properties. However, like all amazing things, there are some instances where you don’t want to use it. We’ve covered these to help you make an informed choice which enhances your hair’s natural beauty.Get beautiful hair naturally, without harsh chemicals or expensive gadgets. Our Turbie Twist® hair towels are specially designed to support beautiful hair that dries quickly.