Coconut oil is nowadays used by millions of people to improve the health of their hair. It is also popular cooking oil in many countries like India, Sri Lanka, Philippines, Burma, etc. Rich in carbohydrates and many other nutrients, coconut oil is found to be good for the body as well as the hair. It is high in saturated fat and has a long shelf life. People have been using this oil for hundreds of years for keeping their hair strong, healthy and well nourished. It is also a good remedy for hair related problems like premature graying, hair loss and baldness. The regular use of coconut oil on the hair ensures the healthy growth of hair as well as protection from hair fall and other hair related problems.
More than 85% of coconut oil is made up of saturated fat, which makes it highly stable cooking oil. About 50% of the fatty acid present in this oil is lauric acid that has strong antimicrobial properties. The high levels of medium chain fatty acids or triglycerides in coconut oil is easily burned by the body unlike the long chain fatty acids that are difficult for your body to break down and hence result in being stored as fat. Virgin coconut oil is found to have plant nutrients called phenolic compounds that provide immense health benefits due to their strong antioxidant properties. Although coconut oil is not rich in vitamins and minerals, it does contain traces of vitamin K, vitamin E and iron.
How does your hair benefit from coconut oil?
Rich in various nutrients, coconut oil helps in keeping hair healthy, strong, shiny and looking great. It moisturizes the scalp, prevents infection and promotes hair growth. The following are some of the hair benefits provided by coconut oil:
- Coconut oil helps retain moisture
Coconut oil is amazing oil that moisturizes your hair and helps retain its moisture content. When applied on a regular basis, this oil not only nourishes the hair but also stimulates hair growth and prevents hair fall. The lauric acid in coconut oil has high moisture retaining capacity, which helps in preventing dryness and itchiness of the scalp.
- Coconut oil for hair loss
Coconut oil is often used as a main ingredient in many products meant for preventing hair loss. When coconut oil is applied on the scalp, it penetrates deep and strengthens the roots. It increases the volume of the hair and also prevents hair fall. Protein loss is considered to be one of the reasons that lead to unhealthy hair and hair fall. Studies indicate that coconut oil has the ability to prevent the loss of protein from the hair. It also has antimicrobial properties that prevent scalp infections, another reason that can lead to hair fall. To prevent hair fall, warm some coconut oil and massage it on to your scalp using your fingertips. Leave it on for a few hours or overnight and then wash off using a mild shampoo.
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- Coconut oil stimulates hair growth
The fatty acids in coconut oil bind to the protein in hair and protect it from breakage. The oil penetrates deep into the skin and stimulates the growth of hair. Another way in which coconut oil promotes healthy hair growth is by improving the blood circulation on the scalp. It also moisturizes the hair, which is essential for hair growth. The antimicrobial properties of this oil helps eliminate scalp problems such as dandruff that may be potential factors affecting the proper growth of hair.
- Coconut oil is a great hair conditioner
If you are looking for a natural conditioner that is free of toxic chemicals, then coconut oil is the ideal choice. The high amounts of fatty acids in the oil moisturize and nourish the hair. It penetrates into the hair shafts and provides deep conditioning of the hair. It is a wonderful conditioner that increases blood circulation and repairs damaged hair. Apply warm coconut oil on the hair. Leave it overnight and wash off with shampoo the next day. Coconut oil can also be used as a leave-in conditioner.
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- Coconut oil eliminates dandruff
In addition to nourishing the hair, coconut oil also provides antibacterial and antifungal effects that can offer relief from dandruff. Dandruff is mainly caused by yeast like fungus known as malassezia that feeds on the oil secreted by the hair follicles. When this fungus grows in excess, the skin tries to get rid of it by shedding skin cells rapidly, which results in dandruff. Coconut oil penetrates the skin and destroys the dandruff causing fungus. It also acts as a moisturizer and prevents dryness of the scalp.
- Coconut oil gets rid of lice
Coconut oil is one of the best natural remedies for head lice. The high fat content of the oil coats the hair as well as the lice, which subsequently suffocates the lice and loosens its grip on the hair. The lubricating nature of the oil also stops multiplication of the lice by preventing the attachment of the nits or eggs to the hair shaft. To get rid of lice, first apply generous amounts of coconut oil on the scalp and hair. Then use a comb specifically designed for eliminating lice and nits.
[Read more about natural ways to remove head lice]
- Coconut oil prevents premature graying of hair
The regular application of coconut oil is a great way to prevent graying of hair. It contains antioxidants that fight off the free radicals that cause premature graying. Massage your hair and scalp with coconut oil every night and wash off the next morning. This helps in slowing down graying of hair.
- Coconut oil is a great styling agent
Coconut oil is not only a conditioner but is also a wonderful styling agent. It acts as an anti-frizz hair serum and hence is helpful in taming frizzy hair. The use of hair dryers, flat irons and other styling agents can cause damage to the hair. However, the application of coconut oil on the hair before using these styling tools can help prevent such damage.
- Coconut oil for straight hair
Straight hair has become a style trend nowadays. Hair straightening with the help of chemicals is very expensive and can also cause lot of damage to the hair. If you want to straighten your hair without the use of chemicals and flat irons, then go for coconut oil. Apply warm and massage it on the scalp. Cover the hair with a hot towel and wash with a mild shampoo after an hour.
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- Coconut oil as a sunscreen
Coconut oil has been found to be effective in protecting your hair from the harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun. The oil that is easily absorbed by the hair acts as a good sunscreen and prevents damage. Before going out into the sun, massage coconut oil on to your hair and brush for equal distribution. Then style your hair as usual.
Some DIY coconut oil hair treatments
Coconut oil is a perfect remedy for almost all kinds of hair problems. Here are some of the coconut oil hair treatments that you can try at home:
Coconut oil and honey mask for beautiful and silky smooth hair
Heat a mixture of coconut oil and honey in a pan and then allow it to cool. Apply this mixture on the scalp and hair and massage it gently. Leave the mixture on your hair for half an hour and then wash it off using a mild shampoo.
Coconut oil and lemon juice for eliminating dandruff
Mix together 4 tbsp of coconut oil and one tbsp of lemon juice. Apply this mixture on the scalp and wait for 15 to 20 minutes. Then wash with a mild shampoo.
[Read more about 50 natural ways to treat dandruff]
Coconut oil and banana mask for thick hair
Take an overripe banana and coconut oil in a blender and blend well. Apply this mixture on the scalp and hair. Leave it on for about 15 minutes and wash off using warm water.
Coconut oil and castor oil mask for dry and frizzy hair
Both coconut oil and castor oil has moisturizing properties that prevent dryness of hair, making it shiny and lustrous. Take equal proportions of coconut and castor oils and apply it on the root and hair. Leave the mask on for an hour and wash it off with a mild shampoo.
Coconut oil and strawberry mask for lustrous hair
Make a paste of a few strawberries, a tbsp of coconut oil and a tbsp of honey. Apply this paste on the roots, hair and hair tips. Leave for half an hour and wash off with warm water.
Coconut oil and avocado mask for hair growth and dry hair
Coconut oil and avocados have nourishing properties that makes this mask a perfect remedy for dry and frizzy hair. It also strengthens the hair and promotes hair growth. Blend together one tbsp of coconut oil, a ripe avocado and a cup of milk. Apply this paste on the scalp and hair and leave it on for half an hour. Wash off the paste with warm water.
Coconut oil has been previously shunned by health experts because of its high saturated fat content. However, studies have proved that it is actually good for the health, as a result of which there has been an increase in its demand. Coconut oil has been used as a hair conditioner for thousands of years. When it comes to achieving healthy hair, a proper diet and hair care go hand in hand. If you are on the lookout for a natural, inexpensive and safe way to keep your hair healthy, try using the coconut oil!