Coconut Oil Hair Growth Tips You Probably Haven't Heard Of
Earlier this year I found out about the wonders of coconut oil, and I wasn’t alone!
So far i've seen amazing results and want to get down to the facts.
Ever since I discovered I could use coconut oil in my hair, it seems like everybody else is doing it too. Not only that, but there are apparently hundreds of purported uses for coconut oil for beauty, hygiene, health, cooking, cleaning, and more.
This might sound weird to you if you were around a couple of decades ago when health researchers were saying that coconut oil is the worst thing ever for you, but it turns out that they were referring to using super refined coconut oil in excess in cooking—not small amounts of the super nutritious unrefined coconut oil.
Anyway, I’ve had amazing results with coconut oil in my hair, but I wanted to get down to the bottom of the matter and find out some facts.
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I’ve seen researchers on reliable sources say that there isn’t hard scientific evidence to support coconut oil for a lot of its uses, but what about hair?
Is coconut oil really good for your hair, and are there any studies to back it up?
Or is this all just a lot of hype, just another fashion and dieting fad?
It turns out the answer is a resounding YES! Coconut oil IS good for your hair!
With a little research, I discovered this article on the “Effect of mineral oil, sunflower oil, and coconut oil on prevention of hair damage.”
The researchers who conducted the study wanted to see whether any of these oils could help to prevent protein loss in damaged and undamaged hair. “Among three oils, coconut oil was the only oil found to reduce the protein loss remarkably for both undamaged and damaged hair when used as a pre-wash and post-wash grooming product,” the authors wrote in their abstract.
There is a scientific backing for using coconut oil in your hair!
What’s the scientific mechanism behind how it works?
The authors of the study explain it this way: “Coconut oil, being a triglyceride of lauric acid (principal fatty acid), has a high affinity for hair proteins, and, because of its low molecular weight and straight linear chain, is able to penetrate inside the hair shaft.”
Sunflower oil cannot penetrate the hair shaft, and mineral oil has no affinity for proteins and can’t penetrate the hair shaft either. In other words, these other oils can only act on the outside of your hair shaft.
They can create some improvement there, but it won’t go very deep.
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Coconut oil is good for your hair shaft inside and out! That makes it a much better oil for strengthening your hair.
Your hair is basically made of protein; that’s what keratin is. So when you reduce protein loss through coconut oil treatments, you protect the strength and structural integrity of your keratin.
This makes your hair less prone to breakage, and that in turn lets you grow your hair longer!
On top of that, I’ve noticed a number of other benefits to using coconut oil in my hair:
- No more frizz.
- No more flyaway hairs. My hair looks a lot neater now.
- Better texture. My hair feels a lot smoother.
- So much shine! Wow! I used to think that shiny hair was something that was simply out of my reach.
How Do You Use Coconut Oil in Your Hair?
So how, and when, do you use coconut oil in your hair? And what type of coconut oil should you use?
First things first.
You want to use unrefined coconut oil.
The refined stuff doesn’t have as much nutrition intact. I also think that it smells a bit odd, which is annoying if you are leaving it in.
The unrefined coconut oil on the other hand smells faintly of coconut. It is in no way overwhelming. And since I like the smell of coconut, to me this is very much a positive. Don’t balk at the price of the container.
You will probably pay about $12-$18 for a pint of it, but trust me, it’s worth it. You will not go through it quickly.
A little bit of this stuff goes a very long way. So you will be able to use it for quite some time before you have to go out and replace it.
Okay, so the next question you have is probably, “When do I use this stuff?”
The scientific research article answered that too!
According to the researchers who ran the study, coconut oil was effective as a pre-wash or post-wash treatment.
So you can apply it to your hair before or after you shower and get great results. This is all very much a matter of personal preference and experimentation.
You will want to try different things and see what works for you.
Personally I love it as a leave-in conditioner, but you have to be very sparing with it if you do this.
If you overdo it with this stuff even a little, your hair will look totally greasy, and then you will need to wash it out. You can maximize the benefits by leaving it in though, and it does make your hair look all shiny and smooth.
It’s actually been a great replacement for a commercial product I used to use called BioSilk that has the same effect.
It takes a few uses before you start to figure out the right amount for your hair. One trick I notice that does help is to put the coconut oil onto the ends of my hair first, and then just rub what’s left on my hands into my scalp.
This seems to prevent the greasy look, but still does a nice job moisturizing my scalp and giving my hair on top some shine.
Among three oils, coconut oil was the only oil found to reduce the protein loss remarkably for both undamaged and damaged hair when used as a pre-wash and post-wash grooming product.
A Quick Note on Using Coconut Oil
You can buy coconut oil that is trapped in a liquid form, but most coconut oil is solid in the container at room temperature. If you heat it up, it will turn into a liquid, but if it cools back down, it will return to its solid state. You will need to heat it up to apply it to your hair.
You can throw it in the microwave and do it that way, or you can do what I do.
I just get a tiny bit of it and rub it fast between my hands.
The friction creates heat and it melts instantly. No microwave required! It’s ready to use and I rub it right into my scalp and hair. This is just so much easier. It only takes a couple of minutes, and then my hair looks perfect.
If you have extra coconut oil left over in your bowl (if you went with the microwave idea) and you do not want to put it back into your container to use later, do not put it down your drain!
It will solidify later in your drainpipe and clog it up.
And it is really tough to get that stuff out! So you will want to dispose of it some other way. My extra coconut oil that I can’t use goes in the trash or outside.
Coconut Oil Hair Mask and Conditioning Treatment Recipes
Now that you know why coconut oil is so good for your hair and have a good idea how to use it, let’s share some coconut oil hair mask recipes! While you can apply coconut oil directly to your hair without adding any other ingredients, there may be times you want to mix a mask together for an even more luxurious pre-wash treatment. Or you might want to create a more sophisticated leave-in treatment.
Here are a few recipes you can try which are great for either pre-wash or post-wash! I’ll let you know exactly how to make them and when and how you should use them.
Coconut Oil and Honey Hair Mask
This recipe comes from The Everygirl.
It’s simple and easy and is designed for damaged hair. If you’ve damaged your hair from too much blow drying or bleaching or just from using bad hair care products or poor habits, you will love this coconut oil and honey mask.
All you need is a tablespoon of organic unrefined coconut oil and a tablespoon of organic raw honey. Mix them together in a saucepan and heat them up on your stove. It may not sound like a lot, but it will go a long ways! If you have super long hair, you might need to double the recipe.
You can apply it to your hair wet or dry, but according to author Stephanie, it is easier to apply when your hair is wet. Rub it into the roots of your hair and work it down to the ends. Wrap up your hair in a bun and let it soak for the next half hour or so.
Do something else to amuse yourself for 30 to 40 minutes, and then head to the shower to wash with shampoo and conditioner and rinse. You should see instant results in the form of smooth, soft hair.
Do it a couple of times a week and you will really strengthen your hair!
Coconut Oil and Avocado Hair Mask
This recipe comes from allwomenstalk.com.
Avocado is a traditional hair secret used all around the world. While coconut oil and avocado both work great on their own, they work even better if you use them together! This mixture will add extra shine to your hair and give it a beautiful luster.
If you have problems with dry scalp and dandruff, it will help to moisturize and stop that flaking and irritation. All you need for this recipe is a tablespoon of coconut oil and an avocado. Start by heating the coconut oil and then rubbing it into your hair.
Start at the roots again and work your way down to the tips.
After you have completed that step, get your avocado and mash it up into a paste. Work the avocado into your hair. The site suggests you only put it in the tips of your hair and avoid your scalp (it doesn’t state why).
After you have done this, just wait for ten or fifteen minutes, and then go and rinse it out in the shower and do your usual shampoo and conditioner routine.
Your hair will be really shiny!
Essential Oil “Hair Repair” Treatment
This idea comes from Bonzai Aphrodite, and it’s a great idea for preparing a hair care treatment you can use again and again.
You do need a lot of coconut oil for this one, because you need to really dilute essential oils to use them safely, and the coconut oil is going to be your carrier oil. You will need to get one cup of coconut oil and melt it, and then add half a teaspoon of an essential oil of your choice.
At this point, the cup of coconut oil is committed to being a hair treatment, so you will want to put it in a separate labeled jar.
You can use it anytime you want to give your hair a boost.
Just heat it up again and rub it directly into your hair the way you would if you were just applying straight-up coconut oil. You can leave it in your hair as a mask and then wash it out, or you can apply a very small amount and just use it as a leave-in conditioner.
What essential oils can you use? Here are some good choices according to the recipe:
- Dry hair and scalp: Myrrh, bay, peppermint, cedar wood, chamomile, frankincense, lavender, lemon, eucalyptus, clary sage, rose, tea tree, sandalwood.
- Oily hair: Basil, lemongrass, lemon, rosemary, tea tree, ylang ylang.
- Grow your hair faster: Basil, peppermint, rosemary, ylang ylang, lavender.
- Prevent hair loss: Burdock, thyme, jojoba, cedar wood
- Shine: Lavender, chamomile
You might want to check out these natural hair remedies if you are going the essential oil route. They really are amazing!
So you may want to choose something that will help your hair and also smell good, especially if you are going to use your hair treatment as a leave-in conditioner. Wondering why some of these are listed for both dry and oily hair? It is because they are good balancing oils. They will help your scalp to balance oil production.
Avocado Coconut Oil Hair Mask
This one is a little different from the earlier avocado recipe, and seems to be a very popular one online.
You need an avocado, two tablespoons of melted coconut oil, and about 10 drops of rosemary essential oil.
Instead of applying the coconut oil directly to your hair followed later by the avocado, you are actually going to combine everything in a food processor (again, you may get better results and a nicer texture if you go with a hand mixer).
Apply it evenly to your hair, including your scalp, and then wrap up your hair in plastic wrap and find something else to do for half an hour.
Rinse it out in the shower and shampoo as usual.
Your hair will be soft and silky from the avocado and coconut oil, while the rosemary will nourish your locks.
Coconut Oil, Aloe Vera and Avocado Oil Leave-In Conditioner
If you prefer a leave-in conditioner to a hair mask, this is a great recipe to use. Instead of using an actual avocado, we are instead going to use a teaspoon of avocado oil. Pour it into a bowl along with two ounces of aloe vera gel and one ounce of slightly melted coconut oil.
You do not want it melted all the way, just softened up nicely.
Use a hand mixture on medium to blend these ingredients together. Then just apply it directly to your hair and leave it in, no need to wash it off. You can put it on your hair when it is wet after a shower or when it is completely dry; it is totally up to you.
If you want, you can make this in a bulk batch and store it in a jar so that you have it handy for future use.
Thanks to BlackGirlLongHair.com for this recipe. Check that page and you will see a couple other great conditioning recipes for your hair which also make use of coconut oil!
Coconut Oil and Tea Tree Oil Hair Treatment
This is a mixture you can apply either in a solid or liquid form. You need 75 grams of coconut oil and 7 drops of tea tree essential oil. Tea tree oil has a moisturizing effect on your scalp, and makes a great dandruff treatment.
Combine it with coconut oil and you get a very powerful moisturizer. To make your hair treatment using this dynamic duo, heat up your coconut oil so it is in liquid form, and let it cool just a little. Then add your essential oil and stir until the mixture is blended.
For some hair types you might need a to use a couple more drops or a couple less.
You can either apply it while it is still a liquid, or you can allow it to solidify again, and then apply it directly to your hair and scalp. I am assuming that the tea tree oil does something to help improve the consistency; I have never personally had any luck applying solid coconut oil to my hair!
It just forms little clumps and doesn’t soften enough on contact with my scalp. But maybe you will have a different experience (I’m guessing the air temperature could have an effect here; I do live in a cooler climate).
I hope that you enjoyed these coconut oil hair treatment recipes, and now have a better idea of how to use coconut oil on your hair! Coconut oil is one of the best natural hair treatments out there with real scientific research backing up its efficacy.
I have personally had great experiences with it, and it has done wonders to improve the strength and shine of my hair. This has helped my hair to grow longer and has reduced my flyaway hairs and split ends. I know once you start using it, you will love it.
It works great on any hair type, but is especially effective on dry hairs. Experiment with these hair masks and treatments until you find something you like, and have fun. Enjoy your beautiful, lustrous locks!