The structure of coconut oil makes it excellent for topical application to the hair because it is able to penetrate the hair shaft deeply for very quick and positive results. It is composed, in great part, of medium-chain fatty acids (MCFA), which are rich in antimicrobial and antibacterial properties. It also contain capric acid, caprylic acid and healthy saturated fat.
Coconut oil is the very best natural source of medium chain fatty acids, especially chain C12 or Lauric Acid, which imparts exceptional anti-microbial properties. This MCFA is also especially important in supporting cellular health and hormonal health, and it is very helpful in preventing the loss of protein in hair.
Why Use Coconut Oil For Your Hair?
Coconut oil contains lauric acid that penetrates the hair shaft deeply, replacing lost protein and providing the hair directly with vitamins and minerals. This strengthens the hair and helps prevent damage caused by brushing, combing and styling.
Coconut oil can enhance or take the place of a wide variety of hair preparations. It is excellent for conditioning hair and rejuvenating the scalp. Very often, improved scalp health is all that’s needed to help prevent and even reverse hair loss.
The antiviral and antibacterial properties of coconut oil can help protect your hair against a wide variety of scalp conditions such as:
- Head Lice
Quickly take action on your dry scalp. Although eczema and psoriasis are usually caused by genetic predisposition, use of coconut oil can help ease and prevent symptoms by keeping the scalp moisturized and creating a strong and healthy scalp.
The anti-fungal properties of coconut oil help guard against the development of dandruff. A strong, healthy scalp naturally repels parasites, such as lice.
Take A Total Body Approach To Hair Health
It is important to understand that coconut oil, alone, will not reverse all of your hair woes. Be sure to take a holistic approach by eating a balanced, healthy, whole foods diet that is rich in healthy fats and drinking plenty of pure, filtered water. If you have dry hair, it is a sign that you are not staying hydrated enough.
Naturally, adding coconut oil to your diet can also have very beneficial effects on your hair and scalp and your overall good health. Coconut oil is rich in nutrients, vitamins and minerals. Adding healthy oils to your diet is an excellent way to keep your skin, hair, joints, nails and central nervous system healthy and strong.
Preventive Measures – Eliminate Harsh Chemicals
With its rich antioxidants and natural anti-fungal, anti-viral and anti-bacterial properties coconut oil delivers an array of health benefits to the scalp while supporting the growth of thick, strong, shiny, healthy hair.
This is why many commercial products seek to jump on the coconut oil bandwagon by adding this vital oil to their formulas; however, the other negative ingredients in these products may entirely counteract any benefits coconut oil may deliver. It is far better to avoid commercial hair care products and create your own.
In addition to improving your health from within, go through your personal care items and get rid of products that contain harsh chemicals and artificial ingredients. Many commercially prepared products are very drying and actually cause the problems they purport to resolve.
Be especially vigilant about tossing out products containing sodium lauryl sulfate or sodium laureth sulfate. These agents are extremely drying and have also been shown to be damaging to the central nervous system – especially in babies and children.
You can avoid harsh chemicals by purchasing hair care products that are certified organic. You can safely use these in conjunction with coconut oil. You may also wish to add a bit of coconut oil to these all-natural products for added benefits.
When adding coconut oil to existing products, you may find fractionated coconut oil more effective than virgin coconut oil. Fractionated oil consists only of MCFA. It is more stable than virgin coconut oil, and it stays liquid at room temperature so it is easier to combine with other ingredients.
Use Coconut Oil To Style Your Hair
Using a small amount of coconut oil as a styling product helps prevent heat damage caused by the use of hot rollers, curling irons and hair dryers. Unlike commercial styling products, coconut oil does not dry your hair or expose you to harsh, and often dangerous, chemicals.
Adding just a little oil after washing and then following up with blow drying and styling can help prevent frizzy hair in humid weather. This is especially valuable for people with curly hair.
Be sure to apply the oil sparingly to avoid an oily look. Start off with a very small amount. You can always add more if you need to. Adding a little bit more oil to the ends of the hair can help improve the appearance of split ends.
Protect Your Hair From The Ravages Of The Sun
You may be surprised to learn that coconut oil actually provides some sunscreen benefits. It has a natural SPF of 4, according to the experts at ChiroHealth Rockford Wellness Center, so it provides excellent sun protection for hair when used as a styling product.
Reduce Tangles In Hair
Tangled hair is annoying and causes hair damage due to breaking when combing or brushing. Coconut oil strengthens the hair and smoothes it so that your brush or comb can slip right through. Avoiding tangled hair is a multi-step process.
- Comb your hair with a wide toothed comb before washing.
- Smooth shampoo, hair conditioner and other products through your hair, rather than scrubbing them in.
- Finish up by smoothing a small dab of coconut oil through your hair. Finger comb it through and then wrap your hair in a towel for a few minutes to absorb excess moisture.
- Comb your hair with a wide toothed comb, starting at the ends and working your way up.
Use Coconut Oil To Deep Condition Your Hair
Deep conditioning oil treatments are an old-fashioned way of moisturizing the hair and scalp, but not all oils are effective. A study published by the Journal Of Cosmetic Science found that coconut oil is naturally superior to petroleum products (e.g. mineral oil, baby oil, petrolatum, petroleum jelly) and even outshines natural sunflower oil when used to condition hair.
To use as a deep conditioning coconut oil treatment, apply a measured amount of warmed oil to your hair after shampooing. Wrap your head in a towel and allow the oil to soak in for about half an hour and then wash again using a mild shampoo or natural liquid castile soap.
It may take a bit of trial and error to determine the right amount of oil for you. Start off with a very small amount. If you have short hair, “a little dab’ll do ya”. Begin with a quarter teaspoonful or less. If you have longer hair, you may need up to a half tablespoon.
If your hair is very thin, you will want to use a very small amount to avoid having your hair flattened and weighed down by the oil. Start small and add in increments to determine the right amount.
Focus application more on the ends and shaft of the hair and less on the area around the roots. Too much oil near the scalp will produce a flat effect. Additionally, your scalp’s own natural oils will condition the hair near your scalp. It is usually the older hair near the ends of the shaft that need extra moisturizing and support.
For extra conditioning, you can add a few drops of essential oils such as sandalwood or oil of geranium.
Using Coconut Oil For Hair Growth
If you are having problems with the quality and quantity of your hair, remember to improve the quality of your diet. In addition to treating your scalp topically with coconut oil, you should also begin using it for cooking and as a replacement for foods such as margarine.
Also add foods that have high amounts of Omega 3 Fatty Acids, such as:
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Chia Seeds
- Flax Seeds
- Green Tea
Take note that these types of lifestyle changes are usually recommended in the instructions that come with prescription hair growth products. The fact of the matter is, the prescription medications only have about 50% effectiveness. It’s the lifestyle changes that really have a consistent and dependable effect across the board.
A regular scalp massage with coconut oil can help stimulate better blood circulation in the scalp and cleanse the hair follicles. Using coconut oil on the scalp regularly can also help improve the quality of new hair as it grows in.
Give Yourself A Scalp Massage
To perform a good scalp massage, use a teaspoonful of coconut oil and massage your entire scalp firmly, yet gently for about ten minutes at a time three or four times weekly. If you can get someone else to massage your scalp, that’s even better as it will allow you to relax completely.
A good scalp massage can help lower stress levels, and stress can most definitely cause hair loss. For added relaxation and aromatherapy benefits, try adding a few drops of oil of rosemary. It is relaxing to your senses and stimulating to your scalp.
Following your scalp massage, wrap your head in a towel and relax for ten minutes to half an hour. Wash as usual. Using a natural shampoo containing essential oils such as rosemary and mint can be very stimulating and beneficial.
How To Treat Dandruff With Coconut Oil
Commercial dandruff shampoos are usually filled with harsh chemicals and artificial ingredients that may actually exacerbate the causes of dandruff and endanger your health. While these preparations may dampen the symptoms of dandruff, they do not improve the health of your scalp.
Dandruff may be caused by fungal infection, dry skin or a combination of the two. No matter what the cause, coconut oil can help. It is both anti-fungal and deeply moisturizing to address all causes of dandruff.
You can give yourself an intensive dandruff treatment by performing a warm oil scalp massage with coconut oil laced with a powerful, anti-fungal essential oil, such as:
- Tea Tree
Use one of these oils, or use them in combination at a rate of 6 drops total per ounce of coconut oil.
When treating for dandruff, be sure to extend your massage to include your forehead, the area behind your ears and the back of your neck.
For this treatment, cover your head with plastic wrap or a shower cap and sit in the sunshine for half an hour. If it’s cold out, use a hood style hair dryer to increase the heat and enhance the absorption and anti-fungal properties of the oils.
Follow up by washing as usual. If you want to decrease the oiliness of your hair before you step into the shower, use baking soda as a dry shampoo. Sprinkle it lightly into your hair and tousle it in. Let it sit for 5 minutes and then brush it out. Baking soda also has anti-fungal properties that will help fight dandruff.
Repeat this treatment two or three times a week until you begin to see improvements. Plan to continue with treatment at least once a week on an ongoing basis. It is important to understand that coconut oil will not have an immediate effect on dandruff, but when used (and consumed) regularly, in the long run you are sure to see results.
Prevent And Treat Head Lice With Coconut Oil
According to the European Journal Of Pediatrics, coconut oil combined with oil of anise makes an excellent preventative and treatment for head lice.
The journal reports the results of a study which found that this combination has an effectiveness rate of over 80%; whereas, treatment with the pesticide, permethrin, has only about 40% effectiveness.
Furthermore, of study participants treated with permethrin, more than half experienced irritation of the scalp, yet none of the participants treated with coconut and anise oils had this problem.
The results of this study were supported by another study conducted in Israel. According to the Israel Medical Association Journal, the coconut oil and anise oil combination works even better when ylang-ylang oil is added.
In the Israeli study, the natural, coconut oil based preparation had an effectiveness rate greater than 90% with no consequential side effects reported.
It is coconut oil’s ability to deeply penetrate the hair shaft that makes it so effective. It both repels adult lice and dislodges their eggs. Natural essential oils add even more insect repellent and killing properties.
If you don’t happen to have anise oil or ylang-ylang on hand, tea tree oil is also effective, as is oil of lavender. Add the oils at a rate of 6 drops total per ounce of coconut oil for use as an ongoing insect repellent hair dressing.
Using Coconut Oil For Treating Head Lice
Using coconut oil for hair care as has been described so far will work well to help keep the scalp and hair strong and repel lice and other insects (e.g. bedbugs and fleas).If it’s too late for prevention, you can address a lice infestation with a strong combination of oils and aggressive treatment.
MIX: Prepare this strong combination of oils:
- Coconut oil – 3 tbsp
- Ylang-ylang oil 1 tsp
- Tea Tree Oil 1 tsp
- Anise oil 1 tsp
This amount should be enough for short hair. Double or triple the amount for longer and/or thicker hair.
APPLY: This solution should be applied all over the scalp and hair, starting at the scalp. Comb it through the hair using a very fine toothed comb (a nit comb) and discard any lice or eggs you encounter appropriately by placing them in a sealed plastic bag to be put into the trash.
HEAT: Cover the hair and scalp with plastic wrap or a disposable shower cap. Sit in the sunshine or under a hood style hair dryer for a couple of hours. (Note: Avoid contact with the hair dryer. Be sure to clean it thoroughly with a disinfectant after use, just to be on the safe side.)
REMOVE: When the time is up, remove the plastic or shower cap and seal it up in a plastic bag for disposal. Use a fine-toothed or nit comb to comb through the hair again. Dispose of any lice or eggs you encounter as previously directed.
SHAMPOO: Wash and rinse the hair thoroughly in very warm water. If lye soap is available, it is a good choice when battling lice. Otherwise, a castile soap infused with tea tree oil and/or lavender will also support the treatment.
RINSE: After rinsing with water, rinse the hair with a 50/50 mixture of apple cider vinegar (ACV) and water. Allow this mixture to sit for 5 minutes and then rinse it out thoroughly.
DRY: Stroke and comb a small amount of coconut oil through the hair and dry thoroughly with a hair dryer.
REPEAT: You will need to repeat this treatment every five days for a month or so to be certain all lice and eggs are destroyed. Use a fine toothed comb to comb your hair during this time, and apply a little coconut oil for styling on a daily basis.
- Change your bed-linens daily and wash them with very hot water to avoid re-infestation when you sleep.
- Use a clean towel every day after showering. Wash towels in hot water with strong detergent.
- Replace hats and caps and hair implements that may be affected.
- Wash all your clothing in the hottest water possible with a good, strong detergent and dry all items at the highest temperature possible.
- Continue using coconut oil as a hair styling product along with essential oils as desired to repel lice.
Choose Additional Ingredients To Suit Your Needs
To enhance the benefits of coconut oil, you may wish to add nourishing essential oils such as:
- Marula Oil
- Argan Oil
- Castor Oil
- Neem Oil
For a coconut oil hair mask, combining coconut oil with nourishing substances such as raw honey can add nourishment and enhance the powers of the oil.
Choose Your Hair Care Products Wisely
You could buy and use expensive brands of coconut oil by the tub and not reap any benefits if you use chemical laden hair care products. The harsh chemicals (especially sodium laurel sulfate, sodium laureth sulfate and ammonium laurel sulfate) often found in commercial hair care products strip all the oils from your hair, including coconut oil.
Use natural, organic products and/or learn to make your own hair care products from ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen cupboards. Keep in mind that homemade shampoos (or no-poo using baking soda and water followed by an ACV and water rinse) will not remove excess oil.
When you turn away from commercial hair care products and opt for milder, more natural remedies, you can turn to dry products such as cornstarch and/or baking soda to use as dry shampoos to gently absorb excess oil from your hair and scalp.
Adjust The Amount & Types Of Coconut Oil To Suit Your Hair Type And Length
When you use coconut oil for hair care, you need to be careful not to overdo it. Organic virgin coconut oil is quite heavy, and it only takes a very small amount to obtain good results. Even lighter and more stable fractionated oil can leave your hair looking greasy if you use too much.
In most cases, for conditioning and protection against environmental damage and insect pests, just a dab or a few drops of pure coconut oil rubbed between the palms and finger combed through the hair will work wonders to add softness and shine and tame frizzy hair.
Remember that you can always add more depending on the damaged hair condition, but taking out a bit is not possible. If you have the habit of shampooing every day, oily buildup will not be a problem. If you shampoo once or twice a week, you may need to take added stress to remove excess oil; however, your hair will also reap more benefits from the oil you apply.
You Are What You Eat
Again, you could dump tubs of coconut oil onto your hair with no positive results if you are not supporting your efforts otherwise. Be sure to support your quest for healthy hair by eating a healthy, natural, whole foods diet that is rich in coconut oil and other healthy oils.
Drink plenty of pure, filtered water and avoid processed foods, soft drinks and other food-like products that rob you of your good health.
Practice good personal hygiene, get regular exercise and plenty of high quality sleep. Practice regular stress management and use coconut oil topically for healthy, beautiful hair.