You will never have the healthy and shiny hair of your dreams if your hair doesn’t grow properly. Hair growth is influenced by a number of factors, which include your overall health, your diet and of course whether or not you follow a good hair care regimen. If you are looking to promote hair growth, your hair care regimen must include oil application. Many people use coconut oil for hair growth. When used correctly this oil conditions, protects and moisturizes the scalp and allows the hair to grow properly.
In this article I’m going to tell you why coconut oil can help your hair grow faster, explain how to apply it to hair, and give you some general advice for using this amazing natural oil on your hair.
How Does Coconut Oil Work to Promote Hair Growth?
- Shields hair protein:
Lauric acid, a major component of coconut oil gives the oil its protective properties. Lauric acid is a fatty acid that easily binds hair proteins thus helping in protecting roots of hair strands and preventing hair breakage. A study conducted in 2003 revealed that coconut oil can reduce or prevent hair protein loss more effectively than mineral and sunflower oils (these two oils are common ingredients of many hair care products).
- Seals in hair moisture: Regular application of coconut oil can help you to keep your hair strong and moisturized. Coconut oil possesses the ability of penetrating the hair shaft and thus conditions your hair from within. The oil supplies enough moisture to protect your hair follicles from environmental impurities and heat.
- Contains antibacterial and antifungal properties: Coconut oil’s antibacterial and antifungal properties give the oil the ability of protecting your scalp against dandruff and lice, both of which can hinder hair growth.
- Contains nutrients: Coconut oil is a rich source of nutrients like vitamin E, vitamin K and iron. These nutrients are essential for maintaining your hair’s shine and softness. Vitamin E is particularly effective in eradicating dandruff, which is a major cause of hair fall and hindered hair growth.
- Improves blood circulation: Massage your scalp with coconut oil to stimulate blood circulation. Improved blood circulation to your scalp will ensure that your hair follicles receive the required amount of essential nutrients and oxygen. This will make your hair follicles healthy and promote hair growth.
How to Apply Coconut Oil
There are two ways to apply coconut oil to hair – either before or after washing:
- People with slightly wavy or straight hair should undergo coconut oil treatment before washing their hair.
- If you have curly or thick hair, you can apply coconut oil both before and after washing your hair. As curly hair tends to absorb oil quickly, you will not end up having greasy looking hair even if you apply coconut oil after washing the hair.
Before shampooing: First apply the oil generously to your scalp and rub the scalp gently to ensure that the oil spreads adequately to the entire area. Continue massaging the scalp for 5 minutes. Now, concentrate on your hair strands. If required you can take some more oil for oiling the hair strands. Leave the oil on your hair for at least 30 minutes (or up to 2-4 hours if you have a lot of hair breakage problems) and then wash the hair off with your regular shampoo.
During shampooing: Some people get amazing results by mixing their shampoo and/or conditioner with coconut oil (50/50 or some other ratio). Give it a try and see how it compares with using coconut oil as a pre-wash treatment. This is by far the least time consuming method, so that’s a big benefit as well.
After shampooing: Not all types of hair react well to post-wash coconut oil treatment. If you find that your hair is “protein sensitive”, it is likely to react badly to coconut oil as well, so keep this in mind. As for application, here’s what I recommend: if you have problems with split-ends or dry hair, apply a little coconut oil to the ends of your hair (up to 2-3 inches) after it has completely dried out.
Tips for Using Coconut Oil On Your Hair
While there are thousands of articles touting the benefits of coconut oil treatments for hair, very few of them provide tips to maximize those benefits and avoid any potential pitfalls. The truth is that coconut oil hair treatments are not suitable for everyone. In the next few paragraphs I’m going to give you some tips for using coconut oil, explain how it works, and help you decide whether this kind of treatment is right for you.
Q: Should I warm the oil up before applying it?
A: Due to the fact that coconut oil turns solid in lower (room) temperatures, it often makes sense to warm it up a little before use. This makes it much simpler to apply to hair/scalp. Avoid using hot oil as it can damage your skin. A simple way to prepare coconut oil for use is to fill a large bowl with boiling-hot water and then place a smaller bowl with some oil into it. Wait until the coconut oil melts and then use it!
Q: How much oil should I apply to my hair?
A: When applying coconut oil to your hair before shampooing you can use as much oil as you feel necessary. Many people dose coconut oil the same way as regular shampoo/conditioner by applying just enough to cover the scalp and full hair length.
Now, using coconut oil as a leave-in treatment after washing your hair is very different. Applying too much of it will almost certainly leave your hair looking greasy and tangled. Plus, oil attracts dust and other pollutants which can make the hair look dirty really fast. I recommend using just a tiny amount of coconut oil on the ends to help combat dryness. If you are looking for a suitable leave-in post-wash oil treatment for your hair, coconut oil is not it.
Q: What are the benefits of pre-wash coconut oil treatments?
A: Using coconut oil on your hair prior to washing is a great way to minimize damage and breakage that occurs when you wash your hair. Water has the tendency to soften our skin and can lead to the skin around your hair follicles becoming tender and prone to damage. This can lead to hair breakage, shedding and various other problems.
Luckily, since coconut oil is a water repellent, applying some of it to the scalp/hair before washing can prevent this from happening. Another thing that sets coconut oil apart from other oils is that it bonds with hair proteins with ease and can penetrate deep into the skin thanks to its light chemical properties. This creates a temporary “shield” that protects your scalp and hair from water damage.
Q: What about using coconut oil as a post-wash treatment?
A: Most people use coconut oil after shampooing to prevent split ends. Wait until the hair has dried out completely and then apply a little oil to the very ends. The oil is quickly absorbed by the hair and forms a “protective” layer shielding your hair from environmental damage.
Q: Does coconut oil really cure head lice?
A: There is a lot of evidence that coconut oil is very effective as a natural head lice treatment. For instance, one UK study found a special coconut oil + anise spray to be nearly twice more effective at eradicating head lice than any other widely used treatment today.
A commonly used (although never studied) lice treatment is to soak the scalp and hair in coconut oil, then cover with foil, shower cap or a towel. Leave it on overnight, then wash the oil out with shampoo. There’s no evidence that this treatment works, but many proponents of all-natural remedies swear by it.
If you have any questions about coconut oil for hair please ask in the comments below and I will answer them as soon as possible.