Coconut Oil for Hair
Coconut oil is very popular and very preferred as hair oil worldwide. Let us find out why.
Since their childhood, people living in most of the coastal areas of the world, more specifically in the areas where coconut grows in abundance, such as in the Indian Subcontinent, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Malaysia, Burma, Philippines etc., know the one and the only, the sweet smelling coconut oil as their only hair oil.
Coconut oil is rich in carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals which are good for the human body. Use of coconut oil is just not limited to hair it is used in preparation of cosmetics, soaps. And in Asian countries it is also used for preparing food and salad.
Coconut oil has been in use as hair oil for ages and it has shown remarkable results. Certain components in it keep the hair strong, vitalized, nourished and protected from effects of ageing. Let us see those components and their effects on hair.
Benefits of coconut oil for hair
Hair loss: Coconut oil has been used since ancient times in India for grooming hair. Various remedies were prepared using herbs and coconut oil to prevent hair loss. One such remedy can be prepared by boiling sage leaves in coconut oil. This mixture can be applied to scalp for healthy hair and its use will also prevent hair loss.
Applying a mixture of lime water and coconut oil can also provide relief from hair loss. Coconut with gooseberry is also a good remedy for preventing hair loss. Boil gooseberries in coconut oil and apply it on the hair.
Hair damage: Use of coconut oil on hair helps in reducing protein loss from both damaged as well as undamaged hair. Coconut oil rich in lauric acid has high affinity for hair protein and easily penetrates inside hair shaft. This is due to its low molecular weight. It can be used for pre-wash or post- wash hair grooming.
Cooling properties: Application of coconut oil on the head and scalp also has cooling effect. It can cool and soothe people with hot heads.
Moisture retaining capacity: Coconut oil has high moisture retaining capacity, since it is not broken down easily nor evaporated, being very stable. It does not let moisture escape thus keeping hair moistened and soft. This prevents breakage of hair.
Hair conditioning: Coconut oil is a good conditioner for hair than any synthetic one available in the market. Use of warm coconut oil helps in keeping hair shimmering and soft. Apply some warm oil in the night and wash your hair the next morning. This can be repeated after every few days for healthy, strong and conditioned hair.
Anti-dandruff: The various fatty acids present in coconut oil serve as very good anti-dandruff agents and are way better than any anti-dandruff shampoo. A regular application can help you get rid of dandruff for ever. Coconut oil mixed with lukewarm water and castor oil can also be effective in treating dandruff. Massage the scalp and hair with this mixture for better results.
Styling: Coconut oil can be good styling oil for hair too, as it melts on heating and then condenses on cooling. So when you apply it on your hair, it thins and spreads evenly due to heat of the scalp. Soon afterwards, as the hair comes in contact with air, the oil on hair condenses on cooling and thus works as a styling gel or cream.
Lice protection: Lice are a very common pest found in hair and can cause embarrassment for anyone. They also have a tendency to come back again and again. There are lot of chemical products available for treatment of lice but in turn they can damage scalp and hair. Combing wet hair with a fine comb is a good remedy for getting rid of lice but this may also damage the wet hair. However, if one coats the wet hair with coconut oil, it becomes much easier to comb and remove the lice.
Hair care for dry hair: For people with dry hair that are rough and thin, taking good care of the hair is a big concern. And usage of strong hair care products for cleansing, toning and conditioning may lead to dry and flaky scalp. Coconut oil can help effectively in taking care of dry hair.
Hair toning: Coconut oil also helps in toning of hair especially dry hair. Apply a warm mixture of coconut oil and lavender essential oil on scalp in the night. Wash and rinse your hair the next morning. You may repeat this for better results.
Hair conditioning: Hair conditioner for hair can be easily prepared at home using coconut oil. It is not only effective is also does not have side effects. Mix henna with coconut oil and warm milk and make a paste. Apply this on the hair and for 20 minutes and rinse hair properly. This hair conditioner is very effective especially for dry hair.
Boils: One may experience problem of boils in scalp especially during winters. This may also happen if exposed to heat or sun for longer duration. It is important to keep the hair and scalp both clean. Occasional massaging the hair with a mixture of coconut oil and olive oil may provide relief from the problem of boils. However if the problem persists it is advisable to contact your health care specialist.
Split end hair: If you have a lot of split end hair it is generally advised to cut them but in case this problem appears for few hair strands then one may use simple home remedies for better results. Massage hair with a mixture of coconut oil and almond oil for few minutes, this will help in minimising the split end hair problem.
Coconut oil is easily available in the markets. You may choose odourless variety, use it for hair and reap all the benefits.
Coconut oil in shampoo
You may not be aware of this, but your shampoo is quite likely to contain coconut oil, at least in smaller amounts. Of late, people came to understand how important the oils are for hair nourishment. Otherwise, in the last three decades or so, using oil on hair was viewed as a sign of backwardness, or at least, the majority believed so, particularly in India.
People were mad for those wind-blown fluffy light hair, resulting from indiscriminate use of those oil-less, caustic based shampoos. But very soon, those who oiled their hair continued doing so, while the other lot, had no hair left to shampoo. The excessive use of shampoo had resulted in drying up and breaking away of hair and total devastation of the nourishment of the scalp.
Here is when oils began to make their way into the shampoos and manufacturers began using coconut oil in shampoo. (Learning a lesson from old men and women with natural jet black and strong hair living in coastal areas of India & neighbouring countries, who have been using coconut oil on their hair since their childhood. Thanks to the coastal climate, the rice and fish meal and of course, to the pure coconut oil they use on hair.)
Using coconut oil in shampoo showed marvelous results and soon it was topping the favourites.
Healthy hair: With the various benefits such as hair nourishment, anti-ageing properties, moisture retention, vitamin E, cocoonut oil in shampoo can help in keeping hair healthy and strong.
The oily factor: Detergent or soap based Shampoos leave your hair dry, rough, hard and bleached. That is why sometimes you find your comb does not go smoothly through your hair after you shampooed them. The oil (here, saturated fats) in shampoo counters this effect. It keeps it smooth and shiny.
The fragrance: Coconut Oil adds a sweet and refreshing scent to the shampoos. It is a bonus.
Finally, if you are not getting a reliable shampoo which contains coconut oil, you can very well mix some coconut oil in shampoo of your choice (preferably, an organic or herbal shampoo) and enjoy the results.
Apart from the uses of coconut oil listed above, it is important to keep hair clean, eat well, use good hair grooming products that have minimal side effects and use a good comb that does not break or damage the hair.
Here is a good video on how to use coconut oil for hair care.
Sources of Information: Reports of Coconut Development Board of India, Reports of KERAFED, Text books of various courses of agriculture, Various other reports on internet