Nutritional properties for hair growth and protection
Virgin coconut oil is an edible oil extracted from fresh coconut milk without the use of heat. It’s different from regular coconut oil, which is produced from dried coconut meat through heat and fermentation.
The absence of heat during extraction preserves the nutritional properties, which gives virgin coconut oil it’s restorative qualities. It contains high levels of antioxidants, fatty acids, vitamins and minerals to moisturise and protect against damage.
One of the best nutritional properties of virgin coconut oil for hair growth and protection is sebum – a natural oil produced by healthy skin, including on the scalp. Sebum coats and protects the scalp to prevent flaking, dryness, and infections.
When sebum is removed or isn't produced by the skin, the scalp becomes unhealthy and hair loss can result. Replacing sebum with naturally occurring sebum in VCO is essential to restoring skin hydration and protection.
The chemicals in many shampoos strip hair of its natural sebum, and illnesses or infections can interfere with sebum production. Virgin coconut oil can replace lost sebum to get the scalp healthy again.
As the oil is massaged in, hair follicles are stimulated and in some instances, new hair may grow. In this way, coconut oil can help prevent hair loss and can even help new hair grow.
How virgin coconut oil protects the hair from loss or thinning
When applied onto the scalp, coconut oil can promote a healthy environment for hair follicles to become strong and develop into new hair.
Hair growth comes in different stages. But sometimes, hair does not go through them all. Instead, they shed off easily once they have partially grown because the follicles become weak and can’t hold onto the strands any longer. By using pure coconut oil for hair care, you can strengthen not only the follicles but the hair shaft as well.
Coconut oil also prevents hair damage, which may lead to hair loss, by restoring protein in the hair. The lauric acid in coconut oil is similar to hair protein. Naturally found in breast milk, lauric acid can easily penetrate the hair shaft to deliver moisture to the strands.
Scientific studies support the effectiveness of coconut oil for preventing damage to hair. Other oils can only reach the surface of the hair but do not deliver the much-needed hydration to the strands themselves.
The Journal of Cosmetic Science reports that when compared to two other common hair care ingredients, sunflower oil, and mineral oil, coconut oil prevented protein loss far more effectively.
How to use coconut oil on your hair
As coconut oil is truly versatile, you can use in multiple ways to nourish your hair and encourage regrowth. The great thing about plain virgin coconut oil (VCO) is that it does not contain any synthetic chemicals that may affect the growth of new hair.
An effective way of using coconut oil on the hair is to apply it directly. The full concentration will give your hair all the nourishing benefits that it needs. Massaging your scalp with virgin coconut oil will improve blood circulation, which activates your hair follicles. Activated follicles increase the delivery of nutrients and oxygen to your hair, making it healthy and strong.
Coconut oil for hair growth is easy to use. You do not need a lot of fancy equipment and ingredients. In fact, the less you add to coconut oil, the better it's potency. Sometimes the simpler things are, the more effectively they work.
Whether in liquid or solid form, coconut oil may be used in the following ways:
1. Deep conditioning
Coconut oil contains medium-chain fatty acids, which makes it easier for the hair to absorb the oil and lock in moisture.
To use as a deep conditioner, pour a few drops of coconut oil onto your palm and apply the oil all over your hair. The amount of coconut oil to use depends on how long or how sparse your hair is. As a little goes a long way, you can start with a few drops and add as needed.
Wrap your hair in a shower cap and let the oil sit on your hair for about thirty minutes.
Your scalp and hair will feel greasy at first, but once you wash off the oil with shampoo, the greasiness will disappear. Do this deep conditioning treatment once or twice a week to give your hair a healthy shine.
Hair fall is usually caused by genetics and other factors. If you have curly hair, combing may require you to use some force to go through the tangles. Combing your hair vigorously may cause damage to the shaft, leaving it weak.
To allow your comb to glide through your hair more easily, gently massage a drop of coconut oil to your palms and massage into hair to evenly distribute the oil. Apply it to the ends of your hair, working your way upwards. This way, you distribute more coconut oil to the parts of your hair that requires moisture. Avoiding the scalp ensures that you don’t get greasy, limp hair by the end of the day. Gently comb through your hair to separate any tangles.
3. Dandruff relief
Dandruff is caused by a yeast-like fungus known as Malassezia that feeds on oils secreted by the hair follicles. Small quantities of this fungi are normal, but if it grows out of control, it makes the scalp itchy and irritated, leading to a faster shedding of skin cells. The result of this is dandruff. The antifungal properties of virgin coconut oil will remove this fungus, and eventually your dandruff.
Massage virgin coconut oil for at least five minutes on your scalp, cover it with a shower cap and leave it overnight. Clean your scalp and hair with your regular shampoo the next day. Follow this remedy at least thrice a week to completely eliminate the fungus and the dry flakes.4. The protection against head lice and nits
Aside from dandruff, the antimicrobial and antibacterial properties of virgin coconut oil can also protect you from head lice. Virgin coconut oil fatty acid contents suffocate head lice, making it impossible to maintain its grip on your hair follicles. And since it leaves your hair moisturized, lice won't be able to move around freely, preventing them from growing and multiplying.
Before considering medicated shampoos and lotions, use virgin coconut oil first as your treatment. It allows your scalp to heal without the use of chemicals and frees you from the possible risk of developing an infection. Incorrect use of over-the-counter lice treatments can lead to infections and even serious health conditions.
Apply virgin coconut oil on your hair so it will be easy to comb the head lice out. Some popular combinations for DIY lice treatment are virgin coconut oil added with apple cider vinegar, garlic, lemon, green tea, and tea tree oil.
5. Natural sunscreen
Just like your skin, your hair and scalp also need protection from the sun. If you’re going out on a hot day, it helps to have protection for your head so your hair and scalp do not get damaged by the heat of the sun.
To avoid sun damage, brush a few drops of coconut oil onto your hair. This will give your hair natural protection from the heat. You can also add non-nano zinc oxide powder to the oil to increase its sun-protecting benefits.6. Styling serum
Virgin coconut oil has a high affinity for hair proteins. Since it has a low molecular weight, it penetrates inside the hair shaft, moisturizing your scalp and hair and restores its natural shine and softness.
This makes it an excellent choice as a hair protection serum for styling. Apply one drop of coconut oil to your hair and style as usual. The amount of oil you put in depends on the length of your hair. If you have long hair, you can add a few more drops to cover the length of your hair.
The oil won’t weigh your hair down, as long as you use only small amounts. Concentrate on the tips of the hair, which is most susceptible to drying out causing split ends.7. Hair-coloring base
As coconut oil can easily penetrate the hair strands, using it as a hair-coloring base will deliver color faster. This will cut your coloring time in half. It can also make hair color more vibrant and softer after application.
To use it in hair-coloring, replace the base that comes with your chosen hair dye. Add the colorant as instructed and apply to hair carefully, avoiding the scalp and the skin on the forehead, ears, and temples.
A few tips on using coconut oil for hair care
With regular use, any of the methods above will help to keep the hair healthy and strong. It will also prevent damage to the hair and restore its lushness.
When using coconut oil for your hair, start with the tips of your hair where dryness or split ends are more obvious and work your way up.
You only need a small amount of coconut oil for it to work. Soaking your hair in coconut oil will only make your hair greasier. Experiment first with a few drops to see how your hair responds before adding more.
When buying coconut oil, look for one that is labeled as “virgin”. This means that the oil did not go through the heating and refining process, so it retains all its nutritive and antibacterial properties.
If you’re not comfortable with the slightly greasy effect of applying coconut oil to your hair, try our Hair Repair Conditioner. This natural deep conditioner contains virgin coconut oil that moisturizes hair and prevents breakage. It also locks in shine and makes hair soft and bouncy.