Skip to main content

The Benefits of Coconut Oil

• Dec 21, 2011

By Audrey Sivasothy, author of The Science of Black Hair: A Comprehensive Guide to Textured Hair Care

Coconut oil has many benefits for black and textured hair types. Over the years, considerable research has been conducted to better understand the oil and its benefits in hair care. Recent research points to coconut oil’s benefits as both a sealant and hair protein reconstructor of sorts. These protein reconstructor benefits are especially interesting in black hair care applications. Solid at room temperature, coconut oil has been used for generations by women of color in those tropical paradises around the world where coconuts are indigenous and grow freely. If their hair is any testament to the powers of coconut oil in hair care, then coconut oil had me at hello.

Touted early on as a nutritional power food, coconut oil enthusiasts quickly began to look into some of the other benefits of coconut oil. This article will give a brief summary of current coconut oil research findings and discuss implications for black hair care.

How Coconut Oil Benefits the Hair

Coconut oil is a very unique hair oil. This versatile, low molecular weight oil is able to leverage its traditional oil status to seal the hair, but complements this sealing capacity with a strong affinity for hair proteins not found in other hair oils. Because moisturization and hydration are characteristics of water, coconut oil cannot rightfully be called a moisturizer in and of itself. It does however greatly support the moisturization of the hair fiber in ways that other oils cannot and have fallen short.

Coconut oil benefits black hair in two important ways. First, coconut oil’s hydrophobic oil characteristics allow it to inhibit the penetration of water from the surrounding air and environment. Second, coconut oil is able to bind to the natural protein structure of the hair. This helps the hair retain its natural moisture content and reinforces the hair fiber, making it stronger.

Coconut Oil as a Sealant

Rele and Mohile, scientists at Marico Industries, found that while wet hair is able to absorb trace amounts of coconut oil residue into the hair fiber, coconut oil is only able to act on the surface of dried hair with no penetration into the hair fiber. In its sealant capacity, coconut oil acts as other oils. It simply coats and conditions the outer cuticle layer enhancing shine and increasing the hair fiber’s pliability. It also reduces friction and static electricity between the hair fibers.

Next Page

67
Leave a Reply

avatar
51 Comment threads
16 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
50 Comment authors
Five Essential Tips & Tricks for Soft Hair | Un-rulySusan Freed MariettaKadieCoconut Oil | Puff Puff PoofNow let’s talk about the wonders of coconut oil | This Here Hair Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
Notify of
JennyM
Guest
JennyM

I really wanted to love coconut oil for my hair but I had to give it up as far as my hair is concerned after using it consistently and experiencing really bad breakage which I couldn’t understand at first until I realized that it was the only new thing I had added to my hair regimen. Once I stopped using it, the breakage stopped. I still LOVE it on my skin and with cooking but it is a no no for my hair.

dom
Guest
dom

ok, i’m sold now! i have been hearing so long about i should be using coconut oil. i see i’m going to have to try it now lol.

Jc
Guest

I loved and blogged about both of these papers cited in this piece because they deal with surface analysis which is really my materials science speciality I think that there is an error in this sentence here: ‘while wet hair is able to absorb trace amounts of coconut oil residue into the hair fiber, coconut oil is only able to act on the surface of dried hair with no penetration into the hair fiber’ The actual experiment on penetration of oil into hair(Ruetsch, Kamath et al) was performed on dry hair (coconut applied, left overnight and then hair washed to… Read more »

tiredofthebs
Guest
tiredofthebs

Hi JC,

Although every head of hair is different, please tell me when and how you apply coconut oil.

I apply it after I spritz it, to dampen my hair, or when my hair is dry. It makes my hair soft and shiny. However, I am wondering if this is from the moisture that I already have in my hair (when I apply it to dry hair), or if the coconut oil is actually moisturizing it on it’s on, despite science saying that it can’t.

Please advise. Thanks!!

Jc
Guest

lol I liked your first line because it is true. Now because you ask about me, I normally use coconut oil in two ways: 1. As a prewash — I apply the oil liberally to dry hair, sleep with it overnight and then wash my hair as normal the next day. When I am swimming, I also apply it to my dry hair, swim and then wash my hair as normal. After washing and conditioning my hair, I will reapply a very small amount of oil. 2. As a ‘sealing oil’ — I use it in the same way you… Read more »

Tiredofthebs
Guest
Tiredofthebs

Thanks!! N lol@ first line. Have a great holiday 🙂

df
Guest
df

i want to use coconut oil as a pre poo but I was wondering how long you have to leave it in? I HATE sleeping with product in my hair overnight and if i leave coconut oil and a shower cap on my hair for too long, it starts to get wet and my scalp starts to itch. Thanks!

Lalala
Guest
Lalala

df, I am the same way. When I do pre poos I leave the oil in for at least half an hour and no longer than an hour and 30 minutes. My scalp is sensitive so sleeping with products coating my hair is very uncomfortable. Hope this helps

Amayou
Guest

Great Article, especially the scientific references. Now for my question, is there a difference between Coconut oil you buy from the store and what you buy from the beauty supply store? (BTW I haven’t been able to find 100% pure coconut oil in a BSS, any brand suggestions would be greatly appreciated)

Gemlocs
Guest
Gemlocs

You have to go to a health food store to get 100% pure coconut not a bss.

Rebecca
Guest
Rebecca

If you are in an area that has a Trader Joes market they sell organic virgin cocnut oi1. $6 for a 16 oz jar. That sized jar lasts me about 4 months if I use it once a week

Amayou
Guest

Cool Thanks 🙂

OHR
Guest
OHR

Since my early natural days, I’ve used coconut oil as a prepoo and sealant mixed w/sunflower oils. Vatika oil [a coconut oil available at Indian supermarkets] is a wonderful product, as it is infused with small amounts of amla, henna and lemon. As my hair has low porosity, the best way this works is to leave it in and either let your body heat help it penetrate or use a bit of heat. Bottom line, for my hair and scalp, you can’t beat coconut oil.

tiffani
Guest
tiffani

I LOVE coconut oil and use it religiously as a hot oil treatment — I sit under my steamer with it every week. I also keep a few drops in my spray bottle. Can’t live without it…

sosoulful_0125
Guest
sosoulful_0125

I am sorta questioning coconut oil some days it works great then others it blah.…love it on the skin though

Bela72
Guest
Bela72

I incorporate coconut oil in my daily spritz and shea butter mix in that way I can get it every day without neglecting my hair’s needs. This is a good subject to share and I agree with the benefits of using pure coconut oil on our hair. You can buy it at any grocery or health food store at a reasonable price.

Thumb ups!!!
[img]https://bglh-marketplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/12/Natural.jpg[/img]

kg.sunshine
Guest
kg.sunshine

So I think I finally understand. It helps to allow moisture in, but it doesn’t moisturize. Well, at least, it has never moisturized my hair.

Women Are Gamechangers
Guest

I have just started to use Coconut Oil this month. I buy mine from Whole Foods. I use the virgin Coconut Oil. It is actually working. I use it before I shampoo my hair. I let it sit on my hair for about 30 minutes, then rinse it out and do my normal routine. It has really helped with my dandruff problem. I know longer have to hide flakes because they are no longer there. So hopefully this routine will help train my hair and keep my scalp clean.

Musickalmars
Guest
Musickalmars

I just started using coconut oil myself and the biggest benefit I’ve seen is dandruff control too, a lot more effective for my head than tea tree oil or apple cider vinegar! I’m still seeing if I like it as a pre poo or if I’ll go back to my burt’s bees pre-poo, but either way, I’m definitely adding it to my routine to control the flakes.

NancyM
Guest
NancyM

I really like coconut oil. I use it as a prepoo treatment and on dry hair as a moisturizer and sealant. I mainly use Vatika Oil (from the Indian store) for prepoo and extra virgin coconut oil (from the health food store) for dry hair.

Nita
Guest
Nita

Okay so this is great! I have heard so many great things about coconut oil I’m about to go hunt for it. Is there a specific name brand that is better or should I just look for the 100% pure coconut oil? Also when you all talk about a pre-poo oil rinsing is your hair damp or dry?

P
Guest
P

The funny is that my father used to make coconut oil when I was a kid. We usually kept it in a large jar in a dark corner of the room or under the dresser. My parents would bring it out only when we got sick. They would break a piece of camphor and melt it in the coconut oil. Then, they would rub it in our heads or on our chests to “break up the cold.” WE NEVER THOUGHT OF USING AS A HAIR PRODUCT. Little did we know, we were sitting on a gold mine.

Trini
Guest
Trini

LOL! This sounds all too familiar. I don’t recall anyone making it — coconut oil — but I do remember being rubbed with it, in addition to camphor and Vicks. I really should ask for a bottle.

HoneyNut
Guest
HoneyNut

Trini, I’m assuming you are, but P, are you from the Caribbean? (If so, which one?) Only here I does hear them talk about “breaking up cold” haha. My mother grew up making coconut oil as well, and she used it to cook. I don’t know about for cosmetic/healing purposes though.

trackback

[…] By Audrey Sivasothy Black Girl with Long Hair […]

mangomadness
Guest
mangomadness

I love coconut oil as a pre-poo/detangler. I apply it to stretched, sectioned (8–10 parts), dampened hair (via a spray bottle) and finger-detangle. It leaves my hair soft and sheen-y after cleansing my scalp. That’s saying alot because I don’t use rinse out conditioner after shampooing–I just go straight to my leave-in conditioner.

JJ
Guest
JJ

Glad the moisturisation part was cleared up. It only makes sense to me that moisture (water) moisturises. I have not been getting consistent results with coconut oil. Since my jojoba oil is almost finished I think I will replace with coconut oil and see what happens.

CurlDiva
Guest

Great information on the benefits of coconut oil. I recently moved to a city that doens’t have a Whole Foods Market but I was able to find 100% Coconut oil in the organic aisle of Kroger for 6.00.

Annetta
Guest
Annetta

I make my own coconut oil from scratch. I purchase 20 coconuts from the supermarket. Remove the juice (if any). Grater the hardened jelly and then boil it in water (a large pot) until the oil forms on the top. I then remove the oil, bottle it, and refrigerate it. It takes about 2 days to finish the process, but 100% natural and worth the effort. This lasts me about 1 year 🙂 If you don’t have time to make coconut oil from scratch, in my experience and research, Barlean’s makes the BEST organic coconut oil (that doesn’t need refrigeration).… Read more »

HoneyNut
Guest
HoneyNut

Ooh Annetta, that sounds really good! I think i want to try using coconut oil for cooking. I’ve never heard of Barlean’s brand, not that i’m looking for a different brand to try.

tay
Guest
tay

ok,annetta, so the coconut oil we cook with is the same that goes on the hair…i can get the barlean kind and put on my hair?

bsbfankaren
Guest
bsbfankaren

I started using Coconut oil a few months ago, and I love it. I have never used it as a pre-poo treatment, but I do put it on my hair right after I wash, while the air is still wet, and also do so whenever my hair feels dry between shampoos or cowashes. I like that my hair no longer feels greasy and that a small amount goes a long way. Finally, my product of choice is the Afrikan Republic Organic Virgin Coconut Oil.

ariella taylor
Guest

Ok. So I’ve been hearing different things about coconut oil: its absorbed into the air, its not absorbed, its a sealeant, its a moisturizer, bla bla. And frankly, its all getting a little confusing. All I know for sure is that its good for black hair. So ill just explain my routine, pls let me know if im doing something rong I jus big chopped, so my gair is about an inch. I co-wash, then use. Some cholestrol (by organics, africa’s best), then I rinse that out. Then I use some coconut oil with comes mixed with shea butter(emily millionaire),… Read more »

HoneyNut
Guest
HoneyNut

Hey Ariella, yes your routine sounds fine. but you’ll have to determine how it works for you based on how your hair responds, you know.

By the way I checked out your blog. I love it!! Your little bio on the side is hilar! haha

i wish you all the best with your haircare routines and all other aspirations. Law student?! you go!

ariella taylor
Guest

Hahahah. U actually checked it out. Yeah well, what can I say, I’m a little off my rocker. Lol!
Well, I hope my hair likes the routine. Ill b totally clueless if it doesn’t! Haha
Thank u sooo much ?!

Jelisa | Blogging Ever After
Guest
Jelisa | Blogging Ever After

I have an entire jar of this in my cupboard {my husband and I use it for cooking}. Thanks for this information!

credit counseling services
Guest

Its such as you learn my mind! You seem to grasp a lot about this, like you wrote the e book in it or something. I think that you just could do with some percent to pressure the message house a bit, however other than that, that is excellent blog. A great read. I will certainly be back.

South Africa
Guest

I was very pleased to find this web-site.I wanted to thanks for your time for this wonderful read!! I definitely enjoying every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to check out new pages your blog post.

hair dandruff
Guest

I would like to thnkx for the efforts you’ve put in writing this web site. I am hoping the same high-grade blog post from you in the upcoming as well. In fact your creative writing abilities has inspired me to get my own blog now. Actually the blogging is spreading its wings quickly. Your write up is a good example of it.

Jelli
Guest

Hi! I just wanted to let you know that I used your photo for a blog post (with a link back to you, of course!) I’ve heard great things about using coconut oil to condition and smooth hair. I also love it as eye cream and lip balm. Cheers!

Got alove for ma hair
Guest
Got alove for ma hair

Coconut oil itches my scalp , any others that are just as effective?

Roz
Guest
Roz

I have been using organic virgin coconut oil for over a year now. I am two years natural. I use it daily on my hair! I love it and my hair loves it!
[img]https://bglh-marketplace.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/09/roz8-14–2012.jpg[/img]

tay
Guest
tay

is there a particular type of coconut oil you purchase for the hair?because i know there is cooking coconut oil, is it the same one or no?

Tameka
Guest
Tameka

I think the Organic Coconut Oil is the best. I use the Nutiva brand; Organic Extra Virgin and that works fine so far. And that is also used for cooking. I think also the thing you want to remember is what might work for some may not work for others. This also includes not just products but the way you use the products. Some people work better with using oils for pre-poo. My hair however never really took to the whole “pre-poo” ritual, it just didn’t, and that fine. My hair does however love the basic moisture/seal combo that I… Read more »

trackback

[…] African-Americans have been it on hair for a long time.  And the rest of us are now catching up. […]

Annabel
Guest
Annabel

I just brought trader joe’s brand of organic coconut oil and im excited to start using it, well once i research the most effective way too.

trackback

[…] it naturally contracts to dry. — Has the ability to prevent protein loss and reduce hair porosity http://bglh-marketplace.com/2011/12/the-benefits-of-coconut-oil/ SKIN — For skin it is a moisturizer, antibiotic, multivitamin, multi-nutrient, nourishing, […]

Neva
Guest

I love coconut. Every shampoo and conditioner is based on coconut. 😀

Andreas Karry
Guest
Andreas Karry

Coconut oil is an edible oil extracted from the kernel or meat of matured coconuts harvested from the coconut palm (Cocos nucifera). Throughout the tropical world, it has provided the primary source of fat in the diets of millions of people for generations. It has various applications in food, medicine, and industry. Because of its stability, it is slow to oxidize and, thus, resistant to rancidity, lasting up to two years owing to the high saturated fat content.-

Check out our personal online site as well
<http://www.caramoan.ph

laddu
Guest
laddu

i love coconut oil.it is a complete feed for hair

Yas
Guest
Yas

Great article. Coconut oil is amazing. It’s literally like the miracle oil and has so many great uses. I put in my Mud washes, and my hot oil treatments. I use it before I pre-poo and after I de-tangle as well. You can use it as an post-shower oil and cook beautiful Thai inspired dishes with it. You can even use it to cleanse the teeth (oil pulling). When anyone asks me what type of oil they can use to start their natural journey, I ALWAYS recommend Coconut Oil above all others. Love the stuff.

Taylor
Guest

I just discovered the joys of coconut oil. I use it on my hair, my lips, my skip. It’s really nice when added to lotion or vaseline for a body moisturizer.

Yohance
Guest
Yohance

Get off the petroleum/coal based products. Coconut Oil is the best because of ease of access. All you need is a coconut tree, no digging, mining, no hard work. The Creator is not wicked or jealous, so anything that is hard to get is not for us. Mammonmoney on the otherhand, makes us work really hard for the basics.

webpage
Guest

This is a virus and likely infected your computer from
the likes of a Trojan Horse infection, fake email attachment or malicious download on the Internet.
Pitfalls — Purchasing a system with “On-Board” Video, Audio, or LAN might be cheaper up front.
> Another method to minimize Windows 7 load time would be to clean and
repair the Windows 7 registry via a good Registry repairing device.

Marjorie
Guest

Computer virus program is among the most widespread method
to obtain memory-consumption plan which almost certainly slow down
your PC. When purchasing a case, they almost always come with a power supply unit (PSU).
The high capacity industrial PC includes touch screen panels
and is compatible for use in multiple industries.

website
Guest

It easily fits into a space and some pieces recline for comfort.
s well made doesn. In almost any type, you can find outdoor furniture for your unique
desires.

Poul Kjærholm
Guest

You would have to pay much more for this kind of furniture in comparison with other types of materials.
s green living room furniture of sofas, loveseats and
chairs are high quality for the price of ordinary brand name products.

Our mission is that our customers should always remember only
us whenever they are looking to buy any type of modern design furniture.

website
Guest

You have decided to work from home but you do not know which furniture you need for your small
home office. s green living room furniture of sofas, loveseats and chairs
are high quality for the price of ordinary brand name products.

Having a few items on hand is all it takes to brings cherry beds, tables and chairs
back to their former beauty.

HJ Wegner
Guest

To ensure that we make the best purchase, there are certain rules that need to be followed.

It is made of durable embossed metal and is meant to look like copper.
But it is good to be prepared in case your buyer brings up the topic of including
additional items in the package.

trackback

[…] The Black Girl, W. L. H. (2011, 12 21). The benefits of coconut oil. Retrieved from http://bglh-marketplace.com/2011/12/the-benefits-of-coconut-oil/ […]

trackback

[…] which resists water, helping ensure our hair doesn’t get as damaged when we wash it in water. This article on a scientific study compares coconut oil, mineral oil and sunflower oil on their absorption […]

trackback

[…] Coconut Oil […]

trackback

[…] can also read this cool, science-y article about the benefits of coconut oil on the Black Girl Long Hair […]

trackback

[…]  What have you experiences been with shea butter?resources: Wikipedia, BGLH […]

Kadie
Guest
Kadie

Ok not recommending the coconut oil at all. If you have thin hair don’t do it, way too heavy 🙁 I’m using the argan oil leave in conditioner and that I can recommend :)Heat protectant Theres an argan oil one by Pro Naturals that I use thats really good because it makes hair nice and soft. Its not greasy or anything, lol. People get scared at the word “oil”. Salons use it and I got it online, its awesome and it’ll last for ages if you get a bottle of it. You use it after a shower and leave it… Read more »

trackback

The Benefits of Coconut Oil | Black Girl with Long Hair

[…]Can I just say what a relief to find someone who actually knows what theyre talking about on the internet. You definitely know tips on how to bring an issue to light and make it important. More people need to read this and understand this side of…

trackback

[…] strengthening the hair. Read more about the benefits of coconut oil, and its structural properties, here. Before your next wash, try My Natural Sistas DIY Whipped Coconut Oil Hair Treatment or regular […]

Shopping Cart