Coconut Oil for Healthy hair
Coconut oil is a versatile health and beauty product. In local parlance, it is called a miracle oil for the numerous applications and benefits that it brings.
Of the many uses, one important application that is used the world over is for healthy hair. Regular use of coconut oil helps to protect, improve and grow healthy and bouncy hair.
Let’s take a look at how to use this miracle hair to get those shiny locks
What is Hair damage?
Unknowingly we put our hair through a lot of stress with our regular routine. Simple routines like washing, brushing, ironing & styling if not done properly can cause damage to your hair and leave it looking frizzy, broken, and dry.
Let’s look at how our hair is made up to better understand how the damage happens and how we can treat it
Our hair is made up of three layers:
- Medulla. This is the soft, central part of the hair shaft. Interestingly, thick hair contains large amounts of the medulla, while fine hair has almost none.
- Cortex. This is the thickest layer of our hair. It contains lots of fibrous proteins and the pigment that gives our hair its color.
- Cuticle. The cuticle is the tough, protective outer layer of our hair.
Washing, styling, and coloring of hair can damage the cuticle. Losing the outer cuticle protection makes the central parts of the hair shaft vulnerable to damage like breakage or losing the sheen in your hair.
There are many treatments available for scalp and hair, but what if you want to treat using natural methods?
How to use Coconut oil to fix up your hair?
If you are looking to reduce protein loss and keep it looking healthy, then coconut oil is your best bet
One older study published in 2003 examined the effects of applying coconut, sunflower, or mineral oil to hair before or after washing. They found that coconut oil was better at preventing protein loss than both the mineral and sunflower oils when applied either before or after the hair was washed.
In fact, coconut oil came out on top in all of their studies and reduced protein loss in hair that was undamaged, bleached, chemically treated, and UV exposed.
It’s thought that coconut oil’s chemical structure is behind its superior ability to protect hair
Coconut oil is predominantly made up of a medium-chain fatty acid called lauric acid. This gives coconut oil a long, straight structure, which is more easily absorbed deep into the hair shaft.
When applied to hair before washing, coconut oil has been shown to reduce protein loss more than sunflower and mineral oils.
There are a few ways you can apply oil to your hair to help protect it from damage.
First, applying oil to your hair before it’s washed can help reduce the amount of damage it sustains during washing and while it’s wet. Interestingly, hair is most vulnerable to damage when it’s wet. This is because of subtle, structural changes that occur when it absorbs water.
When you wet your hair, the thick, central cortex soaks up the water and swells, causing a structural change in the cuticle. When the cortex of your hair absorbs water and swells up, the cuticle scales are pushed outward so they stick up. This makes wet hair much easier to damage, especially when brushing or styling.
Applying oil to your hair before you wash it can reduce the amount of water absorbed by the hair shaft and the degree to which the cuticle scales “stick up.” This makes it less prone to damage while it’s wet.
Second, coating your hair in oil after you wash it helps make it softer and smoother. This reduces the amount of friction caused by styling, making your hair less likely to snag and break
Your hair is most vulnerable to damage when it’s wet. Applying oil to your hair both before and after you wash it helps protect it from damage.
Coconut oil could help you grow your hair longer
Many people want to grow long, sleek, and shiny hair. Coconut oil could help you grow your hair longer by:
- moisturizing your hair and reducing breakage
- protecting your hair from protein loss and damage when wet
- protecting your hair from environmental damage like wind, sun, and smoke
To get the most out of coconut oil, you’ll probably need to make it a regular part of your beauty regimen.
Other benefits of coconut oil for hair
Coconut oil may also have other benefits for your hair.
- Lice prevention. One small study found that when combined with anise in a spray, coconut oil was 40% more effective at treating head lice than the chemical permethrin
- Sun protection. UV filters can help protect your hair from sun damage. Some in vitro and skin studies have found coconut oil to have a sun protection factor of 8, so putting it on your hair could be useful
- Dandruff treatment. Dandruff can be caused by an overgrowth of fungus or yeast on the scalp. While no studies have examined coconut oil specifically, it has antimicrobial properties and could be useful for treating dandruff
- Hair loss prevention. Excessive grooming can damage the hair shaft, which in extreme circumstances can cause hair loss. Coconut oil can help keep your hair in good condition and prevent this.
It can also be used as:
- As a conditioner. Shampoo your hair as normal and then comb coconut oil through your hair, from the midsection to the ends.
- As a post-wash detangler. After shampooing and conditioning your hair, rub a little coconut oil through your hair to protect it while you brush it.
- As a hair mask. Rub coconut oil through your hair and let it sit for a few hours (or even overnight) before washing it out.
- As a pre-wash hair protector. Rub coconut oil through your hair before you wash it.
- As a scalp treatment. Before bed, massage a small amount of coconut oil into your scalp. Leave it overnight and wash it off with shampoo in the morning.
These techniques can be used regularly or once in a while. It can be used both before and after you wash your hair to help prevent damage and keep your hair looking shiny and healthy.
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