Coconut oil has been a hot topic in the beauty world for the last few years. We remove our makeup with it, slather it on our skin, and even brush our teeth with it. Celebrities like Kourtney Kardashian and Gwyneth Paltrow have been preaching the benefits of the multipurpose oil for years, and beauty brands have jumped on the coconut oil bandwagon and dedicated entire lines to the do-it-all oil.
While it’s safe to say almost everyone can find a place for coconut oil in their beauty routine, it might not belong in your hair. Depending on your hair type, coconut oil can be a holy grail or a total flop. It has fatty acids which help to moisturize and soften strands, and enhance shine. Unlike other oils, coconut oil can penetrate deep into the shaft of your hair and trap moisture. Coconut oil works best paired with a hydrator for that reason.
Not sure if coconut oil is right for your hair type, or how you can add it into your routine? Keep reading.
Coconut Oil Isn’t For Every Hair Type
Although coconut oil is touted as a holy grail product, it may not be the best oil for certain hair types. Coconut oil has the ability to cause protein build up on some hair types. For those of you with fine to medium hair, you might see great results from adding a coconut oil hair mask to your routine. However, for those of you with coarse or dry hair, with an abundance of protein, it may make your hair more brittle and lead to hair loss.
Coconut oil is great for people with high porosity hair as it blocks the cuticles and prevents water from flooding into the strands too quickly, helping your strands to retain moisture. If you have high porosity hair that means that water, oils, and other products can easily be absorbed into your hair. However, that means that your hair may not retain moisture as well as other hair types. For folks with low porosity hair it clogs the cuticle, making it hard for water to
Not sure what your hair type is? There are so many different factors to determine hair type. One of the most important is hair porosity, which is your hair’s ability to absorb and retain moisture. To find out if you have high or low porosity hair, take a bowl filled with water and place a single strand of hair in it. If your strand sinks to the bottom, you have high porosity hair, as it is absorbing all the moisture. If it floats to the top, you have low porosity hair that struggles to absorb moisture. If your hair sinks below the surface but doesn’t hit the bottom, you have a “normal” or balanced hair porosity. It’s important that you do not confuse hair texture with porosity, any hair texture can have high or low porosity strands.
How To Use Coconut Oil In Your Routine
First, part your hair into manageable sections to ensure that you evenly coat each strand. Then, rub the coconut oil between your hands until it becomes a liquid. You’ll want the oil to be warm (not hot) so that it can open the hair cuticles and penetrate your hair better. Focus on your ends, where your hair tends to be the driest and most damaged. If your hair is thin or you have a greasy scalp, you can skip the scalp so that the oil doesn’t weigh your hair down. We recommend doing this hair mask overnight, if you do it in the morning you risk going out with greasy hair. Also, don’t forget to cover your hair to avoid getting your pillowcase oily.
Use It As a Pre-Poo Shampoo Treatment
Your hair is most vulnerable when it’s wet, because of the structural changes that happen when your hair absorbs water. Applying oil to your hair before you shampoo will reduce the amount of water absorbed by the hair shaft, which will make it less prone to damage when it’s wet. Coconut oil doubles as a moisturizing pre-poo treatment for those whose hair feels dry or stripped after shampooing. Massage coconut oil from root to tip before you shampoo to prevent stripping and damage, and follow up with a shampoo that works best for your hair type.
Use It To Boost Your Conditioner
Coconut oil cannot moisturize on it it’s own, but used correctly it can help to enhance your moisturizing products. To give your conditioner a boost try adding a layer of coconut oil before you wash out your conditioner. After saturating your hair with conditioner, seal it in with a layer of coconut oil, leave it on for at least 15 minutes for softer, stronger hair. The oil is occlusive so it helps to seal in the conditioner’s hydrating ingredients, like slugging but for your hair.
Swim-Proof Your Hair
Without protection, swimming can wreak havoc on your hair. If you’re not a fan of wearing a swim cap, you can protect your hair with a layer of coconut oil. Coat your hair with a thick layer of coconut oil before going into the pool or ocean. The oil will create a barrier around your hair that will protect it from the sea salt and chlorine.
Split End and Frizz Control
Has it been a while since your last salon visit? Consider coconut oil your right hand man. Coconut oil can temporarily mend split ends in between salon visits. It’s also great for taming frizz because it tops moisture from absorbing into your hair, especially in humid climates, which can prevent frizz. Even in colder climates hair can look dry and frizzy, and coconut oil can penetrate the shaft and soften strand.
If your curls tend to lose definition throughout the day, try pairing coconut oil with your favorite gel or curl cream for dreamy ringlets that last all day. For maximum curliness, apply to damp hair. This will help make the strands more supple and helps them lock in the oil as the hair dries. You’ll be set with soft, juicy curls all day.
How Not To Use Coconut Oil In Your Routine
Despite claims, coconut oil cannot do it all. It won’t help with hair growth or dandruff. There are no scientific studies backing that coconut oil can help with hair growth, however it does help to prevent breakage. If you’re growing out your hair, but still want a longer and fuller look, you can always opt for hair extensions while it grows out. As for dandruff, coconut oil might lead to more buildup and a dehydrated scalp. If used directly on your scalp, coconut oil can clog pores and prevent hair follicles from “breathing”.
Coconut oil can melt or harden depending on the temperature, so it’s best not to rely on it as a styling creme. You might leave the house one way, and walk outside to your hair looking and feeling greasy or stiff. Instead use products that are formulated with coconut oil to get the best results.
The Best Coconut Oil Infused Products
Design Essentials Coconut and Monoi Curl Defining Gelee
This coconut oil infused curl defining gelee works best on 3a to 4b hair, because of its lightweight consistency and medium hold it won’t weigh your hair down or make it crunchy. It moisturizes your hair, eliminates frizz, and enhances your curls. Add it as the last step in your wash-and-go routine for soft, juicy curls. It also smells amazing!
Shea Moisture Leave-In Conditioner Treatment
This leave-in conditioner is great for detangling, controlling frizz, and moisturizing your hair. It’s sulfate- free and formulated with 100% virgin coconut oil that will leave you with soft, manageable strands. Spritz on wet or dry hair for a boost of moisture and to prevent frizz. Bonus: your hair will smell like a Carribean holiday!
Sephora Collection Multi-Purpose Oil
This oil can be used anywhere on the body, but the formulation is perfect for adding extra shine and body to your hair. It can be used on wet or dry hair for shiny, frizz-free locks. It comes in an easy use bottle, so it’s easy to throw in your bag and use on the go.
Briogeo Scalp Revival Charcoal + Coconut Oil Scalp Scrub
We know that healthy hair starts with scalp care. If you have a dry, flaky scalp or are prone to build up this exfoliating shampoo can help to draw impurities and gently remove buildup from your scalp and strands. Apply to wet hair, focus on the scalp, for a clarifying treatment before following up with your favorite conditioner or post-shampoo treatment.
Kopari Coconut Melt
This multi-tasking coconut oil can hydrate from head to toe. Coconut melt is premium quality, unrefined, organic coconut oil that provides rich hydration to the hair, skin, and body. Use it as a deep conditioning mask on colour treated hair, or to mend split ends between salon visits. You won’t run out of ways to use this lavish oil.
Written by Phelisha Cassup