Ingredient Profile: Can Coconut Oil Help Reduce Hair Breakage?

July 20, 2020 | Written by Kathy Watson

If you’ve ever googled natural remedies for your hair, you’ve probably seen coconut oil pop up. Or, maybe you spied it on one of our conditioner bottles. Well, there’s a reason for this—there’s scientific evidence to suggest that this ancient remedy can benefit your hair and scalp in multiple ways.

What is Coconut Oil?

When most people think of coconut oil, they’re used to thinking of it as a skincare product. While coconut oil can yield plenty of benefits for your skin, many of those same perks also extend to your hair and scalp.

Coconut oil can be used topically or orally. Ingesting it comes with its own health benefits, but since most of this oil is saturated fat, you probably don’t want to consume it in very large amounts. Some of the most notable health benefits of coconut oil include:

  • Increasing your hair’s shine
  • Protecting your skin and scalp with anti-inflammatory properties
  • Reducing stress with antioxidant properties
  • Antimicrobial properties may help kill bacteria
  • May increase energy levels and fat burning

Most of the time, the health benefits you’re after depends on the way you consume it. If you’re looking to experience coconut oil’s hair perks, you’ll want to use it as a cosmetic product. Ingesting coconut oil may give you more energy, but it won’t do much for your hair breakage.

How Does Coconut Oil Help Reduce Hair Breakage?

Coconut oil may be able to prevent some of the damaging effects caused by your regular grooming practices. When applied to fragile and brittle hair, coconut oil can help minimize hair breakage.

While grooming your hair is almost unavoidable, styling, washing, and coloring it can damage the cuticle, your hair’s outer layer. Enough damage to the cuticle makes it difficult to protect the hair shaft, and you often lose fibrous proteins from the cortex as a result.  Ultimately the loss of these fibrous proteins typically causes breakage and makes your hair more fragile or brittle.

Coconut Oil Can Prevent Breakage

Research suggests that coconut oil may be able to prevent some of the breakages you experience as a result of damaged hair. Scientists measured the amount of protein loss that people experience on average and compared it with the amount of protein lost with coconut oil.

The results showed that coconut oil was able to prevent some of these losses, even better than some other popular oils on the market. Since the loss of fibrous proteins is what causes hair breakage, coconut oil can be used to help reduce breakage or fragility.

Coconut Oil May Be Able to Help Dandruff

While there’s still more research to be done on coconut oil’s complete list of benefits, it does have antimicrobial properties that may be useful in treating dandruff. Specifically, it may be able to help dandruff when it’s caused by too much fungus or yeast. Current studies haven’t taken a look at coconut oil individually, but they show promising results for oils full of fatty acids—like coconut oil.

Even if you’re not plagued with hair breakage or a nasty case of dandruff, that doesn’t mean you can’t still benefit from coconut oil. Using coconut oil as a moisturizer may increase your hair’s shine, especially with all the fatty acids in the oil. If you already deal with a dry scalp, moisturizing your scalp on a regular basis is vital.

While most people probably don’t apply coconut oil directly to their scalp (since that can be both messy and greasy), they do use cosmetic products like conditioner or lotion that contain coconut oil as an active ingredient.

Why Is Coconut Oil Included in Hair Care Products?

Like many of our other active ingredients, coconut oil has multiple benefits. We included coconut oil in our product to help increase shine, reduce breakage, and helps combat dandruff. Since coconut oil is predominantly made up of a medium-chain fatty acid called lauric acid. This brings a long, straight molecular structure that is more easily absorbed deep into the hair shaft – and helps to reduce protein loss. The reduction of protein loss is a critical step in reducing fragile and brittle hair. Coconut oil is a gift from nature to help reduce the vulnerability of our hair.

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