Coconut Oil: Your Not-So-Secret Beauty Secret

Eunice Lucero | 17 June 2016

If you like piña coladas, getting caught in the rain… or just shiny, super-charged, moisturized strands, read on.

It’s everywhere: detox drinks, cooking oil, even in tubs in the beauty aisle. But what is it exactly about coconut oil that has everyone going loco for coco?

Coconut oil is an edible oil extracted from mature coconuts, which grow from the coconut tree. The tropical wonder (and popular umbrella-cocktail flavor) is famously high in saturated fat, meaning not only can it be stored longer without spoiling, it also serves as an all-natural emollient, capable of moisturizing dry skin and restoring balance to a tight, irritated scalp.

Benefits of Coconut Oil

coconut oil for strands
Lightweight damage repair: Coconut oil is an ideal hair moisturizer during hot summers.

Hot summer weather and the hair sins that go with it—prolonged UV exposure, chlorine, saltwater—can often lead to dry, brittle hair that shows a significant loss in protein. Coconut oil contains high levels of medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) that can promote the growth of healthy hair and prevent the loss of protein from the shaft. And given how chock-full of moisturizing ingredients it is, it still feels pretty light-wearing compared to other oils, making it an ideal hair oil or deep conditioner during hotter, stickier seasons.

Touted as a superfood (Southeast Asian countries, where coconuts and the use of their byproducts is extensive, have nicknamed coconut trees as the “tree of life”), coconut oil also has a myriad of health benefits. It has antioxidant, antibacterial, antiviral and anti-fungal properties (!), which can help alleviate and prevent dandruff and other scalp infections.

Coconut oil is an all-natural hair moisturizer also said to aid in boosting shine, smoothness and even repair of a damaged hair shaft, particularly in strands that have seen their fair share of heat tools and manipulation. Curly and natural-textured girls can also attest to the softening benefits of coconut oil, especially as an add-on to their conditioning products, as it can provide hydration to dry, parched strands without flattening a curl.

Coconut Milk

Not to be confused with coconut oil or even coconut water (a.k.a. the “juice” you get when you split open a husk), coconut milk is another derivative of the superfruit and is a liquid extracted by grating coconut meat. Its high oil content makes it a good product for nourishing and soothing the scalp, as an effective detangler and all-natural leave-in conditioner, a stimulant for hair follicles and even a gentle “pre-poo” or pre-shampooing agent. Our forefathers had it good!

However, some in the here and now may still be skeptical about injecting botanicals into their cosmetic regimens. They can still experience these benefits (without going all crunchy) by trying out products with coconut oil and milk infusions. Those looking to amp up their conditioning treatments, but are wary of getting limp locks, can benefit from a coconut oil-imbibed wash and care system. If you’re all about making your hair softer and are looking to upgrade your hair care regimen with more nourishing products, look to products with coconut milk, which are focused on imparting hair with moisture. Essential after those summer beach trips, these are tropical cocktails we can definitely get behind.

Have you tried using coconut oil in your hair care regimen?

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