3 key benefits of using coconut oil on your hair, proven by science

For years, we only 'assumed' that the peoples of the tropics' thick hair and glowing skin were derived from organic benefits of coconut oil. Now, we know...


We all take pride in our appearance, no matter what the occasion. We want to look radiant from top to toe, our hair the crowning glory. The problem? Too many hair care products take a month and a day to work.

And, let's be honest. Few products live up to the hype that marketing departments create. If hair's your Achilles' heel, then shampoo and conditioner that contain coconut oil could be your lifeline.

When it comes to the crunch, you can't beat the ingredients that mother nature provides. We know that the pharmaceutical industry has farmed many organic ingredients to the point of extinction. Not so the coconut; it remains a bounty of the tropics.

To beat the instant results that oil extract from the humble coconut achieves for even the most unruly hair types? Well, that's a tough nut to crack.

Are you yet to treat yourself to this premium range? Perhaps you need more convincing of the facts before you make the investment in yourself. Well, that's understandable. Just for you, here are three proven benefits of using organic hair products, specifically those rich in coconut oil.


1. Proven skin hydration: coconut oil versus mineral oil

Dry, flaky skin on the scalp is the cause of dandruff. It's bad enough that the flakes shed like a snowstorm, rendering dark clothes unwearable for sufferers. But the interminable itch that accompanies dandruff? Unwearable and unbearable.

A recently as ten years ago, science had undertaken few tests to determine the assumed skin moisturising benefits of coconut oil.

We knew that people indigenous to the tropics had used coconut oil as a moisturiser for centuries. But where was the proof?

How could we be sure that it was the coconut extract itself that was key to keeping their skin moist and supple in the blazing heat? In 2004, scientists decided to put that assumption to the test.

Today, the Department of Dermatology reports on the group chosen for that test. 34 sufferers of xerosis, a form of dermatitis, underwent a blind test.

Scientists applied mineral oil, a known moisturiser, to their scaly, rough skin. They also applied a similar coconut oil patch to the same affected areas. For the record, the experiment cites the sufferers conditions as 'mild to moderate' occurrences.

The aim of the test was dual purpose:

  • to confirm that coconut oil was effective as a moisturiser;
  • and that it was safe to those outside the tropics, even on those with skin conditions.

All manner of instruments were used to ensure fair play, but the results were conclusive. The two products had 'comparable effects', improving skin hydration and increasing lipids on the skin's surface.

Deeper analysis showed that the coconut oil hinted at better longer term improvement than mineral oil. But, for the test results based on the aim of the study, the conclusion is irrefutable. Coconut oil is at least as safe and effective as a skin moisturiser as mineral oil.


2. Prevention of hair damage: a test of three oils

Staying in the tropics, we next travel to Mumbai, India. We also move from the epidermis to examine the benefits of coconut oil for hair. In particular, how it helps prevent damage.

Back in 2003, science had already fathomed that using coconut oil treatments helped protect a range of hair types during combing. The scientists had conducted tests both in the lab and live on subjects, so were sure of their results.

What they set out to achieve was the comparative effectiveness of coconut oil to both mineral oil and sunflower oil. The latter is massive in the hair industry, second only to coconut oil itself. Whilst people across the Indian continent have adopted the former, mineral oil, en masse for treating their hair.

Sunflower oil has a wide adoption because it neither freezes nor emits strong odors at room temperature. Mineral oil is neither greasy to the touch nor as expensive as the two oils against which it was competing in the test.

Each oil had plus points, but which was best for damage prevention?

It's a common saying: strength comes from within. The results proved that this adage is no different for hair treatment. Of the three, only coconut oil had the properties which enabled it to penetrate the hair itself. This is crucial in helping prevent protein loss, which in itself is a key factor in damaged hair of all types.

Without going all scientific, coconut oil's make up has a close resemblance to the hair's natural protein. Neither mineral nor sunflower oil helped prevent damage in any way, as their construction does not allow for penetration of the hair fiber.

Result? Coconut oil was the clear winner in the fight against damaged hair.


3. Coconut oil blocks 20% of harmful UV rays

Holiday hair! Is there anything worse? If you live in a temperate zone, above or below the tropics, as soon as you edge closer to the equator, it's as if your hair knows what's in store. It collapses. Or worse, explodes. Holiday snaps? Forget 'em!

But that needn't be the case. In Belgrade in 2011, scientists wanted to put a whole host of herbs under the microscope. The reason? They knew that herbs and their extracts are high in antioxidants, key defences in the fight against free radicals. What they couldn't state for certain was that those extracts helped protect against sun damage.

Of the natural oil extracts used in the tests, sesame seed oil (also in our argan oil conditioner) came out on top. Scientists found that it was effective against 30% of the sun's UV rays.

Coconut oil, along with olive and peanut oil, resists 20% of the suns UV rays. And both black and green tea extract (the latter a key ingredient in our argan oil shampoo) had positive effects on adverse skin conditions.

All this protection we can get from mother nature's own store, now proven by science. Is there a valid reason not to use her bounteous gifts when they're so readily available? We don't think so.

We're not saying that our argan oil shampoo and conditioner are the only protection you need against the sun. Far from it.

But the natural properties you'll find in them have proven beneficial - both in vivo (live) and in vitro (in the lab) - in preventing and repairing sun damaged skin and hair.

Wherever you are, you owe it to yourself to look your best. Our argan oil shampoo and conditioner are no-fuss ways of indulging yourself in the massive benefits nature has given us in coconut oil. And that, as they say, is a fact.

Sarah Miller
Editor: Beauty

Photo Credits - (Header) CC Zero: Palm Beach by Florian Klauer 
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