Although chemical based hair growth products have flourished, the usefulness of raw natural products cannot be overlooked. One such natural product, containing nourishing fatty acids is coconut oil.
Coconut oil as the name suggests refers to oil derived from coconuts (Cocos nucifera). It is commonly used for cooking, in cosmetic and non-cosmetic products such as edible fats, chocolates, and soaps2.
The oil is derived from the copra of the coconut and has a composition of 60-70% fatty acids, 4-10% water, as well as carbohydrate and protein contents. About 90% of the fatty acids are designated as saturated fats which are further broken into monounsaturated and triglycerides, with triglycerides being more prevalent3.
Coconut oil for hair growth
Coconut oil has been used to enhance hair growth for a very long time. The major component responsible for this is lauric acid – which is a triglyceride (a short-chain fatty acid). Lauric acid has low molecular weight, which makes it easily absorbed by the hair shaft4 and thus works as a natural conditioner, helping prevent split ends.
Coconut oil protects hair from breaking, allowing it to grow
When applied to the hair, studies have revealed that coconut oil penetrates hair follicles5 and help in protecting hair from physical damage when combing. Other studies conducted on isolated hair follicles reveal that coconut oil increases moisture reabsorption of hair6.
- International Journal of Ethics in Engineering & Management Education, (2014), The effectiveness of coconut oil mixed with herbs to promote hair growth. (ISSN: 2348-4748, Volume 1, Issue 3, March 2014)
- DebMandal M, Mandal S., Coconut (Cocos nucifera L.: Arecaceae): in health promotion and disease prevention. Asian Pac J Trop Med. (2011)
- Burnett CL, et al., Final report on the safety assessment of Cocos nucifera (coconut) oil and related ingredients. Int J Toxicol. (2011)
- Rele A.S. and Mohile R.B., (1998), Effect Of Coconut Oil On Prevention Of Hair Damage. Journal Of Cosmetic Science, 50(6), 327-339
- Gode V, et al., Quantitative measurement of the penetration of coconut oil into human hair using radio-labelled coconut oil. J Cosmet Sci. (2012)
- Keis K, Huemmer CL, Kamath YK., Effect of oil films on moisture vapor absorption on human hair. J Cosmet Sci. (2007)