Grandma’s favorite ingredients for luscious, thick hair – coconut oil and shea butter – might not actually be the best for all hair types, according to recent reports. While many swear by the benefits they have to offer, coconut oil and shea butter do not always give you the shiny tresses you’ve always wanted. They might actually be bad for certain hair types and aggravate the already existing hair problems
Coconut Oil For Hair
Coconut oil has been used for thousands of years by people in the Pacific Rim and Asian countries. Here’s how science says coconut oil is useful for the hair.
- The vitamin K and vitamin E content in coconut hair are known to nourish the hair and improve scalp health.1
- The fatty acids present in coconut oil remove the sebum buildup from the hair follicles and promotes hair growth.
- It protects the hair by limiting the damage caused by environmental pollutants. This makes the hair retain its nutrients and strength.
- The antibacterial property of coconut oil prevents dandruff and hair fall.2
Why It Might Not Work
If your hair is dry and brittle, coconut oil might just increase the dryness. Contradictory to what most beauty experts claim, coconut oil (or any oil for that matter) does not moisturize the hair. Water is a moisturizer, whereas oil only seals the moisture already present in the scalp. Since coconut oil forms a coating on your hair and seals in the moisture, your hair is unable to absorb any moisture from the surroundings. Besides, your scalp already has oil or sebum content that is required to keep it from going dry. Application of excess oil only leaves the hair feeling dry, rough, and stiff.
To fight dryness and frizz, avoid coconut oil and opt for aloe vera and lemon-based recipes instead.
Shea Butter For Hair
Touted as the solution to all your hair problems, shea butter is known to make your hair strong and healthy.
- Shea butter deeply moisturizes dry hair and repairs hair damage.3
- It is also known to protect the hair follicles and prevent hair fall.4
- The anti-inflammatory properties of shea butter treat skin and scalp conditions, such as psoriasis and eczema.
- Shea butter has a low SPF content5, which prevents hair damage caused by the sun’s harsh UV rays.
Why It Might Not Work
Shea butter is a natural moisturizer, but if you apply it in excess, your hair can become dry and more frizzy. Like coconut oil, shea butter is heavy. It creates a barrier between the hair shaft and the water present in the air. This, in turn, prevents moisture being absorbed by the hair.
While shea butter and coconut oil nourish the hair and promote hair growth, they can also make your hair become dry and frizzy. Although there is no research that looks at the negative effects of coconut oil and shea butter on the hair, it’s best to use them sparingly or in moderation. Also, make sure you wash them off with a mild shampoo to prevent oil buildup in your hair.
|↑1||Kalkanis, James G., Craig Whitworth, and Leonard P. Rybak. “Vitamin E reduces cisplatin ototoxicity.” The Laryngoscope 114, no. 3 (2004): 538-542.|
|↑2||Cane, Jennifer. Coconut Oil: Weight Loss, Diet, and Health Secrets Revealed. Gamma Mouse, 2014.|
|↑3||Henderson, Katherine. Love, Peace, and Hair Grease. Lulu Press, 2014.|
|↑4||Costa, Diane Da. Textured Tresses: The Ultimate Guide to Maintaining and Styling Natural Hair. Simon and Schuster, 2007.|
|↑5||Blomberg, Agnes Mwangi. “Topical skin composition comprising shea butter, jojoba oil, petroleum jelly, stearic acid, magnesium sulfate, zinc oxide, glycerin, and water.” U.S. Patent 8,673,328, issued March 18, 2014.|