Been Using Coconut Oil on Your Hair? Here's Why You Should Probably Stop...

Curated by Claudia Shannon / Research Scientist / ishonest

Much like contouring, double-cleansing and balayage, coconut oil has become a staple in many people's beauty regimes. And if you don't use coconut oil, chances are someone has told you all about its benefits (even though you probably didn't ask, or care).

Whether frying vegetables in it (hashtag health) or slathering it over our dry skin to combat the side effects of the cold weather and too much hand washing, the world has gone loco for all things coco. Celebrities like Kourtney Kardashian and Miranda Kerr have been preaching the benefits of the all-natural oil for years and brands have created entire beauty and haircare ranges infused with the stuff.

ishonest No.501 - Frizzy Hair

No.501 - Frizzy Hair

Skincare aside, it seems people are constantly finding new ingenious ways to use coconut oil. In fact, if you haven't used it to shave your legs or whiten your teeth, you're seriously missing a trick. Plus, if you're thinking about making some no-bake brownies or protein balls, coconut oil could be the next best (and healthier) alternative to vegetable oil to slip into your kitchen cupboard.

That said, before you start getting carried away and slathering it from head to toe, you might want to heed our expert's advice. After news broke that coconut oil could be bad for certain skin types, we were keen to find out whether the same was true for our hair.

We called on Ross Charles, Owner of Ross Charles Hairdressing, to weigh in on the topic...

Is coconut oil bad for your hair?

Many people swear by coconut oil to rehydrate dry ends, fight off frizz, and it does do a great job at adding instant lustre as well as serious shine.

For strong and hydrated hair

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Coconut oil is rich in lauric acid (a fatty acid), which penetrates the hair shaft as well as completely coating each strand, making it water repellent. This makes it excellent at warding off frizz in humid environments, and instantly transforming hair to look healthier.

However, hair is made up of keratin, a protein. Within this protein, there are bundles of amino acids, which serve as building blocks for strong, hydrated and healthy hair. If your hair has broken keratin bonds, from heat damage or colouring, coconut oil won't fix it - in fact, it could make it worse.

"People often use hair oils to moisten their hair, but in fact, oil and water don't mix," says Ross. "Oil actually stops treatments from penetrating the hair shaft."

What exactly is coconut oil doing to our hair, then?

If your hair has been damaged from over-processing from colour, or is weak and fragile, you need to get amino acids into the hair shaft, so definitely don't want to coat your hair in oil, which would stop them from penetrating.

Volume and structure for your hair

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"Hair oils - and especially coconut oil - tend to seep into every tiny hole in your hair shaft and disguise the real problem to act as a quick-fix; this won't help your hair in the long-run and is one of the main reasons I advise against using oils in your hair."

By Jade Moscrop

What type of coconut oil should I use in my hair?

If you do decide to use coconut oil, for example, for it's humidity-resistant benefits, it's important to use extra virgin coconut oil, which means it doesn't contain bleach or other chemicals that some other formulas contain and that could irritate the scalp.

What are some alternatives to coconut oil for hair?

"Instead of using oils like coconut oil to fight frizz, always use low PH products, or balance pH products, on your hair," says Ross. "This will keep the cuticle flatter, meaning less tangles. Tangled hair is often the cuticle scales of your hair interlocking with each other."

ishonest No.142 - Humectant

No.142 - Humectant

Some pH balanced products include Grow Gorgeous's Balance Fibre-Sealing Split Ends Treatment, £23, which contains Wood and Marine Brown Algae and Pelvetia Canaliculate to instensely moisturise and smooth hair cuticles.

Another great formula is Redken All Soft Megamask, a pH balanced, deeply nourishing mask that can be used in place on conditioner for very dry hair.

Use moisturising masks on a regular basis as an alternative to oils to really penetrate dry, damaged hair and begin a long-term treatment process to healthy, strong hair."

As for hair treatments containing those essential amino acids? The Ordinary Multi-Peptide Serum For Hair Density, £15.80, a multi-peptide serum is able to work within the hair follicles to strengthen each hair. Plus it contains caffeine to boost circulation in the scalp and boosting growth.

Then, of course there is Olaplex - the holy grail of hair repair. Olaplex rebuilds the bonds within an essential amino acid Cysteine, instantly making hair stronger.

Looks like we'll be sticking to only using coconut oil for baking, then, and letting our hair flourish without. Here are some other hair masks that you might fancy using next time you want a bit of a pamper and some hair TLC...

Read more on: coconut oil, coconut oil for hair

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