Unlocking Hair Strength With Coconut Nutrients

  • Georgia Awcock Master of Science - MS, Epidemiology, The University of Edinburgh, UK
  • Olga Gabriel Master's degree, Forensic Science, Uppsala University, Sweden

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Introduction

Coconut oil and water have several benefits for hair health and contain nutrients such as vitamins, essential fatty acids, fats, and antioxidants. Across the globe, coconuts have been recognized for their ability to nourish and protect hair in many diverse climates and conditions ranging from India to southeast Asia and Africa, as well as tropical climates. For centuries, the benefits of coconuts for hair health have been practised across the globe, and today, modern products still encompass coconuts for strong, healthy hair.

The nutrient powerhouse: coconut

The coconut is a tropical fruit produced by a coconut tree (Cocos nucifera), which is part of the palm tree family. Coconuts have been part of beauty regimens for centuries, spanning across many diverse cultures due to their nutritional benefits.

Coconuts contain many beneficial nutrients2 such as:

  1. Fatty Acids – Coconuts are known to be very rich in fatty acids and saturated fats; although saturated fats are usually considered unhealthy, those found in coconuts are unique and have been linked to various health benefits in science, including hair health. The fatty acid Lauric Acid, which is found in coconuts, has antimicrobial properties that can help combat various scalp problems such as dandruff. It also helps to reduce protein loss, leading to stronger, longer hair.
  2. Vitamins – The coconut contains various important vitamins, including vitamins C, E, and a range of B vitamins. They are not only essential for overall health but also contribute to healthy hair.
  3. Minerals – Various minerals have been found in coconuts such as iron, selenium, sodium, calcium, and magnesium. Again, these minerals are important for maintaining healthy hair.

Coconut oil for hair

Coconut oil for hair strength

There are many benefits of coconut oil for hair strength. Due to its ingredients and nutrients, it can penetrate hair shafts and reduce protein loss within the hair, which reduces hair breakage and encourages stronger, longer hair. It also promotes moisture, by hydrating the hair making it softer, less brittle, and prone to breakage and frizz.

Coconut oil for hair care

It is important when using coconut oil for hair health to make sure that a high-quality organic or virgin/extra virgin coconut oil is used for the best results, as these types retain more of the nutrients mentioned previously.
It is also important to not overuse too much coconut oil – using too much can make your hair greasy and difficult to rinse out. You will also need to consider your hair type, finer hair types will require less product and you may not want to put any on the roots, focusing on the ends only. A little goes a long way, start with a small amount, and add more if needed.  

Ensure after any treatment that the coconut oil is fully rinsed out of your hair by using a shampoo. It may be necessary to shampoo thoroughly twice to ensure that all residue has been removed and to prevent any build-up of the product on the scalp.  

After treatment with coconut oil, you can continue your hair care routine as usual, with any products, heat protectant, and styling tools as necessary.

Coconut water and hydration

While coconut oil takes care of external hair health, coconut water is best for internal hydration. Here, we'll explore the vital role of coconut water in keeping your hair well-hydrated, hair dehydration, and how coconut water can benefit your overall hair health.

Coconut water is rich in essential electrolytes such as potassium, sodium, and magnesium3 and can help maintain moisture levels in your hair. These minerals all play an active role in regulating water balance in the body.

If this balance is not regulated, we can become dehydrated. Our hair can also become dehydrated and can lead to weakened brittle hair. Without enough moisture, hair becomes more susceptible to breakage, split ends, and frizz.
It can also cause hair loss as hair follicles become weaker and produce weaker strands that are prone to breaking as well as a dull appearance without the natural shine that is associated with healthy hair.

Consuming coconut water is not only beneficial for your hair but can also benefit and hydrate your body. Swapping sugary drinks for coconut water after exercise or adding it to smoothies to keep hydration within the body can improve hair hydration so that it looks and feels healthier with less damage.

Coconut milk and hair growth

Coconut milk is a white liquid from the pulp of ripe coconuts. It is rich in vitamin E and has been shown to encourage hair growth by encouraging blood circulation in the scalp.  It is believed to stimulate hair follicles to promote strong, healthy hair and reduce hair loss by keeping the scalp hydrated and well-nourished.

Nutrients in coconut milk for hair health

Coconut milk contains many nutrients that are good for the body and hair, including various vitamins such as vitamins E, B12, and C, minerals such as iron and zinc, as well as fatty acids and proteins – all of which promote healthy hair growth.

DIY coconut milk hair treatments

As coconut milk is versatile, it can be used in many ways to help promote hair growth. Some examples include:

  • Coconut milk hair mask – mix coconut milk and honey and apply to hair liberally. Leave for 30 minutes, then rinse off thoroughly.
  • Coconut milk and aloe vera – Adding aloe vera gel to coconut milk can help soothe the scalp and promote healthy hair growth.
  • Coconut milk hair rinse – by diluting coconut milk with water it can be used to rinse the hair after shampooing and conditioning to maintain soft, shiny hair.

While coconut milk has been shown to help encourage hair growth. For long-term results, consistency is key. For the best outcome, add these treatments to your regular routine.

Recipes for homemade hair masks

Coconut nutrients can have various benefits for different hair concerns. Below are some homemade hair masks that can address hair concerns such as dryness, frizz, or dandruff.

  1. Moisturising coconut oil, honey, and banana hair mask for moisture reduces frizz and leaves hair soft and shiny.
  2. Coconut oil, honey, and egg hair masks are used for strengthening due to the protein in the eggs and coconut oil's nourishing properties. This mask will encourage strong, healthy hair.
  3. Coconut Milk, yoghurt, and lemon mask for combating dandruff.
  4. Coconut oil and avocado for dry hair.

Depending on your hair type and length, different quantities of ingredients may be necessary.  

Incorporating coconut nutrients into your hair care routine

Below are some tips and guidelines to help integrate coconut nutrient products into your hair care routine for strong, healthy hair.

  1. Make sure to use high-quality coconut products as they retain most of the nutrients for maximum benefits.
  2. Determine your hair type – you will need to tailor your products based on your type to get the most out of coconut nutrient products; the finer the hair, the less product is needed.
  3. Deep condition with coconut oil once a week or as needed, depending on your hair needs. Apply generously to hair and scalp, and leave for 30 minutes or overnight for an intensive treatment.
  4. Coconut water rinse after shampooing and conditioning can help leave your hair shiny and well-nourished.
  5. Use a coconut hair mask treatment once or twice a month, selecting one with ingredients that will address your specific hair needs, such as hydration, strengthening, or dandruff control.
  6. Hydrate internally with coconut water.
  7. Protect your hair from excessive heat styling, the sun, and pollution, and use protective measures such as heat protectants and hats when necessary.

Conclusion

In this article, we explored the many benefits of coconut for hair nourishment. Coconut, with its combination of vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids, offers a natural way to improve the condition of hair. Coconut oil is known for its ability to strengthen and moisturize, reduce breakage, and add a radiant shine. Coconut water not only hydrates the body but keeps your hair supple and vibrant from within. Meanwhile, coconut milk, which is packed with added nutrients, promotes hair growth and nourishes your scalp.

DIY hair masks provide tailored solutions for various hair concerns and can be adapted to best suit your needs. By experimenting with coconut nutrients and remaining consistent, you can unlock strong, healthy hair.

Summary

  • Hair is made of the protein keratin
  • Natural coconut products benefit hair health
  • Coconuts are rich in essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals that all support healthy hair.
  • DIY coconut masks can address various hair concerns, including strengthening, dandruff, and hydration
  • Consistency is key to achieving strong, healthy hair.
  • Consider your hair type when using coconut-based products and protect your hair from heat and environmental factors.

References

  1. Yang FC, Zhang Y, Rheinstädter MC. The structure of people’s hair. PeerJ [Internet]. 2014 Oct 14 [cited 2023 Dec 14];2:e619. Available from: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4201279/
  2. Wallace TC. Health Effects of Coconut Oil—A Narrative Review of Current Evidence. Vol. 38, Journal of the American College of Nutrition. Routledge; 2019. p. 97–107.
  3. Kalman DS, Feldman S, Krieger DR, Bloomer RJ. Comparison of coconut water and a carbohydrate-electrolyte sport drink on measures of hydration and physical performance in exercise-trained men. Journal of the International Society of Sports Nutrition [Internet]. 2012 Jan 18 [cited 2023 Dec 14];9(1):1. Available from: https://doi.org/10.1186/1550-2783-9-1

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This content is purely informational and isn’t medical guidance. It shouldn’t replace professional medical counsel. Always consult your physician regarding treatment risks and benefits. See our editorial standards for more details.

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Georgia Awcock

Master of Science - MS, Epidemiology, The University of Edinburgh

Georgia is an Epidemiologist with experience in the pharmaceutical and medical industries with a background in both management and clinical roles within the NHS and private sectors. She has a special interest in Public Health, specifically Non-Communicable Diseases, such as Heart Disease and Cancer and has worked alongside Oncologists on clinical studies concerning potential drug treatments.

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