The Benefits of Using Coconut Oil on Your Hair Overnight
Hair is an interesting aspect of human anatomy that is generally viewed as little more than a cosmetic feature. In the early stages of our evolution, hair protected us from the elements and covered most of our bodies. In that sense, it was closer to fur than the hair we have recently grown accustomed to. We still see vestiges of our original hair growth since most people still grow hair on their backs, legs, arms, chests, and faces.
That said, the amount we grow is significantly less than what we used to have since we evolved to no longer need crude protection. Nowadays, we only concern ourselves with how our hair looks and feels to maintain the standard of beauty that has enraptured modern society. This has contributed to the desire to avoid baldness, which was less prevalent a few centuries ago.
Despite the vanity behind hair care, there is still a high demand for products to help us maintain a healthy head of hair. Some industries even cater to beards and mustaches, but the main focus has always been head hair. Several commercial products claim to enhance the health and quality of our hair, but some people have more sensitive locks. Additionally, some people prefer to avoid commercial products in favor of natural alternatives like coconut oil. The question is: What benefits does coconut oil have for hair, especially overnight?
What is Coconut Oil?
This might seem like a strange question with a straightforward answer, but coconut oil can be fairly complex if you are unfamiliar with it. As you might expect, coconut oil is made from coconuts, specifically the meat, milk, and kernels found in the seed. Some people do not know that coconut oil is a fat, albeit beneficial, that works wonders for our health.
Regardless, coconut oil becomes a white solid at 77° Fahrenheit but a clear liquid at higher temperatures, making it fairly versatile. The manufacturing process for coconut oil is also somewhat complicated since there are 2 major processes used to create it.
These processes are:
- Dry Manufacturing: The dry manufacturing process involves harvesting the coconut meat (the white solid) from within the seed. The meat is dried (using fire or sunlight) to create a new substance called copra. Once the copra is ready, it is dissolved in a solvent, which converts it into oil. This process also generates a byproduct that is unfit for human consumption and is instead fed to ruminants (hoofed herbivorous animals like deer). The dry manufacturing process is considered the superior method, but there is another option that some companies use to produce coconut oil.
- Wet Manufacturing: The wet manufacturing process relies entirely on the milk found within the seed. Coconut milk is packed with proteins that help create an emulsion (a substance that enables water and oil to mix) that must be broken down. Breaking the emulsion down is the most complicated step in this process and was originally accomplished by prolonged boiling, but the oil harvested from this method was discolored and produced a minimal yield. Modern techniques employ centrifuges and pre-treatments consisting of heat, cold, salts, acids, or enzymes (among others). Unfortunately, modern technology has not made wet manufacturing cost-effective since the wet process has a 10-15% lower yield than the dry process.
Knowing how your coconut oil was made can help you determine whether the product is high quality. Companies that use wet manufacturing are more likely to have smaller yields during the production method, meaning there might be less oil in a container, or the oil might have been left out while the difference was made up with a secondary process. Ideally, coconut oil should be created with dry manufacturing rather than wet, but the oil's quality should still be similar. The important part is knowing what benefits coconut oil has for your hair.
What Are the Benefits of Coconut Oil?
Coconut oil has a well-established effect on skin and general health, though not everyone thinks to put it in their hair. Considering its status as fat, the impulse to avoid putting it in your hair is understandable despite its potential benefits.
While coconut oil might not be the most effective tool for improving your hair's quality, it does have proven benefits for protecting your hair from damage. The main reason people use it for their hair is because of the protein found in its composition, which contributes to the protein used to grow and maintain hair. Coconut oil's popularity has grown so much that most people dismiss coconut oil's effects as a trend rather than a verifiable benefit.
However, scientific evidence suggests that coconut oil can help protect your hair against protein loss. This effect was most notably observed in a study from 2003 that compared coconut, sunflower, and mineral oils and their effects on hair.
The study applied each oil to the subjects' hair depending on their test group. After the treatments, the researchers measured the amount of lost protein to determine which was most effective for preserving protein content. The study revealed that coconut oil was more effective at preserving protein than sunflower and mineral oil, cementing its place in hair care.
Later studies determined that coconut oil was the top oil for hair protection when the hair was undamaged, bleached, chemically treated, or exposed to ultraviolet radiation. The reason for coconut oil's success is thought to be its chemical composition since coconut oil is made from a medium-chain fatty acid called lauric acid.
Conversely, sunflower oil is primarily composed of linoleic acid, which is bulkier than coconut oil and harder for the hair to absorb. These studies alone confirm that coconut oil can help protect the hair from losing protein and composition. Insofar as the overnight application is concerned, coconut oil has additional effects that make it a good choice.
The primary benefit is that our hair is prone to damage due to wear and tear throughout the day. When we are sleeping, we tend to toss and turn, especially if we are having particularly vivid dreams or nightmares. This means our hair is exposed to additional wear while we are asleep despite the fact we are asleep. Furthermore, coconut oil has a hydrating effect that keeps our hair soft and flexible through the night.
Coconut oil's benefits for hair are undeniable and supported by modern research, but it is far from the perfect product. Coconut oil is not a resource we can use recklessly, and we must be careful when using it since it has drawbacks.
What Are the Issues of Coconut Oil?
Coconut oil is considered safe by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and is used for various health and cosmetic treatments. Coconut oil can be safely consumed, applied to the skin or hair, and bears no toxins. Unfortunately, this does not mean there is no risk associated with coconut oil, or you can use it indefinitely without limiting the amount. For example, coconut oil's status as a fat makes consuming too much detrimental to your health.
As for hair, applying coconut oil too frequently can negatively impact your hair and scalp, though some of the issues are anecdotal. One of the main issues is associated with the oil's composition and will affect anyone since the oil is very thick and coats the scalp. Applying too much coconut oil to your hair will eventually cause it to cover the scalp completely and cause an oversaturation of oil. This causes an unpleasant sensation and gives your hair a greasy texture, making it dull and unpleasant.
People with very fine hair will have more exaggerated effects that make their hair look dirty and stringy rather than full and well-composed. In fact, the general consensus is that people with very fine hair should avoid using coconut oil entirely since it usually causes more harm than good. Additionally, anecdotal evidence suggests that overusing coconut oil on your hair can cause hair loss.
The average person loses around 50 to 100 hairs daily, but people who use coconut oil have reported losing significantly more. While this might not be related to coconut oil, it is worth ensuring you do not overuse it for the sake of your hair's appearance. Ideally, you should start your regimen with a small amount of coconut oil to see how your hair responds. If it proves amenable to your hair's specific composition, you can experiment with larger quantities, but you should not apply it more than 2 or 3 times a week.
People with very fine or sensitive hair might not be interested in using coconut oil since it might further damage their hair. Fortunately, some alternatives are more effective for protecting hair than coconut oil.
Vitamin B-7, better known as biotin, is a vitamin found in eggs, milk, and bananas that helps our bodies manage their metabolic pathways. Biotin regulates enzymes and helps our bodies process fats, carbohydrates, and amino acids, all of which are required for our bodies to manufacture protein. One of the main proteins our bodies use to manufacture new hair strands is keratin; without it, we would be unable to grow new strands.
Biotin helps our bodies process the food we eat and encourages them to produce more keratin that can be used to protect and renew our hair. Regardless of our diet, we all have biotin in our bodies, but it is possible to develop a deficiency that lowers the protein's concentration. A biotin deficiency has been linked to several cosmetic issues like skin rashes, brittle nails, and, most importantly, thinning hair and hair loss. When our biotin levels are too low, we cannot produce enough keratin to avoid these issues, making a stable biotin concentration essential to hair care.
There was a study in 2012 that tested women who had thinning hair and were separated into a test and control group. The women in the test group were given a hair growth supplement that had biotin as a primary ingredient, whereas the control group got a placebo. The study lasted 6 months, and when it was over, the researchers noticed that the women in the test group had improved hair volume, scalp coverage, and hair thickness compared to the control group.
Additionally, another study evaluated biotin's effect on children who had underlying conditions that caused biotin deficiencies. The children in the test group reported similar improvements to the women from the 2012 study.
This is not to say that biotin is any more foolproof than coconut oil, but that people with finer hair might have naturally low levels of biotin. As a result, employing a biotin supplement might be the perfect alternative to coconut oil if you are trying to restore your hair. The biggest challenge is finding a supplement that is optimized for the best results.
Finding the Right Blend
Protecting your hair is one of the most challenging aspects of modern cosmetic care, especially since hair loss is more common now than it was 200 years ago. Fortunately, our hair is a natural substance that tends to respond to natural compounds designed to promote hair growth. Coconut oil can be used to preserve the protein in your hair to prevent keratin loss, but if you are already suffering from low keratin levels, you must address the compounds responsible for its manufacture. Biotin deficiencies are rare but can cause premature hair loss, making biotin supplements an invaluable resource to those afflicted. The trick is finding a supplement you can rely on from a reliable vendor.
We at Teami believe that our appearance benefits most from the natural compounds that produce our bodies. That is why our catalog consists of natural beauty products designed to improve skin, hair, and any other body part that might be struggling. While we do not have any coconut oil products for hair, we do have our Grow + Glow Hair and Nails Support Gummy Vitamins, which are made with biotin and several other vitamins and compounds that enhance hair. We encourage you to visit our website and try our product yourself. After all, finding the right blend is a Teami effort.
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