Welcome to Part 2 of our in-depth look at coconut oil! Be sure to read Part 1: The Benefits of Coconut Oil here.

While coconut oil has a long list of benefits, it’s not suited for all hair types. Coconut oil affects each hair type differently.

The same properties that make coconut oil such a miracle worker for some contribute to dry, brittle hair for others. Why the discrepancy?

Coconut oil isn’t for everyone

The science

Coconut oil is one of the heaviest oils on the market. As such, it penetrates deeply into your hair shaft to prevent protein loss. It takes up space within the strands, so when you wash your hair, there’s less space for water.

When you have fine/medium, porous hair, this is actually a good thing. In fact, coconut oil is fantastic for porous hair because it prevents water from entering strands too quickly and causing swelling, which would otherwise put pressure on the cuticle.

Coconut oil’s effects on thick hair

But when you have thicker, coarser hair with low porosity, your cuticles naturally repel water. You’re starting with hair that’s hard to get wet in the first place. Add coconut oil (a sealant) on top of this and your hair won’t get the hydration it needs. The result is straw-like hair, which is probably the opposite of what you signed up for.

It’s even worse if you have low porosity hair and continue to use coconut oil over a long period of time. Coconut oil is not water soluble. Each time you apply coconut oil before you shampoo, you’re effectively strengthening the oil sealant that prevents water from getting out and coming in. Without using a clarifying shampoo in between washes, this will only aggravate dry hair by causing product build up.

The solution for thick/coarse hair

If you’d still like to use oils for your hair, try an oil that’s lightweight and in liquid form at room temperature. These water-soluble oils include jojoba oil, almond oil, and argan oil.

And rather than applying the oil as a pre-shampoo treatment, which would reduce the amount of water entering your hair as you shampoo, use the oil in a post-shampoo conditioner instead. John Allan Mint Conditioner contains jojoba seed oil and soy protein to intensively moisturize hair and scalp. You can also dispense 3 – 4 drops of oil into your conditioner for extra hydration.

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