There are few hair care ingredients hailed more than coconut oil. Used for centuries as a hero ingredient, the thick, buttery oil has quite the impressive resume of natural beauty benefits—for both the hair and scalp.
If you don’t yet coat your strands in coconut oil, you’re probably wondering what makes it such a hair care mainstay (subtle hint: versatility, moisture, and shine). Below, we explain what makes coconut oil so nourishing for hair and exactly how to apply it for maximum benefits.
Coconut oil for hair: What is it good for?
There are a few reasons coconut oil reigns supreme in the hair care department. First, it’s super moisturizing for the strands: Since coconut oil has a low molecular weight, it’s able to penetrate easily into the hair shaft and absorb better than other common oils. Coupled with its naturally high moisture content, coconut oil can effectively condition the strands (rather than sitting on top of it).
It can also help the hair retain protein: Because the specific type of fatty acid in coconut oil is drawn toward protein (it’s called “lauric acid,” according to celebrity hairstylist Nick Stenson, artistic director of Matrix), your strands are able to hold on to those proteins better when they’re coated in coconut. All that is to say, the oil makes for a pretty effective hair care treatment.