Why does coconut oil dry out hair?

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My mom has relaxed 4b hair and she did a hot coconut oil treatment (using extra virgin 100% organic coconut oil) and her hair began breaking off! I too have tried using coconut oil on my 3a/3b hair and it made it oily and dry. Iv done plenty of research on it and everything says its the absolute best hair moisturizer! So does anyone know why it turned out to be so drying?
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Well, it's been said that coconut oil is good for keeping protein in your hair, so that could be a part of it if you're protein sensitive. However, I can use protein with few problems, but my hair doesn't like coconut oil either. It makes my hair dry and my scalp itchy.

It's kind of disheartening/confusing when a particular ingredient is backed up by so much research and seems to work for so many people, only for it to not do anything good for you. I experience the same thing with shea butter as well. Everyone rants and raves about it, but it just makes my hair straight up greasy and dry, no matter how I use it.

I guess the bottom line is that everyone's hair acts differently. Like you, though, I'm interested in finding out what it is that makes coconut oil drying.
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Coconut oil penetrates into the cuticle of the hair - this can help to strengthen the hair (like protein) but it can also make the hair dry and brittle.

Coconut oil is also affected by the temperature. As it turns into a solid at room temperature, it has been known to harden in peoples hair.

I like to use coconut oil before I shampoo my hair to protect my strands from absorbing too much water.

Check out the curl chemists' article on Coconut oil vs mineral oil for more information: Mineral Oil Versus Coconut Oil: Which is better? | NaturallyCurly.com

Last edited by AlikaIssa; 01-10-2011 at 06:53 AM. Reason: amendment
Well, it's been said that coconut oil is good for keeping protein in your hair, so that could be a part of it if you're protein sensitive. However, I can use protein with few problems, but my hair doesn't like coconut oil either. It makes my hair dry and my scalp itchy.

It's kind of disheartening/confusing when a particular ingredient is backed up by so much research and seems to work for so many people, only for it to not do anything good for you. I experience the same thing with shea butter as well. Everyone rants and raves about it, but it just makes my hair straight up greasy and dry, no matter how I use it.

I guess the bottom line is that everyone's hair acts differently. Like you, though, I'm interested in finding out what it is that makes coconut oil drying.
Originally Posted by Indeed
+1
Coconut oil by itself makes my hair hard and scalp itchy too!! I have to mix shea butter with aloe vera juice for it to make my hair soft and not hard.

I've finally figured out that my hair is extremely protein sensitive. So maybe that's why my hair feels like a brillo pad after using some products. I've noticed that when coconut oil or shea butter is part of a product but also mixed with other oils/ingredients, that combo works fine. No problems.
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Wow... thats some great info thank you ladies so much! So since coconut oil is kinda like a protein treatment should we treat it as one? If we do a hot coconut oil treatment then right after to a moisturizing treatment? Oh and I never understood why if protein treatments strengthen your hair then why does hair start breakin off afterwards? Doesnt that defeat the point? Thanks again!
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This article is absolutely fantastic! Thank you so much for providing me the link! So do you think the proper way to use it would be before or after showering? or both?
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I do not think that coconut oil treatments should be treated the same as protein treatments because they have different qualities.

Although coconut oil penetrates into the hair shaft and helps to prevent protein loss within the hair strand it is not a protein so it cannot replace the protein that has been lost if the hair has been damaged.

Coconut oil has many properties, it is an emollient (softens and smooths), a hair conditioner and a skin conditioner. However, I find that coconut oil works best when it is emulsified, this stops it from getting too hard when the temperature drops.

I agree it's strange that protein treatments can cause breakage when they are meant to help the hair, but it's all about balance because too much of a good thing can be bad.....
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This article is absolutely fantastic! Thank you so much for providing me the link! So do you think the proper way to use it would be before or after showering? or both?
Originally Posted by kashly
I use coconut oil before and after I wash my hair. These are the steps that I take:

- My coconut oil is normally solid so I fill a large pan with hot water then place a smaller bowl inside the large pan. I place 3 tablespoons of coconut oil inside the smaller bowl and I wait for it to melt. I do not like to apply hot oil to my hair because hot oil can damage the hair.

- I mist my hair with a small amount of water and then I apply the melted coconut oil to my hair. The coconut oil is normally luke warm at this point.

- I then wrap my hair with cling film(or a saran wrap or a plastic shower cap) this helps to open my cuticles allowing the coconut oil to penetrate into my hair shaft. I leave this on for a minimum of 15 mins

- I normally shampoo my hair with a sulfate free shampoo

- After shampooing I add coconut oil to my creamy conditioner and deep condition my hair.


Hope this helps.

Last edited by AlikaIssa; 03-15-2011 at 06:08 AM. Reason: amendment
I thought it was me!!! Even when I initially start Googling looking for coconut oil drying out hair, I could not find anyone who felt the same. So glad to have found these messages. I continue to use it, but mixed with other oils, never alone anymore.
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Last edited by qbc94; 02-25-2011 at 10:08 PM. Reason: addendum
Wow... thats some great info thank you ladies so much! So since coconut oil is kinda like a protein treatment should we treat it as one? If we do a hot coconut oil treatment then right after to a moisturizing treatment? Oh and I never understood why if protein treatments strengthen your hair then why does hair start breakin off afterwards? Doesnt that defeat the point? Thanks again!
Originally Posted by kashly
Too much protein will cause hair to break because the strands become stiff from strengthening themselves from the protein. This is why it is advised to follow up protein treatments with moisture. It's the same as if you lifted weights all of the time w/o stretching. Your body becomes rigid and lacks the flexibility needed to prevent injury. It's the same with hair. The protein is the muscle, the moisture is the flexibility, and the injury is breakage.
3b/c, medium-coarse, low porosity, high density
HG: Jessicurl Too Shea and Kinky Curly Curling Custard
Shampoo: nonsulfate shampoo and Suave Naturals sulfate shampoo when needed
Wow... thats some great info thank you ladies so much! So since coconut oil is kinda like a protein treatment should we treat it as one? If we do a hot coconut oil treatment then right after to a moisturizing treatment? Oh and I never understood why if protein treatments strengthen your hair then why does hair start breakin off afterwards? Doesnt that defeat the point? Thanks again!
Originally Posted by kashly
Too much protein will cause hair to break because the strands become stiff from strengthening themselves from the protein. This is why it is advised to follow up protein treatments with moisture. It's the same as if you lifted weights all of the time w/o stretching. Your body becomes rigid and lacks the flexibility needed to prevent injury. It's the same with hair. The protein is the muscle, the moisture is the flexibility, and the injury is breakage.
Originally Posted by multicultcurly
D*mn I swear there is always something new to learn every day.. because now as I reflect I realize that my hair did its best when I was using coconut oil. Perhaps it just needed more protein!
Reyna

"Don't look back and ask why, look forward and ask why not!?" - Unk.
This thread was really helpful however I use it with moisturizers now but has it actually aided in air growth for anybody??
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Cant say its aid in hair growth but i have heard it does. I like to mix it with castor oil for hot scalp oil treatment no complaints there. I love it. I want to do it consistently to see results but its hard when my hair is out. I rather do it when my hair is in braids extensions but i refuse to go back to that type of ps because it damages my edges

When i use coconut oil alone i apply it to freshly washed wet hair it dries fast and leaves my hair SUPER SOFT. I think wet hair will do the trick. I also use this as lotion and deodorant ....love it

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Last edited by dee-nature; 01-10-2013 at 06:22 PM.
Coconut oil does not have protein in it but the coconut milk do.
Hair type-3A/B fine ,dense,normal porosity..
LOW POO : SM Moisture Retention,TBS Rainforest Moisture shampoo
NO POO-DevaCurl No poo
COWASH-Suave coconut,Tressemme Naturals Nourishing Moisture,Vo5 kiwi Lime
RO -DevaCurl One Condish,Shea moisture condish,Matrix Biolage CB
LI- AO GVP protein balancing condish,SM thickening Yucca growth milk,SM Shea Butter Leave in
Stylers - SM smoothie,Aveda Flaxseed Aloe Gel,Eco Styler (Protein and Olive oil),Deva Arc Angel
I'm protein sensitive. Coconut milk makes my hair like rough straw. Coconut oil may not be protein but on my hair the affects are usually the same in that I get hard hair instead of soft hair. I can use some products with coconut oil depending on the formulation but if I use anything with even a little protein after using coconut oil, it's a hard tangled nightmare. So I have decided to try to avoid coconut oil in my hair and cook with it instead. Yummy
Well my experience so far is that same it's really hard at first but that's why I use lots of moisturizers in my hair as well and it balances it out ... Coconut as a deep condition is heaven sent tho LOVE IT !!!!
My daughter and my hair loves coconut oil I also use vatika oil which is coconut oil mixed with other stuff. Both make our hair super soft. BUT, like others have said it seems to act like protein for us. Our hair loves protein so that's probably why coconut oil is great in our hair.
Do you use it as a deep conditioner? I use it as a deep conditioner along with grapeseed oil and the Shea moisture conditioners and deep condition and my hair is unbelievable soft after the DC it feels amazing
I had to ditch coconut oil as well. Or at least for my hair. I still use it on my body and face. My hair feels better since switching to vegetable oil.
FroZen
Coconut oil dries my hair, too. But Dabur Vatika coconut oil doesn't. But I have to use it as an overnight moisturizer. It doesn't seem to work with cold weather.

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