Is Coconut Oil Safe for Color-Treated Hair?

Coconuts are not just tropical treats; they also make great tropical treatments for color-treated hair.

Photo: Goodshoot/Goodshoot/Getty Images

When you hear the word "coconut," tiki huts and fun in the sun may spring to mind. Something else should as well: fabulous hair! Coconut oil has long been a staple for women who want gorgeous, hydrated, manageable locks that withstand heavy styling. No one needs hydration and strengthening more than a person who has colored their hair, but you may be wondering, "Is coconut oil safe for color-treated hair?" The answer is a resounding yes!

Why Coconut Oil?

If coconut oil makes you think more of beach bunnies than luscious locks, you may be wondering why you would put it on your hair -- color-treated or not. The answer is simple: coconut oil gives you damage-resistant hair and a healthy scalp. Coconut oil massages are great for stimulating hair growth, while a hot-coconut-oil treatment will give you extra resilience and shine.

Fixing the Damage

Color-treated hair tends to be more susceptible to heat, meaning that with frequent styling it can become dry and fragile. Although there are many commercially produced hydrating products and salon treatments, simpler is usually better when dealing with hair damage. In fact, the chemicals in many of these treatments often exacerbate the problem rather than repairing it! Coconut oil is nourishing, all-natural and simple to use on a regular basis on color-treated hair.

Hot-Coconut-Oil Treatment

You have several options when using coconut oil on color-treated hair. You can simply add a tablespoon of the oil to your regular shampoo to give your hair a daily boost. You can also combine a tablespoon of the oil with a pint of distilled water and use the spray as a hydrating mist throughout the day. For a spa-level, luxurious, healing treatment, warm 3 tablespoons each of coconut oil and olive oil in the microwave and apply the warm oil to your hair, working it through your hair from roots to tips. Massage your scalp gently with the oil, using the tips of your fingers to encourage growth, then wrap your head in a hot, damp towel and let the treatment sit for 30 minutes to an hour before rinsing with cool water. Your color will not be affected, and your hair will be stronger and shinier.

Safety Tips

When using any coconut-oil hair treatment, you need to skin-test the oil first. Smear a small amount of coconut oil on the inside of your wrist or elbow, then monitor the area for signs of redness, swelling or irritation. If none occur, you can use the treatment on your scalp. Never pour hot oil onto your head directly, and always make sure that hot-oil treatments are not so hot as to burn you before applying them. Keep coconut oil out of your eyes and other orifices.

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