Coconut Oil Versus Safflower Oil for Hair

Coconut oil contains nutrients that help keep hair looking beautiful and healthy.

Photo: Ralf Nau/Lifesize/Getty Images

If you are into using natural hair treatments as a way to reverse dull, lifeless hair, coconut oil or safflower oil might be just the ticket. Each of these plant oils offers different benefits, but both are rich in nutrients that can give you strong hair that looks silky smooth and shiny.

Coconut Oil

While you might not consider coconut oil as part of a basic hair care regimen, the oil extracted from coconuts cleans and nourishes hair. The medium-chain triglycerides and fatty acids in coconut oil help keep hair from losing too much protein, a nutrient that strengthens hair. Conditioning your hair with coconut oil can add new life and pizzazz to your look. Apply the oil directly to your hair or massage it into your scalp. The fatty acids in coconut oil are natural emollients that penetrate hair shafts, allowing more nutrients to get to those delicate hair follicles. By rubbing coconut oil into broken and split ends before shampooing, you can help restore dry, brittle hair to renewed luster and sheen.

Protein

It may sound silly, but trying to look good can actually be damaging to your hair. Heat from blow dryers, curling irons and flat irons strips your hair of protein and other nutrients. Chemical hair treatments such as hair dyes and perms as well as overexposure to sunlight also cause hair to lose protein. Just like the rest of your body, your hair needs protein to stay strong and healthy. In fact, if you aren't eating enough protein, thinning hair that breaks easily is often one of the first signs. Topical application of coconut oil is another way to add protein to strengthen your hair and give it more volume and shine.

Safflower Oil

Safflower oil replaces natural oils that your hair loses. Polyunsaturated fatty acids in safflower oil work to restore dry, color-treated hair by moisturizing and nourishing your hair. Applying the oil to hair helps it retain moisture, making your hair softer, healthier and easier to manage. Look for safflower oil as a moisturizing ingredient in shampoos and hair conditioners.

Absorption

Plant oils have been used as natural hair treatments for centuries, although the benefits of different oils aren't always the same. Deep conditioning your hair with coconut oil helps reduce protein loss. Relaxed or color-treated hair in particular needs protein. Most commercial hair conditioners coat the hair shaft but don’t penetrate to the hair’s roots as coconut oil does. While safflower oil is high in vegetable protein, your hair can’t absorb the large fatty acid molecules in safflower oil as well as it can the medium-chain fatty acids in coconut oil.

Vitamin E

If you can't decide whether to use safflower oil or coconut oil on your hair to repair frizzy hair damage that too much styling can cause, consider the oil's vitamin E content. Safflower oil is a rich source of vitamin E -- a fat-soluble antioxidant nutrient. Vitamin E increases blood circulation in the scalp, which gets more of the nutrients your hair needs to grow to hair shafts. You want to get more blood flowing to your scalp and hair. Although coconut oil doesn’t have as much vitamin E, the skin and hair absorb coconut oil more easily. When you apply a hair conditioning formula that combines coconut oil with vitamin E, your body will also have an easier time absorbing vitamin E.

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