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Protein and coconut oil

I have heard that coconut oil can over proteinize the hair making it brittle and causing it to break. I know coconut oil has been touted for all of its benefits for hair, but I have a read a few comments by women who claim that coconut oil has caused breakage. I have noticed hair breakage myself after using coconut oil, but maybe it's the power of suggestion and nothing to do with the oil. Can you tell me if there may be some kind of correlation?


  • I've never heard of this and it makes no sense scientifically. Sounds like a coincidence to me.  
  • Uncontaminated coconut oil (and any other pure oil) is 100% oil and contains no proteins.

    The claim that coconut oil can "proteinize" hair possibly comes from misinterpreting a finding from this study?
    Effect of Mineral Oil, Sunflower Oil, and Coconut Oil on Prevention of Hair Damage:
    "Among three oils, coconut oil was the only oil found to reduce the
    protein loss remarkably for both undamaged and damaged hair when used as
    a pre-wash and post-wash grooming product."

    Coconut oil can reduce protein (keratin) loss of hair itself, but it doesn't deposit any proteins on hair.

    It could cause some temporary stiffening effect though, if the coconut oil is used in significant amounts and allowed to solidify in hair: virgin, unrefined coconut oil solidifies at temperatures below 24 C (76 F).

    Aging_Grace, since you mentioned in a different thread that
    your hair was "chemically compromised 6 weeks ago with bleach that was left on hair for 4 hours", I think that bleach is the likely culprit for the breakage you've been experiencing.
    Here are a few studies that show damage to hair from bleach, including lifted/irregular cuticle, reduction in tensile strength, and increased permeability of hair:
  • Thank you so much for your response and the resources! You guys are AWESOME!!
  • Good analysis, Meteor! 
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