The common hair oil that could actually be doing our locks more harm than good

coconut oil hair harm nourishing hair masks
(Image credit: Getty)

One common positive of the coronavirus lockdown has been that we’ve all become a bit more aware of the health of our hair.

While a nearly four-month break from hair colouring appointments and everyday heat styling has improved most of our hair health, the long closure of hair salons has meant that we’ve all had to find ways to keep our split ends at bay without that handy trim.

Of course masks and serums have come to the rescue, but many hair enthusiasts have taken to using more natural means of conditioning.

Coconut oil has become a favourite among beauty fans looking to try something additive-free.

But it turns out that the common cooking ingredient, which can be found in many of our favourite hair oils, might actually not be as good for our hair as we thought...

Is coconut oil good for your hair?

"People often use hair oils to moisten their hair, but I often say that when hair needs moisture, it is thirsty and needs a drink,” hair expert Ross Charles told Glamour.

“In fact, oil and water don't mix. Oil actually repels water and either pushes it out of the hair or stops it from getting into the hair."

"If your hair has been damaged from over-processing from colour, or is weak and fragile, you need to get amino acids into the hair shaft, so definitely don't want to coat your hair in oil,” he explained

Why coconut oil is bad for your hair:

"Hair oils - and especially coconut oil - tend to seep into every tiny hole in your hair shaft and disguise the real problem to act as a quick-fix; this won't help your hair in the long-run and is one of the main reasons I advise against using oils in your hair."

Ross advises to stick to low pH products to fight frizz instead of opting for oils as this will “keep the cuticle flatter, meaning less tangles” and therefore less frizz.

“Use moisturising masks on a regular basis as an alternative to oils to really penetrate dry, damaged hair,” he added, “and begin a long-term treatment process to healthy, strong hair."

Looking for an alternative to nourish your locks? Check out some of our favourite hair masks…

Nourishing hair masks

Percy & Reed Perfectly Perfecting Wonder Overnight Recovery Treatment

Percy & Reed Perfectly Perfecting Wonder Overnight Recovery Treatment

£20, Look Fantastic

Living Proof No Frizz Intense Moisture Mask

£33, Look Fantastic

Moroccanoil Intense Hydrating Mask

(Image credit: Moroccanoil)

Moroccanoil Intense Hydrating Mask

£25.45, Look Fantastic

Kérastase Elixir Ultime Masque

Kérastase Elixir Ultime Masque

£29.10, Look Fantastic

Oribe Signature Moisture Masque

Oribe Signature Moisture Masque

£57, Net-A-Porter

Josh Wood Colour Everything Mask

Josh Wood Colour Everything Mask

£15, Boots

Coco & Eve Super Nourishing Coconut & Fig Hair Masque

Coco & Eve Super Nourishing Coconut & Fig Hair Masque

£34.90, Cult Beauty

Olaplex No.3 Hair Perfector

£26, Look Fantastic

Davines NOUNOU Hair Mask

Davines NOUNOU Hair Mask

£23, Feel Unique

Briogeo Don't Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask

Briogeo Don't Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask

£30, Space NK

Aleesha Badkar
Aleesha Badkar

Aleesha is digital shopping writer at woman&home - so whether you're looking for beauty, fashion, health or home buys, she knows all the best places to splash your cash. She earned an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London in 2017 after graduating from University of Leeds in 2014 with a BA in English and Spanish (which took her to Madrid for a fun Rioja and tapas-packed year). Aleesha has worked for woman&home since 2019, when she joined the team as their digital news writer. A year on the news team gained her quick and reactive writing skills and a love for breaking stories, invaluable insight into where to get the best lifestyle releases first, an AOP awards nomination and the nickname ‘crazy watch lady’ after she became so obsessed with the royals that she followed breaking news alerts on her Apple Watch.


Before joining the woman&home team, Aleesha wrote for their sister site GoodtoKnow, where she covered celebrity news, health advice and where to snap up the cheapest lifestyle buys. With a background in beauty, Aleesha has also written for Stylist and Women’s Health where she developed an understanding into what makes a stellar product and which brands are worth paying attention to. She never leaves the house without a slick of lip balm and a good slathering of SPF, cannot live without an eyelash curler by her side and is always on the hunt for new lipsticks to add to her ‘Lipstick of the Day’ Instagram story highlight (and color-coordinated collection).

But it’s not just beauty buys Aleesha can help you with. Social media savviness, strong PR relationships and a need to stay in the know mean she’s all about the latest fashions, clever gadgets and reliable lifestyle buys too. She loves indulging in an interior craze (with a bedroom drowned in prints, plants and pink), is a regular visitor to the Missoma and Edge of Ember 'New In' pages and can’t resist the allure of a kitchen gadget—just ask her three coffee machines.

When she’s not playing around with new products and testing anything she can get her hands on, Aleesha spends most of her time with her head in a current bestseller, catching up on the latest Netflix craze with her sister, trying out new recipes, drinking wine with her bestie and (in non-COVID times) has been known to be a bit of a jetsetter amongst her friendship group. Oh and she makes the most of her Disney+ subscription by watching the Marvel films on repeat (definitely not just for Chris Evans...).

Follow her latest shopping & lifestyle advice, beauty insights and social antics on Instagram at @aleeshabadkar.


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Email: aleesha.badkar@futurenet.com