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View Full Version : Coconut Oil Vs. Protein Overload Debate.



Dark Star
October 2nd, 2013, 10:16 AM
I am becoming quite, quite sick of this one.

Now coconut oil can help to maintain the structural and inherent proteins in the hair shaft. Folks are saying that if there is coconut oil in anything and you are suffering from protein-overtaxed hair (which I am) then you best avoid coconut oil since it will work to prevent even hydrolyzed proteins from clearing off of the hair strands. Naturally, this is not an advantageous feature when a matter of protein excess is involved.

I have issues with this ad infinitum since coconut oil features in a lot of hair care products--especially natural ones as I lean that way...This is my hair on the line! I just bought a conditioner with some coconut oil in it as well as a separate bottle of argan oil just to try out. Argan oil is said to have similar protein-retaining effects to coconut oil though many say it, unlike coconut oil, cannot penetrate the hair shaft. I am not sure I believe that either since my grandmother (once a hairdresser used in WAY back when to nurture my mother's and my aunt's hair, as well as the hair of any clients she had when they were processing it. She said no other oil worked better and this was in the early 60's long before it had become 'trendy' to use it!).

One person says one thing and so it 'spreads like wildfire'--whether it is misinformation and/or unproven/unresearched or not.

Of course, I will be trying out said conditioner and the argan oil on just a small section of my hair at first. I understand that some oils simply do not agree with some people and coconut CAN make hair feel dry, crisp and brittle--which is what my hair is already suffering from as it is! Not sure if the resulting dryness/crispiness/brittleness that coconut oil imparts to certain heads of hair has anything to do with its connection to protein--I simply do not. I had a similar effect with my long time old stand-by jojoba oil awhile back and I still do not know the reason behind that one!

Thoughts? Thanks.

spidermom
October 2nd, 2013, 11:14 AM
I did see your other thread but I didn't read it, so please excuse the repeat if you've already considered this.

Try clarifying first. Sometimes it's the products that are dried out and making your hair hard to manage, not the hair itself. After I wash from scalp to tips with a clarifying shampoo, I massage a small amount of my regular conditioner through my hair to aid in detangling, rinse, then air dry. Sometimes I clarify like this twice if it's been a long time or my hair still seems dry and tangly or limp and dull.

Then I evaluate. I'd say that 8 times out of 10, all I needed was a thorough clarifying shampoo or two. Then I do a deep treatment containing both protein and moisture to feed my hair and start the cycle over again.

As for coconut oil, I favor it as a pre-wash treatment. At least once per week, I use it on my length (not my scalp, which is already oily enough) the night before I plan to wash my hair, massaging it in, then brushing and combing it through and braiding for the night. I think that the benefits of coconut oil far out-weigh any concerns about it trapping too much protein in your hair. If you think there is too much protein, then clarify on a regular basis. I clarify probably once every other month or even less often.

And yes, as I think you brought up in yet another thread, the first thing to look at are your health habits. Diet, water intake, rest, exercise, avoiding toxic habits like drinking too much alcohol, doing drugs, or smoking are far more important that what you do or do not use on your hair.

Firefox7275
October 2nd, 2013, 02:19 PM
Often protein overload is too much protein adhering to the surface of the hair or perhaps getting wedged under the cuticles. I'd like to see the study that demonstrates argan oil aids retention of structural proteins, or coconut oil aids retention of hydrolysed proteins in products and so causes protein overload - they may do of course I cannot prove definitively they do not, but AFAIK that has not been studied. Jojoba shouldn't easily penetrate, eicosenoic acid is non linear and a fairly large molecule so it would have a tough time - lauric and oleic acids can penetrate being a small size and linear shape. Not sure if being technically a wax affects its risk of building up or not I must admit.

Having said that when anyone is dealing with build up it seems wise to limit other ingredients that are prone to build up/ coat the hair/ may be challenging to remove/ not water soluble/ can saturate the hair. I don't personally think a little coconut oil within a rinse out conditioner base packed with major emollients (fatty alcohols, cationic surfactants) as well as being water rich is the same as doing a straight up coconut oiling: the quantities should be quite different and the major emollients, being effective emulsifiers (mix oil and water), should ensure any excess is washed away.

Tonya McKay thinks very porous hair is at risk of negative effects from overdoing some penetrating oils, conversely anecdotal reports of issues with crispiness seem like they might correlate with low porosity hair .... confusing!! You may find it useful to have a hair analysis at some point.
http://www.naturallycurly.com/curlreading/curl-products/mineral-oil-versus-coconut-oil-which-is-better
http://www.naturallycurly.com/curlreading/curl-products/argan-oil-and-ximenia-oil-ancient-botanical-ingredients-made-new
http://www.naturallycurly.com/curlreading/curl-products/curlchemist-helps-us-understand-oils-and-butters
http://pedaheh.blogspot.co.uk/2013/08/goosefootprints-hair-analysis-with-my.html

heidi w.
October 2nd, 2013, 02:42 PM
Protein and coconut oil are a nontopic. Coconut Oil, the kind I use, has no protein, I believe. Jojoba Oil, the type I would recommend, closely mimics scalp sebum. One should never oil their scalp related hair. Let Sebum do its job. Just from the earlobes on down, oil the length. That's it.
heidi w.

Firefox7275
October 2nd, 2013, 06:19 PM
Protein and coconut oil are a nontopic. Coconut Oil, the kind I use, has no protein, I believe. Jojoba Oil, the type I would recommend, closely mimics scalp sebum. One should never oil their scalp related hair. Let Sebum do its job. Just from the earlobes on down, oil the length. That's it.
heidi w.

Jojoba esters have been claimed to mimic the wax ester component of sebum. That has been Chinese Whispered into mimicking sebum itself, they aren't that alike at all.
"The sebaceous lipid mixture is highly complex and consists of triacylglycerols (TAG), diacylglycerols (DAG), and free fatty acids (FFA), which together account for 50–60% of its composition. Sebum also contains 20–30% wax esters (WE), 10–16% squalene (SQ), and 2–4% cholesterol esters (CE) (1, 2). Initial analyses of the components of the sebaceous lipid mixture conducted by Nicolaides et al. (3–5) led to the identification of several different types of acyl chains in esters with glycerol, cholesterol, and waxes."
http://www.jlr.org/content/51/11/3377.full

renia22
October 2nd, 2013, 06:54 PM
Dark star- I have read some of your recent threads & I just noticed your signature picture. Your hair is actually very nice, it doesn't look dry or crispy at all! It's hard to tell from pictures sometimes, especially when your hair '"feels" bad, so looks can be deceiving. But didn't you say in another thread that you are an American living in the UK (not sure if that was you or someone else who said that)? If so, was it a recent move? Can it be a change in water that is exacerbating the problem? Just a guess, not sure if that's relevant or not...

Flaxen
October 20th, 2013, 09:34 PM
I am becoming quite, quite sick of this one.
*hugs*


Now coconut oil can help to maintain the structural and inherent proteins in the hair shaft.
This and only this, specifically coconut oil's protection of hair protein from combing damage, was the conclusion of a study done in India. Here (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/12715094?dopt=Citation) is an abstract of the study. Moreover, it is coconut oil's lauric acid fatty acid that gives it its affinity for hair. This would also lead one to conclude that babassu oil would afford the same protection, since it is also high in lauric acid, but it was not part of the study. I can attest that it works well on hair, and it is a little heavier than coconut oil. But, I'm getting off track.


Folks are saying that if there is coconut oil in anything and you are suffering from protein-overtaxed hair (which I am) then you best avoid coconut oil since it will work to prevent even hydrolyzed proteins from clearing off of the hair strands. Naturally, this is not an advantageous feature when a matter of protein excess is involved.
Absolutely no idea where this comes from. IMHO, it was born of misunderstanding the conclusion of the Indian study, and it is totally incorrect. If there is a study out there which confirms it, I haven't seen it, and I would be very interested to read it. If a person has protein overload, it is because they have used too many products high in protein and not because they have used too much coconut oil. By the time one uses coconut oil for a pre-wash treatment, conditioner from the previous shampoo that was not rinsed off has most likely worn off, and one is starting fresh with relatively naked hair. The new coconut oil will penetrate the hair, and any that doesn't will form a film on the surface of the hair. It will not prevent protein in the new application of conditioner from rinsing off. If anything, the new conditioner, if left on long enough, will act as CO to get rid of the excess coconut oil!


I have issues with this ad infinitum since coconut oil features in a lot of hair care products--especially natural ones as I lean that way...This is my hair on the line!
Your hair will be fine. Unless the conditioner says it's for damaged hair or that it's a protein conditioner/reconstructor, or some type of protein is near the beginning of the ingredients list, it won't have levels of protein that will cause problems. If protein levels in products were that critical, and even slight variations caused ruined hair, don't worry, word would get out, and a product or products would be shunned by women everywhere.


I just bought a conditioner with some coconut oil in it as well as a separate bottle of argan oil just to try out. Argan oil is said to have similar protein-retaining effects to coconut oil though many say it, unlike coconut oil, cannot penetrate the hair shaft. I am not sure I believe that either since my grandmother (once a hairdresser used in WAY back when to nurture my mother's and my aunt's hair, as well as the hair of any clients she had when they were processing it. She said no other oil worked better and this was in the early 60's long before it had become 'trendy' to use it!).
Lots of oils work well on hair and give great benefits. Argan oil may very well protect protein levels. It just wasn't tested in the one, lone Indian study. Again, all we know from that study is that coconut oil protects and sunflower and mineral oils do not. There are a whole lot of other oils out there! :lol:


Of course, I will be trying out said conditioner and the argan oil on just a small section of my hair at first.
That's half the fun of long hair! :disco:


I understand that some oils simply do not agree with some people and coconut CAN make hair feel dry, crisp and brittle--which is what my hair is already suffering from as it is! Not sure if the resulting dryness/crispiness/brittleness that coconut oil imparts to certain heads of hair has anything to do with its connection to protein--I simply do not. I had a similar effect with my long time old stand-by jojoba oil awhile back and I still do not know the reason behind that one!
From my anecdote files: When I first found the boards, I tried Monoi oil, and it made my hair instantly crispy. It didn't cause any damage, and my hair returned to normal after washing. It wasn't until I grew out my occasionally lightened/brightened hair that coconut oil in any form worked. I don't know what was going on, but I concluded that natural methods work best on natural hair. That seems to be true for all herbal and otherwise "crunchy" methods on my hair.

If you want to do some reading on oils and hair types, check out the Oil Poll (http://archive.longhaircommunity.com/showthread.php?t=13101) from way-back-when, as well as Results Part I (http://archive.longhaircommunity.com/showthread.php?t=13254) and Results Part II (http://archive.longhaircommunity.com/showthread.php?t=28520)


Thoughts? Thanks.
HTH! :grin:

Panth
October 21st, 2013, 03:08 PM
Perhaps some of the confusion about coconut oil and protein overload comes from the "crunchy" feeling many people report with either their hair "not liking" coconut oil or their hair having a protein overload? I've never experienced a protein overload, but I have overdone the coconut oil before. I suspect the coconut oil-related "crunchiness" is often (though not always) due to the feeling of excess oil re-solidifying at room temperature.

Morphidae
October 21st, 2013, 03:24 PM
May I also suggest that crunchiness might be because of the heat (I mean, from the sun) I'm kinda suspicious my hair is 'fried' by the intense sun in my area all year round...

Anyways, is just a theory.

oatmealpie
October 21st, 2013, 06:31 PM
For what it's worth, my hair hates protein and loves coconut oil.

Firefox7275
October 23rd, 2013, 12:37 PM
There are several studies on coconut oil, two of which specifically refer to damage prevention, full text here
http://journal.scconline.org//pdf/cc1999/cc050n06/p00327-p00339.pdf
http://journal.scconline.org//pdf/cc2001/cc052n03/p00169-p00184.pdf
http://journal.scconline.org/pdf/cc2003/cc054n02/p00175-p00192.pdf
http://journal.scconline.org//pdf/cc2005/cc056n05/p00283-p00295.pdf

As Flaxen says it's likely babassu oil, palm kernel oil and possibly tucuma butter have similar properties to coconut oil since they are all rich in lauric acid.

Flaxen
October 23rd, 2013, 09:35 PM
Thank you for posting those links, Firefox! :grin:

Firefox7275
October 23rd, 2013, 10:10 PM
Thank you for posting those links, Firefox! :grin:

No problem! It's a shame PubMed don't link to the Journal of Cosmetic Science as they do for other publications, the everything is free full text up to 2010.