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Is Coconut Oil Bad for Your Hair?

Coconut oil is one of my favorite oils and is one of the best natural oils for hair and beauty.

When I came across an article a few days ago on a popular website indicating coconut oil has a dark side, I was a bit stumped.

Can Coconut Oil Ruin Your Hair?

Would I have to give up my favorite oil? Does this mean I’m going to have issues with my hair later on because I used coconut oil on it so much?

On closer inspection of the article, the culprit turned out to be an ingredient named cocamide diethanolamine aka cocamide DEA.

Is Coconut Oil Bad for You. See What the Science Says

What is Cocamide DEA?

Wikipedia states: –

DEA, or cocamide diethanolamine, is a diethanolamide made by reacting the mixture of fatty acids from coconut oils with diethanolamine.

It is a viscous liquid and is used as a foaming agent in bath products like shampoos and hand soaps, and in cosmetics as an emulsifying agent.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) lists coconut oil diethanolamine condensate (cocamide DEA) as an IARC Group 2B carcinogen, which identifies this chemical as possibly carcinogenic to humans.

Is Coconut Oil Bad for Your Hair?

Don’t throw all your coconut oil out just yet. Cocamide DEA is created by altering the structure of coconut oil via refining, bleaching, and deodorizing the oil (RBD) as well as other extreme processes. 

If you are using cold-pressed unrefined/organic coconut oil on your hair, there’s nothing to be alarmed about.

If you have hair or beauty products with coconut oil listed as an ingredient, scrutinize the ingredient list again. 

Cocamide DEA also appears on labels as the following:-

  • Cocamide MEA
  • DEA-cetyl phosphate
  • DEA oleth-3 phosphate
  • Lauramide DEA
  • Linoleamide MEA
  • Myristamide DEA
  • Oleamide DEA
  • Stearamide MEA
  • TEA-lauryl sulfate
  • Triethanolamine

Best Coconut Oil Brands

Always exercise due diligence when purchasing products that claim to contain coconut oil.

You can also check out Best Brands of Coconut Oil for best recommendations. 


Trader Joe’s Organic Virgin Coconut Oil

The many benefits of unrefined coconut oil have been outlined in several posts on Natural Oils for Hair and Health. Below are some of them:-

For a complete list of all the articles on coconut oil on the website, have a look at the coconut oil archive.

Update:- The title of the article has been revised to sound not so inflammatory as it seems to have set off quite a few readers. 

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Interested in finding out more about how to use natural oils for specific purposes to get more effective use out of them?

Check out How to Grow Hair Healthy & Long with Natural Oils, a guide that goes in-depth into which specific oil (s) works for each hair issue for optimal length and health.

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