Coconut oil is one of my favourite oils and is one of the best natural oils for hair and health so 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 favourite 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.
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
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.
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:-
- Luscious, Lustrous Hair with Coconut Oil
- What Are The Differences Between Virgin & Extra Virgin Coconut Oil?
- DIY Aloe Vera Juice and Coconut Oil Recipe for Dry Hair
- How to Use Onion Juice and Coconut Oil for Hair Regrowth
- Coconut Oil for Weight Loss. Here Are the Facts
- 9 Ways to Get the Goodness of Coconut into Your Diet for Healthier Hair
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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If you would like to know more about how to use natural oils for specific purposes to get more effective use out of them, you may want to check out How to Grow Hair Healthy & Long with Natural Oils, a guide which goes in-depth into which specific oil (s) works for each hair issues for optimal length and health.