Here’s more good news for lovers of natural hair care products.
Coconut oil penetrates hair
I’m sure you already know about how coconut oil is one of the few natural oils that has been proven to penetrate deep inside the hair where it can strengthen from within. The problem has been there has been no way to quantify how much oil actually gets inside the hair. A 2012 research paper documents a new method involving radioactively labeled coconut oil that can now measure how much oil actually gets inside hair.
This new method used a scintillation fluid to radioactively tag the coconut oil. (BTW, Sarah Bellum thought the phrase “scintillation fluid” sounded dirty.) The researchers were then able to track how much of the oil actually penetrated into the hair versus how much stayed on the surface.
The research (although small-scale and preliminary) shows that hair can absorb around 15% of its weight in coconut oil in an hour. An overnight soaking oil (six hours) increases absorption to around 20% or 25%.
With this new method validated, the researchers hope to expand the scope of their work to include other types of oils. In the meantime you can take solace in the fact that coconut oil has been once again validated as an effective natural hair care ingredient.
Reference: Quantitative measurement of the penetration of coconut oil into human hair using radio-labeled coconut oil. JSCC, 2012, Vol 63.