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Olive Oil vs Coconut Oil for Hair: Which is better for hair?

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Learn seven differences between Olive Oil vs Coconut Oil for hair that will guide you to choose, depending on your hair type and needs.

Both coconut oil and olive oil are beneficial options for skin and hair care. However, there are differences in their compatibility with different hair types, possible drawbacks, and overall health benefits that one should consider.

I have used olive and coconut oil in cooking and skincare products, such as calendula or nettle oil, homemade sunscreen, red clover or plantain oil.

And both oils are lovely to use for the scalp and hair.

What is olive oil?

What is olive oil?

The oil is extracted from the fruit by pressing or crushing the olives, and it is commonly used in cooking, cosmetics, and medicine. Olive oil is mainly produced in Mediterranean countries such as Spain, Italy, and Greece. There are different grades of olive oil, including extra virgin olive oil, virgin, and regular, with extra virgin being the highest quality and least processed. 

Coconut oil vs olive oil: Fragrance.

What is coconut oil?

Coconut oil is a natural oil extracted from the kernel or meat of mature coconuts that have been harvested from the coconut palm tree. The oil is extracted through a process called copra. This involves drying the fresh coconut meat, and then extracting the oil through various methods. There are two types of coconut oil – refined and virgin (unrefined). Although virgin coconut oil is considered healthier than refined coconut oil, it is not the preferred choice. Due to its strong coconut taste that can alter the taste of the dish. Suppose you’re using coconut oil primarily for hair care. In that case, unrefined coconut oil may be a better choice as it contains more natural nutrients that can benefit the hair.

Difference between olive oil and coconut oil on your hair: Absorption rate. 

Olive oil or coconut oil? What are the key differences?

1.Nutrient composition. 

Coconut oil predominantly comprises saturated fatty acids, while olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, antioxidants and vitamin E.

Coconut oil’s high concentration of saturated fatty acids can help to strengthen the hair shaft, reduce protein loss, and prevent damage from environmental stressors. The medium-chain fatty acids can also penetrate the hair shaft more easily, providing deep hydration and nourishment to the hair. However, for individuals with fine or thin hair, coconut oil may be too heavy. It causes buildup, leading to greasiness and limp hair.

Compared to coconut oil, olive oil contain monounsaturated fatty acids that help to improve hair elasticity and reduce breakage. It also contains antioxidants, such as vitamin E, that can protect the hair from damage caused by free radicals. However, the heavier consistency of olive oil can make it difficult to rinse out completely, leading to buildup and a greasy appearance if not used sparingly.

Color of natural oils.

Take away.

Those with thick, dry, or damaged hair may benefit more from coconut oil. While those with fine or thin hair may prefer the bottle of olive oil for the lighter consistency.

2.Coconut oil and Olive oil: Consistency.

Coconut oil is solid at room temperature, but it melts easily when warmed up. This means it is more difficult to apply to hair than liquid oils like olive oil, as it must be warmed up first. However, it is easier to distribute evenly throughout the hair once you apply it. The solid texture of coconut oil also means that it can be easier to control the amount used and to avoid using too much and weighing down the hair.

Olive oil, being a liquid, is generally easier to apply directly to the hair without needing to be melted first. This can make it a more convenient option for people looking for quick and easy hair treatment. However, the liquid texture can also make it a bit messier to use, and it can be more challenging to control the amount used and to use less.

Coconut oil and Olive oil: Consistency.

Take away.

The difference in consistency doesn’t affect the nourishing and moisturizing properties of the oils. However, it may affect the ease of application and control over the amount of oil used.

3.Coconut oil vs olive oil: Fragrance.

Coconut oil has a distinct coconut scent, while olive oil has a more subtle aroma.

While some people may enjoy the aroma of coconut oil, others may find it overpowering or unpleasant. If you are sensitive to strong scents or dislike the smell of coconut, using coconut oil on your hair may not be ideal.

On the other hand, olive oil has a more subtle aroma that is often described as mild and slightly fruity. While it has a scent, it is generally less noticeable and less likely to linger on the hair than coconut oil. This can benefit people who prefer a more neutral scent or are sensitive to strong fragrances.

Take away

While the aroma of coconut oil can be a turn-off for some, others may enjoy the tropical scent. Olive oil, on the other hand, is generally more neutral and less likely to cause any scent-related issues. 

Uses of Coconut oil for hair.

4.Properties for healthier hair.

Coconut oil is well known for its moisturizing and antimicrobial properties. While olive oil is rich in antioxidants that can help protect the skin and hair from damage.

Coconut oil is perfect for people with dry, damaged, or frizzy hair. It penetrates deeply into the hair shaft, moisturizing and strengthening the hair from the inside out. The coconut oil’s antimicrobial properties can also help prevent hair and scalp infections and dandruff, making it a good choice for people with dry or flaky scalps.

On the other hand, olive oil is rich in antioxidants that can help protect the scalp from damage caused by environmental factors like pollution, UV radiation, and heat styling. It can also help improve hair’s elasticity, making it less prone to breakage. It is a good choice for people with normal to oily hair, as it is less likely to weigh down or make hair look greasy.

Take away.

 If you have dry, damaged, or curly hair, coconut oil will be a better choice. On the other hand, if you have normal to oily hair and want protection from environmental damage, olive oil may be a better option. 

Uses of Olive oil for better hair care.

5.Difference between olive oil and coconut oil on your hair: Absorption rate. 

Coconut oil tends to be absorbed by the hair follicles more quickly. This can make amazing pre-shampoo massage oil or as a leave-in conditioner. Because it can help to lock in moisture and prevent hair damage.

Olive oil, on the other hand, may take longer to absorb and can be more difficult to rinse out. It is a better option for a deep conditioning treatment or finishing oil after washing.

Take away.

Coconut oil absorbs faster and is more suitable as a pre-shampoo treatment or leave-in conditioner. In comparison, olive oil is better suited for deep conditioning treatment or finishing oil. 

6.Weight.

Coconut oil is a bit heavier on the hair than olive oil, making it more difficult to style or weigh down fine or thin hair.

On the other hand, the lighter consistency of olive oil can make it easier to work with and less likely to cause build-up or greasiness.

Take away.

The lighter olive oil makes it a better choice for people with fine or thin hair. It is also less likely to weigh hair down or cause greasiness. On the contrary, the heavier texture of coconut oil may be better suited for those with thicker or coarser hair.

Which Oil Is Best For You? | Coconut oil or Olive Oil?

7.Color of natural oils.

Coconut oil is usually white or ivory, while olive oil is typically golden or greenish-yellow. This may not seem like a big deal, but the color of the oil can affect how it looks when applied to hair. Coconut oil will be more visible on darker hair, while olive oil blends in more easily.

Take away.

The color of your hair should be considered when choosing between oils for hair. For example, coconut oil is more visible on darker hair, while olive blends in more easily.

Uses of Coconut oil for hair.

  1. Coconut oil is excellent for a deep conditioning treatment for hair. Apply warm coconut oil to your hair. Leave it on for at least 30 minutes, and then wash it out.
  2. As a hair moisturizer, preventing it from becoming dry and brittle. Apply a small amount of coconut oil to hair after washing and conditioning to lock in moisture.
  3. Coconut oil is great for hair that frizz and flyaways, making hair look smoother and more polished. Apply a small amount of coconut oil to hair before styling to help control frizz.
  4. Some people believe that coconut oil is the best to promote hair growth. Massage coconut oil into the scalp to stimulate circulation and nourish the hair follicles.
  5. Coconut oil protects hair from sun damage as it contains natural SPF . Apply coconut oil to hair before spending time outdoors to help prevent damage from the sun’s rays.
Is olive oil and coconut oil good for hair growth?

Uses of Olive oil for better hair care.

  1. Olive oil is a great choice to soothe and nourish the scalp, reducing dandruff and promoting healthier hair. Massage it into the scalp and leave it on for at least 30 minutes before washing it out.
  2. It is a great natural moisturizer that can help to nourish and strengthen hair. Apply a small amount to hair after washing and conditioning to lock in moisture.
  3. It adds shine to dull, lifeless hair. Apply a small amount to hair before styling to add shine and luster.
  4. Olive oil is the best oil to protect hair from heat damage caused by styling tools like flat irons and blow dryers. Apply it to hair before using heat styling tools to help protect hair from damage.
  5. It repairs split ends and prevents future damage. Apply it to the ends of the hair to help restore and strengthen damaged hair.

Which Oil Is Best For You? | Coconut oil or Olive Oil?

The choice between coconut oil and olive oil for hair care ultimately depends on your hair type, texture, and specific hair care needs. Both coconut oil and olive oil can be beneficial for hair care, so it’s worth experimenting with both to see which one works best for you. Coconut oil helps with thicker, coarser hair, while olive oil may be better for those with fine or thin hair. Coconut oil can also be used for its moisturizing and antimicrobial properties, while olive oil is rich in antioxidants and can help protect hair from damage. It also depends on how you want your hair to look and feel. 

Combining coconut and olive oil may be a good idea to enjoy both benefits. The powerful hair treatment formula uses a 1:1 ratio of coconut oil to olive oil.

Is olive oil and coconut oil good for hair growth?

While there is no scientific evidence to suggest that olive oil or coconut oil directly promotes hair growth, both oils can be beneficial for maintaining hair health, supporting it indirectly.

For example, both oils are rich in nutrients and antioxidants that can help nourish and strengthen hair, reducing breakage and promoting healthy hair growth. They can also help to moisturize the hair and scalp, reducing dryness and irritation that can interfere with hair growth. Additionally, coconut oil’s antimicrobial properties may help prevent scalp infections that can hinder hair growth.

How long to leave olive oil in your hair?

The amount of time you should leave olive oil in your hair can depend on your hair type, the condition of your hair, and the specific hair care needs you are addressing.

  • Suppose you are using olive oil as a pre-shampoo treatment to help moisturize and nourish your hair. In that case, you can apply the oil to dry or damp hair and leave it on for 30 minutes to an hour before washing your hair as usual.
  • You can apply olive oil to your hair before bed and leave it on overnight for more intensive conditioning. Cover your hair with a shower cap or towel to protect your pillow, and then wash your hair in the morning. 
  • For optimal results, give the oil time to be absorbed. You can leave the oil in your hair or rinse it out depending on how you feel comfortable leaving it oily. Washing your hair will not remove all of the oil and will leave your hair more moist, shiny, and healthier.
  •  If you use olive oil on your hair daily, you can apply a small amount to the ends and work it up toward the roots. You can leave it in all day and wash it out at night, or rinse it out after a few hours if you find it weighing your hair down.

Should I wet my hair before using olive oil for hair?

Wetting your hair before applying olive oil is unnecessary, as the oil will easily penetrate dry hair. However, some people find it helpful to dampen their hair slightly before using oil, as it can help the oil to spread more evenly and prevent it from feeling too heavy or greasy.

If you choose to dampen your hair, it’s best to use warm water. It helps open the hair cuticles and allow the oil to penetrate more deeply. After moisturizing your hair, gently towel-dry it so it is not dripping wet but still slightly damp. Then, apply the olive oil to your hair as desired, focusing on the ends and working your way up to the roots.

Does olive oil stop hair loss?

Olive oil is often used for hair care because it contains beneficial compound for the hair and scalp. However, there is no conclusive scientific evidence suggesting that it can stop hair loss.
Hair loss can have many causes, such as genetics, hormonal imbalances, nutritional deficiencies, and other health conditions. While some natural remedies, including olive oil, may help nourish the hair and scalp and promote healthy hair growth, they are not likely to stop hair loss alone.

How long should I use coconut oil on my dry hair?

The length of time depends on several factors, such as your hair type, condition, and personal preference. In general, it is recommended to leave coconut oil in your hair for at least 30 minutes to an hour before washing it out.

Some prefer to leave the oil in their hair overnight for a deeper conditioning treatment. If you choose to do this, apply the oil to your hair before bed and cover your hair with a shower cap or towel to protect your pillow. Then, wash the oil out of your hair in the morning with a gentle shampoo.

Coconut oil can prevent protein loss in the hair shaft, which can impact specific individuals. Some people may observe their hair becoming stiff or “crunchy” after applying coconut oil to their hair.

olive oil vs coconut oil
Vladka Merva on March 9th, 2023

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