The tropical treat is good for more than cooking:The fatty acids in coconut oil can “feed” your strands too, research shows. Unlike oils like mineral and sunflower, coconut oil in its pure form and preformulated products can penetrate the hair shaft, reducing the loss of proteins
(the building blocks of hair) and preventing damage when used pre- or post-wash, a study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Science found. “For maximum benefits, apply coconut oil as an overnight treatment from roots to ends, allowing it to soak into strands, then rinse out in the morning,” says Meri Kate O’Connor, hairstylist and colorist at Eva Scrivo Salon in New York City. If using raw coconut oil, she says, “rub it in your hands first to warm it up, making it easier to spread.” For curly hair, try a small amount as a leave-in smoothing treatment, she suggests.