Coconut oil has become quite popular in recent years, some even calling it a superfood, but what about using coconut oil for beard growth and care?
Yes, that’s right, not only can you get numerous scientifically proven benefits from eating coconut oil and other coconut products, but you can also use coconut oil for beard health.
Research has shown that coconut oil is able to penetrate the facial hair fibers and nourish the beard from the inside out, even when it’s applied topically.
(which is one of the reasons we feature so many coconut oil-rich balms, conditioners, shampoos, and waxes in our list of the best beard products).
Not only that but coconut oil can help with beard growth due to its unique benefits on the levels of androgenic male hormones that naturally enhance the growth of facial hair.
Not to mention the antimicrobial benefits, anti-beardruff effects, and the supreme skin hydrating and lipid restoring effect this tropical oil has on the skin cells buried underneath your beard.
What is Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is a tropical oil extracted from the coconut fruit. It’s a popular ingredient in many recipes, it can be used as cooking oil, and it’s quite popular in cosmetics and beard oils as well.
Like most tropical oils, coconut oil is almost completely saturated, with a 15ml tablespoon of it containing 12g saturated fat, 1g monounsaturated fat, and just 0.5g polyunsaturated fat.
The fatty acid content of coconut oil is as follows:
Lauric acid (48%), Myristic acid (16%), Palmitic acid (9.5%), Decanoic acid (8%), Caprylic acid (7%), Oleic acid (6.5%), and the rest (5%) are various polyunsaturated fatty acids.
Due to its high saturated fat content, coconut oil has a higher melting point than most vegetable and seed oils the Western population more commonly uses.
What makes coconut oil unique is its unusually high amount of medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) which metabolize faster than most other fatty acids and provide fast energy and even some proven benefits like increased metabolic rate.
When it comes to topical use, coconut oil offers unique benefits for facial hair and skin underneath it.
Why You Should Use Coconut Oil for your Beard
1. Coconut Oil May Promote Beard Growth
Coconut oil has many benefits for hormone levels and specifically towards the hormones that increase beard growth rate naturally.
I’m talking about two powerful male hormones; testosterone and DHT (former increases beard density and the latter promotes linear beard growth), as well as thyroid hormones which affect the speed of hair, skin, and nail growth all-around the body (which the MCT-oils in coconut are known to increase).
Multiple animal studies have shown that coconut oil increases testosterone levels naturally (like this, this, and this one).
Testosterone being necessary for beard growth, it’s obvious that eating something which raises the levels of this powerful hormone would also help grow your beard faster
We also need to talk about DHT, a hormone even more powerful than testosterone for beard growth.
Some men are scared about eating coconut oil as they think it would lower DHT levels, as it has been found in one test-tube study that lauric acid found in coconut oil may slightly inhibit the conversion from testosterone to DHT by reducing an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase.
However, anecdotally, men using a lot of coconut oil often report high levels of DHT. This is because coconut oil increases testosterone, and 5% of your testosterone converts to DHT naturally anyway.
So even if the lauric acid in coconut oil could slightly inhibit the enzyme that converts testosterone to DHT, the end result is still more DHT as testosterone increases and that’s the raw material which DHT is made of.
Just take a look at this guys blood DHT levels as an example, he ate a Ray Peat style diet (which involves coconut oil as one of the main fat sources), and his testosterone increased by 28% and DHT by 31%.
Eating coconut oil significantly increased two of the main hormones behind facial hair growth. This may make coconut oil one of the best foods that help beard growth.
2. Powerful Antimicrobial Benefits
Contrary to popular belief and media-hysteria, beards are not as dirty as you might think.
However, it doesn’t hurt to make yours even cleaner by using coconut oil, which has multiple proven bacteria-fighting benefits.
The way coconut oil prevents the growth of beard bacteria has to do with its high amount of lauric acid, which can make up to 50% of the fatty acids in coconut oil.
Lauric acid and monolaurin (which it converts to if you ingest it) have been shown to help kill pathogens like fungi, bacteria, and even some viruses.
Most notably, lauric acid has shown potential in killing the Candida albicans, which commonly results in yeast infections and flaky dandruff, and it may even kill some of the more dangerous pathogens like Staphylococcus aureus.
The lauric acid in coconut oil can help prevent infections and inflammatory skin conditions in the face like ingrown inflamed beard hairs, acne, and beard dandruff. It works topically and also when ingested after it converts to monolaurin.
3. Protects the Beard from Damage & Protein Loss
Did you know that beard-loss is just as much of a thing as hair-loss?
Through factors like protein damage, oxidative damage, and suppressed hormone levels, your facial hairs can actually get damaged and start falling off.
Coconut oil can help prevent this, as it has been proven to increase hormone levels (as explained in detail above) and it’s also remarkably effective at preventing protein-loss of the hair follicle caused by excessive combing, elements, sun, poor diet, etc.
In a study by Rele et al. the researchers tested three oils for their ability to prevent protein-loss…
- Coconut oil
- Sunflower oil
- Mineral oil
Out of the three oils tested, only coconut oil was able to prevent protein-loss damage and this was true for both oral and topical use.
But why was coconut oil so much better at preventing the damage than the two other alternatives?
Turns out that the principal fatty acid in coconut oil (lauric acid) has a very high affinity for facial hair proteins.
The low molecular weight and straight linear carbon-carbon chains of lauric acid enable coconut oil to penetrate inside the hair shaft where it can then prevent the protein-loss and hydrate the beard hairs.
The two other oils had no effect, since mineral oil is a hydrocarbon that has no affinity to the hair-proteins, and sunflower oil like most polyunsaturated vegetable oils, has too bulky of a structure to penetrate the facial hair fibers.
Coconut oil is one of the few natural oils that is proven to penetrate the hair fibers to prevent and even reverse protein-loss damage caused by excessive use of the beard comb, poor nutrition habits, blow-drying & using heated beard straighteners too often, or exposure to a cold environment.
4. Coconut Oil Moisturizes and Softens the Beard
Coconut oil applied to the beard can improve the moisture content of the dry skin underneath the facial hair, while it also hydrates the facial hair follicles, and even reduces some autoimmune skin conditions like eczema, which can lead to less chance of having to deal with beard dandruff.
To add to all of this, one of the many beard benefits of coconut oil is that it works as a natural sun-protector as it has a weak SPF of 5 and contains antioxidants that prevent the oxidative damage caused by UV-radiation.
In one study, patients applying coconut oil to their skin were tested with devices called “Corneometer” and “Tewameter” to see if the oil had any effect on the skin surface hydrogen content, skin pH, transepidermal water-loss, or the skin surface lipid levels.
The results showed that coconut oil was safe to use, had no change for the skin pH level, but did result in a significant improvement in skin hydration and the surface lipid levels.
Coconut oil is not called a “beard hydrating oil” for nothing, there’s research to prove that it truly does hydrate the cells and effectively moisturize both the skin and the hair growing from it.
5. Prevents Beard Dandruff and Itchiness
There are two primary causes of beard dandruff…
- Dry skin which flakes of as dead skin cells.
- Skin conditions like Eczema or Seborrhea
Luckily, coconut oil can be used on your facial hair to help fight off the dry flakes.
As shown in the above subheading, coconut oil has been proven to moisturize the dry skin underneath the beard, and it even helps fight atopic skin conditions by preventing transepidermal water-loss of the skin, both of which can help keep your face flake-free and make your beard soft as a cloud.
Coconut oil enhances the epidermal barrier to prevent the drying of the skin under your beard and it penetrates deep into the skin cells and facial hair strands to provide supreme hydrating effect.
6. Completely Natural & Free of Harsh Chemicals
Most beard oils and conditioners have some nasty ingredients in them or oils that can damage – not nourish – the facial hair and the hormones related to its growth.
Coconut oil, however, is 100% natural and if you buy the virgin kind it has not even been processed with anything that could demote its wholesomeness.
Using coconut oil as beard oil means that you don’t have to deal with things like parabens, phthalates, xenoestrogens, benzoates, or other questionable chemicals.
What Type of Coconut Oil is Best for Facial Hair
Coconut oil is all the same, right? Well, no.
There are different means of extraction that result in varying qualities of the oil.
Some coconut oils are extracted with dry processing, which means that the oil is extracted from the coconut meat with solvents. Dry processed coconut oil isn’t fit for human consumption and not good for your beard either.
Then there’s wet produced coconut oil, meaning that the raw coconut flesh is boiled and pressed (wet-milled) to extract the raw oils from the coconut. This method results in a lower yield than dry processing, BUT it also creates the cleanest and most natural end-product of virgin coconut oil.
Another popular method of extracting coconut oil is called RBD which stands for “refined, bleached, deodorized”. This method produces good yield but also involves the use of enzymes, deodorizing-agents, and extreme heat, which results in colorless and odorless coconut oil.
The fourth method of producing coconut oil is called hydrogenation, which involves extreme pressure in a catalytic process that converts the small amount of monounsaturated and unsaturated fats in the oil into saturated fats. This increases the melting point of coconut oil but offers practically no other benefits.
The fifth and final way is called “fractionation”, which basically means that the different fatty-acids in coconut oil (lauric-acid, caprylic-acid, etc) are separated and sold in their own bottles, usually under the name “MCT oil”.
So which of the different coconut oil types if best for your beard?
Answer: Virgin coconut oil. The natural product extracted through wet-processing, which doesn’t involve unnecessary solvents, chemicals, or pressure.
Whether you’re eating the coconut oil, making beard oil from it, or applying it directly to your facial hair, make sure to always get virgin coconut oil. If that’s not available, then hydrogenated coconut oil is the second best alternative. The rest of them? I wouldn’t bother.
How to Apply Coconut Oil to the Beard
Using coconut oil is simple.
Even though it’s solid at room temperature, you can take a bit of the oil to your palms and rub together to melt it, then just evenly apply it to your facial hair area as you would apply any beard oil.
If you have a big beard and would like to distribute the oil perfectly all-around your mane, then consider using a beard brush after applying the coconut oil for best results
If you want to create your own homemade DIY beard oil with coconut oil as an ingredient, you can fill a sink with hot water and put the coconut oil jar in there to melt it up, and then pour the desired amount into your dropper bottle.
As for how often should you use coconut oil for your beard, the answer is; daily or whenever your beard needs some moisturizing.
DIY Coconut Oil Beard Oil Recipe
For this beard oil recipe, you will need some virgin coconut oil, organic jojoba oil, a 1 oz dropper bottle, and a small bottle of balsam fir needle oil.
(Before you begin mixing the ingredients, put the coconut oil container to warm water to make it liquid instead of solid).
Hydrating coconut oil beard oil recipe:
- 1/2 oz coconut oil (hydrates and prevents protein-damage)
- 1/2 oz jojoba oil (closest to the natural oils of the skin)
- 4 drops balsam fir needle oil (androgenic, for scent mostly)
If you find that the coconut oil gets solid again in the dropper bottle (may happen especially in the winter) just run the dropper bottle under warm water for a bit and it will turn liquid again.
You can use this hydrating homemade coconut oil based beard oil daily, and it will beat out the majority of premade beard oils in the market in both quality and price.
In fact, making your own beard oil can be just 1/10th of the price of buying the premade stuff.
Coconut oil offers a myriad of benefits for your beard, skin, hair, and of course as an edible oil in your diet.
Due to its saturated nature, coconut oil is also very stable and will not easily go rancid, unlike most vegetable oils which are prone to lipid peroxidation.
You can use coconut oil as a beard conditioner as is, or use it as a carrier oil when making DIY beard oils. The sky is the limit with this tropical substance.