Health and Wellness

Olive Oil vs. Coconut Oil: Which Makes for the Best Hair Treatment?

Coconut oil from Safeway stores

Coconut oil is all the rage recently. I feel like every time I turn around I see a new use for it!

I’ve never used coconut oil in my life, for any purpose, before last night.

However, beginning last summer, I began doing an olive oil treatment on my hair once a week and loved it. It made my hair super smooth and soft and effectively eliminated my need for store-bought conditioner!

It was simply amazing. 

A roommate of mine though uses coconut oil and swears by it. I figured we just had our differences in choices of oils but they effectively did the same thing. However, at the store yesterday I saw some coconut oil and decided to grab a jar to test it.

Turns out, this oil is life changing.


Which performs better as a hair treatment: coconut oil or olive oil?

So let’s go through and see why.

First off, what did olive oil do to my hair?

The olive oil was a great entry point into this whole “oil as conditioner” phase of my life.

One day I was about to take a shower and happened to walk past the kitchen and randomly thought “I wonder if people put olive oil in their hair”.

Turns out they do. And it was amazing.

My hair had never felt smoother or silkier. The shine was unbelievable. I had no idea what I had been missing out on.

I would simply hop in the shower, get my head wet, massage the oil into my hair, then hop out and do something else for a half hour while the olive oil did its magic.

I found that the best part of the olive oil was that the treatment lasted an entire week. I didn’t feel the need to wash my hair, or if I did have to wash it (after working out or something), I didn’t need to condition it. In general, my hair just felt healthier after the oil.

However, olive oil was a pain in the ass to use. It was messy, got all over everything, and was hard to clean up. Olive oil is inherently slippery and liquid at a room temperature. It would get all over my shower and faucets and hands and skin, which was a headache during the half hour that I was out of the shower trying to do something else. I would put my hair up in a shower cap, but oil would still get all over my apartment.

I figured that all oils were the same and took it as a fact of the practice. And then I continued this process once a week for a whole god damn year.

So what exactly is coconut oil?

If you’ve ever cracked open a coconut, you know that underneath the hard outer shell is a layer of white flesh called the copra.

This is where the coconut oil comes from.

The copra is extracted, dried, then sent to mills across the world to be treated and turned into oil.

Not all oil is the same.

As I learned doing research for this post, not all coconut oil is of the same quality. It turns out that most of the stuff we get really isn’t that great and is actually treated with bleaches and various chemicals to be suitable for human use.

The coconut oil that I bought was labeled as “organic” at Safeway, but it is also a refined oil that falls into this category of “bleached and chemically treated”.

Coconut oil from Safeway stores

While I didn’t know this fact when I bought the oil, I feel like it’s still healthier than some of the things found in common store bought conditioners. But it’s also something I’m going to look out for in the future.

It just goes to show you that just because something is organic doesn’t mean it’s all that great for you!

The process to treat my hair with coconut oil was exactly the same as it was with olive oil.

I just got my hair wet, massaged the oil in, then turned off the water for a half hour and did something else.

I was expecting the coconut oil to be just as messy as the olive oil so I brought an old book into my bathroom to read. To my surprise, the coconut oil was way cleaner and I probably could have put on clothes and walked around my house if I had wanted to.

Because of the oil’s somewhat solid nature, I had way more control in the application. I was able to scoop out a little bit, warm it up in my fingers, and work it into my hair. In contrast, when I used olive oil, I would literally bring a plastic cup full of it into the shower with me and just dump it onto my head.

Because of this fact, I was able to get a much better coverage on my head as well. I wasn’t trying to rub it in as fast as I could but instead could focus on making sure there was an even coverage across my head.

The coconut oil was also easier to wash out than its olive equivalent. Maybe I’m making that up in my head but I could swear it’s true.

The results

Immediately after my shower, I felt way lighter than than I normally do after using olive oil.

My skin felt smoother.

My hair didn’t feel as greasy.

I didn’t feel gross and weighted down, waiting for the next shower to get the rest of this oil shit off of my body.

My hair feels better the day after as well.

With olive oil, my hair felt perfect one or two washes after the oil treatment. I attribute that to the fact that olive oil is really fucking hard to get out of your hair.

That’s not the case with the coconut oil. My hair feels as fantastic today as it would on Day 3 of olive oil. No weird residue in sight!

Olive oil is the clear winner in my book.

The fact that I’m able to walk around today WITHOUT feeling like I took an oil bath last night, in addition to the fact that it wasn’t a nightmare to clean up, sealed the deal for me.

I’m an olive oil convert and I’m never turning back.


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