Coconut or Argan Oil - Which Oil to Use for Your Hair?

Comparison between coconut and argan oil
Regular application of coconut or argan oil can help you enjoy youthful skin and silky hair. Buzzle throws light on different useful properties of these oils. It will help you to choose the right type for your skin and hair.
Did You Know?
While coconut trees survive for 100 years or more, argan tree groves survive for 125 - 450 years. These trees can prove to be a valuable inheritance for future generations. Argan kernels can remain intact for 20 years if kept unopened. Moroccan families store them and produce the oil as needed. In certain parts of the world, people use trained monkeys to collect coconuts as the trees grow up to 30 m (98 ft) tall.
Both coconut oil and argan oil are edible oils which are widely used as skin and hair moisturizers in beauty treatments. Argan oil is produced from the kernels of the argan tree Argania spinosa which is native to Morocco, while coconut oil is extracted from the meat of fresh or matured coconuts (copra) harvested from the coconut palm Cocos nucifera that grow along warm seas in the tropical regions. Argan oil is often described as 'Morocco's liquid gold', and coconut tree is often referred to as the 'tree of life', as all parts of the tree are used in myriad ways to produce numerous things that are useful in everyday life. Regular application of both these oils significantly improves the quality of hair and skin.

Although both these oils are natural oils and exhibit almost similar properties, their chemical compositions, uses, ways of preparation, and costs are distinctly varied. The quality, color, aroma, and shelf life of these oils depend upon the method of production and various processing techniques used.
Coconut Oil vs. Argan Oil
Coconut oil and argan oil
Coconut Oil
Argan Oil

How Common is It?

It is in use since centuries and is quite popular in almost all parts of the world.
It was and it is popular in Morocco. It has started gaining popularity in other parts of the world, but it is one of the rarest oils in the world because the argan tree grows in some small and specific areas only.

How is It Produced?

It is extracted through either "dry" (using dried copra or coconut meat) or "wet" (using raw coconut) processing. The age of the harvested coconut influences the quality of oil. Refining reduces its susceptibility to rancidification.
It is obtained by cold-press extraction. Usually, Berber women help crack the sun-dried argan nuts and remove the flesh. It is a time-consuming and laborious task. Without roasting, the kernels are ground and pressed to get the cosmetic argan oil.

Cost

It is relatively inexpensive.
As the traditional method of production is time-consuming and involves use of skilled labor, and as the argan tree grows in specific regions only, the oil is quite expensive. It is usually used in luxury spas.

Shelf Life

The shelf life depends upon the quality of the oil, the extraction method, quality of the ingredients, etc. Usually, a good quality oil lasts up to 2 years without spoiling.
It has a shelf life of 18 - 24 months, provided it is stored in a cool place, away from direct sunlight.

Color

Off-white or pale yellow
Light golden color

Aroma

Depending upon the method of production, it may or may not have distinctive coconut aroma.
It may have a nutty, natural scent or no distinctive smell at all.

Main Components

It is rich in saturated fatty acids, especially 'lauric'. It also contains vitamins E, K, and trace mineral iron.
It contains vitamin E (twice as much as olive oil), natural phenol's, carotene, squalene, and fatty acids (80% unsaturated fatty acids). It is rich in the fatty acid 'Oleic'.
Common Cosmetic Uses
Hair and Skin Hydration and Nourishment
Woman with long hair
Both these oils help improve the quality of hair. They act as moisturizing and nourishing agents as they are rich in vitamin E and K. This helps strengthen the hair and improve the quality of skin. As these oils get deep into hair follicles, they stimulate hair growth. They add luster to your hair and glow to your skin. Coconut oil penetrates deeper into the skin and hair shaft. This helps strengthen the underlying tissues. Conditioning from within keeps the hair shiny and silky. The saponins from argan oil help maintain the moisture and soften the skin and hair. It works great for frizzy hair and dry skin.
Anti-aging Properties
Beautiful woman
Raw argan oil (oil obtained without roasting the kernels) is used as a cosmetic oil. As no heating is involved, the healing and nutritive agents in the kernel remain intact. As the anti-aging properties are not lost, it helps minimize wrinkles. It has natural exfoliating qualities and helps get rid of the dead cells on the skin. As a result, rough and flaky skin soon becomes smooth and supple. The saturated fats like capric acid, caprylic acid, caproic acid, and myristic acid, present in coconut oil exhibit antioxidant properties. They help slow down the process of aging, macular degeneration, whitening of hair, and sagging of the skin. Both these oils make your skin soft and glowing.
Healing Properties
Argan oil which is rich in antioxidants and anti-microbial agents is used to relieve the symptoms of acne, psoriasis, and eczema. Being rich in vitamin E and omega 3 essential fatty acids, it helps get rid of acne scars as well. Virgin coconut oil also acts as an antiviral, antifungal, and antibacterial (lauric acid exhibits antimicrobial properties) agent. It helps fight insect bites, lice, and dandruff. It can block about 20% of the Sun's ultraviolet rays. Certain fatty acids in coconut oil act as antimicrobial and antifungal agents, and help prevent rashes, itches, ringworm, and dermatitis. In Indonesia, it is traditionally used to dress a wound.

These oils prevent hair (both roots and strands) breakage and split ends. They also slow down hair loss. They protect your hair and skin from heat and environment damage. Massage with these oils helps improve blood circulation which increases the supply of nutrients to hair and skin. You can use them for the face too. They help reduce acne scars, fine lines, and discoloration on the face.
Our Verdict
Both coconut oil and argan oil are good for hair and skin. Relatively smaller molecules of pure argan oil easily penetrate through hair. If you have frizzy hair, then you would perhaps need argan oil to soften them.

Coconut oil, because of its low molecular weight and straight linear chain, easily penetrates inside the hair shaft. It is good for all types of hair, especially for black hair. They say that it seals the hair. But being a triglyceride of lauric acid, it has an exceptionally high affinity for hair proteins. So, its sealing capacity can be overlooked.

Both the oils are natural products and do not have any side effects. Depending upon the type and quality of your hair and skin, you can decide which oil is best for you. There is no harm in trying both the oils. Although argan oil is expensive, if you take into consideration its long term effects, you would end up in saving money, as you won't have to buy overpriced cosmetics. But be sure that you are using 100 % pure and authentic oil.
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