Effect of coconut oil on different properties of hair:
Introduction: Coconut oil has been used for long in daily hair grooming practices. In this study we have evaluated the effect of coconut oil on various hair properties. The parameters studied were fibre strength, combing forces, suppleness and gloss.
Materials and Methods:
Hair tresses were procured from Indian donors after their history was noted. These donors followed a simple hair routine and did not color or bleach their hair. These tresses were washed with sodium lauryl ether sulfate to get rid of the dirt and grime. The hair tresses were air dried. Around 5g of hair were allotted to two of the treatment groups. In the first group the tresses were oiled with coconut based hair oil for 8 hours, while in the second group the tresses were washed with SLES solution without oiling. This was repeated 30 times.
The parameters studied were:
Fibre strength: Single fibres were used to measure the cross-sectional area and the tensile properties using Diastron.
Combing Force: Combing force was measured using a combing tester. The measurements were made before and after the treatments. The combing force was calculated as below Percent change in combing force = (Value before-Value after)/Value before *100
Suppleness: Suppleness was measured using a suppleness tester. The measurements were made before and after the treatments.
Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM): Single hair fibres were removed from the tress, prepared as knots, fixed on a slitted stub for SEM and sputter coated with gold. They have been analyzed in VP-SEM.
Gloss Measurement: Hair tresses are arranged in root to tip direction and measured by means of a reflection spectrometer.
Result and Discussion:
Fibre strength: The non-oiled reference shows significantly lower diameter compared to oiled hair fibres. When the tensile strength of hair was measured, there was a significant drop in the tensile values on washing. While in case of the oiled hair there was no decrease and the strength of hair was retained.
Combing Force and Suppleness: Combing force is the force required to comb hair. Higher combing force means more tangled and rough hair. Combing forces were drastically higher for non-oiled sample as compared to the oiled hair. Suppleness index for oiled hair was also much better that the non oiled samples.
SEM: The SEM photographs show typical images of normal and damaged hair fibres. The degree of cuticular upliftment determines the degree of damage caused to the hair. The unoiled hair showed greater cuticular upliftment in comparison to the coconut hair oil treated hair.
Gloss measurement: Gloss measurements gave no detectable differences for the three hair samples.
This article is based on the research work by Kamath et al at MARCO Industries Ltd.