Mineral Oil Vs Coconut Oil For Hair: Which Is Better?

Mineral Oil Vs Coconut Oil For Hair Which Is Better

Nature has gifted us with multiple things that work wonders on our hair and oil is one of them. Extracting certain oils from natural sources and using them on hair can make them healthy and voluminous. Out of so many options, deciding which oil will address your hair condition and provide fruitful results is essential.

This article will explore two most popular oils- mineral oil and coconut oil for hair and learn which is better. We will also compare mineral oil vs coconut oil to understand their functioning that will help you make informed choice.

Mineral Oil

Mineral Oil

Mineral oil (1) is a by-product of gasoline. It is often used in skincare and haircare products as it is cheap. Even though there has been debate regarding its use on skin and hair, FDA approves it for topical use.


  • Prevents tangles: The moisturizing properties of mineral oil allows hair to stay hydrated and supple. Thus, the hair stays frizz free and does not tangle. Mineral oil acts as a lubricant and reduces dryness.
  • Treats dandruff: The application of mineral oil on the scalp keeps it moist, leaving little chance for dandruff buildup.
  • Kills head lice: Mineral oil can be used as an alternative to chemicals that are often used to treat lice. Even though not as effective as chemicals, mineral oil is still an effective treatment against lice with no side effects.

Coconut Oil

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil (2) is extracted from the kernel of natural coconuts harvested from coconut palms. It is high in saturated fats and is one of the most versatile oils for hair. It improves hair health and makes them look lustrous.


  • Moisturizes hair
  • Reduces breakage
  • Protects hair from protein loss
  • Protects hair from environmental damage
  • Treats dandruff
  • Prevents hair loss

These advantages of coconut oil are contributed by the medium chain fatty acid, lauric acid in the coconut. The long and straight structure of the chain makes it easily absorbed deep into the hair shaft.

Additionally, while coconut oil has been proven to prevent protein loss of hair, mineral oil is not able to perform this function. Therefore, it is more beneficial when the hairs are dull, damaged, chemically treated, UV exposed, etc.

Below is the table differentiating mineral oil and coconut oil under different heads for better understanding-

AspectMineral OilCoconut Oil
SourceDerived from petroleumExtracted from coconuts
CompositionHydrocarbonsSaturated fatty acids
TextureLightweight and non-greasyRich and heavy
AbsorptionForms a barrier on the hair shaftEasily absorbed into the hair shaft
MoisturizingProvides surface hydrationPenetrates hair shaft, providing deep hydration
Hair NourishmentProvides temporary shine and smoothnessNourishes hair with vitamins and antioxidants
Scalp BenefitsMay cause scalp irritation in some individualsAlways soothe and moisturize the scalp
Hair ProtectionProvides some protection against environmental damageActs as a natural sunscreen, protecting hair from UV damage
Potential IssuesMay cause product buildup over timeRarely causes allergic reactions or irritation
OdorOdorlessMild coconut fragrance
CostGenerally more affordableMay be more expensive depending on quality
Popular Use CasesCommonly found in hair care products as a cheaper ingredientOften used as a natural remedy for various hair concerns
Allergic ReactionsLess likely to cause allergic reactionsSome individuals may be allergic to coconut oil

Mineral Oil Vs Coconut Oil- Side Effects

Even though both these oils are safe for topical use, some people may develop a few adverse effects after using mineral oils such as-

  • Scalp irritation
  • Eye irritation
  • Acne

Beside these, allergic reactions such as swelling, rashes, redness, etc. are also experienced by people after using mineral oil. Those with coconut allergy may show the same signs after using coconut oil.

Additionally, using too much oil, either mineral or coconut, causes a buildup of oil on hair and scalp, inviting different hair issues.

Mineral Oil Vs. Coconut Oil- What’s Better for Hair Care?

While both oils are suitable for hair care, when you need to address certain issues such as dry hair, hair loss, dandruff, etc., coconut oil secures more points. It is one of the most extensively used hair oils since time immemorial. Also, being extracted from the coconut palm, it delivers multiple benefits to hair and scalp naturally.

On the other hand, mineral oil is a by-product of petroleum. It is often found in most hair oils as it is cheap. Even though it has the properties to moisturize hair and scalp, it is not better than coconut oil in any aspect. Therefore, coconut oil over mineral oil is the best option for keeping your hair hydrated, healthy, soft, and supple (3).


When weighing mineral oil vs. coconut oil for hair, the latter seems more beneficial. Coconut oil is an all-rounder, suitable not just for hair but also for skin and cooking. On the contrary, mineral oil only works as a moisturizer and doesn’t address different hair issues.

Moreover, adverse effects of coconut oil are rare, whereas you may get an allergic reaction to mineral oil. Therefore, it is always advised to perform a patch test before applying mineral oil. If the skin reacts adversely, wash the oil off and avoid its use.

Image Source : canva

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