Babassu Oil vs Coconut Oil | Which is Better for Hair?

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Key Summary

  • Babassu oil and coconut oil are tropical plant-derived oils with distinct properties, making them popular in hair care.

 

  • Key differences include texture, absorption, effects on hair manageability, suitability for different hair types, and their nourishing, repairing, and scalp health benefits.

 

  • The choice between the two depends on specific hair needs, with babassu oil better for lighter hair and scalp health, and coconut oil for deep moisturising and repair.

Babassu Oil vs Coconut Oil | What are They?

Babassu oil and coconut oil are two natural oils derived from tropical plants. Both have unique properties that have made them popular in the beauty and hair care industry.

 

Whilst babassu oil is extracted from the seeds of the babassu palm in South America, coconut oil is derived from the meat of coconuts, found in tropical coastal regions.

 

Babassu oil is lighter than its coconut counterpart, but both have moisturising qualities. The main differences between these two oils lie in their composition, texture, and how they interact with different hair types. Let's delve deeper into these differences.

Babassu Oil vs Coconut Oil Key Differences

babassu and coconut oil

When comparing babassu oil vs coconut oil for hair, it's important to consider these key differences:

Texture and Absorption

Babassu Oil

Babassu oil is characterised by its light texture, meaning it can be quickly absorbed, and importantly, babassu is not drying. It provides instant nourishment without a greasy residue, making it ideal for those that want an oil without a heavy finish.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has a considerably thicker consistency when compared to babassu. The dense oil takes more time to absorb into the hair strands, however, the slow absorption is beneficial as it allows prolong moisturisation. It is a particularly useful oil for those wanting deep conditioning and hair repair.

Hair Texture/Manageability

Babassu Oil

Babassu oil is a saviour for individuals struggling with frizzy hair. Its light texture and quick absorption make it an ideal solution for taming frizz, leaving hair sleek and manageable. It is also known to enhance curl patterns, making it a great choice for those wanting to sport their natural curly locks.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil, with its dense nature, tends to weigh down the hair a bit more. This might not be preferable for all, but for those with dry and damaged hair, the rich, deeply conditioning nature of coconut oil can help restore and maintain healthy, lustrous locks.

Hair Type Considerations

Babassu Oil

Babassu oil is versatile and will cater to all hair types, however it works particularly well for fine and medium hair. The lightweight texture helps to moisturise and nourish hair without adding extra weight to the locks which allows it to retain its natural volume and bounce.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil, due to its rich texture and intensive moisturising properties, is better suited to medium or coarse hair textures. It provides the intense level of care required for these hair types, particularly beneficial for those with dry or damaged hair.

Moisturising, Nourishing, and Repairing

Where babassu and coconut oil both excel is in their moisturising, nourishing, and repairing capacities. Research has shown that both are rich in Vitamin E and Lauric Acid which are known for strengthening locks and providing hydration.

Babassu Oil

Babassu oil, despite being lightweight, doesn't skimp on providing intense hydration. Babassu, however, does penetrate the hair shaft which allows it to deliver moisture, improving the hair's elasticity and strength. In nourishing the hair, it enhances the health and appearance of hair, leaving it shiny and vibrant whilst repairing damage, supporting hair structure, and reducing breakages.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is a heavyweight when it comes to moisturising and nourishing hair. Just like Babassu, it penetrates the hair shaft which means coconut oil is good for low porosity hair, but it is more deeply hydrating than Babassu.

 

It saturates the hair with essential nutrients that support its health, and, being rich in fatty acids also helps repair hair damage, reducing protein loss and helping to restore the hair's vitality and shine.

Scalp Health

Scalp health is an integral part of overall hair health, and both oils offer benefits in this regard, although Babassu definitely wins in the Babassu Oil vs Coconut Oil competition.

Babassu Oil

Studies have shown that Babassu oil has anti-inflammatory properties and is also anti-microbial, which is great for supporting scalp health and hair growth. It soothes the scalp, reducing irritation and flakiness, and helps maintain a healthy scalp environment, preventing issues such as dandruff.

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is not commonly noted for its scalp benefits as much as babassu oil, but it's moisturising properties can help alleviate dry and itchy scalp conditions. Also, thanks to the high level of fatty acids within coconut oil, it can help create a protective barrier on the scalp, warding off environmental damage and maintaining scalp hydration.

Babassu Oil vs Coconut Oil | Main Properties

Babassu Oil Coconut Oil
Texture Light Thick
Absorption Rate Fast Slow
Best for Hair Type Fine to Medium Medium to Coarse
Hair Benefits Tames frizz, enhances curls, promotes scalp health Deeply moisturises, repairs damage
Overall Feel Non-greasy May feel heavy on some hair types
Nutrients Rich in vitamin E, lauric acid, and myristic acid Rich in lauric acid, vitamin E, and vitamin K
Nutrient Benefits Vitamin E provides antioxidant benefits, protecting hair from damage. Lauric and myristic acids offer antimicrobial properties, promoting scalp health Lauric acid penetrates the hair shaft, providing deep moisturization. Vitamins E and K promote hair health and strength

How to Use Babassu and Coconut Oil for Hair

babassu and coconut oil

Whether you opt for babassu oil or coconut oil, knowing how to use these oils effectively can enhance their benefits.

 

Babassu oil can be used as a pre-shampoo treatment, conditioner, or hair mask - we love the Babassu Treatment Hair Masque. Simply apply a small amount of the oil to your hair, cover with a shower cap, and let it sit for 20-30 minutes before washing out.

Babassu Oil Treatment Hair Masque


The Babassu Deep Treatment Hair Masque is an intensive protein-moisture balanced treatment that applies a restorative formula to the hair, using steam to encourage absorption into the hair shaft. It is jam-packed with Brazilian butter, Tucuma and Murumuru seed butters and revitalising oils to nourish your hair. It’s so rich and gets to work for longer, you only need to apply it once or twice a month.


Coconut oil is best used as a deep conditioning treatment or overnight hair mask. Apply the oil generously to your hair, cover with a shower cap, and leave it on for several hours or overnight before washing out. This will allow the oil to penetrate deep into the hair shaft and provide intense moisturisation.

How to Choose between Babassu Oil vs Coconut Oil

Choosing between babassu oil vs coconut oil largely depends on your hair type and specific needs. If you have fine to medium hair and desire a lighter, non-greasy finish, babassu oil may be your best bet. If your hair is dry, damaged, or medium to coarse, the intense moisturisation from coconut oil could be more beneficial.

 

Those who are prone to scalp issues may find the benefits of babassu oil for hair particularly advantageous, as it promotes scalp health and reduces inflammation. Conversely, if you're specifically seeking a remedy for hair damage, coconut oil's deep conditioning properties might be the right solution.

Conclusion

In the comparison of babassu oil vs coconut oil for hair care, it's clear that both oils offer unique benefits. Babassu oil, with its light texture, fast absorption, and scalp health benefits, may be a preferred choice for those with fine to medium hair.

 

Coconut oil, known for its deep moisturising capabilities and reparative properties, might be best suited for medium to coarse hair types, especially those that are dry or damaged. The choice you make between these oils will largely depend on your hair's specific needs and characteristics.

 

Shop naturally formulated products, packed full of nourishing oils that hydrate and repair your hair, over at Equi Botanics.

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