Both sesame and coconut oil are excellent for hair growth, to prevent hair fall, to fight against dandruff etc. But usage of coconut oil comes with some disadvantages, because of which, I vote sesame oil as the winner.
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Sesame oil benefits
Skin and hair related benefits of sesame oil (gingelly oil):
Twachya – improves skin tone and skin quality
Keshya – Promotes hair growth
Balya – improves strength of skin, muscles, tendons and joints on massaging.
Useful in preventing graying of hairs.
Relieves itching and pain
Rich in Vitamin E, good for skin.
Useful in headache, arthritis etc. Read more – Sesame oil benefits – complete details
Coconut oil benefits
Skin and hair related benefits of coconut oil:
Relieves burning sensation
Useful in relieving hair fall and premature graying of hair.
Useful in relieving wounds. Read more – Coconut oil benefits complete details
Why sesame oil is better than coconut oil?
Of all the vegetable sourced oils, sesame oil is the best (Reference: Charaka Samhita Sutrasthana 13th chapter).
This is why, it is the number one used base for all kinds of traditional herbal oils (Taila)
If sesame oil is good for improving skin health, if it is good for massage, if it is good for improving nourishment, if it is the preferred base of oil for almost all massage oils explained in ancient traditional Ayurvedic text books, it should be the oil of choice for hair as well.
There is also a reference (Sharangdhara Samhita) that, in any Sanskrit verse of any Ayurvedic medicine, if taila (oil) word is mentioned but the specific type of Taila is not mentioned, then sesame oil should be taken by default.
Quality comparison: Gingelly oil does all the good things to hair that coconut oil does.
Worsening of sinusitis, rhinitis, cold cough etc.
The main problem with coconut oil is, it is coolant in nature. Coldness increases Kapha. Hence, for many people, who are prone to allergies, cold, cough, asthma etc Kapha symptoms, coconut oil based hair oils lead to worsening of symptoms. Even in some healthy people, who do not have cold etc problems, tend to have running nose, upon applying coconut oil (or hair oils with coconut oil base) at night.
For people living in Cold climate
I have heard from many of my clients from cold countries, they tend to experience hair fall with coconut oil (or herbal oils with coconut oil base) usage. This is because, Coconut oil being coolant, added with the cold nature of their place, increases Vata. Increased Vata causes hair fall. Such a problem is not seen with sesame oil (or herbal oils with sesame oil) application because, it is primarily a Vata balancing oil.
Worsening of headache / migraine
It is another problem, related with Kapha and Vata increase, caused due to coconut oil. Whereas, sesame oil being Vata balancing, in fact helps to relieve headache.
Time of oil application:
Longer the oil stays on the skin, more percentage of the oil will get absorbed, hence better will be the effect. Hence, head massage or hair oil application done at evening time is very beneficial. If you divide day time into three parts, evening time is dominated by Vata Dosha. At this time, coconut oil application may worsen Vata, because of its coolant nature, whereas sesame oil will calm Vata down.
Also, at night, when Kapha is dominant, again coconut oil increases Kapha. This is why, people suffer with cold and related symptoms with coconut oil, when it is applied at night.
Hence, if you wish to apply coconut oil, morning is the best choice.
Related: How and when to apply oil for hair?
How coconut oil usage became popular?
Kerala Ayurvedic text books came up with many of the coconut oil based herbal oils, not only for hair, but for other skin conditions as well. Example: Eladi keram, Chemparuthyadi keratailam etc.
The reason is quite obvious. Entire Kerala, for most part of the year is hot and humid. Kerala is a coastal state of South India. Because of hotness, naturally Kapha and Vata are well under control. Hence, usage of coconut oil for hair or as part of diet is actually very beneficial for them.
Where coconut oil is beneficial?
For people living in hot climate,
For people with burning sensation – Pitta dominant conditions, coconut oil application over hair is very beneficial. But for the rest of us, Sesame oil makes better sense.
Mixing of black pepper
Some advise that, if you are really in love with coconut oil, but have cold and sinusitis problems, then mix a teaspoon of black pepper powder to 100 ml of oil, heat it for five minutes, filter it and use it. But, usage of sesame oil, in place of coconut oil is a very simple solution to that big home work.
Hair oils with sesame oil base
For USA and other countries, there are a few companies manufacturing hair oil with sesame oil base. Even if you do not get any such hair oil, you can surely use plain sesame oil itself as hair oil.
Trichup oil contains both sesame oil and coconut oil