In recent times, coconut oil for the hair has gained universal recognition and can now be found in every brand, type and variation in supermarkets, salons, wellness centres and health stores around the world. Before delving into the steps for how to use coconut oil in the hair for optimal benefits, it’s important to know what it is, what it does and which type to use.
Rich in nutrients, antioxidants, vitamins and minerals, the oil of the coconut has long since been used by civilizations in tropical climates for culinary, medicinal, religious, industrial and cosmetic purposes. When it comes to haircare, certain cultures, especially Indian and Polynesian, have been using this delightfully sweet and fragrant oil for centuries to ensure long, healthy, lustrous, strong and silky locks.
The Benefits of Coconut Oil for the Hair
Coconut oil is packed with lauric acid, antioxidants, vitamins, anti-microbial properties and rare medium chain fatty acids (MCFA’s) that nourish and moisturize the hair and scalp. What sets it apart from other products is its molecular ability to deeply penetrate the hair follicles and to lock in protein. Here are a few of its extraordinary benefits:
- Conditions the scalp
- Strengthens the hair
- Stimulates hair growth
- Reduces hair loss
- Repairs damaged hair
- Adds shine and volume
- De-tangles and de-frizzes
- Protects from harmful UV rays
- Prevents dandruff, lice and scalp infections
- Leaves a refreshing tropical fragrance!
Type of Coconut Oil to Use in the Hair
A trip to the market for coconut oil can prove to be quite overwhelming. Shelves are stocked with refined, extra refined, virgin, extra virgin, fair trade, cold-pressed, fractionated… It may be confusing to know which one to buy!
The product to look for is Organic Virgin Coconut Oil. This is the type that contains the least amount of pesticides and retains the maximum amount of nutrients, fatty acids and antioxidants. Since natural whole coconut oil melts at 24°C/76°F, it will usually come in a solid to semi-solid texture, unless the climate is warmer. Prices are higher for virgin coconut oil, but the value will be well worth it.
How to Use Coconut Oil in the Hair
Set aside at least a couple of hours for this deliciously nourishing coconut oil treatment. Repeat the routine 1-2 times a week for the most favourable results.
1Start with dry hair. Heap a few teaspoons of coconut oil into a container and place it in a sink or a larger bowl filled with very hot water, ensuring that no water enters the container. Leave for a few minutes, allowing the heat to warm up and melt the oil. Never microwave or heat the oil over a pan as this will strip away its quality.
2Once the oil is liquid and warm, remove the container and pour some oil directly onto the top and center of the head. Pause for a moment and feel the oil slowly seep over and down the scalp. This should prove to be a wonderfully refreshing and comforting sensation because the top of the head is the exact location of the Crown Chakra, which represents spirituality, divine connection and higher consciousness.
3Now rub some oil into the palm of the hands and gently massage it into and all over the scalp. Gradually add more oil as required until the scalp and roots are saturated, but not dripping, with oil. Continue massaging for about 5-10 minutes. The gentle pressure and circular motions will increase blood circulation in the scalp, encourage hair growth, eradicate dandruff and melt away stress and tension.
4Comb through the lengths of the hair to distribute the oil throughout the strands. Then twist the hair loosely up into a bun or bunch and secure it with a clip. Cover the head with a shower cap or a hair mask cap and leave it on for 1-2 hours or, even better, overnight. This gives the anti-microbial properties, minerals and fatty acids in the oil plenty of time to fully penetrate the hair follicles, strands and ends, leaving the hair and scalp deeply conditioned, nourished and healthy.
5Remove the cap and shampoo as normal. Repeat the shampoo if required. Because the hair and scalp are now conditioned from the inside out, there really is no need to use any other product. Besides, the harsh chemicals in conditioners and styling products usually offset the benefits of coconut oil, so it’s a good idea to minimize or eliminate them altogether.
Heat protection serums and sprays provide a degree of protection from thermal styling appliances such as hair dryers, curling irons and flat irons. But they may contain damaging chemicals and also may leave the hair feeling stiff, sticky or treated. Coconut oil, on the other hand, provides a natural and effective protective barrier and leaves the hair velvety smooth and natural to the touch.
Before using the heat appliance, smooth a small amount through the lengths of the hair, paying attention to the ends. Avoid the scalp and remember to use very sparingly, especially for fine hair. This will coat the individual hair strands with oil and protect them from the heat.
For Overall Manageability:
Coconut Oil also serves as a protective sunscreen, a shine serum and an effective de-tangling and de-frizzing agent. After styling, rub a very small amount into the palms of the hands, then lightly run the hands over and/or through the hair. Avoid the scalp area and again, use very, very sparingly. Too much oil can make the hair look unclean, unwashed and unpleasant to the touch.
Now that you know how to use coconut oil in the hair, here is our chosen product in terms of quality, make and content:
Price: US$ 14.95 | CAD$ 19.45
Size: 4 oz. / 118.3 ml.
Why We Love It: This chemical-free, preservative-free, 100% raw coconut oil has never been heated and therefore retains its original MCFA’s. Moreover, it was featured in Oprah Winfrey’s magazine, where it was referred to as “her coco-conscious, environmentally kind pick!“