Coconut oil is fab. But why the obsession. It’s touted as ‘the’ natural beauty aid for every hair or skin type. Coconut oil or for that matter any ‘one’ oil is not going to work for everyone.
Coconut oil can penetrate inside the hair shaft due to its low molecular size, and also because it contains lauric acid which has a high affinity for hair proteins. This study shows that coconut oil can help reduce the protein loss from hair when used pre-wash or in a post-wash grooming product. This is great, as protein is what gives the hair its strength and structure. But too much of a good thing can be a bad thing.
Coconut oil works pretty well for those with soft, fine or medium thick (in diameter) hair. Its protein retention abilities will add body and volume to such hair types. And also minimize damage and breakage while combing and styling.
But if your hair is dry, stiff, brittle, or coarse (could be wavy or curly), then it’s better to give it a pass. With repeated use coconut oil may cause protein build up, making your hair further stiff, hard and less elastic. And less elasticity means more breakage when combing or styling. Also, your hair will be tangled and dull looking.
If you hair feels dry, stiff, rough, crunchy, tangly, or brittle, you need to add in moisture. This may sound strange, but coconut milk is a great substitute for coconut oil. The reason being, dry hair needs a combination of fatty acids plus moisture – which the oil lacks. Coconut milk will nourish and moisturise your hair, but without causing protein overload. (More on coconut milk for hair see here).
Besides, you can also treat your dry hair with moisturising hair rinses such as sage, marshmallow root and fenugreek seeds. Even better, make a hair spritz. Combine 1 tsp of glycerine with 100ml rose water (or any floral water you like). And spray as often as required.
Replenish the moisture in your hair and it will be softer, more flexible and shiner. Also, you do not have to forgo coconut oil altogether, but don’t use on its own. Combine it with other oils or moisturising ingredients and you will have happier and softer hair.
Have you experienced dryness with coconut oil? How do you moisturise your hair?