Coconut oil is the most commonly used hair oil worldwide. The oil is solid in temperatures below 76°F/24°C but it easily melts when you put some on your hands and rub them together. I love using this oil on my hair to lock in moisture and keep my hair (locs) soft and shiny. In this article I will explain why coconut oil works so well on African American (afro-textured) hair and how to use it.
Coconut oil is a natural hair moisturizer. It promotes healthy hair growth because it contains vitamin E and it even helps repair damaged hair. If you massage your scalp with coconut oil regularly it will keep your scalp moisturized. In addition coconut oil prevents dandruff and lice.
Every time you shampoo your hair proteins, your hair’s building blocks, are lost especially if your shampoo contains sulfates (sodium laurel sulfate/sodium laureth sulfate). This can contribute to thinning hair and breakage over time. Coconut oil reduces protein loss in your hair, which is a very good reason to use this product as a pre-shampoo hot oil treatment or after shampoo (deep) conditioner.
Hot oil treatment
Coconut oil can be used as a pre-shampoo treatment to moisturize and soften your hair. Heat up a small quantity of oil by putting the container in some hot water. Spread the warm oil on your hair. If you have long hair you should put some more oil on the ends as this is your oldest hair and usually drier than the hair close to your scalp. Cover your hair with a shower cap or cling film. I like to sit under a hood dryer for about 30-45 minutes to let the oil penetrate my hair, but this is optional. If you don’t have a hood dryer just make sure you cover your hair with a shower cap/cling film. Then wrap a towel over it to keep your hair warm. Afterwards I wash my hair with a sulfate-free shampoo.
After shampooing simply rub a small amount of coconut oil onto your towel dry hair and style as usual. How much you need depends on your hair texture and thickness. Afro-textured hair needs a bit more, because it is very porous but you will find that a little goes a long way. Coconut oil acts as a sealant to porous hair locking in moisture, which makes it an excellent natural conditioner for African American hair.
Deep conditioning treatment
You can also use coconut oil as a deep conditioning treatment. Spread some oil on your hair. If your hair is long put some more oil on the ends as they require extra nourishment. Cover your hair with a shower cap or cling film and a towel and leave it for at least 2 hours or overnight. I have locs and when they are very dry I like using the overnight treatment. Cover your pillow to protect it from oil stains and shampoo your hair the next morning.
I trust this article has shown you that coconut oil is a fantastic natural conditioner for afro-textured hair whether it is locked or not. You will achieve the best results using organic, pure extra virgin coconut oil since this variety contains most of the coconut’s vitamins.
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