There is one ingredient that runs deep in my bloodstream, pores, and hair strands — I'm practically dipped in coconut oil from head to toe on a daily basis. From coconut milk in my morning coffee to a variety of natural coconut oil hair treatments all the way to my coconut body lotion, this is one fruit (or nut, depending on who you talk to) I can't get enough of. So much so, that I can't help but boasting about the benefits of coconut oil for all hair types one more time.
Most vegetable oils on the shelves are extremely beneficial for our hair because they provide oil for our scalp, which is a key factor in creating a healthy environment for growth. Coconut oil especially stands out because it acts as both a moisturizer AND a hair sealant. What does this mean for your hair? It means that this oil is incredibly versatile and can provide conditioning properties and lock in moisture as a leave-in or hair sealant after the fact. It's loaded with natural fatty acids, powerful anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial qualities that help our scalps stay healthy enough for new skin cells to generate thus stimulating hair growth. I owe every compliment, every good hair day, and every extra inch of hair to coconut oil — it is my everything.
Afro-textured hair (like mine) is naturally coarse and matte in appearance, so the daily struggle most of us have is retaining moisture as long as possible in order to avoid breakage from dry locks. Personally, my hair hates being literally wet, so it's super important that both my leave-in conditioner and deep conditioner lasts at least a week so I don't have to wet my hair in the shower too often. Fortunately, I got on the coconut oil-train just days after I did the Big Chop; I never had the experience that many natural folks have of buying and trying conditioners that failed to retain moisture or caused a gross build-up in my hair leaving flakes behind.
My hair, courtesy of coconut oil.
Coconut oil isn't just for coarse, dry locks. If you've got a case of dandruff that you haven't been able to shake with OTC treatments then you should definitely reach for coconut oil. According to the Mayo Clinic, one likely source of dandruff is a fungus that lives on the scalp called malassezia, which intensifies the overproduction of skin cells. Coconut oil is highly anti-fungal, so much so that it is a common treatment for dandruff.
Regardless of your hair type, if you are trying to accomplish your hair dreams be it long hair, dry hair, dandruff-y, or full of split ends — coconut will be your savior. These recipes below should get you started, but never doubt the power of coconut on its own. Adding it to your favorite conditioners or using pure coconut oil as a nightly scalp treatment will make today's hair problems a thing of the past.
1. Coconut Aloe Leave-In Conditioner
Here's what you'll need to get started:
- 1 cup of coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons of aloe vera leaf extract (or pure aloe juice)
- 2 tablespoons of sunflower seed oil
- 1 teaspoon of vegetable glycerin
- 12 drops of lavender essential oil
- 8 drops of pure vanilla extract
Start by mixing all of your ingredients together in a blender until you have a smooth consistency. Then add your essential oils. This leave-in treatment goes a long way! If you have fine textured hair use the size of a quarter and comb through clean hair. Those with dry, brittle locks should use the same amount while sectioning and combing through damp hair. This leave-in works great for styling braids, two-strand twists, and up-dos.
2. Green Coconut Detangling Deep Conditioning Hair Mask
Here's another great recipe for weak, fragile locks and hair growth. In a blender, mix one avocado, 1/4 cup of coconut milk, 1/4 cup of coconut oil, and a tablespoon of avocado oil. Next add 10 drops of eucalyptus essential oil and six drops of clary sage. I love this recipe because it is an absolute BOSS at detangling curly hair. Keep your mask on for about 20 minutes and slowly comb through small sections of your hair and rinse thoroughly.
3. Coconut Soothing Hair Tonic
This hair tonic is an excellent way to reup your do throughout the day, whether you're trying to control fly away strands or get some moisture on dry locks. In a tinted spray bottle, use one part liquefied coconut oil to three parts of filtered water. Next, add one teaspoon of vodka (tea tree oil is a great substitution), 12 drops of ylang ylang essential oil and eight drops of jasmine essential oil. Spray your mixture whenever you need a fix or use as a hair sheen before styling.
4. Coconut Hair Sealant
There is only one ingredient in this recipe and it's coconut oil. Honestly, this is the BEST product out there for sealing in moisture while heat styling. When I became briefly addicted to blow-outs, the only thing I used was coconut oil and I'm happy to report that my strands are heat-damage free. Before you bring the heat, apply coconut oil on damp locks for shine and protection.
5. Coconut Hot Oil Treatment
Speaking of heat... coconut oil is a superior ingredient in any hot oil treatment. I use one part coconut oil and one part castor oil. Heat your oil treatment on a stove top with very low heat to keep the nutrients of the oils intact. Next, apply throughout your wet hair, starting at the roots and working your way up to the top of each section. Keep your mixture on for 25 minutes with a hot towel wrapped around your hair to keep the heat in your strands.
This treatment works especially well for afro-textured hair and it's especially convenient for those weeks where you just can't be bothered to deep condition. I like to add rosemary and sage essential oils to my hot oil treatments to make it smell nicer and for extra nutrients on my scalp. Rinse your treatment out with warm water...or don't. I've left hot oil treatments in before and found that my curls are super content with the results.
Image: Kaponia Aliaksei/Fotolia; Kristin Collins Jackson