I have thin hair. Some with the gift of thick hair tell me I’m lucky, although I feel the opposite. The grass is always greener, right? Anyways, I’m always looking for ways to have stronger, softer, shinier hair. While I avoid blow drying, straightening, and curling my hair most of the time, I do color my hair every few months so it does endure some damage. Biotin as a vitamin has helped somewhat, and I also try to minimize washing it, but I have been looking for something to apply topically to my hair to undo some of the damage and revamp it.
When I first heard of using coconut oil for hair, I was sceptical. Oil? In my hair? No one wants their hair to look greasy, right? However, many people swear by it, so I decided to do some research.
Turns out, pure, unrefined, coconut oil is approximately 60% medium-chain-triglycerides, and the composition of the triglycerides bodes well for strengthening hair, according to this study. Why? The low molecular weight and straight linear chain can more easily penetrate the hair shaft, which can reduce protein loss. Sunflower oil, on the other hand, while the second most utilized base in the hair oil industry, was found not to impact protein loss, due to the non-penetrating presence of double bonds. Additionally, coconut oil can increase the moisture retaining capacity of hair, which may help to prevent breakage. Blow drying, straightening, curling, over-washing and dyeing hair are all activities that can dry out hair, and coconut oil can help to undo some of that damage. Properly moisturized hair also tends to look shinier and softer. Bonus: coconut oil is also anti-fungal, for enhanced scalp health! Make sure you’re using 100%, unrefined, cold-pressed coconut oil for maximum nutritional benefit. Don’t have any at home? We have some here, with free shipping!
So, I went ahead and gave it a try. The amount of time to leave it in varied from site to site: some said two minutes, others said two hours, and one even went as far as to advise leaving it in for seven to eight hours. Since my hair is thin and looks greasy easily, I chose to leave it in for 15 minutes. I would recommend erring on the side of caution, and starting with the shortest time possible, depending on your hair type. The next time you apply the mask, you can always increase the time if you feel your hair needs it.
I also recommend either wearing a shirt you don’t care about potentially getting stained, or keeping your hair up in a bun in a soft scrunchie, due to the oily nature of the mask. The reason for a soft scrunchie specifically is because hair gets damaged easily when it is wet, and regular hairbands are too harsh.
I was really happy with the results! While I felt like I had to shampoo more than usual to wash all of it out, my hair felt thicker, more voluminous, softer and healthier. I thought it looked more shiny as well. Since then, I have been applying the coconut oil mask every time before I wash my hair. I do recommend either shampooing your hair twice, or leaving it in for a shorter amount of time (such as 5 minutes), as I tried shampooing it just once and my hair was left feeling a little greasy. If you can deal with having semi-greasy hair for a few days though, I recommend shampooing your hair just once and waiting a few days for the second wash, as you will see elevated results.
Please test this out on a small section of hair to start off with, as coconut oil may not be right for your hair type. Persons with coarse or dry hair should be extra cautious, as the protein in the coconut oil may cause hair to harden, making it more prone to breakage. Oh, and you probably shouldn’t test this out for the first time the night before any special event, or really any occasion where its imperative your hair doesn’t look greasy. Every hair type is different and it may take a few tries to find the right timing and amount used. But I promise the healthy, soft, voluminous payoff will be worth it!
How to Do it:
First, we’re going to liquefy the coconut oil. If you live somewhere that’s over 76° F currently, congrats, you can skip this step! Also, I’m jealous. You can either microwave the jar if it’s glass, or you can submerge the jar in hot water. The unused coconut oil will simply go back to a solid state once it cools off. Another tactic is to take a few tablespoons of coconut oil, put it into a plastic bag, seal it, and submerge it in hot water or simply knead the bag with your hands for a few minutes.
Once it’s liquified, it will look completely clear. Now, the amount you use will depend on how thick and long your hair is. I have long, but thin hair, so I used less than a tablespoon. Keep in mind you can always add more, but you can’t add less. I just used my fingers to apply it, but a hair coloring brush works too. start at the roots and move down to the tips. If you have split ends, pay special attention to the tips. Leave it in for about 15 minutes, depending on hair type. The left side of this photo is what my hair looked like after 15 minutes:
After that, the next step is to wash it out! As I said above, I have found that unless I leave it in for a shorter amount of time, I need to shampoo my hair twice in order to fully get it out. However, it all depends on your hair type. Alternatively, you may use an egg wash to get the oil out. I still condition my hair after the treatment, but I generally use a much lighter amount. If you couldn’t guess, the right side of this photo is what it looked like after! Soft and healthy.
How did the coconut oil mask work for you? Show us your luxurious locks post-mask with the hashtag #tryrootsandall, or let us know in the comments!