While there are thousands of articles touting the benefits of coconut oil treatments for hair, very few of them provide tips to maximize those benefits and avoid any potential pitfalls. The truth is that coconut oil hair treatments are not suitable for everyone. In the next few paragraphs I’m going to give you some tips for using coconut oil, explain how it works, and help you decide whether this kind of treatment is right for you.
Q: Should I warm the oil up before applying it?
A: Due to the fact that coconut oil turns solid in lower (room) temperatures, it often makes sense to warm it up a little before use. This makes it much simpler to apply to hair/scalp. Avoid using hot oil as it can damage your skin. A simple way to prepare coconut oil for use is to fill a large bowl with boiling-hot water and then place a smaller bowl with some oil into it. Wait until the coconut oil melts and then use it!
Q: How much oil should I apply to my hair?
A: When applying coconut oil to your hair before shampooing you can use as much oil as you feel necessary. Many people dose coconut oil the same way as regular shampoo/conditioner by applying just enough to cover the scalp and full hair length.
Now, using coconut oil as a leave-in treatment after washing your hair is very different. Applying too much of it will almost certainly leave your hair looking greasy and tangled. Plus, oil attracts dust and other pollutants which can make the hair look dirty really fast. I recommend using just a tiny amount of coconut oil on the ends to help combat dryness. If you are looking for a suitable leave-in post-wash oil treatment for your hair, coconut oil is not it.
Q: What are the benefits of pre-wash coconut oil treatments?
A: Using coconut oil on your hair prior to washing is a great way to minimize damage and breakage that occurs when you wash your hair. Water has the tendency to soften our skin and can lead to the skin around your hair follicles becoming tender and prone to damage. This can lead to hair breakage, shedding and various other problems.
Luckily, since coconut oil is a water repellent, applying some of it to the scalp/hair before washing can prevent this from happening. Another thing that sets coconut oil apart from other oils is that it bonds with hair proteins with ease and can penetrate deep into the skin thanks to its light chemical properties. This creates a temporary “shield” that protects your scalp and hair from water damage.
Q: What about using coconut oil as a post-wash treatment?
A: Most people use coconut oil after shampooing to prevent split ends. Wait until the hair has dried out completely and then apply a little oil to the very ends. The oil is quickly absorbed by the hair and forms a “protective” layer shielding your hair from environmental damage.
Q: Does coconut oil really cure head lice?
A: There is a lot of evidence that coconut oil is very effective as a natural head lice treatment. For instance, one UK study found a special coconut oil + anise spray to be nearly twice more effective at eradicating head lice than any other widely used treatment today.
A commonly used (although never studied) lice treatment is to soak the scalp and hair in coconut oil, then cover with foil, shower cap or a towel. Leave it on overnight, then wash the oil out with shampoo. There’s no evidence that this treatment works, but many proponents of all-natural remedies swear by it.
If you have any questions about coconut oil for hair please ask in the comments below and I will answer them as soon as possible.
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