In the book, “Virgin Coconut Oil: How It Has Changed People’s Lives, and How It Can Change Yours!”, authors Brian and Marianita Shilhavy cite a study conducted in India years ago which compared mineral, sunflower and coconut oils in terms of their effectiveness in treating damaged hair. After numerous tests on individuals with various hair types, the findings were crystal clear.
“Among three oils, coconut oil was the only oil found to reduce the protein loss remarkably for both undamaged and damaged hair when used as a pre-wash and post-wash grooming product…. Coconut oil, being a triglyceride of lauric acid (principal fatty acid), has a high affinity for hair proteins and, because of its low molecular weight and straight linear chain, is able to penetrate inside the hair shaft.” These findings explain definitively why natives of India report their number one reason for purchasing coconut oil is for the conditioning and nurturing of their hair and scalp.
As mentioned earlier, much has been written already about how well coconut oil penetrates the skin, making it increasingly more popular as a light lotion for the body. Well, when the skin on the scalp becomes exceptionally dry, flaking (or what we normally refer to as dandruff) can occur.
Many individuals turn to dandruff shampoo and conditioners to reduce flaking, and if that is not effective, medicated treatments are also available. Of course, medicated treatments often require a doctor’s prescription and are generally effective when over the counter applications fail. But many high-profile stylists are learning about the very simple and highly effective use of coconut oil as a conditioning treatment, too.
It’s important to remember that each time you use regular soaps and shampoos, the skin’s pH balance is altered a bit, but as the aforementioned study revealed, coconut oil is light and easily penetrates the hair and scalp, restoring balance and returning moisture to the area.
How to Condition With Coconut Oil
Conditioning with coconut oil is very quick and easy — simply massage two to three teaspoons of coconut oil into the hair at night, then wash it out the next morning. In a very short period of time, you will begin to notice softness and sheen that probably was not present before.
Many stylists believe the benefits of coconut oil rival those of the most expensive professional conditioning treatments, but at a mere fraction of the cost. For those who don’t want to leave coconut oil on the hair overnight, applying it thoroughly to the hair before sitting under a dryer for an hour or so can also create lasting benefits.
It’s important to know that coconut oil liquefies at very low temperatures, so in the spring and summer, it’s likely that the oil will appear much like baby oil without any effort on your part. However, if the oil is solidified, it will melt simply by allowing a spoonful to rest in your hand for a few seconds. (That’s right; it will melt with just your body heat). You can also submerge the bottle or jar underneath slightly warm water for a minute or so and it will liquefy right before your eyes. You can apply the oil in either state; however, some prefer applying the oil directly to the scalp using a bottle with a pointed tip, requiring it to be in its liquid state.
Other Interesting Facts about Coconut Oil
Because coconut oil is natural, it is completely safe to use on a daily basis. The oil can be ingested as well as applied topically which means it is effective at absorbing other nutrients, like the skin-protecting Vitamin E. Coconut oil itself has a great deal of antioxidant properties which also protect the skin and scalp. Simply put–coconut oil is the secret weapon your hair should never be without.