Sunday, May 11, 2014

Are you getting the most from your coconut oil on wash day?

For most of us, wash day typically, begins with the pre-poo.  The pre-poo step is invaluable for me because it helps me to easily detangle and apply product to small sections.  To keep things interesting, I usually alternate between rich conditioners and coconut oil.  Conditioners and pre-poo treatments like Philip Kingsley help keep my hair moist. But when I'm looking for a little more strength, coconut oil is my go-to.
We love coconut oil because it has the ability absorb into the strand.  But after going back and re-reading my original post on the topic, I realized that I wasn't utilizing coconut oil to it's fullest potential. "According to the article referenced in the original post, "for full beneficial effect, oil penetration throughout the hair fiber cortex is desirable because the mechanical properties of the hair fiber is determined by the cortex." We're also reminded that when coconut oil is absorbed into the strand, it helps reduce the amount of swelling that occurs in the strand from water absorption. There are two important factors that contribute to the penetration of coconut oil into the hair.  Time + Heat.

According to the documented study materials, hair treated with coconut oil and heat looked the closest to untreated hair after 24 hours passed.  I assume this meant that most of the product was absorbed into the hair.  Then I reflected back to how I use coconut oil on wash day.  For the most part, I used it to aid in detangling. Sometimes I would allow the oil to sit on the hair, sometimes I didn't.  Rarely did I use heat to aid in penetration. Was I using coconut oil wrong?  Maybe not, but I do admit to not being intentional as I could be.  Meaning, if I needed the aid of the protein strengthening power of coconut oil, I should allow it to stay on my hair much longer. If I desired partial penetration plus a nice lubricant to protect my hair from the manipulation of wash day, maybe I use a little heat before washing it out and applying conditioner.  If my hair is breaking excessively, I'll leave it in much longer.

Whatever I decide, I know to be a bit more thoughtful from now on whenever I use coconut oil from this wash day going forward.

  1. When I use coconut oil, it's not as a pre-poo treatment because I believe that the hair should be clean and free of buildup so penetration won't be hampered.

    I first wash with a clarifying shampoo. I rinse with warm water and squeeze as mucb water as possible out. Then I put some coconut oil that has been warmed into my hair and cover it with a processing cap and put a steam cap on it for one hour. I then rinse it with a diluted solution lf clarifying shampoo again and apply som conditioner as usual. Then blowdry. That way the surface buildup of oil is gone but the shafts maintain some. My hair looks its best after this treatment.

    I do it once a month and make my own oil to ensure quality.

    Good luck with your regime. :)

  2. Crystal, thanks for sharing! I actually will be doing this next wash day. I think clarifying sets your hair up for as much absorption possible.

  3. I almost always use coconut as a pre-poo. I prefer overnight pre-poos. My hair tends to respond better to this method.
    Divachyk | Relaxed Thairapy

  4. Thank you for sharing this. I personally use conditioners a lot, but I'm gonna go ahead and try coconut oil and see if it works as well for me as it did for you. Great post!