Wednesday, 8 January 2014

Coconut Oil

I started using Coconut Oil at the beginning of my hair journey back in August 2010. I barely used it and I knew so little about oils then that when winter rolled around and the Coconut Oil solidified, I threw it out because I thought something was wrong with it (FYI Coconut Oil is solid when kept at temperatures less than 75°F/24ÂșC)

Fast forward 3 years and I finally decided to buy it again. I now I can't imagine my hair regimen without Coconut Oil and feel so stupid for ever throwing this precious stuff in the bin. It has so many uses, for the hair, skin and body, but this post concentrates entirely on it's benefits on those tresses.

The Good Stuff
Coconut Oil is packed with vitamins which help keep the scalp and hair nourished. Coconut oil is one of the few oils which can actually penetrate the outer layer of the hair strand. It effectively holds in moisture and prevents protein loss. Coconut oil greatly benefits damaged or high porosity high, as these types absorb the oil when wet more readily than healthy hair. It is also claimed to help with hair growth and slow hair loss. I especially love that this oil provides all these benefits whilst being very lightweight and leaves the hair with a gorgeous shine.

Cold Pressed, Virgin, Unrefined?
You'll often see these terms to describe oils. The Coconut Oil I use is Virgin Coconut Oil which is unrefined and has been extracted using a cold pressing technique. Essentially what this means is nothing has been added to the oil - it's pure and totally natural. Cold pressing allows the oil to be extracted without any of the goodness being lost. Generally, if you want to get the most from your oil, I'd say go for something that is as close to it's natural form as possible by having the above qualities.

How I use it
I like to apply Coconut oil to damp hair before shampooing to protect my hair from the process. I love to scoop about a teaspoons worth into the palm of my hands and rub it together to warm it up. After it's melted, which usually takes a few seconds, I apply it to my hair. I start by generously saturating my ends with it and then move up to rest of my hair before giving my scalp a quick massage. I leave this on for 10 minutes or so, often with a plastic cap on to warm up the oil with the heat from my head.  

I love to use Coconut Oil pre shampoo as it prevents the hair strand from taking up too much moisture. When the hair is washed it swells to take in water and it contracts as it dries. I always emphasise the need for moisture in the hair but this repeated swelling and contracting of the hair strand during the washing process can cause damage over time. Coconut Oil therefore protects the hair from overswelling making it an effective pre shampoo treatment.

Where to buy?
Coconut Oil can be found in supermarkets or health food stores. I'm currently using The Groovy Food Company Organic Virgin Coconut Oil (£6/260ml) which I purchased from Tesco

Do you use Coconut Oil?
Lesley x