update: coconut oil experiment

dr bronner's coconut oil

EXPERIMENTAL METHODOLOGY AND RATIONALE: see tentative pre-review (2013-04-11)

NB: what works for my hair won’t necessarily work for anyone else’s hair.

MATERIALS

1. Hair =

  • fine (strand-diameter)
  • thick (density, number of strands)
  • slightly wavy all over (2b), curly to frizzy in places (3b) especially in the underside and at the temples: this is the hair that grows the slowest and is most prone to breakage, on many people
  • dryish
  • longish: longest bits are between shoulder-blades, definitely now well below shoulder-length but not yet in the bra-hitting zone
  • sensitive scalp, can be eczema-prone
  • untreated: never been dyed, retextured, straightened, hot-iron-tortured, etc.
  • very rarely blow-dried (like maybe once a year or so, plus when at hairdresser’s even though I’m training them, slowly but surely, not to dry my hair to death every time and to respect the curl, man; may also be time to shop around on the hairdressing front)
  • and basically healthy

2. Coconut oil =

RESULTS: WHAT WORKS

  1. Brush hair
  2. Scoop oil out of jar. Melt between palms of hands.
  3. Apply to hair, raking it through. Concentrating on underside and known frizz, then rest of hair. When all hair is oiled, I’m done.
  4. Twist into a medium-high bun and wrap up in cloth. Usually half a leg of an old pair of cotton/bamboo thick winter tights. Yay for recycling.
  5. Leave hair and oil to their own devices for an hour.* Make coffee, eat breakfast, drink coffee, read the news, start the usual daily deletion of pointless email crap, start dealing with email crap that’s not pointless (and, if very lucky, isn’t basically crap. With all possible due and undue respect to colleagues and others I work with.) 
  6. Remove hair-wrap.
  7. Get into shower. Turn on water. Run water through hair for a good few minutes. Then shampoo and condition (and other daily showring-business) as normal.
  8. Squeeze out water from hair. Remove self from shower. Wrap hair in towel.
  9. Leave hair in towel while dealing with rest of self, in usual matitudinal ablutional manner.
  10. Removal towel. Comb fingers through hair, gently. DO NOT USE AN ACTUAL COMB. Admire the smoothness, untangledness, and increased volume of hair (coconut oil increases shaft girth around about 15%: stick that in your pipe, Viagra-sellers, and smoke it).
  11. Leave hair to dry naturally.
  12. The end.

* Length of time to leave the oil in:

  • usually not more than three hours. I find no discernible difference in hair between 1 and 3 hours. Oil left on longer or overnight = hair was a bit flat, but not more greasy. I guess my hair just absorbs what it can and leaves the rest. On the pillowcase, if unlucky.
  • 45 minutes is un peu juste. 
  • Under 45 minutes: the oil doesn’t absorb, as is clear when I hit the shower and rinse it out. Just a greasy layer all over. And needs more cleaning.
  • MORAL OF THE STORY: you’ll have to experiment to find your optimal time.
    Finer thinner hair = least time (extreme end of the scale: the oil is no use at all).
    Coarser thicker hair = most time (extreme: using massive amounts of oil overnight)

CONCLUSIONS: EFFECTS

  • Those frizzy bits are getting thicker and straighter; or at least, more wavy and less frizzy.
  • Hair all over is moist, sleek, shiny, all these good things that hair is supposed to be, as per the Timotei adverts I grew up with and the Pantene and L’Ucifer ones that have blighted all of our recent years.
  • Still washing hair every two to three days, that doesn’t seem to change.
  • No irritation or clogginess or zitty outbreaks on skin; I’ve been watching out for this, varying washing my hair upright (oil and water run down neck and back) and with head inverted (none of that stuff touches skin). Now, I can’t use coconut oil on my face and neck and other thinner more reactive skin above the mid-torse level—upper arms, bosom, upper back—

ALSO

I’ll also sometimes put some coconut oil in the underside and on any waifs and strays, on more humid days. Again, applying it to dry hair.

2 comments

  1. Icaria

    Love this entry! I’m glad you like it. I do it about once a month (that’s when I’m not too lazy) since I have color treated hair, the day before I color it. I find it also helps with the itchyness. Have you tried a bit of coconut oil in your coffee? 🙂

    • gingerama

      Yay! Yes, I tried coconut milk in coffee. I’m afraid that I absolutely totally hated it. Had to throw the coffee out.

      Sorry.

      But in coffee I love unsweetened vanilla almond milk (blue diamond stuff), or the plain unsweetened sort from them, or other almond milk but of the simple sort with few ingredients and no added sugar or other crap. Interesting how even such a superficially healthy granola food can get corrupted by all manner of stuff and nonsense…

      I’ll eat coconut milk in curry from time to time, but not that often: can get spotty and indigestive. I don’t cook with coconut oil, prefer to stick with canola for most things and olive or sesame for some others. Health reasons. Plus others for salads and bread-dunking: hemp, hazelnut, that sort of thing.

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