If you’ve ever looked for natural ways to make your hair shinier, stronger, and generally richer, you may have come across the idea of using coconut oil. It’s a natural ingredient that is actually used fairly commonly for this purpose, and which has actually become better known for health benefits in general in recent years.
Where ordinary health is concerned, coconut oil has become a popular alternative to, say, milk or cream as a sweetening additive for coffee or tea. The oil is valued for its high content of MCTs, or mid-chain triglyceride, which are essentially healthy fats. These can have numerous internal benefits, with a recent article even going to so far as to call coconut oil a research-supported way to boost mental energy and focus. That article was aimed at gamers who might be looking for an edge, but it’s something to keep in mind in general for those who might use coconut oil with morning tea or coffee. Most of us would take a mental boost before work or school!
Even if coconut oil is getting more attention for these kinds of health effects, however, its oldest use might just be as a natural beauty treatment. As one account on a fairly comprehensive wellness site put it, coconut oil’s fatty acid content means that it is specifically high in lauric acid, which supports hormone and cellular health (and is more famously present in breast milk). Furthermore, the structure of coconut oil allows it to penetrate hair in a way other oils aren’t able to, which essentially means that this lauric acid can get into our hair and perform its miracles. Thus, coconut oil can have health benefits via external use, just as it can be useful in your diet.
This is why you’ve probably noticed that even a lot of shampoos and conditioners in stores boast the use of coconut oil as an ingredient. This is always nice to see once you understand the benefits, but opting for a more natural use that you cook up on your own can make the oil even more effective. Livestrong, of all sites, delved into the proper method for using coconut oil on your own, and we’ll recap the process concisely here:
Melt the pure coconut oil. Rather than heating it directly, it’s best to heat up a bowl of water, fill a small cup with about two tsp. of coconut oil, and then place the cup into the bowl (without letting the water flow in). This should melt the oil quickly without watering it down at all, or affecting its purity.
- Rub the coconut oil into your hair thoroughly (and heat more as needed). This works best if your hair is damp.
- Comb your hair to distribute the oil more effectively (and rub it into your scalp specifically if you want the added benefit of hair growth, as opposed to just conditioning).
- Leave the oil on for a minimum of 30 minutes (but as long as you’d like), preferably with a shower cap on.
- Shampoo and rinse your hair as you ordinarily would until the oil is out completely. You should see and feel the effects immediately.
That’s really about all there is to it! It’s one of the simpler and more effective natural beauty efforts out there, using an extremely healthy organic ingredient for a quick hair fix.