Coconut Oil for African American Hair
African American Hair/Black Hair/Natural Hair
African American hair has specific needs to keep it healthy and manageable. This is true if it is in its natural or chemically relaxed state. One of the most important things to remember when caring for the distinctive texture of black hair is the importance of moisture. Black hair is often compromised by its natural lack of moisture and it’s inability to hold onto the moisture that it is given. Moisture needs to penetrate deep into the hair shaft to be effective. Finding products that sufficiently moisturize curly hair’s particular texture can be a challenge. Using coconut oil for African American hair can be a powerful tool. It provides the type of moisture and nourishment that black hair needs. Coconut oil has a unique makeup that allows it to be absorbed into the hair shaft, locking in the moisture. In the black community, the use of coconut oil as a way to achieve healthy relaxed and natural hair has been on the rise.
Benefits of Coconut Oil for African American Hair
Many black women suffer from hair porosity issues as a result of styling choices. Porosity is how well your hair can hold and retain moisture. Most vegetable oils on the shelves are extremely beneficial for textured hair because they provide oil for the scalp. Scalp health is a key factor in creating a healthy environment for hair. Coconut oil especially stands out because it acts as both a moisturizer and a hair sealant. This oil is incredibly versatile and can provide moisture when used as a leave-in conditioner or as a hair sealant. Coconut oil’s ability to prevent protein loss and reduce hair porosity makes it a valuable oil for those who chemically relax, regularly heat straighten, or permanently color their hair. Those in the “natural hair” movement have repeatedly testified to the benefits of switching from harsh chemical treatments to pure coconut oil. In addition to preventing dryness and dullness, coconut oil also reduces split ends, thinning and dandruff. These are other common problems for black hair. Unlike other oils and treatments, coconut oil is unique in that it is comprised of medium chain fatty acids. The small structure of the acids are the reason coconut oil is easily absorbed where other oils are not. Coconut oil benefits black hair in two important ways. First, it seals in the natural moisture and prevents water from the surrounding air and environment from entering the hair strands. It works as if it’s “waterproofing” your hair. Second, coconut oil is able to bind to the natural protein structure of the hair. This helps the hair retain its natural moisture content and reinforces the hair fiber, resulting in all over stronger and healthier hair. With regular use, using coconut oil for African American hair will aid in natural growth.
How to Use Coconut Oil Treatments for Black Hair
Conditioning with coconut oil provides an intense amount of moisture and support to dry, dull and often brittle hair. Using coconut oil for African American hair can reduce damage when used pre-wash. It has also been shown to help as a post grooming treatment. Shampoo is necessary to clean your hair of hair products, dirt, etc. The downside to shampoo is that it can also strip your hair of the natural oils it needs to stay healthy. Using coconut oil before washing your hair provides extra protection so that your hair doesn’t get completely stripped during the shampoo process. To use coconut oil as a pre-wash, apply to dry hair and let it absorb. To speed up the pre-shampoo process you can cover your hair with a warm towel, or warm the oil in the microwave for 10-20 seconds before applying. Coconut oil can also help after washing your hair. Using a small amount in your hands, apply to damp or dry ends to seal and moisturize. Using the oil on dry hair can help to prevent frizz and to smooth hair. It will discourage breakage at the ends of your hair. Depending on the texture of your hair and the dryness of your scalp, you may want to periodically massage coconut oil into your scalp as well to encourage healthy hair growth. Deep conditioning is a necessary component of caring for black hair. To use coconut oil as a deep conditioning treatment or hair mask, start with two tablespoons of oil (oil will begin as a solid) and massage into clean, damp hair and scalp. Depending on the length of your hair you may need more. As you massage the oil it will begin to melt into a liquid. Use more oil on areas where your hair is drier or most damaged, usually at the ends. Cover your head and hair with a shower cap and leave the oil in your hair for at least 30 minutes and for as long as overnight.