Coconut oil is a versatile product that’s not only a great healthy alternative but also great in hair treatment. It has unique qualities that not only make it a great addition in your kitchen cabinet but also your bathroom shelf.
Here’s a detailed guide we’ve compiled to help you understand and enjoy the full benefits associated with coconut oil.
Virgin vs. Refined vs. Monoi Coconut Oil
All these are different coconut oils. They all have 2 years average shelf life and are solid at room temperature below 24 degrees Celsius. So what the difference between these three oils?
Virgin coconut oil
No refining process is undertaken when extracting virgin coconut oil. The oil is extracted from raw coconut flesh through cold mechanical processing.
The oil obtained isn’t subjected to any form of refinement, and thus, it retains its natural coconut flavor and smell.
Refined coconut oil
As the name suggests, refined coconut oil undergoes refinement process. It’s obtained from the dried coconut flesh, copra, dried in an oven, or the sun.
The oil is subjected to the purification process with clay to help remove impurities and then deodorized under high pressure.
Unlike virgin oil above, refined coconut oil is odorless and has a slight taste of coconut. It’s also known as copra oil.
Monoi is obtained by macerating Tiare flowers in refined coconut oil for up to ten-day. It’s also popularly known as sacred oil or scented oil. The oil is fortified with vitamin E for preservation purposes.
Monoi is widely used among French Polynesians as a skin product and hair softener.
Properties of Coconut Oil on Dreadlocks
Emollient: because coconut oil is hydrophobic (doesn’t like water), it will create a film around your dreadlocks. This oil will, therefore, help prevent dehydration as well as soften and smoothen your locs.
Additionally, coconut oil is highly penetrating and, therefore, will penetrate deeply into the hair to the cortex. Other penetrating oils we highly recommend include:
- Sunflower oil
- Babassu oil
- Avocado oil
- Murumuru butter
- Olive oil
Dreadlock Care Using Coconut Oil
We recommend coconut oil for hot oil treatment for damaged, colored locs. This is because the oil will deeply penetrate the hair and bind to its proteins.
As a result, it’ll strengthen your hair, and its hydrophobic property limits its excessive inflow of water.
Coconut oil will also prevent hair protein loss during washing. However, make sure your dreads aren’t sensitive to coconut oil.
Hot oil treatment using coconut oil
Hot oil treatment is only done on dry and not damp locs. Slightly warm coconut oil in a water bath and spread it on the lengths and ends of your dreads and don’t apply it on your scalp.
After application, wear a plastic bag, a shower cap, or use a plastic foil to wrap your dreadlocks and leave it for 8-12 hours (preferably in the evening) and wash it the next morning.
You can also apply other penetrating oils such as avocado oil or olive oil for the best results.
Remember, dreadlocks that are damaged, weak, and/or colored will benefit the most from coconut oil.
Dreadlocks Sensitivity to Coconut Oil
While coconut oil can be the “magic cure” for others, it may not be the best for you. It can cause drying on some dreadlocks.
And while your dreads may not show sensitivity to coconut oil, when used too often, it can result in drying.
How to test for sensitivity
Testing the sensitivity of your dreadlocks to coconut can be done in simple steps:
- Apply pure coconut oil on one or two dreads, and if they become hard and dry, consider your dreads sensitive to the oil.
- If your dreads soften, they are not sensitive to coconut oil.
Remedy on Sensitive Dreadlocks
Chances are, you use coconut oil too often or applied too much on your locs. Fortunately, the sensitivity won’t be permanent. Here’s what you can do for the time being:
- Replace coconut oil with other locs “compatible” oils like avocado oil or sunflower oil.
- Get rid of remaining coconut oil in your locs by washing them with a clarifying shampoo.
Because sensitivity isn’t permanent, you can retest in a few months. Your locs will have regulated the excess coconut oil and will be ready to enjoy the full benefits of this oil. If the locs react correctly, always restrict the amount applied.