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Health and Beauty

Coconut Oil for the Tress-Stressed

Posted by Health & Beauty on September 18, 2015

Guest post by Ashlee Brown

Sometimes every day feels like a bad hair day in Mississippi’s weather. With humidity levels always in the hair danger zone, most manes seem to be both dry and frizzy at the very same time.

Fret not my fellow tress-stressed people—the solution to this is coconut oil! While running errands around the city, I’ve been approached by many women who are wanting to add some life back into their hair regimen. My answer is always the same—coconut oil. It’s my secret weapon for boosting each of my products, and it’s a powerhouse on its own.

What is coconut oil?


Coconut oil is one of nature’s best solutions to our hair woes. Derived from the meat of mature coconuts, this edible oil can be used to cook, moisturize dry cuticles, replace your pricey under eye cream, and revive lifeless hair. It can even be used at the base of homemade lip and body scrubs.

While coconut oil has been lauded as a beauty powerhouse for at least the past two years, it has been a beauty mainstay worldwide for centuries. Women of South Pacific countries, such as Thailand and the Philippines use coconut oil in its purest form to keep the hair thick, shiny, and gray-free (even in old age!).

Why you should use coconut oil for your hair

One important factor that sets this super oil apart from its counterparts is its ability to penetrate the hair.

Why is this important? You’ve seen the commercials. A miracle product claims to be able to transform damaged hair, add shine, and fight frizz. After a few uses, you find that it seems to be sitting on top of your hair like an invisible weight—that’s because it is. Coconut oil, on the contrary, is able to penetrate the hair strand. Research has shown that this leads to improved strength and overall condition with continued use. Other important benefits include reduced frizz, reduced shedding, and shine.

If frizz control alone weren’t enough, coconut oil can also stimulate the hair follicle to promote growth AND seal in moisture for those curls. I discovered coconut oil 3 years ago and have experienced record growth and incredible moisture, even in the dead of winter and the beast that is summer in Mississippi.

Best ways to use coconut oil for your hair


Although coconut oil is great for all, its best practices vary by hair type.

Pre-Shampoo or Deep Conditioner

Deep conditioning is a coconut oil method that would benefit all hair types. I’ve asked a number of hair professionals what their deep conditioner of choice is, and a shocking number of them reach for coconut oil in lieu of the pricey salon-quality options they have at their disposal!

The most common method is to warm a teaspoon or two of coconut oil, massage the scalp to stimulate the follicles, and smooth it from root to tip. I prefer to throw my hair into a bun and let the oil work its magic for anywhere from one to eight hours.

Shampoo Booster

Many find that shampoo takes its toll on the hair by stripping it of all moisture. Adding a quarter-sized portion of coconut oil to your shampoo before applying to the hair makes for easy detangling, and helps ease the harshness of the shampoo’s cleansing agents. It also helps to promote shine and frizz control! 

Super Styler

Coconut oil as a styling agent is a stellar choice for naturally curlies! The tried-and-true method for many is the LOC Method (Leave-In Conditioner, Oil, Cream). Moisture-starved curls are able lock in the leave-in, which is sealed by the oil and boosted by the cream.

For straight hair-types or those with fine hair, a tiny bit of coconut oil after heat tools are used goes a very long way. It may take some adjusting to suit your preferences, but adding a bit of oil can take you ‘do from “everyday” to “excellent”!

Where you can buy coconut oil

While coconut oil can be found in any of your local grocery stores, all coconut oil is not created equal. Some brands refine their oil, thus stripping its superpowers. When you’re ready to purchase, look for phrases such as “virgin” “unrefined” and “first press”. While some jarred brands meet these standards, the best possible option is to buy raw coconut oil measured by weight, much like you would buy produce.

My top choice for buying coconut oil is Rainbow Co-op. An added bonus is that their coconut oil is Fair Trade certified, making it a globally thoughtful choice. Rainbow Co-op keeps this and other beneficial oils in stock daily, just look for someone with an “Ask Me!” button to point you in the right direction.

We love hearing from the community! If you have a story to share about products you buy at Rainbow, email us at community@rainbowcoop.org.