Coconut Oil: The Good, The Bad & The Ugly

coconut oil for natural hair

If you’re a new natural like me, you’ve likely been regaled with the wonders of coconut oil. It’s a penetrating oil, thus moisturizing; it’s a good oil to seal your hair, supports the protein structure of your hair, is an anti-fungal…I could go on and on. The fact is, all of these are true, but the real question you should be asking is if coconut oil is good for YOUR hair.

I thought it was my “miracle oil”. During my transition, it did wonders for the habitual dandruff that I had at my hairline, and I also used it on my face and body with visible, positive effects on my skin. So I had no doubt that it would work well on my 100% virgin hair.

I soon learned however, that there is a threshold for use of coconut oil in my hair. I began to notice that even with regular washing, quality hair products, and moisturizing between washes, my hair felt dry and brittle. I originally attributed it to having high porosity hair (at least I thought that’s what I had).

Knowing the benefits of coconut oil, I continued to pile it on thinking it would eventually lead to fully moisturized tresses. I even added it as a pre-poo treatment thinking, “the more the better”. However, that was not the case.

curls-understood-coconut-oil-hair-regimenUsing so much coconut oil… was reinforcing the protein structure, and preventing moisture (water), from penetrating the cuticle layer of my hair

Using so much coconut oil, on top of using products that listed it as a key ingredient (and protein rich products), was actually causing the dry, brittle feeling I was experiencing. For me, using so much coconut oil was like over conditioning my hair with a protein conditioner. It was reinforcing the protein structure, and preventing moisture (water), from penetrating the cuticle layer of my hair, thus dehydrating my hair.

I’ve continued to use products and product lines that feature coconut oil as the main ingredient, but I’ve since replaced coconut oil with avocado oil in my wash day regimen, and the difference is like night and day.

As a new natural, this experience reinforced the oft ladled advice to “do what works best for your hair” (this may take some time–and patience–to figure out), and to “listen to your hair”.

Are you listening to your hair? What products are other naturals raving about that you find yourself unable to use? Leave comments below to help fellow new naturals.

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