coconut milk for hair
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Coconut or Cocos nucifera belongs to the palm family, Arecaceae and its natural habitat are tropics and subtropics. Its fruit supplies a nutritious source of milk, juice, meat, and oil that has been benefitting mankind for nearly 4000 years. Coconut milk should not be confused with coconut water, which comes from immature, green coconuts. Coconut water is high in potassium and a popular choice of athletes to replenish body fluids as well as any sports drink. Coconut milk is an emulsion of two fluids: coconut cream and coconut water. According to Dr.  Ampawan Tansakul, t his milky white oil-in-water emulsion is from extracted coconut flesh with or without water, which contains carbohydrates, fat, water, protein, and ash. Coconut milk is one of the more popular cooking ingredients in Thailand and the importance of coconut milk to Thai industries has promoted food scientists and food engineers to develop new products from coconut milk in the Thai market and for export.  

What’s so great about coconut milk?

Coconut fat is mostly in the form of medium chain saturated fatty acids with lauric acid being the most dominant one in them.  Easily absorbed by the body and a great source of dietary energy, lauric acid coconut milk contains iron, selenium, sodium, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, protein, and vitamins C, E, B1, B3, B5, and B6. Unlike cow’s milk, coconut milk is lactose free and becoming increasingly popular for those suffering from lactose intolerance and this milk is a favorite among vegans. Despite the wonderful benefits of coconut milk, it does get dinged for its high fat content, sugar, and calories. What may not be so great for your body is amazing for our hair.

Benefits of coconut milk

We already love coconut oil and our hair benefits from all it has to offer from fighting frizz to being a sealant extraordinaire. Sure, but what can coconut milk do for your curls?

  • Hair nourisher – Get ready for a cooling sensation when you apply coconut milk to your scalp. We are some ever-loving DIY curly girls so I know I would be remiss if I did not share how you can make your very own coconut milk at home.  
  • Lauric acid – This is the top reason coconut milk is a winner. It is a good and rare medium-chain fatty acid that is also found in mother’s milk. This is what gives coconut milk its anti-fungal, anti-viral, and anti-bacterial health-protecting properties. Lauric acid is a natural antiseptic that will help with dandruff, skin and scalp infections along with a dry, itchy scalp.  It will soften the hair and make it smoother.
  • Natural conditioner- Many commercial hair conditioners blend coconut milk and oil, which will help moisturize the hair and maintain shine. An easier and more direct way to harness that goodness is to massage coconut oil onto your hair from root to tip, apply coconut milk, and cover with a plastic cap. Wrap in a towel for a few hours or even overnight before rinsing out. No need to wash out and notice just how soft, shiny, and silky your hair feels. 

Itching to try some DIY recipes with the goodness of coconut milk? I have a few below along with some hair products favorites that harness the benefits of coconut milk.

Coconut milk pre-poo

via Emily Cotton Top 

  • 4 tbsp. coconut milk
  • 2 tbsp. honey
  • 1 tbsp. of 3 of your favorite essential oils

Apply all ingredients into bowl and warm either in a bigger bowl of hot water or on the stove in a saucepan. Do not let boil. Once warm, apply to dirty hair, and cover with plastic cap and a heating cap, thermal heat turban or the like. Keep on for at least an hour and then remove in the shower to avoid messiness. Wash and style as usual.

Coconut milk +olive oil hair mask

  • 1 tbsp. of coconut milk
  • 1 tsp. olive oil
  • Enough hot water to cover your hair.

Apply the coconut milk and olive oil into a small bowl and add enough hot water to have enough for your hair. Mix and then massage mixture into your scalp and hair from roots to tip.  Leave on hair for 5-10 min. with or without a plastic cap before rinsing, cleansing, and styling as usual.

Products with coconut milk

If you prefer to get your coconut milk from a product rather than a can, try one of these: