Do you ever feel like only a few natural ingredients get the spotlight?
There’s good reason for that—earth-friendly components like peppermint oil, shea butter, and the almighty coconut oil work really well for a lot of people. But that’s not the case with everyone. And for those of y’all whose skin and hair don’t really pick up what coconut oil’s putting down, the constant fascination with its effects can seem a little...off-putting.
Same, Chief. Same.
However, unless you have an honest-to-medical-science allergy to everyone’s favorite palm tree byproduct, you might find that it’s not necessarily the coconut oil itself that’s getting you and your curls all bothered, it’s the concentration of it.
"All things are poison and nothing is without poison; only the dose makes a thing not a poison." — Paracelsus
Maybe straight-up coconut oil just isn't your thing, but you can still take advantage of the way the oil penetrates if you partner it up with some other ingredients. So whether you're DIYing it up with the double boiler, or reading the backs of bottles like a good curly, these are a few issues that you can solve by pairing coconut oil with a few other select ingredients, buddy-cop movie style.
Problem: It just GETS everywhere.
Okay, once coconut oil melts, like most oils, it tends to get pretty slippery. As in, you could comb a half melted chunk through your hair, flick it all the way across the room and not notice until the missing piece has melted all over your stuff, not that I'm still mad. But if you need it to STAY on your hair or scalp long enough to actually do what it's meant to, you'll want to combine it with beeswax. A little of the stuff melted goes a long way, and has shining properties that go along with its natural sealant nature.
Problem: I need something more strengthening
There's a myth floating around that says coconut oil imparts proteins into your hair with each use. Unfortunately, that's just...not the case. If you're looking for something to strengthen your hair, you'll need to find something with added keratin or milk proteins to firm things up. Otherwise, you're welcome to introduce other contaminants, but remember, not every gross find is going to turn out to be a diamond in the rough like penicillin. I'll be leaving this one to the scientists, personally.
Problem: It’s not keeping my moisture in.
Bees are the MVP. Seriously. They go around pollinating our world, and giving us this next ingredient—honey. Honey, and its byproducts like honeyquat or honey extract, all serve to moisturize your hair with some pretty bomb humectant action. The same properties that make honey edible for literally thousands of years are going to keep your hair adequately hydrated and soft in a way that coconut oil alone might not be able to handle.
Problem: It’s TOO HEAVY.
Okay, so you need the cortex penetration of coconut oil...but it's either weighing down your fine curls, clogging your pores, or both, and you're about done with it all. Cystic acne hurts, I get it. Blending coconut oil with a much lighter oil however, your jojobas, your almonds, etc can give you and your hair gets the best of both worlds! If you're worried about runoff, see above for beeswax, or check out some wide cloth headbands to keep things isolated while you're applying your hair treatments.
Protip for acne: Make sure you're WASHING those headbands on a regular basis. Snag a variety pack and some garment bags so you can keep things hygienic.
Problem: I need softness!
Luxury is relative. My brief stint living in the woods of Alabama as a little April saw the development of my having a bathroom with a skylight, and me just losing all of my nine-year-old beans about it because of how fancy it was. And of course it was great for birdwatching. Because we lived. In the woods. But no one of any class background can make an argument about silk not being super luxe. The amino acids, also called sericin, are water-soluble proteins that help impart moisture, serve as a protective barrier to hair, AND give products a super silky feel.
Special shout out to the Yangshao Chinese people that got started on this all those centuries ago!
So now that you know everything you can about cutting your coconut oil (so to speak) with other great ingredients, do you feel any more confident about using it in your routine?
Weigh in about how you've been weighed down, and how you might like to proceed with the Curl Queen of Oils!