Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Coconut Oil and...WHAT??

While researching the benefits of coconut oil, I came across an interesting term: hygral fatigue. I know, it sounds a bit involved and maybe it reminds you of those dreadful days of high school chem class, but it's really simple. Hygral fatigue is the swelling and shrinking that happens as a result of washing and drying our hair. When hair gets wet it swells with water, lifting the cuticles and possibly exposing the cortex, which is the innermost part of the hair shaft. When it dries, this affects the cuticles as well. In order to avoid damage, in most cases it's better to ensure that the cuticles are raised as little as possible, as the raising and closing of the cuticles puts more stress on them. And when cuticles can't close or are damaged, then the cortex becomes exposed and the overall integrity and health of that entire hair strand comes into question. 

So how do we minimize cuticle lifting during the wash process? I've been reading that using coconut oil as a pre-poo treatment is a great way to do this. Apparently, due to the chemical makeup of coconut oil, it has an affinity for the proteins in our hair, therefore minimizing protein loss during the wash process by preventing the hair strands from swelling with too much water. I've also read that coconut oil is one of the fews oil out there that can penetrate the hair shaft. 

Of course I had to put this to the test. Last night I sectioned and applied melted coconut oil to my scalp and hair. (I scooped some out, put it in a little container and sat the container in a bowl of hot water until it melted. I was surprised that it stayed in liquid form for a couple hours.) This was my first time using coconut oil to moisturize my scalp. I just had to do it to see what everyone has been raving about. It has antimicrobial and conditioning properties, meaning it'll keep your scalp clean (bonus!) and healthy. Anyway, I left my hair sectioned in my Goody hair ties and slept in my satin scarf as usual, with a towel on my pillow so the coconut oil wouldn't go through. Tonight I'm going to co-wash. (I've been co-washing whenever I can, but on my last wash day I had to shampoo because of all the product buildup.) I'm excited to see if my hair comes out as soft and shiny as everyone says it will after pre-pooing with coconut oil. Stay tuned! :)
Told you guys I have a lot of hair!! LOL!

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