The restoring powers of coconut have recently taken over the news—whether it’s used for weight loss, energy, cholesterol health, or just a youthful appearance, it’s hard to go anywhere without someone touting coconut’s healing benefits.
And it’s easy to see why. The high amount of potassium in coconut water helps athletes protect against nutrient deficiencies while they fight dehydration at the same time. With healthy fats and low carbohydrates, coconut could be the perfect solution to balance out a diet. In addition, coconut water has served where medical saline has been unavailable, working as an intravenous hydration fluid for ill patients.
The next natural question for those curious about all of these benefits may be: What else can coconut do? All of this may have people, and women in particular, wondering if the super fruit can help their hair grow more quickly, stronger, and thicker. With the turn to finding solutions in naturally grown plants, coconut may in fact hold the answers you need.
Vitamins in Coconut Milk
The reason why coconut is known as such a super fruit is due to the many vitamins and minerals it contains, many of which are trace minerals that it’s easy to miss out on with the typical diet. Here are just a few of the nutrients you’ll find inside the average coconut:
- Proteins (arginine and cystine)
- Vitamins B3, C, and E
- Lauric Acid
Many of these ingredients promote healthy hair along with a healthy body. Lauric acid, for example, is non-toxic and serves to destroy fungus, bacteria, and viruses, which will help your hair not only look its best but actually be healthy as well. Breast milk is the only other natural source of lauric acid besides coconut, and it’s now become common knowledge that infants who are breastfed experience fewer infections and illnesses than babies who are fed by bottle.
Coconut Milk Uses for Hair
For people with thinning hair, a coconut milk treatment can help to thicken hair while protecting the scalp with natural oils. With homemade coconut milk, there are no worries about harsh chemicals or unnatural additives.
Coconut oil can also be used to soothe an irritated scalp, control flyaways, and tame frizzy hair.
What Is Coconut Milk?
Different from coconut water, which is just the juice inside the coconut, coconut milk is actually created from the meat of the coconut itself. There are two kinds of coconut milk when it comes to what is used to prepare foods: thick and thin.
To make thick coconut milk, simply grate the meat of the coconut until you have it all. Then, strain the coconut meat through cheesecloth one time. The rich liquid is perfect to use for desserts and sauces, and this thick mixture is what you’ll want to use when you’re ready to treat your hair.
To make thin coconut milk, the strained coconut is soaked in warm water and strained through cheesecloth at least once more, and sometimes twice more for an even thinner milk. People in tropical nations use the thin liquid for soups and other everyday dishes. If you dislike the “crunchy” texture that your hair gets with thick coconut milk, using thin might be more to your liking.
There is one more way to create the coconut milk if you don’t have access to fresh coconut: Many farmers’ markets and organic grocery stores offer dried coconut. Simply mix the meat with water in a blender and strain. However, make sure you’re purchasing plain dried coconut, and not the sweetened coconut flakes you can buy in any grocery store and which are used for cookies, cakes, and other American desserts.
How to Treat Your Hair with Coconut Milk
Make sure your hair is clean so it can fully absorb the treatment. You may want to use a natural clarifier by dissolving a tablespoon of baking soda in two to three cups of warm water and using that along with an organic hair shampoo. This helps to strip your hair of any chemicals that could prevent your hair from soaking in all of the benefits of the coconut milk treatment.
When you have made coconut milk, using either fresh or dried coconut, you then spread the thick mixture on your towel-dried hair. Leave in the treatment anywhere from 30 minutes to overnight (wrap your hair to protect your bed sheets), and rinse it out with warm water afterward. While the amount of protein in coconut milk is insignificant if you’re ingesting it, when applying it to hair it is enough to make your hair feel sticky and stiff.
Depending on the goal, you may choose to add other ingredients to your coconut milk mixture. Here are some tips on what to add to help toward different outcomes:
- Lemon juice may help with loosening curls
- Aloe vera can help decrease any scalp itching
- Yogurt can help add even more thickness
- Alma oil can help with premature graying
- Honey or molasses can provide extra conditioning
Additional Options for Coconut Milk
For any number of reasons, a full coconut milk treatment may not be the best option for you. If the protein makes your hair too sticky and crunchy, you can coat your hair with conditioner before using the coconut treatment and just leave it in for a short time. You can also get benefits by adding a tablespoon or two of coconut milk to a favorite herbal pack.
Another option is to use the coconut “cream.” After your coconut milk has been prepared for about an hour, you can use the thick cream at the top for a fast option to thicken your hair, and without wrapping your hair or having to rinse it so thoroughly.
Now you can easily take advantage of the coconut milk craze for the appearance and health of your own hair. Use it as often as twice a week for several weeks, and you’ll soon see a difference in the density of your hair.