17 October 2013


The Coconut Nut

Da Theme Song of This Post

When I last blogged about that utterly fascinating issue that is my hair, I left everyone with the impression that I had been putting nothing on it but water, raw honey and L'Oreal's Mythic Oil (Did you guess the brand?) for three weeks. But there was one night in the middle of the second week when I forgot the oil, leading me to wake up the next morning with unmanageable "flyaway" ends. And that changed things a bit.

Now, a sensible person would simply remember the oil next time and go on as usual. But Yours Truly started thinking . . . and thinking . . . and thinking . . . and finally concluded that if a little bit of oil can make such a big difference, then a whole lot of oil must be the jackpot. 

This time, I decided to keep a diary . . .

Day 0 -- I buy a bottle of extra virgin, cold-pressed, locally sourced coconut oil and use it to treat my hair from root to tip. Not being the fussy sort (which may mean I'm just lazy), I don't bother heating the oil in a double boiler, but use it as it is. I also try to wrap my head in plastic, but do not succeed. It takes fifteen minutes to fail at succeeding. Since it is already late at night, I wait less than half an hour before washing it off with my usual honey-and-water wash . . .

Day 1 -- . . . and then I wake up looking like a chorus member on Grease. But not one of the girls, mind you. Over breakfast, my brother asks me why I took a shower so early that day, and my mother hushes him, saying, "Don't make Enbrethiliel feel bad about her experiments." (Thanks, Mom.) When I get to the office, a colleague says, "It must be pouring hard outside if you got so wet!" (Not a cloud in the sky, mate.) I decide to test the grease-cutting properties of vinegar next, and so buy a bottle of the raw, unfiltered apple cider variety. Back home and back in the shower, I start with an ACV rinse and finish up with the honey.

Day 2 -- Still slightly greasy. I waft past my brother the way I always do and he asks me why I've been washing my hair with onions. I remind him of a time when he was so young he read "soup" as "soap" and we were all in stitches over the idea of Spring Onion Soap, but he denies that anything like that ever happened. Later at the office, I ask a friend to smell the honey I've been using, thinking she'll be impressed that it smells like pineapple. She says, "Oh, lovely! It smells like beer!" Which is my cue to drown my sorrows in a tonic of ACV and honey. When I get home, I skip the ACV rinse and just use the honey. I'm happy with the way my hair smells as it is drying.

Day 3 --No more grease! And hello there, gently waving locks that make me look flirty! I celebrate with more of that tonic, then ask my brother and my sister to smell my hair. He says I smell like a candle; she says I smell as if I sweated a lot and hadn't had time to shower yet. I'm not sure whether this is a red flag for me or a sign that we have been so brainwashed by commercial scents that we wouldn't know clean hair if it whipped us in the face. (It may also be sibling spite.) A few hours later, I ask another colleague to smell the honey. Enchanted, she declares that it reminds her of nata de coco. Which is only my favourite desert of all time. So I'm still winning. At the end of the day, I get one of my scientific hunches that assures me that if I wash my hair that night, it will not look so glorious the next morning. I refuse to fight both culture and habit, however, and sure enough . . .

Day 4 -- . . . I wake up to the first bit of frizz I've had in a week, which makes it an official Ponytail Day. Luckily, it's also Saturday--a great time to Go Hard or Go Home. I decide to Go Hard. While cooking dinner for the ungrateful people who claim they are my family, I heat up 1/4 cup of coconut oil in a double boiler; then, as the entree squid bubbles in olive oil and its own ink, my hair luxuriates in coco magic. An hour after desert, I rinse my hair with the ACV solution; an hour after that, I do my usual honey wash. And I ignore those haters wandering around sniffing and asking "what that smell is." But in fairness, when it comes to mixing scents, coconut and honey get along and ACV and honey fall into each others arms with a passion that makes me avert my eyes, but three really is a crowd. =P

Day 5 -- My hair is greasy again, but it doesn't matter because: a) it's raining, b) I only have to leave the house for Mass, and c) everyone at church will be charitable enough to believe that my oily hair is just wet from the rain. Then, of course, I get a message from my best friend reminding me that I promised to be at her nephew's first birthday party that afternoon. So I stick my head under the tap and squeeze as much oil out of my hair as possible with only water, my hands and my untried kinetic powers. When I get to the party, my friend takes one look at me and says, "Wow. You really aren't using shampoo these days, are you?" It's like a dare not to wash my hair that night. A dare which I take.

Day 6 -- It is only the worst hair day I've had since I started using the coconut oil, and maybe the second worst hair day since I went "no poo." In happier news, another colleague smells the honey and says that it is like pears. I start to believe that it is magic honey and decide I should wash my hair with it again.

Day 7 -- Back to normal. And I'm clean enough not to need another honey wash, though I do get my hair wet in the shower because I was a child of the seas before my mother kidnapped me from my real selkie family.

Day 8 -- My hair doesn't look bad. It just looks weird.And not even selkie weird. The re-permed parts aren't living together in community but have broken up into factions, each faction resembling a wire-like worm growing out of my head. I'd say, "Eat your heart out, Medusa," or something equally defiant, but I'm also starting to think that coconut oil treatments and a "no poo" routine really can't live in harmony. [EDIT: I have since learned that this is not because of the honey, the coconut oil or the apple cider vinegar, but entirely the fault of my home's hard water. Pathetic.]

Day 9 -- I am no longer greasy, but I can't bear to think of all that lovely coconut oil going to waste. So right before I leave for work, I pour a tiny amount of coconut oil into one palm, rub my hands together to warm it, and then apply the oil to the still-rough ends of my half-damaged hair. It does not overpower my hair, but does keep it soft all day.

Day 10 -- Since I am in a hurry today, I don't use the coconut oil "to set" my hair as I did yesterday, but there must still be a little left on the ends because they remain soft. It doesn't bother me at all that there has been "gunk" on my hair for twenty-four hours.

Day 11 -- My ends are rough again. I know exactly what to do. Keeping a diary starts to get boring because success is boring. Of course, success is also gorgeous, so it's a fair tradeoff.

Day 12 -- Right before I leave for work, my mother admits that my hair looks amazing. Her only concern is that the raw, totally unprocessed honey I use is too expensive for daily or almost-daily washes. She is right. But I have grown confident enough to reduce by half the amount I started with. Now if only it didn't also taste like mead and I could stop drinking it as well . . .

Day 13 -- I find a "no poo" recipe which calls for coconut milk and aloe vera gel. The cycle begins all over again . . . ;-)

Image Sources: a) Prosource Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, b) Bragg Organic Apple Cider Vinegar


Sheila said...

Glad you found something that works!

I washed my hair with clay like I promised to do, but I didn't have time to fuss with rainwater so I just used tap. It seemed to get rid of the grease okay, but still felt kind of tacky. I'm beginning to suspect it's not old soap residue the hard water couldn't get out -- since I didn't use soap -- but the *chlorine* in the water. I think rainwater is really the important part.

As for the clay, it seemed to work fine, but I'm leery about using it again. Because about six hours after I washed my hair and face with it (it's supposed to be great for faces too) my eyelid started itching. Next day (today) it's swollen shut. First thought is new bath products, and there I was using something new. Now it's more likely that I got a bug bite or something, but I hardly want to test my theory.

On the bright side, my hair *looks* awesome. The bit of oiliness/tackiness seems to be working like gel and the front of my hair, which is short, automatically adopted a great shape. (No picture, because I look like I got punched in the eye. Kinda cancels out the great hair.) And I don't like the way it *feels.*

Kinda looking forward to doing shampoo again next time. I like that "clean" feel (which I know is really stripped, but there it is).

Enbrethiliel said...


Since I no longer use "poo," it is definitely stuff in the water that ends up clinging to my clean hair when I so much as let it near a shower head. =(

For my face, I now use the oil cleansing method. I'm amazed at how effective castor oil is at removing blackheads! I've been experimenting with different "carrier oils" and have realised that sweet almond oil is the most drying. A lot of people discourage the use of coconut oil, but I've been using it for the past week and it has been okay.

I'd like to try clay, but I really don't know where I can get any. I hope your eye gets back to normal, soon.

Sheila said...

Thank goodness, it's already much better. And I can actually see a bug bite now, so that puts the mystery to rest.

Here in Virginia, dig 12 inches down anywhere and you hit bright orange clay. I'd mail you a box, but I imagine the shipping would be awful.

Enbrethiliel said...


Thanks for the kind thoughts. =) There's so much stuff I wish I could send to friends whom I've made online, too.