You’ve heard raving reviews of coconut oil.
Almost everyone who has textured hair tells you to put coconut oil in your hair because it does wonders.
You’ve seen people use it in India and you’ve heard that it’s excellent for growing strong, healthy hair. People even use it on their skin and as a makeup remover.
But you’ve tried it and it doesn’t do much for you.
Your hair almost feels straw-like and dry after shampooing it out.
What are you doing wrong? Is it possibly the coconut oil itself?
Here’s the thing, coconut oil is good for hair provided the hair is porous.
For low-porosity hair, it doesn’t really work that well.
Let me explain why.
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Before I get into why coconut oil is not working for you, let me brief you up on low-porosity hair.
What is low-porosity hair?
Porosity basically describes the ability of your hair to absorb moisture.
All hair is low-porosity when it originates from your scalp.
Low porosity basically means that the cuticles (the outer layer of your hair) are closed and overlapping. This usually prevents your hair (the hair shaft) from absorbing moisture easily.
I explain more about caring for low-porosity hair in this post.
But as hair grows longer, it tends to become frayed and weakened due to wear and tear. In some cases, it becomes highly porous.
But if you have 4A, 4B, or 4C hair, chances are you are going to have very low-porosity hair.
The characteristics of low-porosity hair are:
- It’s really hard to wet low-porosity hair. You may find that you’ll have to stand in the shower for longer just to wet your hair.
- You’ll find it difficult for your hair to absorb water. You’ll find droplets on your hair every time you try to wet it or spray it.
- You find it hard to color or bleach your hair, you have to leave in the product for longer just to see results.
- Your hair takes a long time to dry, and even after waiting for hours, it’s partially damp.
So now you’ve realized that you have low-porosity hair.
This begs the question, is coconut oil good for your hair? Are you going to see any benefits? Let’s dive in.
Is coconut oil good for low-porosity 4C hair?
1. Its molecular structure is not suitable
Low porosity hair means your hair has trouble absorbing moisture.
Your hair cuticles are closed and it’s very difficult for moisture to get absorbed.
Although coconut oil is beneficial to hair in general, its molecular structure is just too large to get absorbed in low-porosity hair.
So if after applying coconut oil and leaving it for 1-2 hours, you notice that your hair is sticky and dripping wet with oil and you feel like the oil is sitting on top of the hair instead of getting absorbed, you most probably have low porosity 4C hair.
2. It’s won’t allow moisture to get absorbed into your hair
Let’s say your hair is medium porosity or medium low-porosity.
In this case, your hair cuticles might be wide enough to absorb just the coconut oil. Because there is only so much space inside your hair cuticle, so the oil will saturate your hair and won’t allow any other moisture to get in.
It basically is blocking your hair from absorbing any further moisture.
So, if you try wetting your hair after using coconut oil, you won’t get any moisture.
This could be why your hair ends up very dry after using coconut oil.
Both of these oils are proven to be good oils for low-porosity 4c hair.
3. It will make your hair greasy
Unfortunately, because it doesn’t allow moisture to enter your hair and blocks water molecules from entering, it is going to cause a lot of dryness for your hair.
You’ll notice that the oil sits on your scalp and coats your hair and this will lead to a lot of greasiness. It may even drip down your forehead and neck.
In this case, the coconut oil is sealing your cuticle and it’s not going to let anything else in.
But this will definitely help you understand what porosity your hair really is.
If you find that your hair is straw-like or very brittle after applying coconut oil, you can now be sure that your hair is very low-porosity.
Although it’s more challenging to moisturize low-porosity hair, it’s not impossible if you know how.
I have a post here on how to care for 4c low-porosity hair. Please give it a read if you are looking for ways to take care of and moisturize low-porosity hair.
4. It can cause protein overload
Low-porosity hair doesn’t need frequent protein treatments.
Coconut oil reduces protein loss because it helps your hair shaft retain keratin molecules – this means it can cause your hair to accumulate more protein.
What happens when your hair has too much protein?
It becomes brittle and dry. It can snap easily and doesn’t have any flexibility.
That’s why we curly girls with low porosity need to be very careful with protein treatments.
How to use coconut oil for low-porosity hair?
Coconut oil does benefit hair by making it stronger, and shinier and helping it grow better.
So, if you still want to give coconut oil a chance, then here is how to do that.
1. Don’t use virgin coconut oil
Virgin coconut oil contains a lot of fatty acids and its molecular structure is too large for your hair to absorb.
Instead, use fractionated coconut oil.
2. Heat the oil before using it
Heating the oil will help for better absorption.
Leave it only for 1-2 hours. Don’t leave it for the whole night. It won’t make a big difference to your hair.
Wash it out with a clarifying shampoo.
If you have low-porosity 4c hair, you need to use a clarifying shampoo to wash away the build-up of products.
3. Use very small amounts
Remember, you don’t need much.
Because you have low-porosity hair, you need to be careful when applying any product to your hair.
You don’t want to cause too much build-up, so measure a small quantity of oil before putting it in your hair.
Only apply it to the lengths of your hair especially if you notice that coconut oil makes your scalp dry and itchy.
If your scalp is continuously dry, itchy, and flakey, then your scalp needs moisture – in this case, I highly recommend jojoba oil.
Although coconut oil has benefits like shine, strength, and protein retention, overdoing coconut oil will lead to low-porosity 4C hair becoming very brittle and dry.
My recommendation is to use lighter oils like grapeseed oil, jojoba oil, moringa oil, or apricot oil.
These are light oils that our hair can easily absorb and reap the benefits of easily.