Friday, May 20, 2016

8 Coconut Oil Conditioner and Moisturizer Recipes!

Using coconut oil as an ingredient in your homemade deep conditioner or moisturizer can do wonders for strengthening your tresses and minimizing breakage.  Not convinced?  Well, coconut oil has been shown to penetrate the hair and reduce keratin loss (abstract #1).  Additionally, it has demonstrated an ability to minimize damage by hygral fatigue (i.e., stress on the hair strand due to water uptake and eventual evaporation).  (Check out abstract #2.)

Below are some recipes for conditioners and moisturizers involving coconut oil.  Give them a try and see what works for you!


1/4 cup shea butter
1/4 cup melted mango butter
1 tbsp coconut oil (penetrates and protects the strands against combing/styling breakage)
2 tbsp olive oil (moisturizing; possibly penetrates the strands)
3 tbsp avocado oil (moisturizing; possibly penetrates the strands)
2 tbsp grapeseed oil (to protect against moisture loss; sealing oil)
few drops of lemon essential oil (optional, for added fragrance)

Break the shea butter into small pieces and place in a bowl.  Using a hand mixer, whip the shea butter until fluffy and the chunks are gone.  (If your shea butter is too hard, melt it only slightly to soften it a bit.)  Add in melted mango butter and whip.  Finally, add in the remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly with the hand mixer.  Finito!



2 parts inexpensive conditioner (e.g., Suave, V05, etc.)
1 part coconut oil

Mix ingredients in bowl. After shampooing, massage all conditioner into hair and leave on for 30 minutes before thoroughly rinsing.



Recipe source: Chicoro's YouTube Channel

1/3 teaspoon each (cysteine, cystine, methionine)
300 grams or 1 block of soft tofu
1/4 cup of aloe vera gel (water based/moisture)
1/4 teaspoon to 1 tablespoon to 1/4 cup of oil (for lubrication)
melted coconut oil

Dissolve amino acids in water and mix with the tofu. Add aloe vera and oil and blend. Apply to dry hair that is to be washed. Cover hair. Leave on for 30 mintues. Add coconut oil. Leave on for 10 minutes. Wash andd condition and detangle and style as usual.



1/4 cup coconut milk
2 bananas
2 tbsps coconut oil
1 tsp honey

Combine all ingredients together in a food processor or blender.
Blend until extra smooth.  Make sure that there are no banana lumps.  (They are hard to remove later.)



Ingredients & Materials: 
overripe avocado,
extra virgin olive oil,
extra virgin coconut oil,
unrefined shea butter,
apple cider vinegar (optional),
mixing spoon

Cut up one avocado, mash with a mixing spoon, and put in blender. Add about 1/3 to 1/2 cup of unrefined shea butter to blender. (No need to melt the shea butter ahead of time.) Finally add approximately 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil (EVOO) to blender and 2 tbsp of extra virgin coconut oil. If you wish, add 2-3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (ACV) to blender. (The ACV will aid in the blending process and adjusting pH.) Blend all the ingredients thoroughly and continue to add EVOO until the mixture reaches your desired consistency. When done, pour mixture into a bowl and apply to hair as a detangling deep conditioner. NOTE: It is important to blend the ingredients well to eliminate avocado bits that stick to the hair. If necessary, sieve the mixture before applying.



4 tbsp coconut oil
4 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp melted shea butter (optional, but makes the process much easier)

All you need for this detangler are coconut oil, olive oil, and melted shea butter. Apply this mixture to dry or damp hair, allow it to set, and then proceed to finger detangle. (Leaving coconut oil on dry hair overnight has been demonstrated to reduce combing damage.)



½ cup shea butter
2 tbsp coconut oil (penetrates and protects the strands against combing/styling breakage)
2 tbsp olive oil (moisturizing; possibly penetrates the strands)
2 tbsp avocado oil (moisturizing; possibly penetrates the strands)
1 tbsp grapeseed oil (to protect against moisture loss; sealing oil)
1 tbsp castor oil (primarily for sheen and sealing)
few drops of jasmine essential oil (optional, for fragrance)

Break the shea butter into small pieces and place in a bowl.  Using a hand mixer, whip the shea butter until fluffy and the chunks are gone.  (If your shea butter is too hard, melt it only slightly to soften it a bit.)  Add in the remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly with the hand mixer.  Finito!



2 oz distilled water
2 tsp extra virgin coconut oil
1 tsp castor oil
a few drops of essential oil (e.g., lavender, jasmine, orange)

Pour all ingredients into a spray bottle, and shake vigorously to blend.  Store in a refrigerator until ready for use.  Shake before each use.  SHELF LIFE: ~2 weeks.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Natural Styles Ranked from Easiest to Hardest to Moisturize — For My Hair

When it comes to keeping my hair moisturized, certain styles work really for me and others not so much.  Let me start off by giving my hair stats:  type 4c (or tight kinks and massive shrinkage), medium (mostly) texture, normal to low porosity, and medium density.  Now that the stats are out of the way, these hairstyle choices can hopefully make a bit more sense.

Easiest: Regular-sized twists

Regular-sized twists are my number one go-to style for maintaining moisturized hair.  Given a good deep conditioning session beforehand and the humidity (or lack thereof) outside, I can go up to 1-2 weeks before moisturizing again. When my hair does ultimately get dry, I usually replenish the moisture with a water-based spritz followed by my homemade shea butter mixture. Small to mini twists also work really well, but the takedown can be tedious, so I generally stick with my regular-sized or slightly bigger twists.

Easy: Twist out

If I want to wear my hair loose for longer, twist outs are generally better at retaining moisture than my wash n’ gos.  I can wear one for 4-6 days before dryness sets in.  However, I do not re-moisturize my twist out because it is typically after having had my hair in twists for a few weeks.  (In other words, there is a bunch of shed hair just ready to tangle up upon touching water.)  Instead, I just slap on some oil, detangle, wash, and go into my next style.

Okay: Wash n’ gos

My wash n’ gos require moisture every other day, if not daily, and via co-washing.  Sure, it takes a long time for my hair to airdry, but once dry, my hair feels parched fairly sooner than in my twists.

Hard: Flat ironed into updo

If (and only if) I have sufficiently conditioned and moisturized before flat ironing, my hair will not get dry until about 1-2 weeks.  At the one week mark, I will sometimes apply a light oil (e.g., avocado, grapeseed), and that will be all that is needed to hold me until the following week.  Otherwise, I will apply a light moisturizer (like Oyin Handmade Hair Dew) followed by a light oil.  Then I will put in big braids or twists temporarily to help my hair further soak up the moisture.  (NOTE: I flat iron just a few times in the year.)

Hardest: Stretched updos

I actually rarely wear stretched updos because they are more high maintenance (for my hair) than simple twists or flat ironed tresses.  However, when I do, they are probably the hardest to moisturize.  This is because my hair will shrink up massively at the first touch of water in this state, which can lead to tangle city and headache.  Stretched updos do not seem to retain enough moisture for me to choose them over twisted updos.  That being said, I will usually wear a stretched style for just a few days before moving on to some other look.

How-To || DiscoveringNatural's 2 Ways to Part the Back of Your Hair

If you've always had trouble parting the back of your hair, this video is a must watch.  DiscoveringNatural gives you, not just one, but two ways get that parting right.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Where I've Been and What's Next?

Hey all.  So I usually don't (if ever?) get personal on this blog, but here this goes:

As you can tell, I haven't been posting much here.  That's partially because I've been busy getting married, moving, and writing my dissertation (still writing).   (Woohoo!)  Anyway, in the midst of all this, I've considered starting a blog to empower women of color.  I also want to share a little bit about obstacles I've had to overcome as a woman of color.  So, that being said: 

P.S.  Yes, I will still be running this hair blog. ;-)

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Study || Pumpkin Seed Oil for Hair Growth

Previous studies on pumpkin seed oil (PSO) for hair growth have been demonstrated on rats. This 2014 study demonstrates PSO on human male patients as a suitable treatment for mild to moderate androgenetic alopecia. Read on for more details.

1. The study: methodology and experiment

Pumpkin seed oil (PSO) was absorbed into the body in the form two pills in the morning and two pills in the evening.  The participants were randomized into a test (intervention) group and control group (which took a placebo).

76 (84.4%) participants were enrolled. After taking baseline measurements, participants were randomly assigned to one of two groups: the intervention group (n = 37), members of which received 400 mg of PSO (Octa Sabal Plus®) per day in the form of capsules, or the control group (n = 39), members of which received a placebo. Two capsules (100 mg per capsule) of PSO were taken by subjects in the intervention group 30 minutes before breakfast and dinner (total of 4 capsules per day) for a period of 24 weeks. Subjects in the control group were given the same quantity of placebos two times per day for 24 weeks.

One of the methods for measuring success was hair analysis by phototrichography.   Other methods included statistical analysis, self assessment, and investigator assessment using photographs.

Hair changes including hair counts and diameters were assessed after 12 and 24 weeks of treatment versus baseline by phototrichography (Scalp & Hair Polarizing system, KC Technology, Seoul, Korea). Hair analysis using a phototrichography was performed by one technician. At baseline, the most severe site of baldness was recorded as target area of hair changes and the center of the phototrichogram probe was placed at this site. After 12 and 24 weeks of treatment, hair analysis was performed with confirmation of recorded target area. Hair counts were then recorded using a ×60 lens and the thickest hair diameter was recorded using a ×150 lens.

2. The findings

The results of the study showed that pumpkin seed oil (PSO) had a pronounced effect on hair growth compared to the the placebo. In particular, use of PSO increased the hair count (i.e., number of hairs) but had no effect on the hair thickness (i.e., thickness of the strand).  The increase in hair growth is "due to the possible effects of 5-reductase inhibition in patients with mild to moderate male pattern hair loss".  Here is a snapshot of the phototrichography results:

There were statistically significant differences in hair count changes during 24 weeks in the intervention group and the control group (P = 0.004). However, changes in hair thickness during 24 weeks were similar in the groups (P = 0.991). At 12 and 24 weeks, there were 30% and 40% mean increases in hair counts from baseline in PSO-treated men and 5% and 10% increases in hair count in placebo-treated men, which resulted in significant net increase of 25% and 30% (both, P < 0.001) at weeks 12 and 24, respectively.

Young Hye Cho, Sang Yeoup Lee, Dong Wook Jeong, et al. "Effect of Pumpkin Seed Oil on Hair Growth in Men with Androgenetic Alopecia: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial". Evid Based Complement Alternat Med. 2014. 


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