Surrender 91: Coconut Oil Hair Treatment

I’ve been making my own face serum for several years, using the wonder ingredient, coconut oil. I add vitamin E oil and Calendula oil for a lightweight yet rich blend that leaves my skin moisturized and nourished. I love the simplicity and ritual of creating my own care products. I had yet to try conditioning my hair with coconut oil…until tonight. 


I’ve had long hair most of my life. And in spite of my age, and the fact that my hair has been slowly turning silver since I was 21 years old, I still like my locks long. I’ve been called a hippie, and honestly, that doesn’t bother me one bit! 

I take good care of my hair. Yet I’ve never had a hot oil treatment. Coconut oil is a great choice for several reasons. It is naturally anti-bacterial and rich in carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals. The oil contains lauric acid, which has a high affinity for hair protein, and easily penetrates inside the hair shaft, due to its low molecular weight. And it deeply moisturizes, protecting the strands of hair from damage and from becoming too dry. 

  

A treatment with coconut oil was so simple. I added a tablespoon of the oil, which is in a solid state when cool, to a small jar and took it into the shower with me. The hot steamy environment melted the oil so that it was ready to use when I finished shampooing and rinsing my hair. I did not add my regular conditioner this evening. 

After towel drying my hair and combing out tangles, I poured a small amount of the liquified coconut oil into the palm of my hand and rubbing my hands together, I worked it through my hair, a section at a time. I avoided the scalp area and especially concentrated on the ends of my hair. 

  
  
  

I slid a wide toothed comb through my hair, to evenly distribute the oil. And then the whole damp, oiled mass was wrapped up snugly in a towel. For a couple of hours I did other things, letting my scalp provide warmth while the coconut oil did its work. 

At last it was time to return to the shower, to shampoo out the coconut oil and rinse well. After once again combing through my hair, I used a blow dryer for a few minutes, so I could better gauge the results. I loved the way my hair felt…smooth, silky, strong. I didn’t dry it completely, preferring to let it air dry rather than subject it to heat. 

I’m convinced. Coconut oil is not only great for my skin and face, it nourishes my silver mane as well. I’ll be doing this deep conditioning once a month. 

  
  

Day 175: Oil Pulling

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Several months ago, my friend Vicki sent me a suggestion to try oil pulling as a first. I’ve had this idea on my list and have researched the practice. Tonight, for my first, I gave this ancient folk remedy a try.

Oil pulling, or oil swishing, originated in India thousands of years ago and was used to treat imbalances in the body. The modern practice of oil pulling, which involves holding or swishing oil in the mouth, was introduced in the United States in the 1990’s.

The benefits are said to be many, and include whiter teeth, improve oral health, fresh breath, reduced plaque and inflammation, and the elimination of toxins and bacteria from the mouth. Other sites I visited online also claim the daily practice reduces migraine headaches, provides pain relief, clears up the skin and alleviates sinus pain and congestion. The medical community says the claims have not been proven, but those who practice oil pulling swear by it.

The technique is simple:

1. Put 1 – 2 teaspoons of oil in the mouth. The majority of people use coconut oil, which is in a solid state until it warms up, and then it becomes liquid. Sesame oil is also recommended.

2. Gently swish the oil around in the mouth for 20 minutes, which is key. That time is long enough to break through plaque and bacteria and short enough that the body doesn’t reabsorb the bacteria.

3. Spit oil into a trash can. Do not spit into a sink or toilet as the oil congeals again as it cools. And do not swallow the oil because it now contains bacteria and toxins.

4. Rinse well with warm water, swishing again to remove all the oil.

5. Brush teeth.

I was curious enough to try oil pulling as a first, although I had concerns about swishing oil around in my mouth for 20 minutes. That seemed like a long time!

So how was the experience?

I had to get past the thought that I was putting a spoonful of oil into my mouth! I used one teaspoon. Coconut oil is very mild, so taste wasn’t a problem. The solid substance quickly became a liquid. I set the kitchen timer for 20 minutes and gently moved the oil around my mouth. I was right….20 minutes is a very LONG time, when you can’t swallow. The amount of fluid seemed to increase, and indeed, since I wasn’t swallowing, I had saliva building up in my mouth. I had to spit some of the oil out, twice. I busied myself, playing Furballs on my phone, to pass the time. When I checked the kitchen timer, 11 minutes had gone by. Whew.

I went back to playing on my phone and tried not to think about the minutes slowly ticking by. I almost abandoned the trial shortly after that. My throat became dry and I felt like I needed to cough. I almost panicked. Checking the timer again, I found I only had 4 minutes to go. I could do this. Pacing through the house, willing myself not to cough, I was headed for the trash can when the timer pinged, signaling that the 20 minutes was up! Yay!

I spit. I rinsed with warm water. My mouth did feel clean, as did my teeth. I checked my mouth in the mirror before brushing my teeth. Gums and teeth looked good. So, oil pulling wasn’t so bad. I don’t know that I would want to practice this every day. However, I might be willing to adopt a once a week regimen. I can, at least, say I’ve experienced oil pulling now. Been there, done that….get me the T shirt!