I’ve recently discovered something that you may or may not already know about (but all redheads should): coconut oil is the most amazing haircare product.
How do I know this? Because it turns your hair from this…
Super shiny wonderment
Before using coconut oil as a hair mask, my red hair felt somewhere between ‘okay’ and ‘coarse’ on the dryness spectrum. It generally tangles easily, and does that classic terrible hair thing of being greasy at the roots and then more damaged and dry as you go down the lengths, getting somewhat poufy near the ends.
Sound familiar, fellow redheads? That’s because our ginger hair is often coarser and drier than brunettes’ and blondes’.
Enter every ginger’s best friend: a jar of coconut oil. Raw coconut oil is something you’d want to have around if you were marooned on a desert island. A cleanser, moisturiser, lip balm, make-up remover, snack – its uses are limitless. Probably the best thing it can do for you, though, is waterproof your fragile, red hair. But why would you want to do that?
Well, did you know that the most damaging thing we regularly put on our heads is not actually shampoo, but water itself? When you soak your hair in the bath or shower, the water penetrates the hair shaft and causes it to swell, putting pressure on each strand’s cuticle (the outer layer of your hair). This pressure can cause the cuticle to break, which causes a lack of shine and the increased likelihood that your strands will snap.
However, using coconut oil as a pre-wash treatment mask means that your hair shaft will fill up with oil instead of water, which drastically reduces strain on your cuticle and overall breakage. So, whether you’re trying to grow your ginger hair long or you just want increased manageability and shine, try waterproofing your hair with coconut oil.
The recommendation is to apply the coconut oil up to 14 hours before you plan to wash your hair, so applying in the evening is ideal for maximum coconut-y goodness, but others have also seen results with just three or six hours of use.
Raw coconut oil is solid below 25 degrees celsius, so remember to heat up your jar in some warm water prior to application. Once you’ve slathered the oil through your hair, keep it all wrapped up nicely with a shower cap or cling film, as the warmth helps absorption (plus, it’s kinda messy).
When you’re ready to wash the coconut oil off, first apply a conditioner all over. Let this sink in for a minute before stepping under the shower. This should lift a good chunk of the oil from your hair. Next, use a mild shampoo to remove the rest of the residue, lathering up as many times as necessary, remembering to be gentle and avoid scrubbing as your hair is delicate when wet.
Lastly, condition the lengths and ends of your hair if you think they need it, and blot your hair dry using a microfibre towel or an old cotton t-shirt. I also use a leave-in conditioner like this one to lock in moisture while my hair is still damp.
And that’s it! Post-wash, your red hair should be sleek, smooth and shiny. I’ve even found that my natural red and strawberry blonde streaks show up much more clearly, too. So there you have it, try a coconut oil pre-wash treatment for glorious ginger hair that you want to whip, flip and touch.