Using Coconut Milk for Hair Care: Benefits & Recipes
Coconut is a great addition to any kitchen, in just about any form. Even for those who don’t enjoy eating coconut (myself included), there are benefits that come with the products that come from the fruit. You can get coconut water, flour, oil, and milk from the various parts of the fruit, and each has its own place in the kitchen, but also in the beauty department. It’s pretty well known in the beauty industry that coconut oil is great for making your hair luscious and healthy, but now it has come to light that coconut milk can have the same, if not better, effects on your locks, and might be easier to pull off from the comfort of your own home. Check out all the benefits of coconut milk for hair care below!
Coconut oil is made by drying out the coconut’s flesh before pressing the oil out mechanically, or by a “wet milling method,” which might include boiling, fermentation, or refrigeration. On the other hand, coconut milk is made by grating the fruit’s flesh and then soaking it in hot water, before skimming the cream and using cheese cloth to strain the remainder. What results from the milk is a range of essential vitamins and minerals, which makes it a superfood for your hair. The milk is relatively simple to make yourself, so this alone might make coconut milk the ideal product for your hair growth, hydration, and conditioning needs. But the product also carries benefits that will keep your skin and bones healthy as well, so what more could you ask for?
Naturally, you can find coconut milk stocked in your local grocery store (canned), but if you’re interested in making your own from home, here is a more detailed description of how to do so:
All you need is two cups of freshly grated coconut, if you have access to the whole fruit, otherwise unsweetened shredded coconut will work, as long as you pulse it in a blender first. Once this is in a bowl, you add in four cups of hot (not quite boiling) water. Leave this sit and cool to room temperature.
While you’re waiting, you’ll need to grab another bowl as well as a sieve (sifter), which you will line with two layers of cheesecloth. Next, you’ll strain the mixture through the cheesecloth-lined sieve over the new bowl. You can grab the cheesecloth and squeeze the rest of the liquid into the bowl as well. Now you have your fresh coconut milk! All that’s left is to bottle it up to store in the fridge, and remember to use it up within four or five days, or you can freeze it for up to two months.
Now that you have the milk (either from the store or straight from the fruit), the next step is to know what to do with it! And that all depends on your personal hair type, or what you wish to do with your hair. Coconut milk can be used as a base for your other haircare products, as a shampoo, a rinse out or leave-in conditioner, to help with dry scalp, to combat hair loss, as a detangler, as a hydrator, to create shiny hair, or to stimulate growth. All you have to do is mix the milk with a couple of key ingredients to induce the results you want, so we have listed some easy-to-follow guidelines for some of our favorite suggested uses of coconut milk for hair care listed above. If the use you’re interested in isn’t covered, you can easily find recipes online.
Coconut Milk as Shampoo
For this, you’ll need 1 ½ cups of coconut milk. Mix it with ¾ cup of castile soap and one tablespoon of vitamin E oil. Just use this like you would your standard shampoo, and any remaining shampoo can be bottled and stored in the fridge for up to a month.
Coconut Milk as Conditioners
You’ll need 2 tablespoons of your coconut milk for this mixture. Mix the milk with 2 tablespoons of any conditioner and 2 tablespoons of any oil, and use it directly after you shampoo. Then you can rinse the product.
Take 1 tablespoon of the coconut milk and put it in a small spray bottle with ¼ cup of distilled water, 1 tablespoon of either coconut or vitamin E oil, and 10 drops of any essential oil. Spray this onto your hair at any time of day for a quick refresher for your hair.
Coconut Milk for Dry Scalp
Measure out ½ cup of your coconut milk and heat it up. Massage the warm product into your scalp and allow it to soak for 30 minutes, then rinse.
Coconut Milk as Detangler
This is the simplest use of the bunch: all you need to do is take some of your coconut milk and rub it into your hair. Then you can use your fingers, a brush, or a wide-toothed comb to detangle your locks. If you’d like, you can add in some melted shea butter or some oil.
Coconut Milk for Hair Growth
You’ll need to start this process by detangling your hair properly. To make application easy, dip a cotton ball into the milk and apply it from your scalp to your tips, then massage it into your scalp. This will help by increasing your circulation. Tie up your hair and cover it all with a cap for the best results, so the product will be able to naturally heat up and also so there isn’t a lot of leakage. You’ll leave it like this for 4-5 hours to ensure that it reaches your roots. Then you can proceed by washing your hair with your favorite shampoo and then conditioner. This whole process will also result in shiny hair, so it’s a win-win!
So it’s easy to see the basic benefits of keeping coconut milk around the house. The list can go on and on, but some of the best uses for coconut milk are everyday necessities: an alternative for dairy milk in your favorite dishes, a boost to your bone strength and immune system, a revitalizing moisturizer, a sunburn treatment, makeup remover, and of course, a way to preserve your hair’s health.
Whatever your intended outcome of using this product is, the most important part of the application process is to massage your scalp! This is a great way to make sure the product is reaching your roots, and the great feeling of a head massage is an added bonus. Coconut milk isn’t as well-known as coconut oil for its hair-refreshing properties yet, but soon you’ll be able to rave about it and spread the word yourselves.
Photo courtesy of @negin_mirsalehi