In this week’s mud mix I swapped my mixing medium from herbal tea to coconut milk. Packed with all three main micronutrients; fat, carbohydrate and protein, coconut milk in my opinion is a superfood. Compared to cow’s milk at 4%, the saturated fat (that raises bad cholesterol, which clogs your arteries) in coconut milk is about 21%. Hence the coconut milk should be used in moderation as food. For our hair however, the saturated fat is a positive.
Saturated fats are have no double bonds between the individual carbon atoms. The saturated fats in coconut mil are Lauric, Myristic, Palmitic and Searic acids. At 47% Lauric acid is the most abundant in coconut milk. Since our hair is also largely made of carbon, the saturated fat temporarily (as long as you have the milk in your hair) bonds to the hair shaft because it can interact with the bonds within the hair strand. That temporary bond allows coconut milk to replenish lipids in the hair strand and its protein content to coat the hair shaft. The fat also creates a slippery consistency that allows for easier detangling.
Proteins do not penetrate the hair shaft. Protein particles are known to fill in the cracks along damaged (natural wear and tear mostly) areas in the hair shaft subsequently strengthening the hair. Protein’s main role is to coat the hair shaft with a layer that protects the strand from the elements With continued abuse (like overlapping relaxers or aggressive combing), eventually the damage becomes permanent and impossible to repair no matter how much protein is applied.
Because our hair doesn’t produce enough to sustain itself, the fat, minerals, vitamins and protein in coconut milk make it a wonderful ingredient to effectively supplement and replenish our hair.
- 140g of Gorej Nupur Henna (see detailed profile here)
- 1 can unsweetened, cold pressed coconut milk
- 2 tablespoon of oil (optional)
- Warm the coconut milk by placing the can in a cup of hot water. Stir throughly when you open the can.
- Mix powdered herbs with oil. Add coconut milk in small increments until you have a consistency you like.
- Work in small sections and coat the hair generously with the mud.
- Let the mixture sit on the strands for at least an hour before rinsing
- Coconut milk has high protein and henna acts like a protein (I am not sure it is in fact a protein) so be sure to mix your favorite moisturizing deep conditioner for use after rinsing the mix.
PS: The post-rinsed hair becomes hard because of the heavy protein coat deposited on the hair strands by this mix. Most people assume the moisture is somehow lost (I did too for a while) but the water is still there. It’s just that water alone cannot soften the protein coat. That’s where the softening ingredients in your conditioner come in (like BTMS, Panthenol, Glycerol, Sorbitol etc).