Coconut milk is  basically the liquid that is extracted from the flesh of the coconut and is not from the liquid within the coconut itself.  Coconut milk is becoming more popular as a natural and vegan light protein and moisture treatment for the hair.

What sort of coconut milk/cream do I buy?
Check out the ingredients:  Some coconut milks aren’t really coconut milks, but are just thickened coconut flavoured water.  Of course, you can make your own coconut milk and cream with dessicated/shredded coconut* (recipe below), but if you’re not into doing that, check out the selection at your supermarket, particularly in the organic section.

How do I use coconut milk/cream on my hair?
It is best to cleanse the hair of build-up prior to using a coconut milk treatment in order to get the most benefits from the treatments.  To clarify, you can use a commercial clarifying shampoo.  If you’re totally natural, dissolve 1 TBS of baking soda in 2-3 cups of warm water, or a clarifying shampoo bar such as Henna Sooq’s Soapnut Shampoo Bar. There are a few ways to enjoy coconut milk treatments:

Straight/on its own-
Apply to clarified, towel dried hair.  Best for those with coarser hair. Honey/molasses can be added for extra conditioning.

With conditioner-
Add a tablespoon or so to enough natural conditioner to cover your  hair.  This is best for those with finer hair or for those starting out with coconut milk as a treatment.

With cassia herbal treatments such as cassia, henna, or any other herb pack – Add a couple of tablespoons of coconut milk.  This is great for fine-coarse hair or anyone wanting to try out coconut milk as a treatment.

My hair is SO oily/sticks together after a coconut treatment
If the hair feels oily after washing, just re-wash the hair. Herbs such as aritha and shikakai can also be used to wash out the coconut milk.

My hair is really crunchy after coconut treatment
This could be a couple of things; one is an overload of protein.  To remedy this, soak your hair in conditioning/moisturising hair cream  in for a couple of hours, or apply oil to damp hair, cover with plastic and leave for several hours to over night, then wash out with your choice of wash.

The second cause of crunchy hair after coconut milk treatment could be build up itself.  Rewash If your hair feels weighed down and unmanageable prior to this treatment, clarify before the coconut milk treatment.

Coconut milk is too heavy, but I still want it to work with my there a happy medium?
Yes… of course!  Add a tablespoon or two (more for longer hair) of coconut milk/cream to a natural conditioner, cassia, henna or other herbs and apply to freshly washed damp hair. Remember, a little goes a long way.  Treat coconut milk like a heavy cream/light oil.

Can I do a coconut milk/cream treatment over night?
If you’re wanting to do a coconut milk treatment, try the over night method:
Apply coconut milk generously to freshly washed damp hair and cover a couple of hours before bed time.  About an hour before bed time, rinse your hair with cool water, gently blot your hair with a towel and apply shower cap/plastic bag.  Sleep on it. In the morning, rinse with warm water, wash and condition as usual.  This method is especially excellent for coarse hair.

*Coconut milk recipe.
What you need:

  • 2 cups Desiccated coconut (unsweetened)
  • 2 ½ cups of hot (almost boiling) water.
  • Cheese cloth/fine cloth, damp.
  • 2 large bowls
  • wooden spoon

Pour the hot water over the coconut and stir well for at least 2 minutes.  Cover and let sit for around 30 minutes, or until the mixture is cool enough to handle (warm-lukewarm). Line the other bowl with the cloth, pour the coconut mixture into the cloth, gather the corners and squeeze the coconut until you can’t get any more milk out.   Scrape the coconut off the cloth back into the first bowl, add another 2 ½ cups of hot water and repeat the process.  Combine the two, pour into a jar or tupper-ware and keep refrigerated.

Great additives for a coconut milk treatment:
Honey, molasses (for darker hair), essential oils,  glycerin (for the humid and rainy day treatments), powdered herbs.

Experiment to find your optimal treatment.  As with everything, what works for others may not necessarily work for you and vice versa.