Moisture Issue Q&A

I'll continue answering the questions so far before going on to glycerin (Eli, I will answer your question shortly - strangely enough I haven't done a proper post on jojoba oil!).

However, Q&A today comes from NappyRina who asks,

Q1: When using coconut oil as a penetrating (pre-wash/pre poo) treatment to avoid hydral fatigue during a wash, will it really penetrate if I have used sealing oils/butters (shea, castor, etc) since the last wash?

Without an actual experiment I can't say but I am pretty certain that coconut oil would get to the cuticle and penetrate. Why am I so certain?

Chemistry - Oils like shea butter and castor oil blend quite well with coconut oil. Since the oils mix AND MOVE, undoubtedly coconut oil will get to the cuticle surface and likely move into the hair.

I'm currently going diagram crazy, so here is a new way to think about your oil, not as a solid layer but rather as little clumps which can move around.

Q2: Are you using the same "finger tip (refresh here)" amount of coconut oil for the pre-wash treatment as when applying post wash & beyond or soaking your hair in oil like the traditional pre-wash treatment used by Indian women?

The fingertip tip (pun intended :)) is not for a prewash. For a prewash, I apply coconut oil like it is going out of fashion. The reality is I probably don't need to but my aim is to cover all my strands in as little time as possible. For daily styling I use much less oil and simply reapply as needed. I have tried to say I and my as many times as possible in this paragraph just to emphasize that I like to do this, others may not.


  1. WOW thanks for answering my questions so fast! I just love your diagrams & I appreciate you taking the time to break things down both visually & verbally! I get it now :) ..

    but that brings another question to mind (I think it's silly but I'm curious):

    This refers to using oils after washing. I remember you stating that most oils can only seal in moisture for 24hrs...since the oil can move along the strand, where does it go? Does it eventually penetrate the strands completely or wipe off or evaporate (I know that's a stretch but I'm curious)...

    sometimes I can't feel the oil after a few days...does it REALLY build up until you wash or does most of it mysteriously disappear? :)

  2. You're welcome. Not all oils can penetrate the hair strand. This is because first the type of oil has to be small enough to squeeze through the cuticle and second it has to have some affinity to hair (i.e must have chemistry literally with the hair).

    A lot of the oil which is applied on to the hair is simply rubbed off over time. Hair scarves get soaked in the oil and the pillow case sometimes too. Touching the hair also rubs it off.

    Oil definitely can build up, more often at the scalp where it is trapped compared to the ends of the hair which are more free to move and rub.

    So it is a balancing act on when to add oil and when to wash.

  3. I agree with you Jc, when I'm conditioning with coconut oil, I SATURATE my hair with it like it's nobody's business! I just love how coconut oil makes my hair feel and the fact that it's cheap, easy, and effective. :D

  4. Loving the series! I literally click refresh over and over and over again hoping that you post a new article. You make learning about the science of hair fun! (*^-^*)

  5. Thanks Addy!

    Milan - I love that coconut oil is cheap!

  6. JC I had to share this:

    I took your advice & mixed a handful of Coconut oil & Olive Oil (50/50) and soaked my dry hair prior to a co-wash yesterday. It wasn't dripping w/ oil but well lubricated. My hair was in large twists all over & I made sure to focus on the length & ends of my twists and NOT my scalp.

    I put on a plastic cap for about an hour ..then I co-washed (diluted conditioner in an applicator bottle)with my twists still in..

    My hair felt GREAT!!!! As it was drying I could feel the difference! I re-twisted the large twists while my hair was still wet to avoid tangling roots & my hair was waaay more moisturized & still had the lubricated feel of the oil but it wasn't oily per se .... AWESOME... I'll definitely be sticking with this extra step in my routine (rotating oils but keeping coconut oil in the mix ALWAYS).. I just love your blog :)

  7. Thanks for sharing NappyRina! I'm glad the prewash oil application worked for you too.

  8. I just discovered your blog this afternoon and 4 hours later I'm still reading! I love it and I'll be following it religiously :)

    A question on coconut oil rinses or any other oil for that matter. It just dawned on me and I never gave it no never mind until now, but how bad can this be on the drains/pipes as far as buildup? I imagine even normal everyday regular light applications must have some kind of impact let alone applying huge amounts for an oil rinse! Have you ever heard of plumbing problems arising because of this?

    I'm just sitting here feeling like such a fool because I am so anal when it comes to making sure kitchen grease/oil never goes down the kitchen drain and yet here I don't even blink an eye when it comes down to my hair oils and butters LOL!!

  9. Welcome vera. It is a great question. I usually don't apply enough oil for it to drip off my hair . I think if it is dripping off then I'm wasting it (Yes I can be cheap lol)

    Anyway, I think you can buy or have a fat trap fitted to your drain.

    I have never had a problem with blocked drains (I do have a catcher in my all sinks but that is about it). I would add that I use quite a few products with SLS (read up on surfactants using the search button) and it dissolves oil so I'm sure that my drains get a pretty good clean.

    Great question!

  10. Thanks Jc :)

    Yes, I forgot to mention that I use Hair One Cleanser and Conditioner which is sulfate free AND the basis of my concern for drainage issues...duh LOL!
    I should post this question on BHM or one of the others and see what they suggest. I can't imagine I was the 1st to have this concern. I switched to sulfate-free in December and so far no drainage problems...knock on wood.


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