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Our Resident Curly Chemist on Olive and Coconut Oil

By January 27th, 202122 Comments
MOur Resident Curly Chemist on Olive and Coconut Oiloisture, as we know, is one of the keys to achieving healthy hair. My hair is the type that drinks moisture like water is quickly going of style. As such, I am on the hunt for a fabulous deep treatment (DC), as proper moisture retention begins with the DC treatment. So, I decided to try out an equal part DC mix of Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (EVCO) and Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO). I have always praised the effects of EVCO, as I use it to seal my moisture, and was curious of its DC effects. On the other hand, I never really cared for EVOO because I was never a fan of the smell, but I was well aware of its moisturizing properties.

So, I co-washed with my trusty AOHR, warm-water rinsed, moderately t-shirt dried, DC’d with EVCO and EVOO mix for one hour with minimal heat, cold-water rinse, sprayed a leave-in condish made of diluted Giovanni 50:50 Balanced Hydrating-Calming Conditioner, two-strand twisted with 100% shea butter, EVCO, aloe vera gel and castor oil. I did not see a difference until two days later: hair was UBBER soft, moisturized for DAYS and the mild itching on my scalp subsided. The moisture was so good that I did not have to re-moisturize as much and was able to skip a week of co-washing.

I then co-washed two weeks after my last co-wash. I followed the same regimen as above. Now, I was REALLY able to see a significant change of my hair during the regimen: my hair was plump, luscious and juicy even while co-washing!!! BOOM BOOM KABOOM!!! I also noticed that the mix helped me untangle my hair; this is a BIG deal because I have alot of hair that can get tangled easily…sigh…The hair was even more luxuriously moisturized than the first EVCO and EVOO treatment so much so that my shed hairs had an easier time shedding through my twists. I was curious, and unraveled one of my twists, and was highly impressed with the added softness and shine of my curls.

So, how did the EVCO and EVOO mix give these results?


First, we need to understand the structure of hair. Hair is mostly made (97%) of a protein called keratin and the rest is water. A strand of hair has three layers: the outermost layer is the cuticle, the inner layer is the cortex and the innermost layer is the medulla. The cuticle is thin, allows nutrients to pass through the hair and protects the cortex. If the layers of the cuticle lay flat, then the hair will be softer, shinier and tangle less. If the layers of the cuticle are raised, then the hair will be frizzy, dry, dull and tangle more. The cortex is responsible for the hair’s characteristic strength, color and texture. The medulla is responsible in transporting lipids to the cortex or cuticle. The amphiphilic nature of lipids (being both water-soluble and non water-soluble) allows for dual binding of moisture and protein to the hair.

EVCO is mostly made of fatty acids with moderate amounts of antioxidants. EVOO is made of triglyceride esters of fatty acids, polyphenols, sterols and squalene. Fatty acids are compatible with the hair lipids because they both have non-water soluble properties, and thus make it easy for EVCO and EVOO to attach and penetrate the hair. Both EVCO and EVOO have emollient (softening), moisturizing and antioxidant properties. Studies have demonstrated that EVCO and EVOO can penetrate to and through the hair cortex, thereby delivering and increasing hair’s moisture, strength, color and texture, and explains why my hair seemed so plump, luscious and juicy. My hair was easier to detangle because the emollient properties allowed the layers of the cuticle to lay flat.

Studies have also linked EVCO’s lauric acid to antimicrobial properties, thus explaining why the DC helped alleviate my itching. The antioxidant properties, in which some studies suggest are attributed to polyphenols, are important because they help fight free radicals that can occur from UVA and UVB exposure. I believe my experiment successfully exploited all of these characteristics by warm-water and cold-water rinsing, as characterized by my hair being softer, shinier and less tangled.

FINAL VERDICT: I am so in love with EVCO and EVOO DC!!! Both are cheap and moisturize like none other!! Mother Nature knew what she was doing!!

Our Resident Curly Chemist on Olive and Coconut Oil

DaJewel contributes to CurlyNikki.com bi-weekly, picking apart the ingredients in popular as well as lesser known products. She will be making recommendations based on her findings… enabling PJs worldwide!

You can also find Dajewel on the forums!

22 Comments

  • Anonymous says:

    How much of each do you use for your shea/aloe/evco/olive oil mixture? doesn't your hair feel to greasy with all those oils mixed together? Do you use it on wet or dry hair?

  • Ebony says:

    I love this article. I like experimenting with different concoctions but I also like to understand the science behind the experiment. Olive oil is an inexpensive carrier oil and I use it in all of my DC mixes.

  • dajewel1982 says:

    am glad that everyone is finding this article very helpful!!!! glad to be of help in your regimens!!

    @newbienaturaldiva: your welcome

    @maria: yes, these oils definitely help with added slip because they effectively lay the cuticles down with their moisturizing qualities

    @anon dec 17 10:57: u can purchase EVCO at Whole Foods, Vitamin Shoppe, health food stores and West Indian stores. I like the Nutiva brand. Make sure the label says "extra virgin coconut oil" and/or "cold-pressed".

    @anon dec 17 11:10: by any chance are you putting too much stress on your scalp? i haven't encountered literature linking either oil to headaches.

    anon dec 18, 2009 2:04: u can also tell if the oil is of superior quality when the label says "extra virgin olive oil" and the ingredients list will state only the same.

    thank you, lawsmd and beads,braids and beyond!!!

    your welcome, tiffalicious!!!!

    @anon dec 19, 2009 7:13: i didn't sit under a dryer. i placed a shower cap and then wrapped with a scarf. i let it sit for an hour while i was doing house work.

    chrissystina: yes, research have shown that not all oils can effectively penetrate the hair to add and later seal/maintain moisture (because of the law of equilibrium). EVCO and EVOO are one of the few that can achieve these characteristics.

    Specific research has also shown that EVCO (J Cosmet Sci. 2007 Mar-Apr;58(2):135-45) and EVOO (Journal of Cosmetic Science. 2003 Mar-Apr;54(2):175-92) are filled with moisturizing and protecting properties.

  • dajewel1982 says:

    @ anon dec 17, 2009 4:22

    Good observation!! I am positive that this DC mix gave me these results because I have been faithfully using the AOHR as a co-wash, Giovanni as a leave-in and my shea/aloe/evco/castor oil for months, and so i can really notice the difference with and without the DC mix. It is for this reason why product analysis will include my sticking to my basic regimen, so as to minimize variables.

    i know the products that i used seemed alot, but it is because my type of hair (i guess its somewhere in the 4's) needs moisture to be healthy and thrive, and as such, introducing effective moisture at each step is imperative. also, me 'loadin' up on moisture at the beginning means i don't really bother with my hair for days after because its that well moisturized.

    the shea/aloe/evco/castor oil combo probably seems alot because it wasn't pre-mixed. this combo is the go-to combo for many naturals because it effectively moisturizes, twists, hold and seal two strand twists.

    it would be difficult to know how your hair would respond to the DC mix, only EVCO, or only EVOO as leave-in and/or for your TNC because I haven't seen your hair and i don't have a run-down of your regimen. Also, keep in mind that what works well for one natural may not work well for another, and that is why experimenting is imperative. You may as well be able to get the same results with either oil by itself. My hair is the type that drinks moisture the size of the Atlantic Ocean and still would not be satisfied, and that is why I opted to maximize my moisture by adding the thicker EVOO.

    a TNC requires effective moisture, curl definition without shrinkage and sealing. you can get achieve these by first DC with either oil or combo of such (to add/maintain moisture). if your hair needs more moisture while defining and smoothing the curls try adding the oil into conditioner that has at least one of the following: Cetyl Alcohol, Stearyl Alcohol, Cetearyl Alcohol. in addition to making hair soft, they stabilize a mixture that have oil and water. for even added curl definition, hydration and elongation is why aloe is a good choice.

    HTH

  • Chrissystina says:

    I don't think oils provide any moisturizing properties. However, I did read that some oils, like coconut, can actually penetrate the hair shaft. But as far as getting mositure from other oils? No dice.

  • Anonymous says:

    SO do I set under the dryer? and if so, for how long?

  • Beads, Braids & Beyond says:

    This sounds nice. 🙂

  • Tiffalicious says:

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! OMG I have 2 big containers of both and never thought to mix! i mixed it up last night put it in a spray bottle and did a couple shots on my french braids…my hair feels so great! this was a great tip!

  • ChrLvsBks says:

    I love how you use technical terms and break it down for me to understand. I appreciate your articles and frequent your forum on CN's forums.

  • Anonymous says:

    "@ How do you know what makes it of a higher quailty? TIA"

    I bought a bottle of oil specified "made with fruits only" meaning olive pits weren't used and it made a huge difference. In the taste, it's not acid at all compared to the other oils I used to buy.

  • Anonymous says:

    I tried evoo and evco oils as a deep conditioning treatment *after* my usual AOHR co-wash last night. I kept the oil combo on for one hour, then did another co-wash with a little more AOHR then a generous amount of Suave Naturals Coconut condish. Did a cold rinse, then I made four braids to sleep in overnight. I'm LOVING my hair today! (Happy Dance.) No frizz, defined waves/curls, softness, GREAT sheen, no dryness!! And no overly greasy feel that I feared. (I've had bad experiences with oils in the past.) My hair is very fine 3c/4a. But this oil combo is great as a deep conditioner. This is my first day. We'll see how long this will last. The style took a little extra fluffing at first, still no frizz. Great sheen hanging in there. But as the day wears on it's looking fuller, but better and better. Maybe my hair actually likes oils after all–at least during the winter months it does. Who knew???

  • Anonymous says:

    Does anyone else experience headaches if u try to use EVOO or castor oil in ur DC treatment or leave-in?? Any other oil alternatives besides coconut??

  • Anonymous says:

    @ Anonymous-where do you find high quality EVOO from? How do you know what makes it of a higher quailty? TIA

  • Namun says:

    AOHR = Aubrey Organics Honeysuckle Rose http://www.aubrey-organics.com/ProductInfo.aspx?productid=351

    Thanks for the article! I'm sitting under my bonet dryer now after a DC with EVOO and EVCO.

  • Anonymous says:

    What dos AOHR stand for?

  • Anonymous says:

    sounds amazing….I loved when i oil rinsed with olive oil and have meant to get some coconut oil as well. my hair also soaks up moisture like it's been in the sahara for 2 weeks. I can't wait to get on that regimen!

    http://socialitedreams.wordpress.com

  • Milan says:

    I've been conditioning my hair with EVCO or what I call Olicoco oil which is just a fun name for olive oil mixed with coconut oil and I love it. It's my favorite conditioner. And when I need protein, I just add some mayo. =D

  • Anonymous says:

    I use a high quality EVOO though because the regular ones you find are too acidic.

  • Anonymous says:

    Hot oil treatments with both these oils are amazing.

  • Maria says:

    Thank you! I love coconut oil. I mix it in all of my conditioners. If there is a conditioner that has no slip or just doesn't feel right, some coconut oil just fixes it right up and gives it slip. Both EVOO and EVCO are so inexpensive and easy to find.

  • NewbieNaturalDiva says:

    Great info! Thanks a million!

  • Anonymous says:

    This sounds great and comes at no surprise. We hear all the time about the magical powers of essential oils. However, you used quite an arsenal of products in your hair. (All sound great by the way!) So my concern is, how can we positively attribute these wonderful results to just those two items? Or is it a result of the combination of everything? Would I experience those same results if I only used EVCO and EVOO to DC, leave in, and T-N-C? Would you?

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