Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Hair Products in the Wild, Wild West

He is the best at trying out products
Beka over at The Owls Approve got me thinking about my hair care routine for Courage the other day. I usually just spray his tail down with water when it looks dirty and put showsheen in about once a week to keep it brushable. He has a nice barbie tail coming in, so I like to play with it and keep it tidy.

The routine works for me, but I'll be the first to admit that it's a pretty minimalist approach. I was willing to try something else out.

Beka was talking about the many benefits of coconut oil. My line of thought was this:
"My MIL gave me some of that.
I don't like cooking with it because it smells like coconuts.

Noted: I am informed that coconut oil can also be used on people. Given that I don't like the smell of coconuts and my idea of a skin care routine is applying sunscreen in the summer, I never really pursued that idea.

This is what I used
So. I carefully re-read Beka's instructions on how to apply coconut oil, because there were no instructions on the jar.

I gave Courage a full bath, including a deep clean of his mane and tail.

I then meticulously worked the coconut oil into his tail, starting at the top and working my way down. I massaged it all the way in to the roots and down through the skirt of his tail.

Before. Note attractive rubs from fly sheet.
I don't love the smell, but I really enjoyed the process.

After. Such a pretty tail.
At the end, I had a beautiful, shiny tail. Courage was pretty well dry by then, so I turned him out on his big grassy pasture.

When I came back to check him the next morning, I was excited to see what the results of letting the oil soak in overnight would be. I had visions of silken hair blowing like a shampoo model...

And it was disgusting. Dry, dusty, filthy. It felt worse than some scrub horse who's lived on the range for the past few years.

Unrelated picture of how cute my horse is lately
Seriously, his tail has never felt that nasty. Ever. My theory is that the oil just doesn't do well in our dry, western environment. I didn't even take an after picture because it was too horrible.

I hauled him back to the wash rack and ran the hose on his tail for several minutes. It looked like chocolate milk running out of his hair. Yuck. So gross. (And I even like chocolate milk.)

I washed his tail again with full strength shampoo and then used one of my favorite cream rinses and then showsheened his tail again.

Also unrelated. Also cute.
It's pretty well back to normal now. My theory is that the desert is just too dusty for the oil treatment to work, even if it sounds like a really good idea online. The showsheen must help keep the dust off a bit, because his tail is so much better now.

I am still interested in mixing up the hair care routine a bit. After all that day dreaming about shampoo commercial hair, it seems like I might as well try something else... Plus there's a sale at the tack store this weekend. Stay posted!


  1. Blogger ate my post... :( I use this:

    A drop daily, brush it out. It can take inches of thick caked mud out in a heartbeat with 0 effort.

  2. Omg! Oil + Dust = Ahh! :)

    I use Corona on closed wounds, and it often ends up the same. I can't imagine a whole tail like that. Gross!

    You know what works for me? Apple cider vinegar. I do a cup diluted in a wash bucket and sponge it on my pre-wetted horse after every ride. Then I do a quick (but not terribly thorough) rinse of it. I also soak his tail and mane with it. Honestly, he's never been so soft and shiny. His tail is gorgeous, soft, and easy to comb out. It's not greasy, plus I never have to use soap on him, so his coat isn't dry. I don't even have to use Showsheen. He's already super shiny. Oh, and it helps repel flies.
    Best part? A gallon of apple cider vinegar is $1 and lasts a month. Winning!

    1. Hmmm never thought of apple cider vinegar, but will have to try. I bet Listerine would work too its great on people hair.

  3. I am kiiiiiind of obsessive about Dino's tail... view my tail routine here: Also that Equi-Fuse gel is AWESOME but I haven't gotten around to ordering any yet, because, you know, bills.

  4. Bahahahah! How much did you USE?! Archie's tail always absorbs it and I've never seen it gather dirt or anything. But you're right: very different climates. What's this "dust" thing? Georgia red clay and marsh mud, thanks.

  5. Trying the human version of coconut oil routine on Prisoner today. Oil before ride (gives an hour of soak in time), shampoo after ride. Will blog about results, as I love coconut oil on my face!

  6. I love coconut oil in very small doses as a pre-braid detangler for my Haffy's mane. I think it would be pretty worthless as a conditioner for her tail, though, for exactly what you discovered: too much oil, not enough absorbing, ALL THE DUST.
    It might also be different hair textures coping with the oil differently? Her mane handles it well, but her tail is rougher and I think that would go badly.

  7. I treat tails with near extreme neglect, kid you not.

    1. Same here. This was extensive compared to what I normally do lol

  8. Lol...I've never done an oil treatment on a horse, but I know for humans you let it sit for 30 minutes then rinse it out so it can't collect gunk. You can use coconut oil like bag balm, so still worth keeping around the barn.

  9. Coconut oil does the same thing on my hair!

    I like to use it to just dab on Gina's face when she gets rubs from her fly mask.

  10. Coconut oil, just like baby oil or any other oily treatment will attract and collect dust and dirt. Just like spraying Armor All on the tires of your car/truck, etc. It looks nice for a short time and will gather all of the pollen, dust, grime or gunk available and look lousy in no time.

    Showsheen and laser sheen tend to dry the hair over time. Sure it's a great quick fix for detangling but long term is a no go.

    Know Knot from Show Off Time is a good detangler to use. Or you can go the route of simply diluting some regular conditioner in a spray bottle to use every day. It works as a detangler and leave in conditioner plus you can pick scents you like.

  11. Having a horse with enough hair for about 20 horses means I am a little crazy about his hair :) If you want a great detangler I would definitely suggest EquiFuse gleam. If you want to step it up a little more I would do that gleam along with the leave in conditioner. Soak tail for about 10 minutes in a bucket of gleam/conditioner mix and it will come out SO nice and smells really good :)

  12. I adore coconut oil for people; it's the best for inside and out and great for babies too, but on my horse? Uh, nope. Same issues as you - WAYYY too much dust for anything like that.

    I am so keen to try the apple cider vinegar trick though - thanks Austen! It sounds perfect for low fuss maintenance person like myself.

    bonita of A Riding Habit

  13. I think any form of oil in a dusty environment just doesn't work. Other than MTG. I t stinks and the dirt sticks to it, but it still moisturizes the hell out of the hair. Once it soaks in and you can wash them, it's great :)

  14. Maybe it's mean, but I knew exactly where this was going when you said you let it sit on there! Oil attracts dust and dirt and hay and everything around it pretty much! I had to laugh. I'm a huge fan of the cowboy magic detangler, and a bottle lasts me forever it seems like.

    I try to treat manes and tails with basic neglect. Don was sort of the exception because I just found brushing his tail so relaxing (for me, not him) that at least once a week, maybe more, I was coating it in detangler and carefully brushing it out.

  15. I use Carr, Day & Martin Canter Mane & Tail spray to de-tangle Nancy's long mane and on both girls tails. As they live out 24/7 in the lovely European elements of summer - i tend to have to do it a few times a week if i want to be able to get a brush through their tails.
    The joys of mares - yuck!

    Bonus on the spray though is that i do like the smell - downside is if you want to braid - don't use this spray just before braiding. Let it dry in for a while first or else hair is too slippy to braid imo

  16. So I really am a bad mommy. I rinse Holly tail, rarely actually brush or condition it... But it looks awesome! Really its like my frizzy nasty hair, the less you mess the happier it is. I have used Equifuse Gleam and really liked the results. But really her tail is just naturally her mane is another story...

  17. I second the Carr, Day & Martin Canter spray. That stuff is amazing. It never gunks up the tail and it seems to really do great things for the hair, not just detangle. Armani's tail is thick and gorgeous, so I am very particular about keeping it nicely brushed out at all times :) When I wash it, I usually use Vetrolin Bath and once in awhile condition with the cheap-ish Mane & Tail conditioner.

  18. I love vinegar! I use plain vinegar though because it's supposed to help with the stains in Chrome's white tail (I soak his tail in it). I love to rinse with it after a bath because it helps rinse all of the soap off, makes their hair soft and shiny and repels flies. :) I've heard for cheap detangler you can use liquid fabric softener diluted down, but I don't remember how much so you'd have to do a search for it. I've heard coconut oil is great for lots of things, but I haven't tried it. I totally would though if someone gave me some haha. I'm glad Courage survived his chocolate milk tail episode hehehehe.


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