13 Benefits of Coconut Oil for Hair

by Meenakshi Nagdeve last updated -

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Coconut oil is very popular and is frequently preferred as hair oil worldwide. Before you start using this oil for its many benefits, perhaps you should find out what makes it so special, and why millions of people choose to use it.

Many people living in coastal areas of the world, more specifically in the areas where coconuts grow in abundance, know that the sweet smelling coconut oil is their one and only hair oil. These are areas like the Indian subcontinent, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Malaysia, Burma, Philippines, and parts of the Caribbean.

As per the USDA, coconut oil is rich in carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals which are good for the human body. However, coconut oil usage is not limited to hair; it is used in the preparation of cosmetic soaps and creams, and in Asian countries, it is also used for preparing various kind of foods and salads.

Benefits of Coconut Oil for Hair

It has been in use as hair oil for thousands of years, and it has shown remarkable results in hair growth since ages. Certain components in it keep the hair strong, nourished and protected from the effects of premature aging, like baldness and excessive hair loss. Let’s see what some of those benefits to hair are, and what components of coconut oil are responsible!

A bottle of coconut oil with coconut and green coconut leaves on a white background

Nutrition Facts

Oil, coconut
Serving Size :
Water [g]0.03
Energy [kcal]892
Protein [g]0
Total lipid (fat) [g]99.06
Carbohydrate, by difference [g]0
Fiber, total dietary [g]0
Sugars, total [g]0
Calcium, Ca [mg]1
Iron, Fe [mg]0.05
Magnesium, Mg [mg]0
Phosphorus, P [mg]0
Potassium, K [mg]0
Sodium, Na [mg]0
Zinc, Zn [mg]0.02
Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg]0
Thiamin [mg]0
Riboflavin [mg]0
Niacin [mg]0
Vitamin B-6 [mg]0
Folate, DFE [µg]0
Vitamin B-12 [µg]0
Vitamin A, RAE [µg]0
Vitamin A, IU [IU]0
Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) [mg]0.11
Vitamin D (D2 + D3) [µg]0
Vitamin D [IU]0
Vitamin K (phylloquinone) [µg]0.6
Fatty acids, total saturated [g]82.48
Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]6.33
Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]1.7
Fatty acids, total trans [g]0.03
Cholesterol [mg]0
Caffeine [mg]0
Sources include : USDA

Hair Loss

Coconut oil has been used since ancient times in India for grooming hair. According to the Encyclopedia of Hair: A Cultural History by Victoria Sherrow remedies were prepared using herbs and coconut oil to prevent hair loss.

How to use:

  • One such remedy can be prepared in modern times by boiling sage leaves in coconut oil. This mixture can be applied to the scalp for hair care, and its use will also prevent hair loss.
  • Applying a mixture of lime water and coconut oil can also provide relief from hair loss, as does the mixture of coconut oil and gooseberries. Boil the gooseberries in coconut oil and then apply it on the hair. (Source – Nature’s Way: A Guide to Health Through Yoga and Herbal Remedies By K.R.I. Jagadish)

Hair Damage

According to a research study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Science by Rele AS and Mohile RB, the use of coconut oil on hair helps reduce protein loss in both damaged as well as undamaged hair. This oil is rich in lauric acid, has a high affinity for hair protein, and easily penetrates inside the hair shaft due to its low molecular weight.

How to use: It can be applied to hair directly and used for both, pre-wash or post-wash hair grooming.

Cooling Properties

The application of coconut oil to the head and scalp also has a cooling effect. It can cool and soothe people with hotheads, or those who suffer from severe scalp sweating. (Source – Ayurvedic Massage: Traditional Indian Techniques for Balancing Body and Mind by Harish Johari)

How to use: Coconut oil can be directly applied to the head and scalp and massaged as needed.

Moisture Retention

Coconut oil has a high moisture retaining capacity as it is very stable and does not easily evaporate. It does not let moisture escape, thus keeping hair moist and soft, which prevents hair damage.

Hair Conditioning

According to Bruce Fife, author of The Coconut Oil Miracle, the coconut oil is a better conditioner for hair than any synthetic one available in the market.

How to use:

  • Use of warm coconut oil helps in keeping hair shimmering and soft.
  • Apply some warm oil at night and wash your hair the next morning.
  • This can be repeated every few days for healthy, strong, and conditioned hair.

Dandruff Prevention

The various fatty acids present in coconut oil serve as very good anti-dandruff agents and are far better than any anti-dandruff shampoo. Regular application of coconut oil can help you get rid of dandruff forever.

How to use:

  • Mix coconut oil with lukewarm water and castor oil. Massage the scalp and hair with this mixture for ideal results. This remedy is effective in treating dandruff.
  • Another home remedy for dandruff can be prepared by mixing coconut oil with sesame oil. Apply this mixture for about 30 minutes and then shampoo the hair. (Source: Hair Care (Prevention Of Dandruff & Baldness) by Renu Gupta)


Coconut oil can be a good styling oil for hair as well, as it melts on heating and then condenses when cooled. When you apply it to your hair, it thins and spreads evenly due to the heat of the scalp. Soon afterward, as the hair comes in contact with air, the oil on the hair condenses, thus working as a styling gel or cream.

How to use: Apply the oil directly on your hair to style it as needed.

Lice Protection

Coconut oil is an excellent remedy against lice and helps to get rid of these unwanted pests quickly. They also have a tendency to come back again and again. Although there are many chemical products available for the treatment of lice, they end up damaging scalp and hair both.

How to use:

  • Apply a coat of coconut oil on wet hair
  • Comb the hair with a fine comb to remove the lice

Note: Combing wet hair with a fine comb directly may help get rid of lice but may also cause hair damage.

Hair Care for Dry Hair

For people with dry hair that is rough and thin, taking good care of hair is a big concern. However, using strong hair care products for cleansing, toning, and conditioning may lead to a dry and flaky scalp. According to Dr. Renu Gupta use of coconut oil can be effective in taking care of this sort of dry hair.

How to use: Regular application of coconut oil before washing or overnight helps to prevent dry hair.

Hair Toning

Coconut oil also helps in the toning of hair, especially dry hair.

How to use:

  • Apply a warm mixture of this oil and lavender essential oil on the scalp at night
  • Wash and rinse your hair the next morning.
  • You may repeat this as frequently as you want until you see your desired results.

Hair Conditioning

According to Dr. Renu Gupta, the hair conditioner can be easily prepared at home using coconut oil. It is not only effective but it also does not have any side effects.

How to use:

  • Mix some henna with coconut oil and warm milk to make a paste.
  • Apply this to the hair for 20 minutes and then rinse hair properly. This hair conditioner is very effective, particularly for dry hair.


Coconut oil is effective in providing relief against boils on the scalp, especially during the winter. This may also happen if exposed to heat or sun for a long duration. It is important to keep both the hair and scalp clean under such conditions.

How to use:

  • Mix coconut oil with olive oil and apply this mixture on the scalp. This provides relief from the uncomfortable and unsightly problem of boils.

Note: If the problem persists, it is advisable to contact your health care specialist.

Split Ends

If you have a lot of split ends in your hair, it is generally advised to cut them, but in case this problem appears on a small number of your hair strands, then you can use simple coconut oil to solve the problem.

How to use:

  • Mix coconut oil with almond oil
  • Regularly massage your hair with the mixture for a few minutes; this will help in minimizing the split ends.

Gray Hair and Baldness

Coconut oil is also beneficial for preventing baldness and gray hair. (Source: The Ayurveda Encyclopedia: Natural Secrets to Healing, Prevention, and Longevity By Swami Sadashiva Tirtha)

How to use: Try mixing Bhringraj or Eclipta alba leaf juice with the oil and apply this to the scalp and hair.

Coconut oil is widely available in the market. Many people choose an odorless variety, use it for any and all hair conditions, and reap all the benefits of a healthy head of hair!

Health benefits of coconut oil - infographic

Coconut Oil for Shampoo

You may not be aware of this, but your shampoo likely contains coconut oil, at least in small amounts. Lately, people have come to understand how important natural oils are for hair nourishment. Oddly enough, over the past three decades or so, using oil on the hair was viewed as a sign of backwardness or ignorance.

The most popular look was wind-blown, fluffy light hair, resulting from the indiscriminate use of oil-less, caustic, and chemical-based shampoos. Very soon, however, those who oiled their hair continued to do so, while the other group had no hair left to shampoo. The excessive use of shampoo often results in drying up and breaking of hair and total devastation of the health of the scalp.

That is when oils began to make their way into the shampoos, and manufacturers began widely using coconut oil in shampoo. The major manufacturers learned a lesson from the old men and women with natural, strong jet-black hair living in coastal areas of India and neighboring countries who had been using this oil on their hair since childhood. Their unbelievably healthy hair was due to the coastal climate and the cultural traditions that placed pure coconut oil as an important part of their health regimen.

Commercially, using coconut oil in shampoos showed marvelous results and it was soon a widely accepted additive or pure form of hair care products.

  • Healthy Hair: With the various benefits such as hair nourishment, anti-aging properties, moisture retention, and vitamin E supplementation, coconut oil in shampoo is one of the best things to aid in the health of your hair.
  • Oily Factor: Detergent or soap-based shampoos leave your hair dry, rough, hard, and bleached. That is why you occasionally find that your comb does not go smoothly through your hair after you shampooed it. The oil in shampoo counters this effect. In coconut oil, this component comes from natural saturated fats, and they keep the hair smooth and shiny.
  • Fragrance: Coconut Oil adds a sweet and refreshing fragrance to the shampoos as an added bonus.

Here is a good video on how to use it for hair care in an optimal way.

Finally, if you are not regularly using a reliable shampoo that contains coconut oil, you can always mix some coconut oil into your preferred shampoo and enjoy the results. For the best effect, make it an organic or herbal shampoo.

Apart from the uses listed above, it is important to keep hair clean, eat well, use good hair grooming products that have minimal side effects, and use a good comb that does not break or damage the hair. Have happy, healthy hair everyone!

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About the Author

Meenakshi Nagdeve, Co-Founder, Organic Facts is a health and wellness enthusiast and is responsible for managing it. She has completed the Nutrition And Healthy Living Cornell Certificate Program, Cornell University, US. She holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from IIM Bangalore and B. Tech in Metallurgical Engineering and Materials Science from IIT Bombay. Prior to this, she worked for a few years in IT and Financial services. An ardent follower of naturopathy, she believes in healing with foods. In her free time, she loves to travel and taste different types of teas.

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