How To Use Coconut Oil For Hair Care

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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To use coconut oil on your hair, heat a small bowl of water and then scoop out 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil into a small cup. Place the cup into the bowl so the coconut oil begins to melt; this will retain all of the nutrients, rather than cooking them off by heating it up in the microwave or in a traditional pan. Once the oil has dissolved completely, apply the oil to the hair by running your fingers through the strands of your hair and massaging the oil into the scalp.

How to Apply:

Be sure not to rub the oil over large clumps of hair; try to get the oil on as much surface area as possible. Running a comb through your hair once the oil is applied is the best way to ensure that it gets full coverage on as many strands of hair as possible. Depending on why you are using the oil on your hair, you can either focus on the roots of the hair (improving growth and strength) or focus on the shafts of hair away from the scalp (luster and protein retention).

Once the oil is thoroughly mixed into your hair, you can put a shower cap on (if you want to leave the oil in overnight), wrap your hair in a towel, or tie your hair up into a tight bun. You can leave the coconut oil in your hair for as long as you want to increase conditioning and moisturizing – the longer the better! When you are ready to take the oil out of your hair, shampoo thoroughly with warm water, as this should cut through the oil and easily remove it. For split ends, take a smaller amount of coconut oil and apply it gently to the ends of your hair; you don’t necessarily need to remove this, as the amount will be small, but it can have noticeable effects!

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If you struggle with dandruff, coconut oil is also an excellent solution, as it can moisturize the skin of the scalp and remove irritation. The antibacterial and anti-fungal nature of coconut oil is also excellent for clearing up any infections or inflammation on the scalp. This can prevent dry skin and eliminate dandruff issues. Simply massage the oil into the scalp thoroughly after following the same directions for melting the oil as outlined above.

You can also use coconut oil to protect your hair from sun damage by applying a small amount to a comb or brush and running it through your hair before going outside. If a small enough amount is used, there is no reason to wash it out for this particular purpose.

Finally, if you find that your hair is constantly getting tangled, simply put a bit of coconut oil between your fingers and work them through the knotted up areas of your hair, using a comb or hair pick as necessary. Again, you don’t necessarily need to wash out the coconut oil when using small amounts in this way. Remember, the longer you keep the oil in, the more benefits it will deliver to your luscious locks!

Close up of woman applying coconut oil on her scalp with a brush

Coconut oil is a natural way to help your hair grow longer, thicker, and faster. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

How Long Do you Keep Coconut Oil On Your Hair?

You can keep coconut oil in your hair for as long as you want, but you should leave it in for at least 30 minutes. 1-2 hours is a safe average, but many people also choose to leave it in overnight for a deep conditioning effect. For people who have oily scalps and want to avoid adding too much oil to the roots, leaving the oil in overnight is not recommended.

As mentioned above, certain applications of coconut oil for the hair don’t need to be removed at all. If you naturally have dry or brittle hair, leaving in small amounts of this oil can help it work its nutrient-rich magic all day, helping you see faster results for your particular hair issues.

Uses of Coconut Oil for Hair

Coconut oil can be used for a number of hair treatments, including as a moisturizer, de-tangler, strengthener, protein shield, dandruff eliminator, split end treatment, and as a growth stimulant. This wide range of healthy hair benefits is primarily due to the rich blend of antioxidants, vitamins, nutrients, and active constituents of this oil, including lauric acid, capric acid, and caprylic acid. The vitamin E in coconut oil (source: USDA) is particularly important for hair health, as this is known to increase the strength, shine, and luster of your hair.

One of the lesser known uses of coconut oil for hair is as a lice deterrent. The antibacterial nature of this oil will make it difficult for these parasites to make a home in your hair. Furthermore, if you or your children happen to contract a case of lice, massaging this oil into the scalp can suffocate the lice, making it very easy to remove them with a comb or hair pick.

Finally, if you struggle to style your hair easily, coconut oil can be a great base oil that makes the hair more flexible and able to be styled in different ways. This can also help hair coloring soak in and take better, leaving you with a more even and deep-seated shade of your hair.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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