Using Coconut Oil for Hair


Coconut oil is an edible oil extracted from the kernel or “meat” of matured coconuts harvested from the coconut palm. It has traditionally been thought of as a household product more commonly found in the kitchen rather than in the bathroom. Coconut oil is generally used as a cooking oil, sweetener and ingredient in baked goods. Its popularity has grown in recent years as it has gained buzz as a heart-healthy antioxidant despite its high saturated fat content. Coconut oil is roughly 90 percent saturated fat consisting of an usually high concentration of medium-chain triglycerides, or MCTs. In fact, coconut oil is considered nature’s richest source of healthy MCTs (most other dietary fats are long-chain triglycerides). About half of the MCTs in coconut oil are a fat rarely found in nature called lauric acid. Lauric acid is a powerful virus and bacteria destroyer. Coconut oil contains the most lauric acid of any substance on earth. The lauric acid and MCTs in coconut oil distinguish it from all other natural oils and account for most of its unique character and healing properties. It’s the primary reason why coconut oil is so great for your hair.

To get more information about Coconut Oil health benefits,
read this article from Nutri Inspector.



Why is Coconut Oil Good for Hair?

While coconut oil has recently caught on as a natural hair treatment in west, women in the Indian sub-continent have known for ages what coconut oil can do for your hair. Many people there still condition their hair with coconut oil on a daily basis. Many believe it is “the secret” to the beautiful, shiny and silky smooth hair found on the heads of so many Indian women. The molecular structure of coconut oil is ideal for penetrating within the hair shaft and providing sustainable nourishment to damaged hair.

Saturated fats may not be good for your waistline but they can be just the remedy for your dry, damaged hair. Hair is made of protein and saturated fats like are attracted to hair proteins. Rich as it is in MCTs like lauric acid, coconut oil is one of the few natural oils that can actually penetrate the hair shaft to the cortex and actively reduce protein loss. Coconut oil also contains plentiful amounts of vitamins E, an essential nutrient for strong, healthy hair due to its role in improving circulation to the scalp. The result is an excellent natural conditioner that not only heals and nourishes damaged hair but can also help to stimulate hair re-growth. In fact, scientific studies have demonstrated that coconut oil is the only natural oil capable of significantly reducing protein loss when used as a pre-wash treatment or a post-wash grooming product. There are even some indications that there is value in using coconut oil for hair growth.



In addition to helping revitalize damaged hair, coconut oil is also a great option for combating dandruff and lice. Lauric acid is antimicrobial, antiviral and antifungal agent that kills bacteria and fungus when applied to the hair and scalp. The antibacterial properties protect the scalp against infections resulting in itching, dandruff and dry, weak hair. Coconut oil also helps to prevent lice and lice eggs from attaching themselves to the hair and scalp. A penetrating coconut oil mask will soften and smooth the hair and scalp making it much easier to comb out the lice and their eggs.

How to Use Coconut Oil for Hair


Coconut oil can be applied to the hair in a number of ways depending upon the purpose of the application. The most common application is a pre-wash conditioner but coconut oil can also serve as a leave-in conditioner or a styling product to tame split ends.

If you want to know how to use coconut oil to repair dry, damaged hair or to maintain a healthy, shiny, beautiful head of hair, a coconut oil hair mask is the most effective treatment. This involves preparing a mixture of coconut oil, olive oil and other essential oils of your choice and applying it to dry hair via a deep massage, working from the scalp to the tips of the hair. Then wrap the head and hair tightly with a hot towel and wait for anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours. In extreme cases of damaged hair, some people even recommend leaving the mask on overnight. At the end of the treatment, simply wash the coconut oil mask out of the hair with shampoo and you’ll have a healthy, rejuvenated body of hair.

If you don’t have the time for a coconut oil hair mask, there is always value in using a regular coconut oil hair treatment to supplement your normal conditioner. A deep scalp massage will help the coconut oil penetrate right to the hair cuticles, softening the rough edges of the cuticle as well as penetrating deep into cortex of each hair strand. Because coconut oil is hydrophobic, meaning it repels water, it inhibits the penetration of water into each strand, which would otherwise cause the cuticle, or surface of the hair shaft, to rise, making it prone to damage and breakage. Following this regular routine will not only lead to stronger, healthier hair, but it will be sufficient to get the full dry scalp and dandruff fighting effects of coconut oil.

Coconut oil also useful on the back end of the hair care process: finishing and styling. Coconut oil is very light which makes it possible to add to hair during the styling process without weighing it down. It’s particularly useful on those troublesome ends which have a tendency to be the most vulnerable to splitting and fraying (they will be the most stubbornly resistant to coconut oil treatment until you cut them cut). Rub a dime-sized amount of coconut oil on dry split ends to hydrate and tame frizzy flyaways.

Choosing the Right Coconut Oil for Your Hair

Now that you know the benefits of coconut oil for hair and how to apply a coconut oil hair treatment, the last question is what you should look for when you go to buy coconut oil. If you know where to buy coconut oil for hair, there are a lot of choices on the market right now and plenty of them are excellent as long as you know what traits to look for. Again, on top of all the great benefits of coconut oil for hair discussed above there is the added benefit of the great price point and the multitude of other uses for coconut oil. Buy a large container of coconut oil and use it for everything from cooking and sweetening to hair care and skin care. And because of its high saturated fat content it is slow to oxidize and, thus, resistant to going bad and lasting up to two years without spoiling.

Like a lot of natural products, the key with coconut oil for hair is to get as close the “real thing” as possible. For instance, experts recommend looking for organic coconut oil for hair that has not been hydrogenated, bleached, refined or deodorized.

Here’s what to look for:

  • Organic coconut oil is best of use on skin and hair as it reduces the absorption of toxins and pesticides through skin and scalp. Non-GMO (genetically modified) is best too. You want product from real coconut trees engineered by nothing but Mother Earth.

  • Extra-Virgin or Unrefined: Refined coconut oil is often preferable for cooking because it can withstand a higher cooking temperature before reaching its smoke point. But for the purposes of hair care, unrefined is preferable. Unrefined coconut oil is typically labeled as extra-virgin. Each brand may have its own definition of extra-virgin but it generally means that the coconut oil is made from the first pressing of fresh, raw coconut without overheating or the addition of any chemicals.

  • Cold-pressed is a mechanical method of extracting coconut oil that refrains from using any outside heat source. The high pressure needed to press out the oil generates some heat naturally, but the temperature is controlled so that temperatures do not exceed 120 degrees Fahrenheit. Cold-pressed coconut oil leaves the chemical makeup intact, retaining more antioxidants and a stronger flavor and aroma.

    • Non-hydrogenated: hydrogenation is the process of adding hydrogen to fatty substance to make it solid. This is also generally done to allow the coconut oil to withstand a higher cooking temperature. But the hydrogenation process transforms the few unsaturated fats in coconut oil into synthetic trans fats. These should be avoided whether you are ingesting the coconut oil or just applying it to your skin or hair.


Please note that unrefined organic coconut oil is thick, white and semi-solid at room temperatures and should be warmed for pliability prior to application to the hair.






  • Patrick McGreevy