Coconut oil on hair: how to use, moisturize and benefits

This content is part of the Alternative Medicine category and may contain information that lacks scientific studies and/or medical consensus.

Do you like using coconut oil on your hair? Know that this is a product you can not miss in your home, as it brings several benefits to the wires and can be used in different ways, one for each function and type of hair.

This oil is extracted from the pulp of ripe coconut fruits and 80% of its composition is formed by fatty acids. In addition, it is rich in lipids, proteins and several vitamins and minerals that are essential for hair health.

With all the benefits promised through the use of this oil, it’s no wonder that the natural product has become a darling when it comes to hair care.

In this Home Remedy article you will learn at once how to use coconut oil to treat hair, what benefits it has for the hairs proven by science and also find out if there are contraindications for its use.

How to use coconut oil on hair?

Coconut oil is a very versatile product, so it can be used in different ways. The most common is in the form of wetting, as it is a type of dense oil, requiring more time to penetrate the wire structure. ( 1 )

However, this is neither the only nor the best way to use it. That’s because, the way of use directly interferes in the desired effect for the locks. See how to use coconut oil on your hair and what each method is for!


Coconut oil can be used as a pre-shampoo. As the name implies, this is a product that is applied before washing and can have a heavy cleaning or protective effect.

In this case, coconut oil works by making a thin layer of protection around the hairline. This helps to reduce the dryness caused by shampoos, in addition to providing more softness and health to the hair.

This type of application is still not very well known, but it brings a series of benefits for the hair fiber. It is even ideal for curly and frizzy strands, which tend to become more fragile during washing, protecting the hair from breakage and dryness.

To use it is very simple, you just apply it to dry hair about 30 minutes before washing. A tip, do not soak the smeared wires in oil, as it is more difficult to remove it later.

First, you should apply the shampoo normally and then apply a little water. After that, just finish the wash normally and finish in the usual way.


Coconut oil is the darling for moistening. This is a hair treatment technique based on vegetable oil, which serves to nourish the strands and replenish nutrients lost on a daily basis.

As it is a very thin oil and does not leave heavy locks, it can be used both on straight and curly hair. Wetting is an important part of the hair schedule and serves to leave hair frizz- free , shiny and healthy.

To do this technique there is no secret, just apply the oil all over the hair and let the strands absorb the product for a few hours. Then just wash as usual.

As this treatment requires a longer time of action, you can apply the oil before bed and wash in the morning. Always remembering to wet your hair only after applying shampoo or conditioner.


Another use for oil is as a finisher. In other words, as the name implies, it serves to finish the washing process and make your hair look beautiful all day long.

However, this use is more suitable for curly or frizzy hair, which is naturally drier and needs help to maintain moisture throughout the day.

To use this way you only need to apply a small amount of the middle oil to the ends of the strands and dry in your usual way. You can even mix it with styling cream or other vegetable oil.

A golden tip: currently, there are lighter coconut oils manufactured as cosmetics, which are specific to finish the hairstyle. Due to these characteristics, they can be great options for those who are afraid of leaving their hair oily.

What are the benefits of this oil?

You’ve seen that coconut oil can be used in many ways, but did you know that it has many benefits? Among them is that of thickening the hair fiber and making it more resistant to damage from the sun, chemical treatments and heat.

This happens due to the components of this product, which are able to penetrate the wires. Thereby, replenishing the hair’s nutrients. Check out the main benefits of oil below:

Prevents everyday damage

One of the main benefits of coconut oil for hair is that it prevents the damage often caused to the hair fiber. This is due to the fact that the oil reduces the protein loss from the hair.

In other words, coconut oil acts as a protective barrier around the hair. In this way, it avoids the loss of nutrients important to the hair fiber that occurs during washing due to the use of shampoos based on sulfates, dyes and chemical straighteners.

In addition, it helps to prevent the hair from the daily aggressions of flat irons, hair dryers, pollution and even the use of combs. With that, the threads are more resistant against these aggressions and suffer less damage caused by external agents. ( 1 , 2 )

Prevents hair dryness

In the same way that it prevents damage, coconut oil prevents drying out of the threads thanks to its composition rich in lipids. In practice, the oil reduces and even prevents so-called water fatigue.

This occurs when the hair fiber is too porous and loses more water than it would be healthy during the day. The result is dry, opaque and brittle locks.

However, coconut oil manages to form a protective barrier that prevents this excessive water loss. Thus, it keeps the hydration inside the hairs for a longer time. ( 1 )

Protects the wires from the sun’s rays

Given the benefits already mentioned in the previous topics, especially that of forming a barrier around the hair shaft, coconut oil also acts as a natural sunscreen for locks.

Another benefit of the substance associated with this is that it does not change its composition with heat. This way, even with the direct sun, the oil continues to protect the threads from its action. ( 1 )

Reduces frizz

Applying coconut oil to hair is also effective in reducing frizz . First of all, it is necessary to understand what this aspect of hair is. For those who don’t know, frizz is the name given to the threads that don’t line up with each other. They are usually frizzy, dry and look unkempt.

In frizzy and curly hair, this is more frequent, as this hair bend is more prone to dryness.

The oil, on the other hand, combats this aspect because it manages to penetrate the hair fiber and fill in the spaces that were lost with daily aggressions. With that, it keeps the cuticles closed, leaving the hair more aligned and heavier, providing a drastic reduction of frizz . ( 3 , 4 )

Helps keep the color alive

Aligning all the benefits that have been mentioned so far, the use of coconut oil also helps to keep the hair color alive for longer, whether natural or artificial.

This happens for three reasons. Firstly, the oil prevents the loss of water and protein from the hair. Making the pigment better fixate on proteins and hold for a long period.

Secondly, coconut contains properties that can close the cuticles, preventing the appearance of porosity and consequently fading.

Lastly, coconut oil prevents sun damage, which alters the composition of pigments. This benefit is even more seen in artificial pigments, which tend to oxidize with light and heat. ( 1 )

Controls excessive oils

Even though it is composed essentially of lipids, that is, fats, coconut oil can help control excessive hair oil.

That’s because it has the ability to keep the hair hydrated. Making the body understand that it is not necessary to produce more sebum, which makes the oiliness remain under control throughout the day. ( 5 )

Strengthens and stimulates growth

Hair loss sufferers can also benefit from using coconut oil on their hair due to a number of factors. Firstly, coconut contains substances in its composition that prevent the fall caused by the breakage of the threads.

This effect is due to the oil’s ability to prevent protein loss and replace voids in the hair fiber. In this way, the fall that is caused by breakage when combing the strands decreases.

Second, when used directly on the root, coconut oil stimulates circulation. The result is that the hair roots are more oxygenated, stimulating the growth of new hairs on the scalp . ( 1 , 2 , 6 )

Gives more volume to the strands

Vegetable oil is also suitable for those who have thin hair and want to add more volume. This happens because its components act to thicken the threads in a natural way, by decreasing the loss of important proteins.

Thus, with continuous use, it is possible to notice that the locks become thicker and heavier. Another explanation for this is the fact that coconut oil stimulates growth and decreases shedding. As a result, the hair appears to be fuller, as it loses fewer hairs to common everyday damage.( 3 )

Prevents lice

Anyone who has school-age children at home knows that head lice are always a problem. But in addition to children, these insects can also appear in adults.

The good news is that coconut oil can be a natural solution for both eliminating and preventing head lice. What happens is that the vegetable oil closes the cuticles while making a layer around the hairline.

Therefore, insects cannot get caught in the hair and can be removed with greater ease using a fine-tooth comb. Even nits, the eggs of lice, can be removed more easily, preventing an infestation. ( 6 )

Home treatment against dandruff

Generally speaking, dandruff is the common name for seborrheic dermatitis, an inflammation that affects the scalp, causing itching and white flaking.

Frequently applying coconut oil to the hair, directly at the root, is effective against this problem. First, because coconut contains anti-inflammatory substances , which shrink the area affected by dermatitis.

In addition, vegetable oil provides a protective barrier on the scalp, preventing water loss and reducing itching that is quite common in people with this condition. ( 6 , 7 )

Leaves hair soft and silky

Last but not least, coconut oil leaves hair soft, silky and healthy looking. Especially because it is rich in amino acids, several vitamins and minerals important for the formation of hair fiber. ( 8 )

Are there any contraindications for use?

Best of all, there is no contraindication for the use of coconut oil on hair, except in cases where there is already an allergy to the raw material. But in general, vegetable oils can be used at any age and on any hair type.

Therefore, this type of oil can be used in children and by people with straight, frizzy or curly hair. Despite the latter being the most benefited by the use of this type of substance.

However, it is important to pay attention to the amount and manner of use. In straight and oily hair, the oil is more indicated as a pre-shampoo. On dry, porous or very curly hair, it can be applied in the wetting step.

Even so, it is important to be careful and remove the oil correctly and not use it daily or the build-up can make your hair heavy. ( 1 )

Can you sleep with coconut oil in your hair?

You’ve seen how to use it and what are the main benefits of coconut oil on hair, but have you ever wondered if you can sleep with it? The answer to that question is yes, it is possible to sleep with vegetable oil in your hair.

This is a very common method of wetting, as the substance is able to completely penetrate the hair. In this way, it is possible to extract all the benefits of using it. A tip is to wear a cap before bedtime to avoid making your bed linen oily. ( 1 )

Ellie Lauderdale

My name is Ellie Lauderdale, MD and I am USA based professional Nutritionist .

I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and board certified specialist in sports dietetics who is trained in integrative medicine. I have worked with hundreds of clients, from those suffering with chronic disease to professional and olympian athletes. My goal is to help optimize you from the inside so that you can feel, perform, and look your best on the outside.

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