Exactly How to Use Coconut Oil in Your Hair

March 14, 2022
Mary Honkus
By: Mary Honkus | Makeup.com by L'Oréal
Exactly How to Use Coconut Oil in Your Hair

Coconut oil is a catch-all beauty product. For centuries it has been used as a rich body moisturizer, as a makeup remover and even as a hair mask to revive damaged hair. For hair, the benefits aren’t just limited to the silky oil, though. All parts of the fuzzy coconut fruit, including the meat and shell, can help with hair and even scalp revitalization. Keep reading to discover all the ways coconuts are used in haircare, how to use coconut oil in hair and a few of our favorite coconut hair products.  

How Coconut Oil Benefits Hair

“Coconut can deeply nourish and moisturize hair, leaving it smooth and silky,” says Nassim Belhaq, innovation director at Coco & Eve, a beauty brand that calls coconut its hero ingredient. “It also has repairing properties that help restructure dry and damaged hair as well as prevent breakage. The shell is pretty interesting, too: When used in powder form, it’s a gentle and natural exfoliant.”

What Hair Types Benefit From Coconut Oil?

While all hair types and textures can benefit from using coconut, Drew Schaefering, master stylist at Rob Peetoom Salon in NYC, says that it’s the best for those with porous hair — i.e., super curly or damaged hair. “Porosity is the gradient of how much the outer cuticle of the hair is raised, allowing water or other substances to penetrate,” he says. “For less porous types, coconut oil can prevent moisture and make hair feel a bit more like straw.” If you have very fine hair, opt for an oil that stays liquid at room temperature, like argan or jojoba.

Should You Use Coconut Oil for Hair Growth?

According to Belhaq, coconuts don’t directly help your hair grow, but incorporating coconut-infused products into your routine can help repair and strengthen hair, which in turn can promote hair growth. “Coconut oil is filled with vitamins and fatty acids that help penetrate the cuticle of the hair making it thicker and healthier,” he says. “It can also repair and restructure dry, damaged hair to help prevent future breakage.”

Can You Use Raw Coconut Oil on Your Hair?

The short answer is, yes: Pure coconut oil is completely safe to apply directly to your hair — but there is a method you should use to prevent your hair from looking greasy. “It’s best to use coconut oil at night (wear it overnight with a shower cap) and then shampoo it out in the morning, as it takes some time for the oil to fully absorb and work its magic,” says Schaefering. “As an alternative to overnight treatments, run some coconut oil through the ends of your hair 30 minutes before showering. The oil will prevent excess water and shampoo from penetrating the hair and keep it hydrated and shiny.”

According to Schaefering, you can use just about any coconut oil you find at the supermarket. “Just make sure to buy the refined version if you don’t want to smell like a piña colada all day long,” he jokes. 

If you’d prefer not to slather raw coconut oil on your hair (it can get messy!), try one of our favorite coconut oil hair products below.

Photo: Chaunte Vaughn

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