How To Use Coconut Oil For Hair – Benefits And Recipes

Do you fancy shiny, manageable and strong hair? Well, it can be your asset as well if you start treating it with coconut oil! Use the coconut oil for hair as a natural ‘shampoo’ to help your dull hair grow longer, thicker, and faster. The vitamins and essential fatty acids, found in the coconut oil, nourish the scalp and help remove sebum build-up from hair follicles. This oil is rich in the lauric acid and the medium-chain fatty acids that strengthen the hair, condition the scalp, and help the hair to regrow.

You can even throw away your commercial shampoos and conditioners, shines, waxes and other styling products, and replace them completely with this all-natural solution because the coconut oil is all in one – multi-tasking hair care product!

These are the ways you can use the coconut oil for your hair:

1. As a conditioner

The coconut oil is free of the toxic chemicals that lurk in commercial hair products, and is an excellent conditioner, for all hair types and textures. According to the Journal of Cosmetic Science, the coconut oil outdoes both the sunflower oil and mineral oil, and is the only oil that reduces protein loss. Yes, it is the protein loss in your hair that leads to its breakage and dryness. The lauric acid has a low molecular weight, and is able to actually penetrate the hair shaft, thus nourishing hair with vitamins, minerals and the medium-chain fatty acids.

The coconut oil helps to prevent hair damage from everyday combing and brushing it, and it is safe to use on children too. It can be used as a leave-in conditioner, or used as an intensive conditioner for a couple of hours, or overnight. The solution to using the coconut oil as a leave-in hair conditioner is finding the right amount for your hair.

2. For hair growth

The coconut oil is a safe, effective, and affordably-priced solution, if your hair has started to thin. It can actually help grow hair, longer and thicker. The essential nutrients, including the lauric acid, penetrate the hair shaft, improving the overall health of the hair.

The health of your hair is often a result of internal health issues, and using natural hair loss remedies can certainly help. Foods rich in omega-3 fats like pumpkins, chia seeds, flax seeds, and green tea support hair growth, from the inside out. Before trying prescription hair growth preparations that only work for half of individuals, try to modify your nutrition, and use the hair conditioning and styling. The harsh chemicals can cause scalp irritation, peeling, and even hair growth where hair is not desired at all!

3. For dandruff elimination

People have used the coconut oil for hundreds of years to fight dandruff. This ugly [and often scratchy-and-itchy] condition can be caused by the dry skin of the scalp, sensitivity to the harsh chemicals in hair care products, and commonly yeast-like, fungal (Malassezia) infections.

The coconut oil’s medium-chain fatty acids including the lauric acid and capric acid, have strong antiviral, antimicrobial and antifungal properties that ‘target’ the fungus and kill it, as well as viruses and bacteria that may be ‘residing’ in your scalp.

Many prescription, and over-the-counter anti-dandruff shampoos, can actually worsen your dandruff issue. They simply do not fix the root cause of the flakiness. If the problem is fungal, or if the problem is dry skin, topical applications of the coconut oil will make a noticeable difference!

The majority of the commercial shampoos contain chemicals that are harmful. Among them are parabens, propylene glycol, polyethylene glycol, sodium lauryl sulfate, and many more. Anti-dandruff shampoos are even worse, and contain ammonium laureth sulfate, magnesium aluminum silicate, and selenium sulfide.

These preparations simply do not work most of the time. The aim is to make the scalp healthier, free from fungus, and moisturized, that is to put an end to dandruff. Treating your hair with the coconut oil will not make dandruff disappear overnight, but many can see the first results in just 2 weeks or so.

coconut oil for hair

4. For hair styling

The coconut oil is a great styling agent! In fact, it is one of the most overlooked solutions for hairstyling purposes. Hair dryers, flat irons, hot rollers, and curling irons ‘zap’ the moisture out of the hair shaft causing it to be brittle and inclined to tangling.

The coconut oil helps to prevent this type of thermal damage, and when used in the proper amount for your hair length and texture, easily tames those “fly away’s.” People with thick curly hair often fight frizz in humid climates. The coconut oil helps to tame the frizz, by penetrating into the curls. It can be applied throughout the day for touch-ups, just make sure to use it sparingly!

To tame frizz start with a tiny amount (1/4 teaspoon – 1 teaspoon) depending on hair, warming in palms. Smooth from root to tips, and blow dry and style as desired. It will take just a bit longer to dry your hair, but it will be soft, shiny, and manageable. Disguise split ends, and nourish them at the same time by using a tiny bit of coconut oil on the ends only.

  1. To protect from the sun

Your hair, just like your skin, is very susceptible to sun damage. The coconut oil is a natural ‘sunscreen,’ with an SPF of 8. If you are planning a day out in the sun, use it as a leave-in conditioner for all day protection. And, while you are at it, you can use it on naked skin – the coconut oil is a safe and effective sunscreen for children and adults alike too.

  1. To detangle wild hair strands

Detangling hair can often cause terrible breakages. The coconut oil prevents hair break stress by penetrating the hair shaft. It also ‘foliates’ the hair, making it easier to remove knots after washing, or in the evenings.
To detangle hair smooth a small amount of the coconut oil through your hair, paying close attention to tangled areas and damaged ends. Use a wide toothcomb, starting from the bottom, and slowly work your way up. Using the coconut oil regularly will improve the overall health of the hair, and help prevent entangling. If tangled hair is a recurring problem, trimming the damaged ends will help.

Note: If you have thin or fine hair, apply the coconut oil sparingly to hair for styling it. Also, do not apply it to the scalp as this can weigh down the hair.

7. For lice prevention and treatment

One of the best uses of the coconut oil is in the treatment and prevention of hair lice. According to a study published in the European Journal of Pediatrics, combination of the coconut oil and anise spray is more effective, than the commonly used prescription lice treatment named permethrin.

In fact, in the controlled study, the coconut oil based spray was 82% successful whereas the permethrin was only 42% successful. 33 out of the 50 participants reported scalp irritation when using the conventional treatment. Another study published in the Israel Medical Association Journal found greater success, although they added ylang ylang oil to the coconut oil and anise oil mixture. The treatment was successful in 92.3% of children and caused no serious side effects.

Because the coconut oil penetrates the hair shaft and the scalp, it helps repel lice and can keep their eggs from fixing to the hair. With the addition of essential oils, including ylang ylang, tea tree, and anise, lice have no chance to attach!

Lice treatment with the coconut oil:

To keep lice away, use the coconut oil as a leave-in hair conditioner, or to style and detangle hair.

For an ‘infestation of lice’ do this:

  • Mix 3 tablespoons of the coconut oil with 1 teaspoon of each ylang ylang, anise, and tea tree oils.
  • Double the recipe for longer hair as this should be enough for shoulder-length hair.
  • Apply the solution all over the scalp, massage in, and pulling through the ends.
  • Comb through the hair with a fine toothcomb.
  • Cover in a shower cap, and allow to sit for 2 hours.
  • If possible, sit in the sun or use a hair dryer to periodically warm up the cap.
  • Carefully remove shower cap, and seal in zip lock bag for disposal.
  • In 2 hours, comb hair once again, prior to washing and rinsing thoroughly, twice.
  • While hair is still wet, combine 2 cups of apple-cider vinegar and 1 cup water in a small spray bottle.
  • Saturate the hair, spraying ½ the bottle on the scalp and hair. Lean over the sink and pour the remaining mixture over the hair, massaging lightly.
  • Rinse thoroughly and comb hair once again with a fine toothcomb.
  • Follow with a light application of coconut oil, cover with a shower cap, or style as desired, and let it stay on the hair until next washing.

Note: As with most lice treatments, the process needs to be repeated every 5-10 days for a couple of weeks. This helps to ensure that all lice and their eggs are eradicated. Between treatments, comb hair in the morning and at night with a fine toothcomb, and use the coconut oil as a leave-in conditioner. As the coconut oil both repels and kills lice, at the first notice of a lice outbreak, start using the coconut oil as a leave-in conditioner. 

You can also try these great coconut oil hair recipes:

Coconut Oil Shampoo


  • 1 cup liquid castile soap
  • 1/3 cup canned coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup coconut oil
  • 50-60 drops of your favorite essential oils


1.Melt the coconut oil and coconut milk together over very low heat, as not to damage any of the nutrients.

2. Pour into a bottle with a secure lid, and top with the castile soap. Shake well.

3. Add 50 drops of your favorite essential oils, and shake again. Great essential oils for hair are lavender, wild orange, peppermint, lemongrass, rosemary, clary sage, and rosemary.

Note: This shampoo will not be as thick as commercial shampoos, so squeeze it on hair directly from the bottle. As every person’s hair is different, feel free to adjust the coconut oil level to suit your hair needs. For fine hair you may reduce the coconut oil amount as needed to 1/4 cup, and for thick dry or curly hair, you may need to increase this amount, or add a few drops of avocado oil as well.   

Coconut Oil Conditioner


  • 2/3 cup coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon vitamin E oil
  • 1 tablespoon Jojoba oil
  • 10 drops of your favorite essential oil


  1. Mix all ingredients in a bowl with a hand mixer until well combined (this may take some time if you want a creamy conditioner).
  2. In the shower, after washing hair with Coconut Oil Shampoo, use a teaspoon or two, and smooth through hair.
  3. Allow to penetrate hair for the remainder of your shower, and rinse hair thoroughly.

The coconut oil is a great base for natural hair colors as it penetrates the hair shaft:

For blonde (fair) hair, or to add subtle highlights, mix 1/2 cup of strong chamomile tea, ¼ cup fresh lemon juice, and ¼ cup of the coconut oil in a blender until emulsified. Apply to hair and roots and cover with a shower cap. Sit in the sun, or use a hair dryer to keep the cap warm for 45 minutes to 75 minutes. Rinse well.

For darker hair, mix 2 tablespoons of the coconut oil with 1 cup of strong coffee, with 1 tablespoon of spent grounds, and apply to hair. Allow to sit for 45 – 60 minutes. The longer you leave it, the darker the results come. Rinse well and style as desired.

Note: If you color your hair, especially red, the coconut oil may fade the color. However, for most hair types and colors, it will not.


Journal of Cosmetic Science
Israel Medical Association Journal 

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