Coconut Oil For Healthy And Shiny Hair

Medically reviewed by Dr. Shruti Chavan, MBBS Dermatologist
Written by Arshiya Syeda

Do you have dry, damaged, thin, and dull hair? Start using coconut oil to put a stop to all your hair woes. The nutrients in the oil help seal moisture, reduce hair fall, strengthen the roots, and add shine and volume to your hair (1). Here is everything you need to know about how coconut oil can help make your hair beautiful and healthy. Read on!

Why Is Coconut Oil Good For Hair?

1. Provides Nourishment

Coconut oil is a great source of vitamins, essential fatty acids, saturated fats, lauric acid, and antioxidants good for your hair (2). These nutrients keep your hair well-nourished, healthy, and well-protected from stress hormones (3). They may also protect your hair from damage due to excess styling or the UV rays.

2. Moisturizes The Hair

Damaged or low-porosity hair cannot retain moisture. This makes the hair look frizzy, dry, and dull. Coconut oil’s lauric acid has a low molecular weight and easily penetrates the hair shaft, unlike mineral oil (1). It creates a thin film over the hair shaft, retains moisture, and keeps the hair strands protected from heat and damage. This reduces hair damage, prevents split ends, and strengthens the hair cuticles.

3. Prevents Protein Loss

Proteins are your hair’s building blocks. The lauric acid in the oil has a high affinity for proteins (1). The topical application of coconut oil can help prevent loss of hair proteins and keep hair healthy, thick, and shiny.

4. Improves Blood Circulation

Massaging coconut oil into your scalp can improve blood circulation. In general, massaging also ensures the nutrients in your blood reach and nourish your follicles and keep your hair healthy and thick (4).

5. Strengthens Hair Roots

Better blood circulation through a coconut oil massage ensures stronger hair roots and healthy hair. The oil’s lauric acid has antibacterial properties (5). This acid could strengthen the hair roots.

6. Keeps The Scalp Healthy

Coconut oil also has antiviral properties (6). Applying it to the scalp, therefore, may help reduce the risk of microbial infections and hair loss. Prevention of such infections also can boost scalp health.

7. Reduces Hair Breakage

Hair breakage can occur due to mechanical abrasions, chemical treatments, and improper hair care. Coconut oil increases the tensile strength of the hair strands and reduces the risk of hair breakage (7).

8. Prevents Dandruff

Dandruff has many causes ranging from skin conditions to fungal growth. Coconut oil can soothe this chronic problem and ease its symptoms. It works especially well for a dry scalp that is flaking. The oil works by moisturizing the scalp and restoring its health (8).

9. Conditions Hair

Most store-bought commercial conditioners coat your hair with chemicals. But coconut oil works as a natural conditioner that seals moisture and leaves your hair feeling healthy, soft, and smooth (9). Applying it before or after washing your hair helps reduce frizz and dullness.

10. Helps Cool Scalp

Coconut oil can work as a scalp coolant. You can use it in the summers or even when your scalp feels irritated. However, more research is warranted in this regard.

11. Prevents Hygral Fatigue

Hygral fatigue, or the swelling of the hair shaft, happens when excess moisture is absorbed into the cuticle. This causes hair frizz as the cuticle dries. The phenomenon is common during humid weather conditions or when you shampoo your hair too much. Coconut oil counters this as its oily nature seals the required moisture in your hair shaft and keeps the excess external moisture out (1).

These are the reasons coconut oil can enhance hair health. But how does it promote hair growth? We will discuss the same in the following section.

How Does Coconut Oil Promote Hair Growth?

The beneficial properties of coconut oil provide the scalp, roots, and hair shaft the ideal conditions for better hair growth. Massaging coconut oil helps improve blood circulation, which, in turn, provides the essential nutrients to the hair follicles for stronger hair roots and improved hair growth.

Coconut oil prevents dandruff, lice, and microbial growth. It is also a very good hair conditioner as it retains moisture and makes your hair look shiny and frizz-free. It restores damaged and processed hair and promotes good hair growth (10).

Coconut oil is effective for reviving hair health and preventing further hair thinning. However, no studies confirm that it can stimulate new hair growth on the scalp. It may only promote the growth of existing hair.

Is Coconut Oil Suitable For All Hair Types?

Yes, coconut oil is suitable for all hair types. It is an excellent source of nutrients for dry and damaged hair. Its moisture-retaining properties make it suitable for curly, wavy, straight hair, and hair types with a dry shaft or scalp. However, if you have fine hair, applying too much of coconut oil can weigh your hair down and make your hair appear thinner.

Also, be careful with the amount of coconut oil you apply if you have an oily scalp. The oil can make your head sweat and cause acne breakouts on your face. But does this mean that you should avoid coconut oil if you have oily hair? No. Coconut oil is beneficial for all hair types. We will check the same in the following section.

Coconut Oil Benefits For Different Hair Types

  • Revives dry and damaged hair.
  • Helps control frizzy hair.
  • Softens dry and coarse hair.
  • Adds shine to dull and lifeless hair.
  • Tames flyaways.
  • Reduces hair breakage (all hair types).
  • Reduces dandruff (all hair types).

Coconut oil is a good natural hair care ingredient for all hair types. The quantity of the oil used, however, varies among the different hair types. But what is the correct way to apply coconut oil? Scroll down to find out.

How To Apply Coconut Oil To Hair?

Coconut oil, depending on the weather, can be in a liquid or semi-solid form. It turns into a semi-solid form in lower temperatures. To apply coconut oil to your scalp and hair, follow these steps:

  1. Scoop out a little coconut oil in a bowl.
  2. Heat it for 5-7 seconds. Ensure not to overheat.
  3. Let it cool for a few seconds.
  4. Carefully dip your index, middle, and ring fingers into the coconut oil.
  5. Massage it over your scalp.
  6. Section your hair so that each strand of your hair gets nourishment.
  7. Apply coconut oil from the roots to the tips of your hair.

Note: Braid your hair or tie it up. Wear a headband if you have oily skin to prevent breakouts.

If you have a specific hair issue that you want to resolve using coconut oil, we have a few recommendations. These coconut oil hair masks are simple to prepare right from your home.

Coconut Oil Hair Masks

  • Coconut Oil Hair Mask For Dry Hair

If you want that instant shine and softness for dry and coarse hair, use this coconut oil hair mask. It may not smell like flowery or fruity like most store-bought hair masks, but it does its job well. Mix 4 tablespoons of coconut oil with 1 tablespoon of honey and 1 egg white. Apply the mixture to the hair, from the root to the tip. Make a bun or clip to tie your hair up. Cover with a shower cap. Wash off with a mild shampoo after 20 minutes.

  • Coconut Oil Hair Mask For Damaged Hair

Damaged hair needs deep conditioning. Coconut oil, when mixed with other natural moisturizing ingredients, provides great results in a shorter time. To prepare a coconut oil hair mask for damaged hair, mix 5 tablespoons of coconut oil with ½ an avocado and 4 tablespoons of warm whole milk. Mix well and apply it to your hair. Clip your hair up and cover with a shower cap. Wash off with a mild shampoo after 30-40 minutes. Use 2 drops of coconut oil on wet hair as a conditioner.

  • Coconut Oil Hair Mask For Thin Hair

Mix 4 tablespoons of extra virgin coconut oil with 1 teaspoon of ground fenugreek seeds and a paste of 10 hibiscus leaves (11), (12). Apply the mixture to the roots and the hair shaft. Clip your hair up and cover with a shower cap. Wash off with a mild shampoo after 20 minutes. Squeeze ½ a lime into 500 ml water and use it after you have rinsed your hair. This will act as a conditioner and leave your hair with a refreshing smell.

You may not always be able to apply a mask frequently. In that case, applying hot coconut oil every 2 days is a great way to keep your hair healthy. But how long should you keep it on before you wash it off? Scroll down to find out.

How Long To Keep Coconut Oil On Hair?

You must keep coconut oil on your hair for 30 minutes before washing off. If possible, apply coconut oil the night before you want to wash your hair. Spread a towel on your pillow to prevent stains. Wash your hair with lukewarm water the next day.

Do not let coconut oil sit for more than 8 hours. It can mix with sweat and lead to bacterial growth on the scalp and acne breakouts on the face.

How To Wash Coconut Oil Off Hair?

Coconut oil is a good moisture-retainer. It also penetrates the hair shaft better than any other hair oil. But it could be a little difficult to be removed. The following steps can help:

  1. Use lukewarm water to wet your hair.
  2. Apply a mild or clarifying shampoo to your scalp. You may use a good shampoo for color-treated hair if your hair is dyed.
  3. Use your fingertips (not nails) to rub on the scalp in a circular motion.
  4. Wash off with lukewarm water.
  5. Take a little more of the shampoo and apply it to your scalp and the hair shaft. Massage your scalp. Avoid rubbing your hair shaft. Use a scrunching motion instead.
  6. Wash your hair with lukewarm water.
  7. If you have dry or damaged hair, apply a good conditioner. If you have oily or fine hair, mix the juice of ½ a lime into 500 ml water and wash your hair with the solution.


Coconut oil is great for improving hair health. It also adds a natural shine to your hair. Whether you apply it alone or mix it with other ingredients, it sure does offer immense hair benefits. Get your jar of coconut oil today and make your hair more voluminous and beautiful.

Frequently Asked Questions

How often should I apply coconut oil to my hair?

Apply the oil once in two days if you have damaged hair. For regular hair maintenance, you may use it twice a week.

Can you leave coconut oil in your hair?

Yes, you can leave coconut oil in your hair for 1 to 8 hours. Leaving it for longer can lead to an off-putting smell.

Can you leave coconut oil in your hair overnight?

Yes, you can leave coconut oil in your hair overnight and shampoo the following day.

Does coconut oil cause hair loss?

No, applying coconut oil to the scalp and hair does not cause hair loss. However, if you have fine hair, using too much of the oil may make your hair look flat. Also, avoid pulling your hair while applying coconut oil.

What is the best coconut oil for hair growth?

Virgin coconut oil is ideal for hair growth.


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Arshiya Syeda is an editor and certified counselor. Ever the lover of the written word, she served on the editorial boards of her school and college newsletters. Writing articles on hairstyles, hair care, and nutrition helped her combine her love for reading, writing, and research. As an editor, she helps her team members deliver polished and meticulously researched content. Arshiya is fluent in English, Urdu, and Hindi and aims to become a multilinguist by learning German and teaching herself American Sign Language (ASL).