How To Use Coconut Oil For Dandruff

Deep conditioning massages and treatments - learn effective ways to use this oil.

Reviewed by Precious RutlinPrecious Rutlin, Licensed Cosmetologist
Fact-checked by Swathi ESwathi E, Certified Skin Care Coach
Edited by Ramona SinhaRamona Sinha, Certified Skin Care Coach
Written by Anjali SayeeAnjali Sayee  • 

Dandruff, also known as pityriasis capitis, is a prevalent scalp ailment that affects millions worldwide (1). It is caused by an abnormally greasy, dry, or infected scalp and is characterized by the profuse flaking of dead skin from the scalp. However, you can use coconut oil for dandruff control and minimize the symptoms. It is considered one of the best home remedies for mitigating the issue.

If you are wondering, does coconut oil help with dandruff? The answer is yes. It is high in vitamins and essential fats and is obtained from the flesh of coconut fruit. It moisturizes the scalp and removes excess sebum. Its antibacterial characteristics, paired with its penetrative and moisturizing capabilities, make it one of the most effective hair care products. Here, we will learn how to utilize coconut oil to treat dandruff. Keep reading.

What Are The Causes Of Dandruff?

Close up of a woman with dandruff on her scalp and hair
Image: Shutterstock

There are many causes of dandruff. A dry environment can push your scalp into overdrive, and the overactive sebaceous glands can produce excessive sebum. Too much sebum buildup tends to clog pores and attract microbes, leading to infections that cause dandruff. Another cause for this condition is sensitivity to the Malassezia fungus.

While it naturally occurs on everybody’s scalp, it causes irritation in some people by growing out of control and feeding on sebum.

Yeast sensitivity, dry skin, poor scalp hygiene, and your diet are also factors that can lead to dandruff. Sometimes, dandruff may also occur due to chronic dermatological conditions like scalp psoriasis and seborrheic dermatitis.

protip_icon Did You Know?
You can get dandruff not just on your scalp and hair but also on your face and body.

Is Coconut Oil Good For Dandruff: What Does Science Say?

Coconut oil is enriched with essential vitamins E and K, proteins, lauric acid, capric acid, etc. It penetrates easily into the hair shafts and scalp and gives a deep moisturizing, hydrating, and conditioning effect (2).

Coconut oil has antimicrobial and antifungal properties (3), (4). These properties can help in reducing and preventing dandruff. Virgin coconut oil can penetrate through the hair shaft and disintegrate the cells of the fungi (5). This can help prevent dandruff altogether.

It also repairs prevents split ends, hair damage, hair loss, and baldness. Coconut oil helps enhance the natural hair color pigment (6). It also acts as a conditioner, keeping your hair moisturized. A dry scalp is one of the factors that cause dandruff. Using coconut oil for dry scalp will moisturize the scalp and keep dandruff at bay.

A study shows that coconut oil can reduce protein loss from hair (2). Protein is mainly what your hair is made of. Reducing the protein loss in your hair will make it strong.

You can simply apply coconut oil to your hair. However, there are other coconut oil topical treatments that can help you reap the maximum benefits of the oil. Follow the instructions below to treat dandruff naturally using coconut oil.

How To Use Coconut Oil For Dandruff

1. Deep Conditioning With Coconut Oil

Woman applying coconut oil to manage dandruff.
Image: Shutterstock

As coconut oil can penetrate the hair shaft, it is one of the best remedies for treating dry, damaged, and over-processed hair. A deep conditioning treatment will moisturize your hair while getting rid of dandruff. Do this at least once a week to control the issue.

  • 2-3 tablespoons of coconut oil (depending on the length of your hair)
  • Shower cap/Warm towel
  • A wide-toothed comb
  1. Wash your hair with shampoo. Do not condition.
  2. Using a wide-toothed comb, section your hair while it is still slightly damp. Rub some coconut oil in between your palms and start applying it to your hair.
  3. Make sure that you cover your scalp and all of your hair, from the roots to the tips.
  4. Put your hair up and cover it with a shower cap or wrap it in a warm towel (you can warm the towel up with a blow dryer). The warm atmosphere inside the shower cap or towel will allow for maximum penetration.
  5. Let it sit for at least 30 minutes. You could also leave the oil in overnight and wash it off in the morning to nourish your dry scalp.
  6. Wash your hair well with shampoo and ensure that there is no residue of the oil left behind.

2. Hot Oil Massage With Coconut Oil

Woman massaging her scalp with hot oil to manage dandruff.
Image: Shutterstock

Dandruff flakes can form when the scalp is too dry. Massaging your hair with coconut oil not only distributes the oil evenly but also moisturizes the scalp and helps improve blood circulation as well (7). These effects, in turn, help reduce dandruff. The massage will also purge any oil or dirt build-up.


2-3 tablespoons of coconut oil (depending on the length of your hair).

  1. Heat the coconut oil on the stove. Do not make it too hot; you should be able to touch it after you heat it.
  2. Dip your fingers in the oil and use them to massage it into your dry and itchy scalp.
  3. Massage your scalp for 10-15 minutes until you have covered every part.
  4. Use the leftover oil to coat your hair.
  5. Let it sit for 30 minutes and then wash it off with a good shampoo.

3. Coconut Oil And Lemon Juice

Sliced lemon and coconut oil to manage dandruff
Image: Shutterstock

The scalp has a pH level of 5.5, while hair has an acidic pH level of 3.46, and it must be maintained to keep your scalp and hair nourished (8),(9). Shampoos and conditioners contain ingredients that can increase your pH level, which can cause scalp infections like dandruff.

The citric acid in lemon juice can help maintain the pH level of hair (8). The vitamin C in lemon has antioxidant properties, which can help protect the scalp from infections (10). This, in combination with coconut oil, is a great solution for dandruff.

  • 2 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon of lemon juice
  1. Mix the above-mentioned ingredients and apply the mixture to your scalp and hair.
  2. Massage it for a few minutes and leave it on for 20-30 minutes to treat a flaky scalp.
  3. Wash it off with shampoo.

Note: The citric acid in lemon may be too acidic for your hair and should be used in combination with oil or water, and not in its concentrated form.

protip_icon Quick Tip
You can also add a teaspoon of honey to the mixture to moisturize your hair.

4. Coconut Oil And Jojoba Oil

Jojoba is a natural wax ester that helps repair damaged skin from fungal infections like seborrheic dermatitis, which is a heavier form of dandruff (11). It is similar to the sebum produced by your scalp and helps hydrate dry hair and stimulate hair growth (12). It has anti-inflammatory properties that soothe the scalp (13), (14). If you have a dry scalp, this coconut and jojoba oil combination is perfect for treating your dandruff.

  • 1 part coconut oil
  • 1 part jojoba oil
  1. Mix the oils in a container and apply the blend to your scalp and hair.
  2. Massage the oil into your scalp to dissolve all the sebum. Massage for a few minutes until you cover the entire area of your scalp.
  3. Cover your hair with a shower cap or a warm towel.
  4. Let the oil sit in your hair for at least 30 minutes.
  5. Wash off with a good shampoo. If you have an oily scalp, skip the conditioner.

5. Coconut Oil And Rosemary Oil

Rosemary oil has antifungal properties that are reported to help reduce dandruff (15). It also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties (16). These properties can protect your scalp from damage and soothe itching. In combination with coconut oil, it is the perfect solution for treating dandruff that has been causing scalp skin irritation and inflammation from scratching.

  • 2-3 tablespoons of coconut oil
  • 3-5 drops of rosemary essential oil
  • Aloe vera gel (optional)
  1. Add a few drops of rosemary essential oil to coconut oil. You may also add fresh aloe vera gel to this mixture for added hydration.
  2. Apply the mixture to your scalp and hair, massaging your scalp well as you do.
  3. Cover your hair with a shower cap or a warm towel and leave it on for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Wash your hair with shampoo.

There you have it – five different ways in which you can use coconut oil to control your dandruff problem. However, there are certain things to keep in mind.

Side Effects Of Coconut Oil

Woman scratching her itchy scalp due to the side effects of coconut oil
Image: Shutterstock

While there aren’t many side effects of the topical application of coconut oil, you need to make sure that you’re not allergic to it. If you are or have sensitive skin and scalp, applying coconut oil to your hair can have adverse effects. There are many other side effects of commercial coconut oil that you can check out here.

Infographic: 2 Coconut Oil Remedies For Dandruff

Coconut oil is rich in vitamins and essential fats that help to maintain the pH of the scalp. Dandruff is known to occur when the scalp is excessively greasy, dry, or infected. Coconut oil moisturizes the scalp by removing excessive sebum. These easy home remedies are known to mitigate the dandruff situation the best because of their antibacterial qualities.

2 coconut oil remedies for dandruff (infographic)

Illustration: StyleCraze Design Team

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Dandruff is one of the most common issues faced by most people. Out of the several home remedies available to treat dandruff, coconut oil is considered an effective solution due to its antibacterial characteristics and presence of vitamins and essential fats. You may use coconut oil for dandruff as a deep conditioner, massage oil, or combine it with other oils like tea tree oil, lavender oil, and rosemary oil. Following the methods and tips shared above can help you mitigate this issue. In addition, maintaining proper scalp health and consuming a healthy diet will also help treat and nourish your hair.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does coconut oil cause hairloss?

While coconut oil is mostly known for its beneficial effects for teh hair, you need be careful not to overdo it. Overuse can make your hair greasy and lead to blocking hair follicles with trapped diet and debris resulting in hair fall.

Does coconut oil make hair white?

No, coconut oil helps retain the natural hair pigment and prevent greying.

Can I use coconut oil instead of shampoo?

While you can use coconut oil as a pre-shmapoo mask, on its own it is ineffective in cleansing your hair and scalp.

Key Takeaways

  • Coconut oil may repair damaged hair.
  • It may prevent dandruff as it has antimicrobial and antifungal properties.
  • Using coconut oil regularly may prevent split ends, improve scalp health and minimize dandruff.
  • Massaging coconut oil into the scalp may improve blood circulation and control dandruff.
  • The oil can be mixed with natural ingredients like lemon juice, jojoba oil, and rosemary oil for effective results.

Curious about whether coconut oil can help get rid of dandruff? Watch this video to find out if it really works!


Articles on StyleCraze are backed by verified information from peer-reviewed and academic research papers, reputed organizations, research institutions, and medical associations to ensure accuracy and relevance. Check out our editorial policy for further details.
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