How to use coconut oil for hair, according to the pros

The experts fill us in on everything you need to know about using coconut oil for hair

Coconut oil and coconuts

by Cigdem Tanrioglu |
Updated on

Some of us cook with it while others clean with it, but have you ever wondered if you can use coconut oil for hair? Yep, that’s right, that little jar of coconut oil could actually work wonders for your tresses.

From old wife’s tales to viral TikTok videos, hair oils have become a huge trend for all of us Rapunzel wannabes and it is easy to see why – they’re super affordable, easy to access and most importantly they seem to work.
But if you’re finding that castor oil is a little too heavy for your strands or perhaps rosemary oil is drying your scalp, then maybe coconut oil may be the one for you.
Intrigued? We’ve asked the experts for the low down on everything you need to know about the benefits of using coconut oil for hair.

Is coconut oil good for hair?

It’s the question we’re all asking – will applying some of that sweet-smelling stuff actually benefit our hair? In short, yes it is!
Rachael E. D Sev, Trichologist at Cherub London, fills us in, “Coconut oil is very good for hair. It can help with thinning hair, while also tackling dandruff issues. It helps improve the overall appearance of hair transforming hair from dull and dry to healthy and radiant. It will help eliminate split ends while keeping your hair frizz-free.”

Will using coconut oil make my hair grow?

Like most hair oils, there is no scientific evidence that using coconut oil will make your hair grow quicker. However, coconut oil will aid the growth of healthier hair – so at least you know your hair won’t be breaking off as soon as it grows!
Cantu’s UK Ambassador Aayah Haimeedagrees, “Whilst there are currently no studies to support this, I can affirm through my own personal experience of using the oil, as I found it helps to improve hair and scalp health when used correctly”

What kind of coconut oil is best to use on hair?

Now we know what you’re thinking, do you need to buy a jar of cooking oil from the supermarket or should you be placing a big order for hair products containing coconut oil? Aayah advises using the most natural form of coconut oil for hair,
“I would always recommend using a purer, unrefined Coconut oil in my opinion, as the oil naturally contains a huge amount of lauric acid – a type of saturated fat which is great for healthy hair maintenance.”
But don’t worry if you can’t get hold of the pure stuff, Rachael adds, “There are some great products available that feature coconut oil including shampoo and conditioner, leave-in treatments or masques.”

Not too sure what you should shop? Don’t worry, we’ve found the best coconut oil products for your hair.

Best for curly hair

Cantu Coconut Oil Shine & Hold Mist
Cantu Coconut Oil Shine & Hold Mist
Price: $5.38

Refresh curls in an instant with this coconut oil-infused spray. Not only will it seal in moisture, but it will tame frizz and banish annoying flyaways all whilst doing plenty of good for your hair. Perfect for any coarse, curly-haired girls out there.

Best for dry hair

Shea Moisture 100% Virgin Coconut Oil Daily Hydration Leave-In Treatment
Shea Moisture 100% Virgin Coconut Oil Daily Hydration Leave-In Treatment
Price: $10.75
Alternative retailers
Ulta$9.37View offer
Walmart$10.97View offer

Battle broken ends and dry, frizzy hair with this leave-in treatment. Made with pure, virgin coconut oil this treatment will work wonders for your hair. Simply apply to clean, towel-dried locks making sure you massage the product into every part of your hair from root to tip. Then you’re free to style and carry on as normal while the formula works its magic.

Best for damaged hair

Palmer's Coconut Oil Formula Moisture-Gro Conditioning Hairdress
Palmer's Coconut Oil Formula Moisture-Gro Conditioning Hairdress
Price: $7.99

Turn back the clocks and mend damaged or colour-treated hair with this leave-in mask. Simply melt a small amount in the palms of your hands and smooth onto dry hair and scalp and get ready to see your healthiest hair ever. Plus it smells like summer in a jar – we’re obsessed.

Best for fine hair

Cantu Shea Butter for Natural Hair Shampoo and Conditioner,
Cantu Shea Butter for Natural Hair Shampoo and Conditioner,

If leave-in conditioners and oil treatments are too heavy for your hair, then try incorporating coconut oil into your hair-washing routine instead. A quick lather and rinse with this coconut-infused shampoo and conditioner will breathe life back into your hair without weighing down those luscious locks.

Best for everyone

Organic Forest 100% Chemical Free Pure Cold Pressed Coconut Oil for Hair and Skin
Organic Forest 100% Chemical Free Pure Cold Pressed Coconut Oil for Hair and Skin

This bottle of 100% organic coconut oil is ideal for anyone who wants to use coconut oil for hair in its finest form. Not only will it work wonders on your hair but it can also be used on dry patches of skin too.

How do you apply coconut oil to hair?

Now you’ve got yourself a bottle of the good stuff, but how do you use it? Well, there are endless ways of using coconut oil for hair, so it is completely up to you.

Aayah gives us her top tips, “There’s a variety of ways in which you can use coconut oil for hair. For example, as a hair mask before wash day by combing through the hair evenly and leaving it to penetrate for around 30 mins with a towel wrapped around your head or plastic cap.
“You can also apply before actually washing your hair (make sure to do up to three washes afterwards) to detangle the hair, making it easier to style.”

How long should you leave coconut oil on hair?

Unlike a lot of hair treatments, there is no set amount of time that you should leave coconut oil in your hair – it just depends on how you’re using it.
Aayah agrees, “I like to leave it on for a few hours or overnight. However, I wouldn’t recommend using coconut oil every day, as it could potentially clog up your pores and damage hair follicles. Use 1-2 days a week for optimal results.”

Should you apply coconut oil to dry or wet hair?

The wonderful thing about coconut oil is that you can use it on both wet and dry hair – it all depends on how you’re planning on using it.
Rachael explains, “Coconut oil can be applied on both wet and dry hair. For dry hair, it can be applied to frizzy hair and give your hair a sleek, shiny finish.
“For wet hair, it should be used during conditioning and should be washed out thoroughly with shampoo.”

Can you use coconut oil when styling hair?

Believe it or not, coconut oil isn’t just for your hair wash day - you can add coconut oil when styling hair too.
Rachael gives us her top tips on how to use coconut oil for styling hair, “For curly/wavy hair Add a small amount of coconut oil to your hair and scrunch up your hair and leave your curls to flow.
“For straight hair rub a little coconut in your hands and distribute through the hair. It will make your hair shiny and silky.”

When should you avoid coconut oil for hair?

With so many benefits from using this wonder oil in your hair, you’re probably wondering if there is a catch.
Aayah explains that there are only a few people who should steer away from using coconut oil for hair, “You should try to avoid using coconut oil on brittle, dry or coarse hair because these hair types are particularly vulnerable to breakage.”
Of course, you should also step away from the coconut oil if you start to see any signs of an allergic reaction. Rachael agrees, “Do not use coconut oil if you have an allergic reaction or it doesn’t work well for your hair. It’s important to get an allergy test. To ensure you don’t get any rashes or any symptoms.”

So there you have it, everything you need to know about using coconut oil for hair – now please excuse us while we go and get our best hair ever with a little help from coconut oil.

Just so you know, whilst we may receive a commission or other compensation from the links on this website, we never allow this to influence product selections - read why you should trust us