Photo: Piotr Marcinski / EyeEm/Getty Images/EyeEm

Like a gawky guy who grew into a full-blown hunk, coconut oil is now the hot, sexy oil no one can shut up about. Gwyneth Paltrow swishes it in her mouth to whiten her teeth, Poppy Delevingne sleeps in it, and Kelly Osborne wants you all to tap some on your cheekbones for a natural highlight. Coconut oil does not actually moisturize — no oil does — but used strategically, it can soften, add shine, and help repair dry hair. Read on for nine ways to use coconut oil in your hair routine.

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1. Use It As a Protective “Pre-Poo”

Here’s a trick that’s particularly helpful for folks with dry or curly hair: Avoiding the scalp, coat dry hair with a glob of coconut oil an hour or so before hitting the shower. The oil protects each strand from drying out while you shampoo. Rinse the oil from your hair after shampooing and apply a conditioner as normal. (Note that if you have thin hair, the oil might be too much for you.)

2. Make Your Conditioner Better Than It’s Ever Been

Coconut oil will make any conditioner even more conditioning. After saturating your hair with conditioner, add a layer of coconut oil on top. The oil is occlusive, so it will trap the the conditioner’s hydrating ingredients within your hair, allowing them to penetrate the shaft longer and more effectively. Wait at least 15 minutes or up to an hour before rinsing — the longer you wait, the softer your hair will be.

3. Just Leave It In

This is a handy fix for people with thick, dry hair. After you shampoo and conditioner, comb any moisturizing cream throughout your hair (DevaCurls’ Supercream and Oyin Handmade’s Hair Dew are really great). Then, take a quarter-size amount of coconut oil and layer it on top of the moisturizer. Dry your hair as you normally would. The oil will lock in the moisturizer and help your hair stay hydrated for longer.

4. Make Detangling Slightly Less Annoying

Knotty hair? Run coconut oil over the sections that need a little help. The oil provides a helpful “slip” that makes combing a less harrowing ordeal.

5. And Make Your Hair More Photogenic

Instead of sticking a bunch of shiny things in your hair, scoop a few dollops of coconut oil into a spray bottle and spritz your hair for a natural shine. If you’re working with oil that has solidified, put the bottle in a bowl of warm water for a few minutes so the oil can revert back to a liquid.

6. Wear It As a Swim Cap

The worst part about taking a dip? The havoc saltwater and chlorine wreck on your hair, of course. Before you head to the pool or beach, cover your hair with coconut oil. The oil acts as a barrier between your strands and the water, to a certain degree. Think of it as a natural swim cap (or a swim cap that doesn’t make you look like a dork).

7. Or a Humidity Cap

To tame flyaways and frizz, rub a pea-size amount of coconut oil between your fingers. Transfer the oil to the frizzy parts of your hair to calm rogue strands. A little goes a long way!

8. Photoshop Your Split Ends

Coconut oil won’t glue your split ends back together (nothing will, despite what some products claim), but it can hide frayed ends for a short while. Simply rub a small amount over your ends. The oil will add luster and temporarily smooth the tattered hair.

9. And Evict Lice, Naturally

If you really hate the idea of using medicated lice treatments, coconut oil is a surprisingly effective alternative. A 2002 study looked at 940 children who were administered a hair cocktail of coconut oil, anise oil, and ylang ylang oil. The mixture was applied to each child’s hair three times a day for five days. The coconut-oil combination was successful for 92.3 percent of the lice cases, faring slightly better than the medicated control group, which saw a success rate of 92.2 percent.

But Don’t Use It for Hair Loss or Dandruff.

There are no credible, peer-reviewed studies that prove coconut oil can regrow hair. It’s a little boring, but your best bet is still Rogaine. As for dandruff, coconut oil might actually trigger more flakes! If used on your scalp, coconut oil clogs pores and prevents hair follicles from “breathing.” This dehydrates your scalp, and can make a case of dandruff more pronounced. The solution? Try a medicated shampoo.

Anyway, if you don’t want to double-dip in the jar of coconut oil sitting in your kitchen, here are five coconut oil-infused hair products your hair will love just as much.

Kopari Coconut Melt

A tub of 100 percent organic, unrefined coconut oil to keep in your bathroom for hair-conditioning and all your other beauty needs.

Bumble and Bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Balm-to-Oil Pre Shampoo Masque

Your protective pre-poo awaits.

DevaCurl Supercream Coconut Curl Styler

A cult favorite, this creamy coconut leave-in is worshipped by curly girls far and wide.

IGK Rich Kid Coconut Oil Gel

A lighter-weight coconut-oil styler for finer hair. Ideal if you want crunch-free beach waves or just need to counteract unbearably humid days.

SheaMoisture Coconut & Hibiscus Hold & Shine Moisture Mist

High shine that’s already bottled and ready to spritz.

If you buy something through our links, New York may earn an affiliate commission.

Coconut oil is rapidly growing in popularity for a wide variety of uses and benefits. For everything from cooking to moisturizing skin, this miracle oil tops the list of natural alternatives to improve your health and well-being.

Whether you decide to start eating coconut oil, swishing it around your mouth or topically applying it to your hair and skin, coconut oil is something you need in your home. One of the greatest applications of coconut oil is for your hair, whether it be to intensely moisturize and condition, to stimulate faster growth, detangle, defeat dandruff and more.

Here are six reasons you should start putting coconut oil in your hair.

1. Coconut Oil For Deep Conditioning

Because it is comprised mainly of smaller medium-chain fatty acids, the oil of the coconut penetrates hair more deeply and faster than other conditioners.

To use coconut oil as a leave-in treatment to repair split ends, moisturize your scalp, and add a healthy glow to your tresses; just follow these easy steps:

– First make sure you have at least an hour or two for this treatment. (The longer you leave coconut oil on your hair, the more effective it will be!)

– Wash your hair and let it air dry while you prepare the next steps.

– Gather your materials: a comb or hair pick, shower cap or small towel to wrap your hair in, two small bowls of different sizes (one should fit inside the other), and of course your jar of organic virgin coconut oil.

– Scoop a small amount of coconut oil into the smaller of the two bowls.

– Set the smaller bowl in the bottom of the larger one.

– Fill the larger bowl with hot water so the smaller bowl is partially submerged, but not floating or taking on water.

– Once your coconut oil comes to temperature and is completely melted, use your fingers to gently massage the oil into your hair, then work through with a comb or hair pick.

– After you’ve finished applying the oil, wrap your hair up in a shower cap or small towel and allow it to soak in for thirty minutes or longer.

– Shampoo to remove oil.

– Optionally, you may reapply a small amount of coconut oil to the ends of your hair and / or work a small amount through all of your hair again – just enough to give it a healthy shine.

– Then style as usual.

Alternatively, try this brilliant coconut oil deep conditioning hair mask recipe which also includes honey (a humectant that draws moisture from the air) and apple cider vinegar which clears away residue, detangles and repairs split ends amongst other things.

2. Coconut Oil As a Daily Detangler

If you have long or curly hair, dealing with tangles may be a daily battle for you. Coconut oil can help here, too!

Also, because it’s 100% natural, organic virgin coconut oil won’t leave any residue or long-term damage to your tresses! Before brushing or styling your hair, just follow these few steps to use coconut oil as a detangler:

– Gather your hair brush, a comb or hair pick, two small bowls of different sizes (one should fit inside the other), and your jar of organic virgin coconut oil.

– Scoop a small amount of coconut oil into the smaller of the two bowls and set the smaller bowl in the bottom of the larger one.

– Fill the larger bowl with hot water so the smaller bowl is partially submerged, but not floating or taking on water.

– Let your coconut oil come to temperature so it is completely melted.

– Use your fingers to gently massage the oil into the ends of your hair, then – starting from the ends and working your way toward the roots – gently work out tangles with a comb or hair pick.

– Let the oil soak in, then brush and style as usual. No need to rinse or shampoo. Coconut oil will continue to nourish your hair all day long!

(Further reading: Top 10 Home Remedies For Thinning Hair)

3. Coconut Oil To Defeat Dandruff

If long-time use of chemical shampoos, conditioners, styling products, or colorants has left you with itchy, flaky, dandruff – you can use coconut oil to heal your scalp. Just follow these easy steps daily and watch your dandruff problems disappear:

– At the end of the day or shortly before bedtime, wash your hair with an all natural shampoo and condition as usual.

– Gather the following supplies: a comb or hair pick, two small bowls of different sizes (one should fit inside the other), a towel or cloth to cover your head overnight, and your jar of organic virgin coconut oil.

– Scoop a small portion of coconut oil into the smaller of the two bowls then place it into the bottom of the larger bowl.

– Fill the larger bowl with hot water so the smaller bowl is partially submerged, but not floating or taking on water.

– While you wait for your coconut oil to come to temperature, use your comb or hair pick to remove any tangles.

– Once the coconut oil is completely melted, use your fingers to gently massage the oil into your scalp. (If you have long hair, it may be easier to flip your head upside-down in order to apply oil to your entire scalp.)

– Wrap your head with the towel or cloth and leave coconut oil on your scalp overnight for best results.

The following morning, you may wish to use an epsom salt treatment to remove excess shed skin cells from your scalp.

4. Coconut Oil As a Base for Hair Coloring

Coconut oil makes an excellent medium for mixing your all-natural hair coloring. Because coconut oil penetrates hair more deeply and faster than many other natural oils, it can help your color to be more vibrant and keep it from fading too quickly.

– Gather your materials: a shower cap or small towel, a comb or hair pick, coloring herbs, gloves, two bowls of different sizes (one should fit inside the other), a container for mixing color, and your jar of organic virgin coconut oil.

– Scoop a few spoonfuls of coconut oil (enough to liberally coat your hair) into the smaller of the two bowls and set it into the bottom of the larger bowl.

– Fill the larger bowl with hot water so the smaller bowl is partially submerged, but not floating or taking on water.

– Let your coconut oil come to temperature so it is completely melted.

– Mix coconut oil with your coloring herbs and apply as you normally would.

– Once color has set, shampoo hair with lukewarm water to remove excess oil and colorant.

– Wrap your hair with a shower cap or towel to let color continue to set overnight.

(Further reading: 12 Home Remedies To Combat Grey Hair)

5. Coconut Oil For Faster Hair Growth

Use coconut oil as a natural way to help your hair grow longer, thicker, and faster. The vitamins and essential fatty acids naturally found in coconut oil nourish the scalp and help to remove sebum build-up from hair follicles.

Use as a daily treatment by following these simple steps:

– At the end of the day or shortly before bedtime, wash your hair with an all natural shampoo and condition as usual.

– Gather your materials: a comb or hair pick, shower cap or small towel to wrap your hair in, two small bowls of different sizes (one should fit inside the other), and of course your jar of organic virgin coconut oil.

– Scoop a small amount of coconut oil into the smaller of the two bowls.

– Set the smaller bowl in the bottom of the larger one.

– Fill the larger bowl with hot water so the smaller bowl is partially submerged, but not floating or taking on water.

– While you wait for your coconut oil to come to temperature, use your comb or hair pick to remove any tangles.

– Once the coconut oil is completely melted, use your fingers to gently massage the oil into your scalp. (If you have long hair, it may be easier to flip your head upside-down in order to apply oil to your entire scalp.)

– Wrap your head with the towel or cloth and leave coconut oil on your scalp overnight for best results.

6. Coconut Oil To Protect Hair From Sun Damage

Coconut oil makes an excellent all natural sunscreen. In the morning – especially on a day when you know that your hair will be exposed to the elements more than usual – apply coconut oil to protect your hair by following these simple steps:

– Gather your hair brush, a comb or hair pick, two small bowls of different sizes (one should fit inside the other), and your jar of organic virgin coconut oil.

– Scoop a small amount of coconut oil into the smaller of the two bowls and set the smaller bowl in the bottom of the larger one.

– Fill the larger bowl with hot water so the smaller bowl is partially submerged, but not floating or taking on water.

– Let your coconut oil come to temperature so it is completely melted.

– Use your fingers to gently massage the oil into your hair then brush and style as usual.

3 More Cool Coconut Oil Uses For Hair

Healthier Eyelashes – Fill a roller bottle with fractionated coconut oil (coconut oil that remains in liquid form) and apply to your eyelashes at bedtime after having removed your makeup. If it is too oily, use a clean cloth to blot away any excess.

Do this treatment 3 times a week for extra lubrication and nourishment.

Fuller Eyebrows – Apply a few drops of melted coconut oil to your eyebrows with a clean fingertip to soften and thicken your eyebrows.

Shaving – While all of the above methods discuss using coconut oil to improve the condition of your hair, it can also work as a great alternative to shaving cream to remove hair from your body.

For shaving legs, simply apply a tablespoon of coconut oil to each leg and shave as usual. It might be wise to wash your hands after applying to prevent the razor from slipping out of your hand.

How To Buy The Best Coconut Oil

When purchasing coconut oil, it’s important to opt for cold-pressed, unrefined, virgin coconut oil that has been ethically sourced, and is preferably stored in a glass jar.

This jar of Spring Of Life Extra Virgin Coconut Oil meets all of the criteria above and is also one of the best reviewed on Amazon, as well as being one of the more affordable bottles.

There are so many oils out there it’s impossible to keep up, but many consider coconut oil the HBIC of all oils. Its gained such a glowing reputation because there’s not a lot of things coconut oil can’t do. It’s one of those do-it-all miracle oils that might as well be the beauty world’s holy water. Not sure what all the hype is about? Well, coconut oil has the power to burn fat, bless you with healthy, thick hair, fight off bacteria, seamlessly remove makeup, work as a whitening toothpaste, and more. Although we could go on and on about its uses, today we’re here to talk about hair, and the many ways coconut oil can help in that category.

How exactly should you be using coconut oil to transform your hair? Celebrity stylist to the stars Cynthia Alvarez along with master stylist and colorist at IGK salon Stephanie Brown share the many ways they put this magic oil to use. Arguably the best thing about coconut oil is its super cheap price tag. So if you don’t have a jar, you’re going to want to buy 10 after reading this.

Tip #1: Coconut Oil Has the Power to Make Your Hair Grow Longer, Thicker, and Healthier

Let’s start this story off right with the answer we’ve all been waiting for: Does coconut oil make your hair grow? Yes, indeed it does. “Coconut oil will definitely help your hair grow healthier, thicker, and longer,” Brown confirms. “The vitamins and fatty acids in coconut oil help nourish your scalp and penetrates the cuticle of the hair. A treatment mask about once every week or two weeks for five to 10 minutes will do the trick” (…keep scrolling for Brown’s favorite coconut oil-infused mask). Alvarez agrees, adding that incorporating coconut oil into your routine creates the optimal environment for hair growth. “The vitamins and essential fatty acids also helps to remove sebum build-up from hair follicles, which speeds up growth,” she explains.

Tip #2: Lather It All Over Your Hair For a Pre-Poo Shampoo Treatment

It’s no secret that harsh ingredients found in many shampoos can strip your hair of its natural, good-for-you oils. “If your hair is feeling a little dry or damaged, coconut oil is a good pre-shampoo treatment to prevent shampoos from stripping all the oils from your hair,” Brown suggests. So massage coconut oil into your hair from root-to-tip before you shampoo to prevent this.

Tip #3: Use It Before a Big Dye Job to Prevent Hair Coloring Damage

“I like to tell certain clients to put a little coconut oil in their hair before getting major highlights or going platinum because it helps protect the hair from bleach,” Brown says.

Tip #4: Rub It On Your Split Ends For a Quick Fix and Frizz Control

If running to the salon to solve your split end problem is not going to happen any time soon, consider coconut oil your right-hand man for a quick fix. Before we go any further though, sorry, you still have to go to the salon eventually to really get your split ends taken care of—by no means is this a permanent solution. “Coconut oil will help smooth the cuticles on your split ends, so your hair doesn’t looked frayed at the end. It also helps tame frizz due to split ends or humid weather.” It actually can control frizz on your whole head, not just on your split ends. “It prevents frizz because it’s great for replenishing moisture in your hair,” Alvarez adds, so you should use it on the driest parts of your hair.

Tip #5: Apply It on Your Hair As a Leave-In Treatment

“I love using coconut oil as a leave-in treatment in the summer,” Brown suggests. “The heat from the sun will open up the cuticle so the oil will penetrate your hair even more. Its ingredients have natural protectants that save your hair from sun damage. Coconut oil also protects the hair from drying out or getting brittle from salt water and chlorine.” In other words, you’re going to need it this summer, so keep some in your beach bag too!

Shop the Coconut Oil Hair Products Brown Always Recommends

Nourishing Coconut Oil Weightless Hydrating Oil Mist OGX walmart.com $6.64 Like a Virgin Super Nourishing Coconut & Fig Hair Masque Coco & Eve amazon.com $49.90 Extra Strength Damage Remedy + Coconut Miracle Oil OGX target.com $6.59 Thirsty Girl Coconut Milk Leave-In Conditioner IGK sephora.com $28.00

Tip #6: Use Coconut Oil As a Non-Toxic and All-Natural Aid for Getting Rid of Lice

If you’re dealing with lice, Brown recommends rubbing coconut oil throughout your scalp and your hair from root-to-tip as an initial step to kill lice. Then, following that up with an apple cider vinegar rinse. “Be sure to do an apple cider rinse to kill all of the eggs or nits left behind,” Brown advises.

Alvarez recommends employing tea tree oil as well, and agrees that coconut oil alone can’t fully get rid of lice. “Coconut oil can’t completely kill the nits that lice lay in your hair,” Alvarez explains. “Mixing a few drops of tea tree oil in coconut oil could help kill the lice and neutralize their eggs.” (And when in doubt, consult your doctor!)

Tip #7: If You’re Dealing With Dandruff, Let It Sit On Your Scalp for A Few Minutes Before Shampooing

Coconut oil can also stop those pesky dandruff flakes from making a home on your hair. “If you want to combat dandruff, put coconut oil on your scalp for about five minutes, and then shampoo it out,” Brown explains, which she says to continue to do until you start to see less dandruff. Alvarez adds that rubbing coconut oil on your hair restores scalp health and reduces flaking.

Tip #8: Use It As a Detangler

“Coconut oil provides a great slip to the hair making detangling feel like a breeze,” Alvarez explains.

Tip #9: Apply It Lightly to Boost Shine

To utilize coconut oil’s high-shine quality, Alvarez recommends using a light hand so your hair won’t look too oily and applying it throughout your hair.

Tip #10: Use Coconut Oil to Save Your Hair From Sun Damage

“Coconut oil is a natural SPF and will protect your hair and skin from the harmful rays of the sun,” says Alvarez.

Shop the Coconut Oil Hair Products Alvarez Always Recommends

Coconut Melt Kopari sephora.com $28.00 Amino Acid Shampoo Kiehl’s nordstrom.com $32.00 Rosemary & Peppermint Detangler John Masters Organics dermstore.com $24.00 Sea Mist Lavender Hair Texturizing Spray Herbivore Botanicals nordstrom.com $20.00

QTNA: Is it Safe to Use Coconut Oil on All Hair Types?

No matter your hair type, a little bit of coconut oil won’t ever hurt. But depending on the specific condition of your hair, you may not be able to tolerate the same amount of coconut oil each time. “Coconut oil works well for those with soft and fine, or medium to thick hair,” Alvarez notes. “Its protein retention abilities will add body and volume to such hair types, and also minimize damage and breakage while combing and styling.” But if your hair is in a dry, stiff, brittle, or coarse condition, Alvarez recommends not using it on a regular basis. “With repeated use, coconut oil may cause protein build-up, making your hair even more stiff, hard, and less elastic—less elasticity means more breakage when combing or styling. “

A general rule of thumb: Coconut oil can be applied whenever you feel your hair lacks moisture and shine, according to Alvarez. She emphasizes that more isn’t always better, so start with a small amount and pay attention to how your hair responds. Both stylists recommend using cold-pressed virgin coconut oil that is raw and unfiltered to maximize the benefits. Amazing hair days are ahead of you.

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Maya Allen Digital Beauty Editor Maya Allen is the Digital Beauty Editor at MarieClaire.com where she covers makeup, skincare, haircare, wellness, you name it!

Castor oil has been a beauty staple for years, essential oils are more popular than ever, and body oils are an excellent way to moisturize. But coconut oil deserves a spot in your self-care routine, too, because it makes for a top-notch conditioning treatment. “Coconut oil is unique because it’s similar to hair’s natural lipid structure and able to penetrate the hair more than other oils,” says Leo Izquierdo, co-founder of IGK Hair Care, a brand that uses coconut oil in many of its products, most notably, the popular Rich Kid Coconut Oil Gel ($29, sephora.com).

While some people use unrefined or pure coconut oil straight from the jar, we recommend simply looking for a conditioner that lists it as an ingredient to avoid overdoing it and weighing down your strands. Herbal Essences Bio:Renew Hydrate Coconut Milk ($7, walgreens.com), which contains coconut extract, was a top performer GHI Beauty Lab’s test of moisturizing shampoos and conditioners. IGK Smoke & Mirrors Conditioning Cleansing Oil ($29, sephora.com) is a great two-in-one option because it’s meant to cleanse and condition.

If it sounds like your hair could benefit from a little tender, love, and coconut, here are all the answers to your questions about incorporating the ingredient into your routine:

First, select your coconut oil product:

IGK Rich Kid Coconut Oil Gel sephora.com $29.00 Garden of Life Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil amazon.com $7.99 St. Tropica Coconut Oil Hair Mask with Biotin + Hair Superfoods ulta.com $1.97 IGK Mistress Hydrating Hair Balm sephora.com $29.00

Can coconut oil really help my hair?

Yes, and you should start to see results right away. “When applied on a regular basis (2-3 times a week if your hair type is normal to course, less often if you have fine hair), coconut oil can enhance hair’s lubrication, making it easier to comb and manage, while increasing shine and preventing frizz,” adds Sabina Wizemann, senior chemist at the Good Housekeeping Institute Beauty Lab. It’s especially useful on damaged hair because it helps protect the hair shaft from becoming waterlogged, which “can eventually increase further cuticle lifting and damage,” she says.

But does it help my hair grow?

Not exactly. One study found that coconut oil helped “reduce the protein loss remarkably for both undamaged and damaged hair.” And while some reports have suggested that coconut oil can help promote hair growth or other concerns, “it isn’t a medical treatment,” Izquierdo says. “For anything like dandruff, hair loss or scalp irritation, it’s best to see a doctor.”

When should I use coconut oil?

Any time! Coconut oil can start working for you before you even get your hair wet. Apply it as a prewash, i.e. “treat hair for 15 to 30 minutes with coconut oil before shampooing in order to protect hair from absorbing too much water,” says Wizemann. This cuts down on frizz and makes hair easier to style post-shower. Raw coconut oil, like Garden of Life Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil ($6, amazon.com), is ideal for this step, with one caveat: “If you have an oily scalp, only use it on the middle and end sections of your hair,” cautions Brooke Evans, a L’Oreal Professionnel artist.

How long should I leave it in my hair?

Anywhere from 20 minutes to overnight, if it’s used as a hair mask. Simply apply it before bed and wash it out in the morning for a more intense treatment. Doing this will give you the “maximum benefits” of coconut oil, says Wizemann, and “should provide a sleeker look and softer feeling hair” after you shampoo. “This method however can cause breakouts around the hair line in people who don’t tolerate oils well on their skin,” she notes. In general, you should probably avoid coconut oil if you have super sensitive or oily skin because it can clog pores. Again, all you need is unrefined coconut oil, but you can also use a store-bought hair mask like the St. Tropica Organic Coconut Hot Oil Hair Mask with Biotin + Superfoods ($4, ulta.com).

Can coconut oil make my hair fall out?

No. But if the idea of applying oil to your hair makes you nervous, you can start small by using a tiny amount to tame frizz, applying it to the ends of your hair. “This will leave a polished, shiny look,” says Andrew Fitzsimons, hairstylist and Alterna Haircare brand ambassador. He recommends using the Alterna Haircare Caviar Anti-Aging Anti-Frizz Blowout Butter ($34, sephora.com), which “tames frizz while protecting hair from heat-styling and humidity.”

Erin Mayer Erin Mayer is a writer based in New York City. Blake Bakkila Associate Editor Blake is the Associate Editor for GoodHousekeeping.com covering beauty, celebrity, holiday entertaining, and other lifestyle news.Michell Jonas/Demand Media

Coconut oil is rich in fatty acids that nourish and moisturize the scalp and hair. Polynesian cultures historically have and still do use extra virgin coconut oil as a beauty product, notes the Polynesian Cultural Center in Oahu, Hawaii. A study published in the Journal of Cosmetic Science found that coconut oil applied to the hair reduced hair breakage, and another study in 2005 from the Journal of Cosmetic Science noted that coconut oil penetrated the hair follicle better than the most common ingredient in hair conditioners, mineral oil.

According to the book Coconut Oil: Amazing Health, Skin And Cooking Benefits by Gene Ashburner, aside from making a great moisturizer for hair and scalp, the oil has been used as a natural remedy to combat frizz; get rid of dandruff; remove and prevent lice; and promote hair growth. Coconut oil can even be used to extract chewing gum from hair.

While pure coconut oil can improve scalp health, therefore improving the conditions for growing thicker, fuller hair, it does not treat the underlying cause of hair loss and cannot be relied on for treating baldness related to dihydrotestosterone.

According to some sources, coconut oil can also soothe cradle cap, an issue commonly seen in babies. Its antibacterial properties may ward off folliculitis, an infection of the hair follicles, and may also fight fungal infections, such as ringworm of the scalp. You can easily replace expensive, deep-conditioning salon treatments by using this great smelling coconut oil conditioner at home.

Read more: Is Coconut Oil the Miracle Food It’s Cracked Up to Be?

How to Heat and Apply Coconut Oil to Your Hair

Michell Jonas/Demand Media

In order to correctly heat coconut oil, use this method. Warming in the microwave or directly over high heat in a pan can degrade the quality of the oil, making it less beneficial. Pour 1 cup of hot water into a small bowl.

Michell Jonas/Demand Media

Scoop 2 tsp. coconut oil out of the jar, using a clean spoon, and put it into a glass cup. Use extra virgin coconut oil and, if possible, make sure that it’s organic and sustainably harvested.

Read more: Nutrition Facts of Coconut Oil

Michell Jonas/Demand Media

Place the cup of coconut oil into the bowl of warm water. Leave the cup in the bowl until the coconut oil melts. Pure coconut oil is solid at cold temperatures but melts quickly at 76 degrees F or above.

Michell Jonas/Demand Media

Massage the coconut oil onto your scalp and throughout your hair. If your hair is long, you may need to use additional coconut oil. Apply the coconut oil to dry or damp hair, whichever you prefer. The oil spreads more easily through damp hair.

Michell Jonas/Demand Media

Comb your hair to distribute the coconut oil evenly. If you are using coconut oil for hair growth or scalp health, be sure to massage it into the roots of your hair. However, if you are prone to an oily scalp and just want the conditioning benefits, you can apply the oil mid-shaft, a few inches from your scalp.

Michell Jonas/Demand Media

Put a shower cap on your head, and tuck all of your hair inside of it. Leave the coconut oil on your hair for at least 30 minutes or you can leave it in overnight. The longer you leave the coconut oil on, the more it will condition your hair.

Michell Jonas/Demand Media

Shampoo your hair and repeat if necessary to remove the coconut oil completely. Using warm water will help get the oil out of your hair.

Read more: 9 Things to Do for Amazing Hair

Michell Jonas/Demand Media

Melt a pea-sized amount of coconut oil in the palms of your hands by rubbing your hands together, and apply it lightly throughout your hair for extra conditioning, concentrating on the ends of your hair. Skip this step if your hair does not need extra conditioning. Style your hair as normal.

Tip

Purchase extra virgin coconut oil for best results. Pure, unrefined coconut oil is processed without chemicals. Chemical processing destroys the oil’s valuable nutrients. Unrefined coconut oil is sold in many stores, and you can purchase pure, unrefined coconut oil that is sold for cosmetic use or for food use. Mix one drop of your favorite essential oil into the coconut oil before putting it into your hair to give the oil a pleasant scent. Jasmine oil and honeysuckle oil work well with coconut oil.

Hey, happy December. How you holdin’ up, champ? You dealing with the frigidly cold wind, flaking skin, and dehydrated hair, alright? Or are you slathering your face in Vaseline and counting down the days until the spring humidity thaws your soul and turns your hair back into a recognizable thing? Yeah, us, too. But rather than stare at a calendar for another three months with your fuzzy hair chained into a topknot, give it a much-needed surge of moisturize with a few DIY coconut oil hair treatments.

MORE: The 3 Best DIY Tinted Lip Balms You’ll Actually Use

Sure, you could use some store-bought conditioner, but we can pretty much guarantee it won’t work as well as coconut oil. Because of its chemical structure, coconut oil can actually penetrate the inner core of your hair better than most cosmetically engineered ingredients, meaning its smoothing and strengthening benefits won’t slip down the drain as soon as your rinse it off. And because it’s so powerful, you won’t need a ton of it for each DIY, making it a pretty cost-efficient buy.

Keep reading to see our three favorite coconut oil treatments for all hair types, and get ready to have your hair—but, like, way better—back today.

Photo: Getty Images

Coconut Oil Leave-In Treatment:

If your hair tends to poof and frizz no matter what smoothing products you use (ah, the plight of coarse, thick hair), use coconut oil as a leave-in treatment to stave off frizz and poofiness as your hair dries. Here’s how: Melt a tablespoon of coconut oil in a small ramekin until liquefied—but not super-hot—then scoop it up and rub it around your hands as you would a hand cream (massaging it into your hands before applying it to your hair prevents you from using too much).

Flip your head over and scrunch your hands through the bottom few inches of hair, raking and smoothing through your ends until the coconut oil is evenly distributed and your hands are clean. Don’t get overzealous and apply a second coat; coconut oil is sneakily heavy and can weigh your hair down. Style your hair as usual, and then revel in the smooth, frizz-free finish.

Coconut Oil Curl Refresher:

If you have kinky curls that need a constant stream of moisture pumping through them (you know the feeling: Your hair turns undefined and fluffy by noon, and you’d give anything to swirl your head in a bowl of conditioner), then welcome to your savior. While most curl-refreshing sprays are crunchy, sticky, and straight-up ineffective, a coconut-oil spray adds lightweight moisture to dry-as-hell hair.

To make your own, heat a quarter cup of water in a mug, mix in three teaspoons of coconut oil until fully dissolved, and then funnel the mixture into a teeny tiny spray bottle (like the two-ounce travel-size bottles that can easily fit into a clutch). Spray it throughout your hair during the day for an instant moisturizing boost.

Coconut Oil Hair Mask:

Probably the best, most-common use of coconut oil for hydrating frizzy, dried-out hair is through a hair mask. Luckily, the application is also the easiest of all of these at-home recipes, with no additional tools required (though things will get a little messy, so make sure you’re standing in the tub or shower before you start). It sounds a little weird, but you’ll be applying your coconut oil to dry hair—oils and moisturizers can’t penetrate the shaft of wet hair as well as it can dry hair—so make sure to brush and detangle your hair before applying the oil.

Before you start, scoop a few large chunks of coconut oil into a bowl and microwave them for 15 to 30 seconds until slightly melted. Then, standing in the tub, section off a four-inch piece of hair and massage coconut oil through it from root to tip, combing it with a wide-tooth comb to make sure it’s evenly distributed. Repeat until your whole head is covered and combed, then twist and clip your hair into a topknot. Cover your hair with a shower cap (or, in a pinch, we’ve wrapped our heads in plastic wrap) and leave it on for 45 minutes to really let the oil soak into your strands. Then rinse your hair thoroughly—if your hair is fine, you may need to suds up twice to prevent the oils from weighing your hair down when it dries—and style as usual.

  • Restorative Treatment Mask, £28, Virtue
    This contains Alpha Keratin 60ku, a protein almost identical to the keratin we find in our own hair which allows it to bind directly to areas of damage and strengthen weakened hair. The result is stronger, healthier looking strands each time you use it.

  • Game-Changer Multi-Task Hair Mask, £18, We Are Paradoxx
    An exciting eco option, We Are Paradoxx are organic, natural and use 90% less plastic. This thoroughly smoothing mask contains strengthening kelp seaweed and nourishing argan oil, coconut oil and avocado oil, getting to work on conditioning hair in as little as five minutes.

  • Blond Absolu Masque Ultra Violet Treatment, £24.50, Kerastase
    Grey, silver and platinum are the icy cool tones topping the bleach charts right now, but such shades require maintenance. To neutralise brassiness while drenching brittle hair with hydration, this mask is tinged with violet and packed with nourishers.

  • Don’t Despair, Repair! Deep Conditioning Mask, £30, Briogeo
    This rich formula gets straight to work on parched locks in desperate need of hydration. The avocado oil seals in moisture while the B-Vitamin Complex helps to repair split ends. The large pot also goes a long way so the cost per hair is easily justified. Say hello to silky smooth hair!

  • Emergencée Hair Masque for Damaged Hair, £13.33, Nexxus
    In just five minutes, this little pot of goodness will counteract some of the damage caused by your straighteners and curling tongs, leaving your hair so soft you literally won’t stop touching it.

  • Professional Mythic Oil Masque, £14.60, L’Oreal Professionnel
    Teeming with nourishing Argan Oil and Myrrh extract, your hair will literally drink up this mask, leaving your hair looking its shiniest and healthiest yet.

  • Banana Truly Nourishing Hair Mask, £12, The Body Shop
    This weekly treatment won’t break the bank and will instantly ramp up the gloss.

  • Suan Wen Hua, £10.25, Lush
    Want to replenish your roots and strengthen your lengths? This restorative herbal hair and scalp treatment is the answer to your prayers. Work into the scalp and allow fresh bay leaf infusion to stimulate your roots, fresh watercress to soothe the skin and spicy cinnamon leaf to boost circulation to the hair follicles, encouraging healthy hair growth. In fact, this natural mask is so popular, it’s being dubbed a ‘life saviour’ and receiving hundreds of 5* reviews online.

  • All Soft Mega Sheet Mask, £8, Redken
    Not only is this one of the funnest hair treatments we’ve ever tried, but this innovative sheet mask tackles frizz and deeply nourishes each strand.

  • Super Nourishing Coconut & Fig Hair Masque, £34.90, Coco & Eve

    A triple whammy of naturally nourishing ingredients (virgin coconut oil, argan oil and shea butter) will transform your hair in one application, eliminating dryness and frizz. Plus, it comes with a handy brush helping you to distribute the mask evenly.

  • Strength Care Superfood Treatment, £18.55, Pureology

    Superfood ingredients like goji berry extract and olive oil make this a delicious remedy for dry and dehydrated hair – and it’s 100% vegan to boot.

  • Perfectly Perfecting Wonder Overnight Recovery, £20, Percy & Reed
    When washing, applying, waiting (and waiting), then washing out a hair mask seems like a bit of a chore, turn to this genius product. Apply to wet or DRY hair (seriously?), sleep in it without the worry of it soiling your sheets (whaaaaa?) and rinse out in the morning without having to use conditioner (yesss gurl). Snaps for Percy&Reed please.

  • Treatment Masque, £25, Ouai
    Created by Jen Atkin, mega-babe hair stylisy to mega-babes Chrissy Teigen, Bella Hadid and the whole Kardashian crew, Ouai gives A-list hair at B-list prices. She’s even packed her restoring mask into individual servings for ease. What a honey.

  • Hydrating Mask Light, £31.25, Moroccanoil
    If you’ve tried the original Argan oil from Moroccanoil, you’ll already know this brand is sent from the haircare Gods. As an extra treat, smooth this on for a mere 5 minutes to take yourself to hair heaven.

  • The Great Hydrator Moisture Mask, £14.50, Evo
    Not only is this mask a wonder for colour damaged hair, but it also contains UV protectors to shield from sun damage. If you’re going on a 2 week beach holiday take this with you, and not too many smug Instagrams please.

  • Frizz Ease Dream Curls Conditioner, £6.99, John Frieda
    Soothes and adds shine to often troublesome curly hair, without weighing them down. A steal at only £6.99, we’d pay double that for the results. But don’t tell John Frieda that.

  • NouNou Nourishing Repair Mask, £19.45, Davines
    Buttery and thick, your hair will feel better just looking at this tub. For optimum results, slather it on and wrap your hair in cling film while it gets to work. Makes for a hilarious selfie too.

  • No.3 Hair Perfector, £32, Olaplex
    The third step in their game-changing treatment plan (the first two are in-salon only), this re-builds broken bonds in damaged hair. Best used on top of the first two, but also brilliant on it’s own.

  • Gold Lust Transformative Masque, £57, Oribe
    We could bang on about how this nourishes, smooths and adds shine to hair (because it does) but instead we have to talk about the smell. OMG. You will be sniffing yourself all day. Strangers will be sniffing you. You won’t care because you’d sniff a stranger if they smelt like you did. DEE.VINE.

  • Overnight Hair Repair, £35, Sachajuan
    The name might be complicated (it’s pronounced sash-ah-wan. We think…) but the application isn’t. Simply slap it on wet hair and leave it on overnight. No need to wrap (it won’t stain pillows), no need to rinse. Light enough to use on fine hair too.

  • 3 Minute Miracle Reconstructor Deep Conditioner, £4.99, Aussie
    Silky smooth, sweet smelling locks for under a fiver? Sign us up. The best the high street has to offer.

  • Coconut Breeze Elasticizer, £74.80, Philip Kingsley
    It might sound pricey until you realise this bad boy is a LITRE serving of hair-saving goodness. The rich formula is perfect for thick or afro hair, and – added bonus – it smells like a Pina Colada. Doesn’t taste like one though, trust us.

  • Restore Mask Treatment, £37, Living Proof
    Healing and strengthening without weighing hair down, this hard-working treatment works to rebuild from the inside out. If you need convincing, bear in mind the brand was co-founded by Jennifer Aniston (and her trend setting, head-turning, Brad-Pitt-dating hair). Need we say more?

Your hair will seriously thank you

It’s the beauty industry’s favourite natural ingredient of the moment with people using coconut oil for skin and oil pulling, but what can it do for your hair? From hydrating dry locks to improving texture and adding shine, we’ve cooked up five genius uses of coconut oil for hair, with a little help from some industry experts.

But first, why are we obsessed with coconut oil for hair? Gareth Williams, Headmasters Artistic Ambassador tells us: ‘Coconut oil is fast becoming the ‘it’ oil of our times. It’s a versatile product, but beautifully nourishing.’ Because it’s an all-natural product, it can be left on hair overnight to see maximum benefits.

A moisture-boosting hair mask

‘Being natural, there are no chemicals that can aggravate the scalp. I recommend to my clients to do a treatment using coconut oil once a month,’ says Gareth. ‘Apply onto shampooed hair, leave for as long as possible to reap the benefits. Rinse and shampoo the hair again to leave the hair in great texture that isn’t going to feel heavy or weighed down.’

Vincent Allenby, creative director at Trevor Sorbie Manchester agrees: ‘Left on for an hour or overnight, hair will feel softer. I’d recommend you shampoo with a gentle cleansing shampoo such as Redken or Pureology to continue your healthy hair maintenance.’ Find the best shampoo for your hair with our round-up.

Coconut oil for hair growth

It’s true – using super-moisturising coconut oil on your locks might make them grow longer by promoting healthy hair and scalp, or at least reduce breakage. ‘Coconut oil, known for its all-round use is said to aid in the promotion of hair growth. It is rich in vitamins and essential fatty acids which will moisturise the hair and scalp,’ says Allenby.

A daily de-tangler

Because 100% natural, organic virgin coconut oil won’t leave any residue in your locks, it makes a great smoothing de-tangling product. Melt your coconut oil over hot water and rub into any tricky tangles or through the ends of damp locks before combing through. Your hair will not only be tangle-free, it will smell great, too.

Dry, itchy scalp or dandruff? No more…

‘Coconut is an excellent hair moisturiser but can be a little difficult to wash out in its raw form. Liquid coconut is easier to work with and better as a deep scalp moisturiser than a hair moisturiser’ says Sally-Ann Tarver, Consultant Trichologist, The Cotswold Trichology Centre & Theradome.

Protect your tresses from the sun

Coconut oil makes for a great natural sunscreen, so protect your hair from the summer sun by rubbing a little melted coconut oil through your hair before hitting the beach. Don’t skip your sun cream step for your skin and scalp – but applying coconut oil all over before you add SPF will improve your skin condition as well as keeping hair safe from the sun’s powerful rays. Argan oil is also great for your hair, nicknamed ‘liquid gold’ for a reason.

Right, we’re off to make a homemade coconut oil hair mask.

Coconut Oil for Hair Growth: 6 Reasons Why Your Hair Deserves It

If your interested in trying some for your own hair, you can see our selection of coconut oils here.

Coconut Oil: Facts & Only Facts

The natives of coastal and tropical regions of the world can boast of their shiny and thick hair. That’s because they have known all the beneficial properties of coconut oil for thousands of years.

Coconut oil is the first plant oil ever used by mankind. It is derived from the mature fruits of coconut trees. It is thick and white semisolid; therefore, you need to wark it before using on your hair. Generally, it‘s used either externally and internally, for healthy food, ideal skin and other benefits.

6 Reasons to Treat Your Hair with Coconut Oil

  • Coconut oil stimulates hair growth getting deep into its follicles.
  • Coconut oil promotes the scalp health fighting against such problems as insect bites, lice and dandruff.
  • Coconut oil moisturizes dry hair.
  • Coconut oil adds luster, shine and softness to the hair.
  • Coconut oil prevents hair breakage and split ends, contributing to hair length.
  • Coconut oil slows down hair loss.

How to Use It for Your Maximum Results

Coconut oil is to be applied over the scalp and hair. Then you should comb it through the hair, so that to reach every strand. Furthermore, it is strongly advisable to warm the oil before applying, massage it into the scalp, leave it overnight and wash in the morning with shampoo.

Coconut Oil for Hair Growth: Your Gorgeous Glossy Head + Extra Natural Protection

As far as hair is like a tube, hollow from inside, coconut oil completely penetrates this space. As a result, the hair shafts are filled up and given more body. Your hair looks denser and fuller.

Fatigue Prevention

Hair gets damaged by swelling and shrinking of fibers, because of water retention and absorption. Such a ‘hygral fatigue’ is prevented by coconut oil, which protects the hair from possible damage.

Reduces Protein Loss

Do you know that our hair is total protein composition? Thus, protein loss from hair ends up in weak and unhealthy hair. Coconut oil treatment significantly reduces this protein loss from either damaged or undamaged hair. Researchers have discovered that it is the only oil to provide such a reduction.

Conditions from Within

Coconut oil retains moisture, so necessary for well-moisturized and strong hair. This keeps the hair shiny and silky. Coconut oil also conditions the hair from within, protecting it from heat and environment damage.

Anti-bacterial Properties

In addition, coconut oil has antibacterial properties and nutrients, responsible for ideal hair and scalp protection from bacteria/protozoan/viral infections.

More so, women using coconut oil can stop getting gray and keep their dark hair even when old!

Magical Coconut Oil

Well, are you ready to promote luxurious hair growth with magical coconut oil? Join all those people throughout the world, who have already acknowledged its beneficial effects! You’re going to possess your own long and luxurious hair, no matter whether it is male and female. Here it is, your potential ticket to thick and beautiful locks!
If your interested in trying some for your own hair, you can see our selection of coconut oils here.

Using coconut oil on hair

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