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What’s the best way to apply coconut oil to hair?

CYW says…Is using coconut oil as a pre-poo or a leave in after shampoo/cond going to benefit my hair the most?

The Right Brain responds:

We’ve blogged before about how coconut oil is effective at treating hair damage. That’s because it’s one of the relatively few oils that are able to penetrate deep into the hair. Coconut oil is special because it has the right combination of molecular size and shape (it’s small and has straight line structure that allows it to slip into hair) and the right chemical structure (it’s derived from lauric acid which has an affinity for protein.) So while most conditioning oils (like silicones and mineral oil) just sit on top of that hair, coconut oil is literally able to work from the inside.

What’s the best way to apply coconut oil?

One of the best studies we’ve seen on this subject was conducted in India is in 2002. Researchers found that coconut oil reduces damage both as a pre-wash and post grooming treatment. However, results showed it worked better as a prewash which makes sense since that’s when a lot of mechanical damage occurs during the washing and drying process.

Does this sound too good to be true? Well there is a slight catch, at least based on the methodology used in this particular test. The coconut oil was applied to hair and allowed to soak in for 14 hours (overnight). Despite the usage instructions for many regular conditioners you don’t have to let those sit on your hair for very long. However, if you want good penetration (and who doesn’t?) you have to allow coconut oil to soak into your hair for quite some time. Maybe 14 hours isn’t the magic number but that’s the timeframe that researchers used in this study.

The Beauty Brains bottom line

We wouldn’t want to over emphasize the results of any single study, however, based on the research we’ve seen you should apply coconut oil to your hair at night before going to sleep. In the morning wash it out with a shampoo like Phique and you should see significantly less damage.

Image credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/el_ramon/2561512339/

Reference: Effect of mineral oil, sunflower oil, and coconut oil on prevention of hair damage, J. Cosmet. Sci.,54, 175-192 (March/April2003)

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Tree January 17, 2014, 7:47 am

    There is one problem though… I can’t remove it!! It just doesn’t wash! I have to wash my hair many times and when it is finally washed away my hair is too dry from all this washing. So I think some advice is need not only on how to apply coconut oil but also how to remove it (olive oil as well).

    • Mel November 19, 2015, 10:55 pm

      You need to shampoo with a clarifying shampoo! Only use maybe once a week because it does strip most oils from the hair and if you have coloured Hair, over use of this clarifying shampoo may strip colour

    • LaDonna Childress November 30, 2015, 4:03 am

      I would question the coconut oil you are using! The c. oil I use is very easy to wash out. Are you checking out all the criteria for good, healthy coconut oil? It’s quite different than olive oil…not near as heavy. Use organic virgin,
      unrefined, cold pressed and chemical free. If it takes you several washings to get it out, I’m certain you’re not using a quality coconut oil.

      • Leah September 13, 2016, 12:57 am

        I use tropical green organics virgin organic coconut oil. Non gmo unrefined cold pressed. It smells so good. And works wonders on hair. only paid $7.95 for a 16 fl oz jar.

        • Viktoria Shriver January 19, 2018, 6:48 pm

          May I ask where you got it???

    • Teena December 18, 2015, 9:38 am

      Only apply it to the ends of your hair, not on your scalp. It should wash out easily with regular shampoo with one wash. I use it all the time and don’t even need to shampoo twice. I only use a clarifying shampoo once a month. And you don’t need too much coconut oil – about a teaspoon for shoulder length hair and maybe a tablespoon for long hair. I usually put the container in hot water for a few minutes so I’m working with an oil rather than a solid. If you use it as a solid, warm it between your hands until it melts and then apply it to your ends.

    • Melissa February 3, 2016, 8:05 pm

      I use Tresemme Deep Cleanse Shampoo and Conditioner and that helps! The coconut oil has made my hair so soft and shiny… It’s amazing what just a few days of applications can do!

    • Agagag March 14, 2016, 10:58 am

      Massage the shampoo into your hair BEFORE you wet it. It will lather a bit, and then when you wet it, it lathers some more and rinses away clean – taking the coconut oil with it. 🙂

      • Sarah Higham May 6, 2016, 5:11 pm

        Exactly – before applying any water, you need to apply the shampoo, lather well and then wash out with water. 🙂

    • Bekah April 8, 2016, 11:34 pm

      To get the coconut oil out of your hair the best way is to actually use conditioner first instead of shampoo! Because it is an oil it responds to this much better. I typically then follow with shampoo just on my scalp because i have fine hair and call it good!

    • Jenn April 28, 2016, 12:13 pm

      To wash the coconut oil out, shampoo once and condition twice in the shower. This will keep your hair from getting dry from over washing, get rid of all the extra coconut oil, and give it an extra boost of moisturization. You can also use a conditioning cleanser instead of shampoo if your hair is extra dry. I use coconut oil on my hair at least twice a week and this always works to get out the excess oil and keeps my hair soft and shiny, even though I use a lot of heating tools on it.

    • Rbl June 1, 2016, 5:34 am

      Try shampooing your hair once and condition it once, but leave the conditioner for about 10-15 mins. This is the methong I do and it works well for me.

    • FashionGuru August 12, 2016, 12:45 am

      Dry shampoo should do the trick

    • Felicity January 28, 2017, 8:11 pm

      Don’t use shampoo. Try using conditioner. The oil in the conditioner will help separate the oil from your hair.

    • Honey February 8, 2017, 1:43 am

      When washing any oil out of hair shampoo is applied directly to the scalp before adding any water. After the shampoo is throughly mixed in then rinse with water.

  • Samantha January 20, 2014, 11:33 am

    14 hours!!!! I can do maybe 2. No way I could sleep with my hair covered in oil.

  • elena January 23, 2014, 5:45 pm

    I actually always pre-poo my hair with coconut oil, the evening before a washday (with clarifying- or sulfate-based shampoo) and it doesn’t drip like evoo. You just wrap it up in silk or satin and you’re good to go. And it works wonders with dry hair and rough ends. Split ends need to be cut you risk losing length the longer you leave them be.

    • Randy Schueller January 23, 2014, 7:17 pm

      @Elena: Good point about coconut oil not dripping as much as olive oil. Since it’s nearly a solid at room temperature it has an easier consistency to work with.

    • LaDonna Childress November 30, 2015, 4:10 am

      I Love the suggestion!!! I’m going to do it right now. I have no trouble whatsoever sleeping with it in my hair!!!

  • Mia January 31, 2014, 4:22 pm

    Tree, I used to have that problem too! When I studied aromatherapy we would apply oil treatments to our hair. The tutor said the best way to remove it without stripping the hair was to apply gentle shampoo direct to the hair next morning before wetting it. That way it washes off much more easily.
    With coconut oil there is a danger of it solidifying while on your hair, especially in winter. Theoretically, you could break your hair while it is solid. So it’s important to not let it to go solid, if you can. One way is to add another oil that doesn’t solidify. Olive is good but heavy. Grapeseed and almond are good and inexpensive. Jojoba is wonderful if you can afford it.

    • Randy Schueller January 31, 2014, 5:10 pm

      Mia: With all due respect there is no way that coconut oil will solidify on your scalp to the point where it will cause your hair to break. First of all, the melting point of coconut oil is 76F (unless it has been hydrogenated) which is well below the temperature of your skin. Second, even if the oil did solidify it only forms a semi-solid mass that is not hard enough to break a strand of hair.

      • Tiffany September 11, 2016, 11:04 pm

        I agree with you. I would also like to add that if I can go out with wet hair during winter so it freezes and then TRY and break it in half to no avail, I think it’s pretty safe to say that hair doesn’t break like that.

  • c January 31, 2014, 7:21 pm

    barf, no way! this is 2014 and in most cultures this would be considered gross

    • Brittany March 4, 2014, 9:29 am

      No offense – But this is one of the most ignorant comment’s I have ever read.
      .. It’s 2014- I think people are INTO trying more thing’s. Not really sure who would consider coconut oil on your hair gross? It smell’s absolutely delicious and is natural. And it really does help your hair…. and is awesome for many other thing’s. Most cultures? Lol…. As far as something being considered ‘gross’ in other cultures- it would have to be quite repulsive considering some of the practices around the world. Read a book.

      • Jake November 7, 2015, 5:03 pm

        I find it ironic that you’re telling her to read a book, and yet you’ve pluralised three plural nouns. I think it’s you who needs to read a book; a grammar one.

        • C. Grey December 11, 2015, 7:26 pm

          Cool down, Jake…you’re not correct, either. Actually: in attempting to make those nouns plural…she made them “possessive” instead by adding the apostrophe. You might want to check your own grammar book before you criticize someone else. Just sayin’ :-/

          • patrick April 2, 2016, 6:43 am

            English professors, i guess.

          • Kelly-Marie May 3, 2016, 5:10 pm

            YES PATRICK! Power tripping English professors. It’s a coconut oil article. RELAX.

  • Stacey February 1, 2014, 10:42 am

    Don’t use as much

  • Tish February 12, 2014, 5:02 pm

    If coconut oil is so good for hair, why is it so difficult to find in commercial products? I’m not trying to be flippant. In an Amazon search, I found many hair care products that claimed to contain coconut oil, but few contained it in the first five ingredients, and those products were solid-at-room-temp tubs of coconut oil + an additional ingredient or two–not much different from buying a tub coconut oil.

    Is there something about coconut oil that makes it difficult to incorporate into a conditioner formulation of a more common (liquid) consistency?

    • Randy Schueller February 12, 2014, 6:09 pm

      That’s a very thought provoking question, Tish. I’ll address it in an upcoming blog post. Stay tuned!

    • Gabz May 25, 2014, 12:53 am

      I’m not an expert, by an means, but I do make a conditioner with extra virgin coconut oil for my dry, damaged hair friends. My own hair is fine and leans towards being oily, so I can’t use it.

      I know that if I incorporate high a percentage in my formula, the result is a very, very, thick product (almost like cold cream in consistency), particularly depending upon which emulsifying system I choose to use, and at what percentage.

      A high percentage of coconut oil – a very thick formula with the particular emulsifying system I use for that purpose – could be potted in jars for a once a week, deep conditioning treatment, but for a regular, daily use conditioner, I need only incorporate a very small percentage of coconut oil for friends to feel the benefits, which keeps it light enough for daily use.

      So, if I were to sell my daily use conditioner commercially, it would appear quite low on the list of ingredients, with water being first on the list and preservative appearing last.

      Did that make sense? Has it helped answer the question a bit?

    • Jodie December 10, 2017, 8:11 pm

      My guess. Cost. Incorporating real virgin coconut oil to a degree that it would actually have benefit in a conditioner for example, would likely make that conditioner cost a lot more then it does. Organic makes a coconut conditioner that works nicely but it double the cost of other conditioners the same size.$12.00 for a little bottle here in Canada. I’d rather buy a tub of coconut oil and do weekly treatments and get better results.

      That said, I think it works best as a leave-in overnight treatment. I drench my long hair with it and wear a shower cap to bed (and a towel on the pillow)
      Afterwards, the next few days my hair is soft and shiny. I just wash it out once and no problems with it rinsing out.

  • PA February 23, 2014, 11:19 am

    I mix coconut oil with cyclomethicone to thin it out and make it easier to spread through my hair. Do you think the cyclomethicone could make the coconut oil not work as well?

    • Randy Schueller February 23, 2014, 12:53 pm

      Great question! I’ve never seen data on this but given that the cyclomethicone will evaporate over time, my guess is that it won’t interfere.

  • PA February 23, 2014, 11:41 am

    Tow more coconut oil questions!

    1. If I use coconut oil on my hair, then wash it out and dye my hair on the same day, will the coconut oil interfere with the dye? I use Revlon Beautiful Collection temporary dye about once a month.

    2. Is there an oil-soluble hair dye pigment that could be dissolved in coconut oil? And if there is, could coconut oil be an effective delivery system to move pigment into the hair strands without using ammonia or peroxide? Even if it would be temporary, it might be a good way to dye and strengthen your hair at the same time, without damaging it.

    • Noha April 21, 2014, 11:51 am

      This is an interesting question. I would love to know the answer.

    • L June 16, 2014, 6:29 pm

      Hi PA,

      I have your answer! I’ve been using the following two products for about two years now to color my hair on a monthly to bimonthly basis:

      Clairol beautiful collection semi permanent colour moisturizing color (color found at stores such as Sally beauty supply)
      Organix nourishing coconut milk (conditioner from the neighbourhood chain drugstore)

      I mix the temporary dye with the conditioner primarily to make it thicker and less runny, but it also leaves my hair in great condition – smoother and shinier than before the color. I tend to leave the color on for about 1hr so that it hits desired intensity which is 2x as long as recommended (since I’ve diluted it to half concentration in the conditioner).

      I highly recommend doing this then rinsing out w a little shampoo and reconditioning with the conditioner mentioned. I’m curious to try it with straight up coconut oil, but given that it is the 5th ingredient on the conditioner bottle, I figure it’s pretty close to what you are hoping for.

      This works without damaging thick, long, straight hair (like mine) or thin, fine, straight hair (I’ve converted a friend to this type of dying too). Other hair types I can’t be sure of.

      Hope this helps.

      • PA July 13, 2015, 2:21 pm

        Hi L,
        I just saw this comment, that you wrote a year ago. Thanks! I will try your method.

  • Alessandra February 24, 2014, 3:08 pm

    Should it be applied on wet or dry hair? I have found conflicting instructions. Some sites say on dry hair because water would prevent the hair from absorbing oil, since oil floats on top of water. Others say only on wet hair, to seal the moisture in… And that if applied on dry hair it would actually make the hair drier. Help!

    • Randy Schueller February 24, 2014, 7:47 pm

      Based on reading the study it appears they applied coconut oil to dry hair.

  • Jessica March 12, 2014, 10:04 am

    I will like to know if I need to apply the coconut oil solidified directly to my hair or better to melt it previously
    Thank you,

    • Randy Schueller March 12, 2014, 10:50 am

      @Jessica: It will be easier to spread the coconut oil through your hair if you melt it first.

  • Miranda March 25, 2014, 3:20 pm

    If ur having a hard time washing it out, it may be because ur not using the right kind. Organic extra virgin cold pressed is the best. It contains ZERO other ingredients. Some products that claim to be coconut oil add other oils or petroleum which is nearly impossible to wash out. Go to a health food store and buy organic food grade coconut oil and u shouldn’t have this issue.

  • robyn May 7, 2014, 2:29 pm

    I’ve always wondered, if we are to apply the oil on dirty hair, wouldn’t the dirt and other products that we have on our hair get absorbed with the oil or at least prevent penetration?

    • Randy Schueller May 7, 2014, 4:32 pm

      Robyn: The oil will not make other materials absorb better. If you’re concerned your hair is too dirty you could wash it, allow it to dry, and then apply oil.

  • robyn May 12, 2014, 1:38 pm

    Thanks for replying. Much love from Jamaica.

  • Gail Mulhall May 16, 2014, 5:44 pm

    Hi Beauty Brains! I still want to adopt you! Thanks for what you do, and for being so cute and funny while you do it. Anyway…enough about your wonderfulness. I do not care for the scent of coconut. I have used coconut oil as a pre-shampoo treatment, although never for 14 hours! I would really like to use a tiny amount of coconut oil rubbed on my palms (no pun intended :-), and then smoothed onto my clean, dry hair. I don’t, due to the scent. Finally…my question: Will fractionated coconut oil work well as an after shampoo hair healer? The fractionated coconut oil I’ve smelled seems devoid of scent. I realize it has the the long-chain doohickies removed, etc., but will it still work? Help me, Obi Wan Beauty Brains. You’re my only hope. Signed, Frazzled (and not just my hair)

    • Randy Schueller May 16, 2014, 6:10 pm

      Gail: It depends on which fractions of coconut oil are included in the oil that you’re using. There’s certainly no harm in giving it a try.

      PS Perry and I are ready to sign the adoption papers.

    • Hayley September 17, 2015, 6:51 am

      I just wanted to say that I love your style of writing and you made me giggle 🙂

  • Andrea November 3, 2014, 3:24 pm

    I tried the coconut oil successfully for 14 hours :). I will share how it seemed quite easy for me to do. First, I had my coconut oil nice and warm, had my hair parted in sections, hopped in the shower and applied the coconut oil generously throughout. I then wrapped it up in a couple of plastic bags (that I also brought to the shower with me). I then took a nice hot shower as usual so any coconut oil that may have dripped down my neck was going to be washed off. After showering, I used a scarf and did a beautiful head-wrap to cover the plastic bags, watched a few episodes of my favorite show on Hulu and went to bed. The next morning, I did some morning chores, a few errands and by the time I was settled, 14 hours had passed. I found it quite easy to rinse the oil out. Perhaps that is because it really soaked in to my hair and my hair was thirsty for it. My hair was not left oily at all after shampooing and conditioning but was very soft and shiny. I will do this as a regular hair care routine. This was awesome so my strands and I would like to thank you.

  • Nadine February 5, 2015, 9:34 pm

    I was wondering if I apply coconut oil to my dyed hair (its a medium purple) overnight will it do anything to the dye? like fade it out?

    Thank you

    • Randy Schueller February 6, 2015, 6:46 am

      Hi Nadine. We’ve never seen oil cause a problem with dye but you could try it on a tiny patch of your hair first if you’re worried.

  • Amy April 29, 2015, 11:59 am

    I have a question. I love using coconut oil on my hair and my skin, however, I’ve found that once it washes down the drain, it solidifies again. Our drains have become backed up with coconut oil gunk and so I’ve had to stop using it or risk hiring a plumber at some point.

    Is there a way to emulsify coconut oil so that it won’t solidify again? My husband said I could use it as hair conditioner if I then rinse my hair with Dawn dishwashing liquid. I don’t think so!! I would greatly appreciate a solution. Plus this is a warning to others that the drain pipes will be gunking up when cool even if you pour hot water down after you rinse your hair. Thank you.

    • Joy December 5, 2015, 5:58 am

      I can’t speak on emulsions, but I do know I thing or two about clogged drains. You can always run boiling water down the drain with Dawn dish detergent and just do that and it should get rid of most of the oil. I think there still might be an accumulation overtime so the other thing you might want to try, barring any chemistry tricks that I know nothing about, you would rinse your hair in a bucket and throw the Water away in your backyard somewhere.
      I’ve been chucking small amounts of oil down the kitchen sink for years then pouring boiling water & Dawn dish detergent down the drain after and have never had to call a plumber.

      • Randy Schueller December 5, 2015, 8:16 am

        It sounds like a hassle but I like your waste water bucket idea.

      • Stephanie December 14, 2016, 11:23 pm

        Oil issues in drains? Remember science class? Baking soda and hot white vinegar. Cleans drains and it’s cheap.

    • Graziela Ribeiro January 4, 2016, 11:45 am

      Hi! I would love to know that as well!

  • rachel May 10, 2015, 3:39 pm

    can someone tell me if doing 2 days a week of oiling the hair for 7 hours each day is the same as a 14 hour day of oiling the hair? coz i really cant sleep with the stuff in my hair

    • Randy Schueller May 11, 2015, 8:29 am

      It’s not the same Rachel. 14 hours is the time that’s been proven to allow maximum penetration of the coconut oil. However, my guess is that you’ll still see a benefit even from just 7 hours.

  • Beatrice May 29, 2015, 12:56 pm

    Hi Randy,
    For the purpose of hair treatment, is cold pressed coconut oil better than any other variety?

    • Randy Schueller May 29, 2015, 1:12 pm

      Hi Beatrice. I’ve never seen any information that says cold pressed oil is better for any reason.

      • Trish January 23, 2016, 5:02 pm

        So glad I read this! It doesn’t matter what kind of coconut oil you use. Right now I have been using Butcher Boy coconut oil 100% pure refined. Before I was using Trader Joes organic. I prefer the Butcher Boy one . It even says on the back of the jar “love silky skin? Coconut oil has been used in beauty products for centuries. Use it to condition your hair , remove makeup without damaging your skin, and as a body moisturizer. May require additional shampooing” there you have it .. This is what coconut oil is for . Love all coconut oils ! Cheers from Boston

  • Ratna June 22, 2015, 9:45 pm

    After soaking my hair in coconut oil for about 5 hours and washing it, it felt much smoother. However, since then, hair dye can’t seem to cover my greys!

  • Aileen tan July 3, 2015, 9:55 am

    Can I use coconut oil daily?

    • Randy Schueller July 3, 2015, 2:29 pm

      You can but it may make your hair too greasy.

    • Randy Schueller July 4, 2015, 10:39 am

      I also doubt that daily use will give you much additional benefit over say, weekly or a few times per week.

  • Jess July 17, 2015, 6:41 am


    I want to apply a fake tan which takes over night to develope.

    I was hoping to apply my fake tan and then apply the coconut oil to my hair and let both do their job over night and have a shower to set the tan and wash out the oil.

    My only concern is if any of the oil seeps out could it interfere with the tan??? I don’t want to end up with a patchy tan at my hairline

    • Randy Schueller July 17, 2015, 7:12 am

      Great question, Jess. Unfortunately, I honestly don’t know the answer. If you experiment and find out, please let us know.

      • Jess July 19, 2015, 7:34 am

        I did the oil and the tan and both worked perfectly. I only got to leave both on overnight for 6 hours. That’s all the time I had but I have still never had so many compliments on my hair. Very happy with the results

  • Brandi J July 29, 2015, 7:08 pm

    Would coconut oil cause semi permanent dye to fade?

    • Randy Schueller July 29, 2015, 9:02 pm

      @Brandi: No, there’s no reason that I’m aware of.

  • Dani August 3, 2015, 4:36 pm

    I would like to add since my friend told me about coconut oil for the hair i can not resist it. I use the lucy bee brand which is amazing!! I used to have very dry hair especially the ends as you can imagine due to bleaching my hair. My hair would not grow past a certain length either. I do a overnight treatment or a day depending on my plans. I do this once a week also. Hair cut regularly with this beauty product your hair will feel soft, smooth, HEALTHY! And my hair has grown so much. I would deffoo recommend this as it has worked miracles for me. I would also like to add that i have used expensive treatments/ masks for my hair and none has been very beneficial for me. The Lucy Bee coconut oil costs around £6 not sure where online you can purchase from, but i know its sold in Sainsbury and possibly Holland&Barret. STOCK UP!

  • Dee August 21, 2015, 4:01 pm

    I had my hair colored and they messed up. How long would you recommend I lave the coconut oil in? If I left it more then a day would it really do any good? I know it’s not going to correct the damage from the color but it will prevent any more damage done and moisturize my hair from within.

  • ... August 24, 2015, 3:14 pm

    Hey can u leave it on for a day or two

  • Chantelle September 17, 2015, 8:20 pm

    Hey, I have a question I have coconut oil on my hair for the pass two days should I wash it out? Or leave it because I’m going to dye my hair black ? Very curious !!

    • Randy Schueller September 17, 2015, 9:36 pm

      You should wash it out before dying your hair.

  • Alexis September 17, 2015, 10:39 pm

    Can I keep it in my hair less than 14 hours?
    And if so what’s the least amount of hours?

    • Randy Schueller September 18, 2015, 6:54 am

      The data showed that leaving it 14 hours worked well. I didn’t see any test data that determines the least amount of time. My guess is an hour or so will still give you decent benefits.

  • EJ September 22, 2015, 3:24 am

    Hello… Will coconut oil be ok with Rebonded hair?

  • Alessandra October 9, 2015, 7:20 am

    For those who worry about not being able to wash it out, I wanted to mention that I have baby fine hair and an oily scalp and I have never had this issue (which I had with other oils such as olive and argan). Just don’t apply too much and focus on the lengths and ends. If you want to oil the scalp, be prepared to wash twice. I dilute my shampoo in water because this way it spreads more evenly on the hair and scalp.
    For those who do not like the SCENT of coconut oil, you can order (online) Polynesian Monoi Oil, which is just coconut oil with Tabitian gardenia petals infused in it, it smells heavenly and less like a cookie, and works just as well.

  • Em October 18, 2015, 5:29 pm

    I use coconut oil weekly in my hair from either Friday to Sunday or Saturday to Sunday. I tend to double shampoo when I do wash it out and then not use as much conditioner as I normally would. I also use it on my face as a makeup remover and as an overnight moisturizer. Love it so much! Moisturizes my skin so much and smells heavenly.

  • jodee October 22, 2015, 6:58 pm

    Hi. I used unrefined coconut oil on my hair once but it blocked up my drainage pipes. Have you had this problem? Also could i use fractionated coconut oil instead because it doesnt go hard.

  • Julie October 31, 2015, 9:18 pm

    I was addicted to natural remedies for my face hair and body since I was young (teens-20s) my hair was always healthy now that I’m older (late 30s) I’ve tried all, from drug store to brand names and expensive salon treatments, nothing seem to work until I got back to basics for my damaged hair, I use several formulas whatever I have on hand of find at the store examples:
    1. mix olive, almond and castor oil
    2. Mayonnaise and olive oil
    3. Raw eggs with coconut oil
    Or any of the above mixed and matched or by itself
    My scalp is on the oily side while my ends are dry, I alternate coconut/raw egg and use vinegar on scalp only sometimes, also take biotin 10,000 and multivitamins and add 1 month supply of crashed birth control pills to my Paul Mitchell one shampoo and use fructis sleek and shine leave in conditioner

  • Sonya November 2, 2015, 1:54 pm

    I am LOVING your blog!!! My hair has been a mess of split ends and breakage, but thanks to your blog and other information online, I look forward to having healthy hair someday (just gotta grow out the parts I’ve already broken!). My new hair habits include: gently shampooing hair, conditioning only the lower half, switching from a twisty turban to a terry top post-shower, not combing or brushing wet hair, using a bone wide-tooth comb, not scratching my scalp, using more gentle hair bands and only when necessary, trimming my own split ends in between haircuts with professional shears, sleeping on a silk pillowcase, and conditioning ends with coconut oil. [All I knew before was to avoid blow-drying hair too often with high heat, but with all of my other bad habits, my hair was still a real mess.]

    I was also considering phasing over to all-natural beauty products, but you’ve really got me a more accurate perspective now! As well as generally informed me WAY beyond what I knew about beauty products! Thank-you!!!

    Anyway, back to the topic at hand, I was super curious about something and wanted to share what I learned! My burning question was, what kind of coconut oil was used in the studies that showed its absorption into and benefits for hair? In other words, did they use refined, unrefined, or fractionated coconut oil?

    Answer: According to their second published article in the Journal of Cosmetic Science in 2001, the researchers said that they used “pure coconut oil (Parachute brand from Marico Industries Ltd., Mumbai, India)”. From my online perusing, I learned that Parachute coconut oil is very popular for hair care in India, and that it is unrefined. Does refined or fractionated coconut oil produce the same results? I don’t know, so just to be safe, I’ll use unrefined coconut oil.

    Does the specific brand of unrefined coconut oil matter? Again, I don’t know, but in a long-hair forum from 2010, one person wrote that she had much better results with the Parachute Coconut Oil than with the Spectrum Coconut Oil. Virgo75 wrote: “[Spectrum] doesn’t seem as thick or do the same yummy things for my hair…[Parachute] makes my hair sooooo soft and silky while regular organic virgin/unrefined coconut oil doesn’t do the same thing….for some reason the Spectrum Organic makes my hair greasier, feels kind of crispy, and sits on top of my hair mostly, while the Parachute makes my hair softer, absorbs easier, and it feels like of moisturized too.” Another person “TJA” also noted about Parachute: “Sometimes I feel it works better than the other virgin coconut oil I have”. Why? The only explanation that the group could think of was that the Parachute brand is made from dried coconut meat (copra; which gives it a smoky smell, by the way), and perhaps this makes a difference.
    But be forewarned – from Amazon reviews, some people object to the smoky smell, others described it as pleasant smelling, and others liken it to oatmeal in its scent. It is sold all over the internet as well as at most Asian/Indian stores (sure enough, our local Himalayaan store carries it, and I’ll be getting my first bottle today).

    BTW, it was cool to read the actual research articles that the Beauty Brains discussed in several blog posts. Their first study in 1999 showed that pre-treatment of hair with coconut oil prior to shampooing helps to prevent breakage; further research in 2001 and 2002 showed that coconut oil absorbs into the hair shaft, while mineral oil and safflower oil do not, making coconut oil effective for protecting hair either as a pre-wash or post-wash.

    Who knows for sure, but I’m going to get a bottle of the Parachute stuff today and look forward to healing my hair!

    • Randy Schueller November 4, 2015, 9:00 am

      Hey Sonya, thanks for your thoughts. You raise some interesting questions about coconut oil. I haven’t seen anything in the technical literature to confirm which type is best (beyond what you already said about using unrefined coconut oil.) It’s possible that the refining process strips out some of the oil fractions that are beneficial to hair. It sounds like sticking with Parachute is your best bet.

      PS Thanks for being such a fan of our blog! If you can, please review our podcast on iTunes!

  • Sonya November 4, 2015, 10:02 pm

    Thank-you Randy!!! Your blog is so informative and fun to read!

    PS to anyone curious about the scent of Paradise coconut oil, if you’re a home baker and have ever toasted coconut to a golden brown color (where if you went a minute longer it would burn), that is exactly what the coconut oil smelled like to me. I liked the scent and really enjoyed treating my hair with it. It isn’t as yummy as the smell of most coconut beauty products (it doesn’t smell like cream of coconut – or coconut cake – lol), but the smell brings back good cooking memories 🙂

  • angels November 12, 2015, 12:06 pm

    if i use my coconut oil like tomy wet just cleaned hair for a few mins will that work too

    • Randy Schueller November 12, 2015, 12:23 pm

      Based on the research we’ve seen it may not work as well if you apply it that way.

  • Aster December 23, 2015, 1:55 pm

    Great article!
    There is a growing trend to use coconut oil as a pre-conditioner before bleaching hair or using peroxide-based dyes and lots of reports online on how it seems to reduce the damage. It’s supposed to work by chelating iron and copper…
    Is there any truth to this? I’ve searched for studies on this, but can’t find anything, unfortunately.
    Also, why is chelating important specifically around bleaching procedures?
    Thank you very much!

    • Randy Schueller December 23, 2015, 3:27 pm

      Chelating is important because Copper can contribute to free radical formation which can cause damage to hair protein. However the amount of damage caused by free radicals pales in comparison to the damage done by the chemical treatments you described. I think coconut oil probably helps mitigate the damage because of its waterproofing effect inside the hair.

      • Aster December 26, 2015, 8:19 pm

        Great! Thanks a lot for your reply, Randy!

  • celeste821 January 4, 2016, 9:56 am

    I have had great success using this technique, thanks for the info

  • barbara white January 11, 2016, 4:57 pm

    totally agree with one of the answers below – apply shampoo directly onto dry hair FIRST – BEFORE ANY WATER – rub it around as much as poss, you could water down the shampoo a bit as it takes a bit more than usual to do whole head, mixing the water into it completely first then put head under shower and lather up and rinse.

    its something to do with oil and water dont mix, like if you had a glass of water and poured some oil into, the oil would just sit on top and not mix into the water.

  • Kris January 22, 2016, 7:50 pm

    I use this method often. I have very thick hair and use about a half cup in my hair, I put it on dry and massage it in. Then I put it in a bun or a braid and wrap it up in a hair towel(the kind that fastens) and leave it on overnight and as far into the next day as possible. One or two shampoos as most does the trick. I imagine less oil for thinner and less damaged hair…

  • Willi January 24, 2016, 8:49 pm

    I decided to give coconut oil a try. I have super baby fine hair that is damaged, dry, frizzy and full of static due to coloring. I don’t use heat on my hair. I used extra virgin organic coconut oil from roots to tips. I applied it on unwashed dry hair. I only left it on for about 2 hours for a trial run. I wound it up on top of my head and used a clip to secure it. Then I used Nioxin shampoo to wash it out. I’ve only used Nioxin a handful of times and found it super drying. I’m not sure if it is considered a clarifying shampoo, but from what their literature says it sounded kind of clarifying. I shampooed twice to make sure I got all of the oil out. Well, I had a lot of hair coming out. Since my hair is fine and damaged, it is prone to breakage and I am used to some hair coming out when I shampoo my hair. However, there was a lot more hair coming out than usual. This is somewhat concerning to me since I don’t have a lot of hair to spare. I’m wondering why this happened. Maybe washing it twice was too much? My hair is somewhat softer and has less static, though. I am going to try again, but only apply to the ends and only wash my hair once.

    • Willi February 15, 2016, 8:18 pm

      Here is an update on my experience with coconut oil. I read on another website that the best way to remove coconut oil is not to apply shampoo, but to apply a silicone free conditioner and leave it on for about 15 minutes before rinsing it out. I know it sounds weird, but it worked! Somehow the conditioner takes out the coconut oil.

  • Mariam pafadnam January 25, 2016, 3:40 am

    apart from damage repair does coconut oil help in growing hair?

  • Katie January 25, 2016, 10:27 pm

    Hi there,

    I used coconut oil a couple of years ago. I loved it at first, but then felt like my hair was breaking more than normal. I’ve read that protein sensitive hair can react badly to coconut oil, however this seems more common with African hair. I am fair skinned and have fine hair (though lots of it). I want to give it another go but am a bit scared. Any comments/suggestions would he appreciated.

    Katie x

    • Randy Schueller January 26, 2016, 7:05 am

      Interesting comment, Katie. This is not the first time that the idea of “protein sensitive hair” has come up. However, there’s no technical rational for hair being “sensitive” to protein as far as I know. Can you please explain what you think that means? Maybe that will help us come up with an explanation. Thanks.

  • rakesh January 29, 2016, 2:31 am

    plz anyone sugest me…

    should i use coconout oil right after shampooing with normal shampoo
    as a conditioner?

  • celeste821 February 4, 2016, 10:28 am

    I apply coconut oil using an oil mister that I got on amazon http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00GWNQYZE?psc=1&redirect=true&ref_=oh_aui_detailpage_o01_s00

    I may have asked this question before hope I didn’t but what about “hot oil treatment” other than melting the coconut oil is it ever necessary for hair care to warm it?

  • Luna 22 March 3, 2016, 7:54 pm

    Can I use coconut oil on my daughter hair? She is 7 years old. She has fine hair and doesn’t really grow much. Any suggestion will be appreciated.

    • Randy Schueller March 4, 2016, 7:49 am

      I don’t see any reason why you couldn’t use it on her hair but it won’t help it grow better.

  • sabthefab March 6, 2016, 3:20 pm

    I have a question about washing off the coconut oil.I feel like it’s really hard to wash off,and if I shampoo my hair more than twice(to wash all the oil off)my hair ends up being drier than before.So should I use clarifying shampoo or regular shampoo?

  • Amenpi March 23, 2016, 10:34 pm

    OMG, all these comments. What I do is, after I shower and wash my hair, I get some coconut oil in my hands and rub it all over my body. Whaten whatever remains on my hands I rub on my hair and it has grown longer and is looking so much healthier. I have received many complements on my hair since I started doing this.

  • Jasmine May 21, 2016, 12:08 am

    I know I’m a few months late to the party, but is there any benefit to heating your hair with a hair dryer while the oil is in it? I know that heat can make a difference in some processes (like dyeing) so I am curious, but at the same time don’t want to damage my hair.

  • Caitlin June 3, 2016, 12:23 am

    Omg so I put a combination of olive oil an olive oil hair packet in my hair an washed it out an hour later an my hair feels so nappy an dry! Idk what I did wrong!!! Do I need to keep washing it out?

  • Jo June 7, 2016, 8:13 pm

    I may have missed it in one of the many comments above but, has anyone heard of fractionated coconut oil? I use it as a carrier oil for my essential oil blends. It remains a liquid at lower temps. It’s my understanding it has gone through a process to remove the larger fat molecules. When used on the skin it soaks in really quickly. I haven’t used it on my hair yet but do plan on trying it soon.

    • Randy Schueller June 8, 2016, 7:35 am

      Depending on which fraction is used it may not be as beneficial for hair.

  • Alessandra June 10, 2016, 11:30 am

    Hello, in the past 6 months I have seen a 300% improvement in my hair from just switching to sulfate-free shampoos. I alternate Rahua, Deva low-poo and baby johnson’s. But if I do a coconut oil treatment, do I need sulfate a to remove it? Or will it come off by shampooing twice with baby johnson’s?

    • Randy Schueller June 10, 2016, 9:54 pm

      300% improvement? And how did you quantify that, if I might ask? 🙂

      There’s no scientific answer to your question about removing coconut oil – it’s all about how your hair feels. If you think baby shampoo gets rid of the greasy feeling then that’s fine. If you find your hair is still greasy after shampooing with baby shampoo then you probably need something stronger. Let us know what you find out.

  • celeste821 June 13, 2016, 12:14 pm

    ok brains I have had great results with the coconut oil as a deep conditioner. But sadly it is not doing anything for my thinning hair 🙁
    Any research that you can offer concerning thinning hair? My hair is fine, porous, fragile, natural, grey afro. Any suggestions?

    • Randy Schueller June 13, 2016, 2:05 pm

      No cosmetic product will help with thinning hair. (Except for conditioning it, of course.)

  • Alexander pope June 27, 2016, 1:54 am

    Caring for long hair doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. There are many treatments that can be done at home for a very modest price and without harsh chemicals that can do more damage than good. Coconut oil is a cheap, wonderful, and natural way to care for hairs.

  • Sarah July 28, 2016, 4:26 am

    Hi I put coconut oil on my hair when it was dry ever since then I have noticed a coating on my hair feels like sand it’s really weird I have tried clarifying shampoo and it hasn’t really worked really scared don’t know what to do!

    • Randy Schueller July 28, 2016, 9:29 am

      Don’t be scared. Even if you can’t get all of the oil out of your hair by shampooing it won’t hurt your hair. Eventually your hair will grow out.

  • Zack July 30, 2016, 10:32 am

    My hair are getting grey i use only parachute hair oil but its not reacting its just increasing the grey colour hair and please suggest me a suitable shampoo in India for parachute hair oil and guide me with a proper hair oiling procedure please please help me

  • honey August 1, 2016, 2:49 am

    hi. i kindly wanted to know if its necessary to be washing my hair after i apply coconut oil, that thing of washing hair after applying oil is so boring kindly help out ,thanks

    • Randy Schueller August 1, 2016, 8:50 am

      It’s up to you. If you don’t wash your hair it may feel too greasy.

  • Melanie August 2, 2016, 11:55 am

    Hi, my daughter put a whole cup of olive oil and coconut oil on her hair, kept it on overnight and cannot rid of the greasiness in her hair, she is totally distraught. Any suggestions ?

    • Randy Schueller August 3, 2016, 7:05 am

      Multiple shampooing may help to some degree.

  • Victoria Medina August 15, 2016, 10:47 pm

    Hi I have been using coco nut oil over night and I just love how my hair looks and feels after the 4th time but it did strip some of my hair dye it went from a raven by clairol flare to a light brown I don’t really mind though my hair looks and feels amazing

  • Alexender pop August 27, 2016, 1:03 am

    I read your full blog that you mentioned above.I am using coconut oil on my hairs.It makes my hairs soft and shiny..
    Thanks for sharing this….

  • Serenity December 23, 2016, 2:54 am

    Hey what if you had a tiny bit of organic virgin coconut oil in your hair, but dyed it? What would happen, is it okay or not? Suggestions

    • Randy Schueller December 23, 2016, 7:05 am

      As a rule, your hair should be as clean as possible when coloring so nothing interferes with the absorption of the dye molecules. I don’t know if a “tiny bit” of oil will cause a problem or not. A hair colorist might be able to answer that question better than me.

  • FrenchBeautista December 23, 2016, 5:21 pm

    Randy, Perry, save my hair!! Haha

    I love your post! Big fan inside!

    BTW, what about refined coconut oil?
    Same goodies?

    • Randy Schueller December 24, 2016, 7:42 am

      The studies we’ve seen on coconut oil didn’t specify if refined performs any differently than unrefined. (Thanks for being a fan! Did you review us on iTunes yet?)

  • Dasch February 25, 2017, 12:10 pm

    I love the feeling of massaging lots of coconut oil into my scalp and all over my hair, from root to tip. Is it okay to do this and leave it on for 14 hours, or is it best to avoid the scalp and roots and just do the lengths and ends of my hair?

    It’s just I’ve heard that you can ‘smother’ your hair follicles with oil/conditioner and cause your hair to break out at the root, is that true?

  • Adeshayo April 2, 2017, 8:05 am

    Can i use coconut oil overnight everyday

  • Bella November 7, 2017, 3:16 am

    Do i need to shampoo my hair before applying the coconut oil too?

  • GrowComb March 13, 2020, 6:07 am

    Great article, Randy! I’ve always been a big fan of coconut oil in particular. From my experience, it really helps with hair damage! Have you tried tea tree oil before? I heard it works wonders for hair too.

  • Essentialnectar April 3, 2020, 2:12 am

    Very good informative article. Thanks for the information

  • Treeforlearning April 8, 2020, 4:13 am

    Very good informative article. Thanks for information