Coconut Oil For Hair: Good or Bad?

Coconut oil for hair

I’ve been a fan of coconut oil for a really long time. It is a highly nourishing oil with hundreds of uses, and lately I’ve run across many sources touting the benefits of coconut oil for hair. It can certainly be beneficial for certain hair types when used correctly, but many sources recommend using it in ways that may do more harm than good.

Before you go pour coconut oil all over your head, make sure know how to use it correctly to get the benefits without harming your hair!

Why Use Coconut Oil for Hair?

Coconut oil is the richest natural source of medium chain fatty acids (MCFAs), special types of fatty acid with antibacterial and antimicrobial properties that are very nourishing to the body. It is especially high in the C12 chain of MCFAs known as Lauric Acid.

Lauric acid is naturally occurring in breastmilk as well and is supportive of hormone health and cellular health. This beneficial property of coconut oil is also one of the reasons it can help prevent protein loss in hair (for some people). Coconut oil’s structure allows it to penetrate hair in ways that other oils are not able to, which is why some people notice amazing results relatively quickly when using coconut oil for hair.

The idea of putting oil directly in the hair can seem counterintuitive, especially to anyone with naturally oily hair. Nourishing hair oil treatments have been used for thousands of years, though these use a certain ratio of beneficial oils (and I add honey and magnesium) and these are not used as an everyday product.

When it’s Harmful to Use Coconut Oil for Hair

There is no doubt that certain oils can be beneficial to hair and that many of us strip out beneficial oils from over-shampooing, leading the body to increase natural oil production to compensate. Due to over-shampooing and poor diet, many of us are also missing vital nutrients we need to build healthy hair in the first place, but is adding oil to the hair the solution?

Not necessarily!

Certain oils do seem to be pretty much universally beneficial for hair, but coconut oil isn’t always one of them. For instance, Castor oil is an age-old beauty secret for increasing hair growth. I use it on my hair and eyelashes and have seen amazing results, and hundreds of commenters have had a similar experience.

Coconut oil, on the other hand, gets mixed results. Some people report immediately healthier and smoother hair, while others claim that their hair fell out by the handfull after using it. So what is the reason for the discrepancy and how can a person know if coconut oil is going to be beneficial or cause hair loss?

Coconut Oil Isn’t for Every Hair Type

Not surprisingly, different types of hair respond to oils differently and coconut oil won’t work for every hair type. Because it helps the hair retain its natural protein, it can be helpful for those who lack enough natural protein in hair follicles. Studies have even confirmed coconut oil’s benefits for certain types of hair, but it isn’t for everyone!

Typically, those with fine to medium shiny hair will see good results from coconut oil and notice stronger, shinier hair with more volume. Those with coarse or dry hair may not struggle with low protein at all and coconut oil may lead to more brittle hair and hair loss. These people may benefit more from other types of oil like marula oil or argan oil.

It should go without saying, but anyone with an allergy or reaction to coconuts or coconut oil should not use these products in hair either, no matter what hair type.

The Amount Matters

When it comes to using coconut oil for hair, the amount used also matters. You’ve probably heard the saying “too much of a good thing,” and this absolutely applies when it comes to using coconut oil in hair. Just as with supplements, if a little bit is good, a lot isn’t necessarily better.

Coconut oil seems most beneficial when used in small amounts to coat hair or reduce frizz and hair may not respond well to being coated in large amounts of coconut oil.

For best results, try just rubbing a small amount of coconut oil between your hands to warm it up and then working through hair gently. This should help tame frizz and make hair shiny without the negative effects.

Other Ingredients Matter Too

Coconut oil is often included in recipes for nourishing hair oils, hair masks and hair products and these uses might not necessarily be harmful. When combined with other oils and ingredients, not only is less coconut oil coming in contact with the hair, but the combinations of fatty acids can have different effects completely.

For instance, coconut oil doesn’t seem to make hair dry or brittle when combined with the monounsaturated fatty acids from olive oil or when mixed with argan or marula oil (both great for hair). Honey also seems to make coconut oil even more beneficial for hair and the simple sugars in honey can nourish hair and make it naturally smooth and frizz free.

It Depends on Other Hair Products

Coconut oil may also not be the best choice to use on hair for those who use natural or homemade hair products. Homemade hair products (like my favorite mud shampoo), do not contain the chemical detergents and surfactants that many commercial shampoos and products do, making it difficult for them to remove excess oils from the hair, especially in large amounts. My mud shampoo leaves my hair soft and strong, but it isn’t the best at removing an all-over hair oil treatment (I stick to an organic store bough clarifying shampoo for this).

How to Safely Use Coconut Oil For Hair

Those who think that coconut oil may be beneficial for their hair types can benefit from using it, but there are some best practices when using coconut oil for hair:

  • Avoid the scalp: Though coconut oil seems to be beneficial for those who struggle with dandruff that has a fungal component, others may see negative effects from using coconut oil directly on the scalp. Coconut oil may clog pores and cause irritation for some scalp types (just as it does on certain skin types), and is best used directly on the hair and not the scalp (of those with the right type of hair).
  • Start with small amounts: Again, more isn’t better. Especially until you know how your hair handles coconut oil, use a small amount and see how hair responds.
  • Add other ingredients: Adding other oils can change how coconut oil affects hair. As a deep treatment, blending coconut oil with honey and yogurt may offer more benefit than coconut oil alone.

Eat the Coconut Oil for Maximum Benefit

For all the beneficial properties of coconut oil, hair doesn’t have the ability to digest or metabolize coconut oil like the digestive system does. It can offer some benefit on a strictly chemical level, but you won’t be able to fully utilize the beneficial properties of coconut oil when it is used externally or in hair.

For this reason, coconut oil may offer the most benefit to hair when consumed internally, as its high Medium Chain Fatty Acid content and antioxidants can help improve the rate of hair growth from the inside out. Hair health and growth begins internally, so the long-term solution to healthier, stronger and shinier hair includes addressing internal factors like diet, supplements and sleep. Just like the skin, hair is a reflection of internal health and can be largely controlled by hormones (one of the reasons women lose hair after pregnancy) so consider focusing on balancing hormones and nourishing the body to improve hair.

Do you use coconut oil on your hair? What results have you experienced? Share below!

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Reader Comments

  1. For the hair treatment – do you wet your hair before putting it on, or just put it on dry hair and then wash in the morning?

    • Water and oil do not mix, so having wet hair before applying any oil treatment is counterproductive. I put the coconut oil on my ends before I take a shower to avoid stripping too much oil when I shampoo.

      • Actually, you do want to have damp hair before you apply any oil. Because oil and water don’t mix, if you’re going for moisturizing your hair, you seal the moisture (i.e. water) in when you add oil to damp hair. This is why conditioners often say to apply to slightly damp hair.

        • Water does not tend to be moisturizing to the hair as I understand. You use coconut oil to seal in your natural oils and supplement them and BLOCK the water and detergents in shampoo from stripping them away from the shaft. You want the coconut oil to be absorbed. The molecular makeup of coconut oil is such that it is more readily absorbed by the hair shaft than any other oil. Also, consider your water source. Some areas have better water sources than others and I would imagine that part of the reason that water is not moisturizing to the hair is in large part due to the chemical treatments applied at water treatment facilities moreso than the water itself.

          • Can you use during the first 48 hous of a perm?

          • As a professional hair stylist, water is one of the most damaging things to our hair. Our hair is acidic (having a pH of around 4.5) and water is more alkaline (pH of 7). What happened is when you add an alkaline solution to the hair it makes our cuticle expand and causes damage. Bleach for lightening hair is also alkaline (pH of around 9) and also blows up the cuticle which is why hair can feel stripped and dry after being lightened. You want to allow the hair to absorb nourishment from oil so applying it to dry hair is best.

          • Wellness Mama, I have done it both ways. I found I got more mileage from massaging the warm oil into a damp head of hair, after a refreshing rinse with tap water and just removing excess water moisture by squeezing handfuls together and lightly wringing the water off in the drain. It is then an easy task of applying the warmed oil to my hair and scalp, combing it through, and pinning it into a twist knot to leave in overnight. Then it is rinsed with warm water, shampooed well, rinsed out thoroughly, and lastly given a kinder “final ‘shampoo’ with any natural instant conditioner” to effectively balance out the residual remaining traces of the intensive oil conditioning process. I do this once a week. It’s the only time I need to use shampoo in my hair routine because my hair is the healthiest it’s ever been with this maintenance since it is at it’s longest length with NO damage.

          • This may be a random place for a random comment coconut oil is ok but I swear by mayo!! Yes it’s gross and it smells but after one use my hair is crazy shiny manageable soft and better then any other crazy expensive conditioner and home remedy I have curly 3b but very fine hair I’m Caucasian… just to give you an idea of my hair type.. anyways nothing has worked better I’ve tried it on dry and wet hair added other products use alone and please ladies so worth it.. what works best in my experience room temperature organic mayo a tablespoon of x virgin olive oil a cup of mayo, and if u want to mask the scent (I don’t) but I can add a few drops of lavender oil of your favorite leave in conditioner.. I apply this to damp hair in small sections work through until hair is saturated tie in a loose bun put a bag over it.. then here the magic.. apply medium heat on a low setting.. I like to use a diffuser so the heat is distributing evenly and gently o do this for five minutes about three times this allows every thing to break down and really get deep in your hair I leave in for as long as I can 4 hrs sometimes I even sleep with it wash only ounce!!!! Just rinse well first with warm water for ten minthen shampoo very small amount of conditioner will be needed … at this point your hair will feel like the finest silk.. it’s like a hair miracle I promise do this you will love it.. I no hair dresser but I’ve been obsessed with hair and ways to make it as healthy as can be for six years now.. I promise u won’t regret it if your hair is fairly healthy and not flory I’d skip the oil other then and leave in maybe for anth or two and start at ponytail length.. good luck and your welcome ??

        • I agree with putting the oil on dry. If you have non-filtered chemically treated town water you are showering with, the chemicals are drying to hair. Ever smell bleach when turning on your water?

    • I put it on wet or dry and my hair isn’t dry anymore! I sleep with it on my hair and wash in the morning. No more fried looking hair from the flat iron!

      • When you say wash do you mean just with water?

    • Put on dry hair and put on after I wash my hair

    • Either. COCONUT OIL is good internally and externally. BUT not palm oil because of it’s negative effect on the environment and already critically endangered animals. Read you labels, you want COCONUT OIL, Palm oil is found in half of all consumer goods on the shelves today in Western grocery stores, from chocolate, ice cream, and baked goods to soaps, lotions, and detergents. Forest clearing for palm oil, including in peatlands, has pushed iconic species like Bornean orangutans and Sumatran elephants and tigers to the brink of extinction, and has added hundreds of millions of tons of carbon pollution to the atmosphere. But change is on the horizon, I just hope it isn’t too late. Just saying.

    • You can do either or bit damp hair seem to be best as it opens the hair follicles when your hair is wet with warm water allowing the oils to penetrate

  2. Coconut oil cleanses the liver, and is the only oil that can be actually absorbed by the skin (other oil particles are too large).

  3. My dog gets yeast infections in his big floppy ears.  Instead of a chemical in his ears to treat it, I put a dollop of coconut oil in his ear canal and then massage the area.  Works great, no chemicals and smells good too.

    • Oh dear! You saved me:)

    • EVERYTHING is chemicals including (gasp) coconut oil!

      • There are natural and artificial chemicals just as there are natural vitamins and minerals found in foods and vitamins and minerals concocted in a lab.

  4. How would I go about using coconut oil in a liver cleanse?

    • You don’t. No one needs to do a liver cleanse or detox of any kind. Your body does all that for you. That is the function of your liver and kidneys. Healthy eating is key. Have a read of this (

  5. i make a natural sugar scrub with coconut oil and white sugar , and aloe to exfoliate your face, neck, legs, etc,its wonderful! 

    • Do you need to refrigerate homemade scrubs?

      • I make one with coconut oil, brown sugar and just a little tea tree oil ( I have acne prone skin) and I don’t have to refrigerate it, I find if I do it gets much too hard and I have to warm it up just to use it! I just make it in small batches so it doesn’t have to sit around for a long time, and I’ve never noticed anything wrong with it. But if you’re making something water based, or with raw fruit ingredients, I’d definitely recommend refrigerating it, and not making more than 2 or three applications at a time, because mould could occur.

        • Cam you tell me how you make this recipe for skin prone to acne? It would be much appreciated!

    • Hey my son suffers from bad acne. I would really appreciate that recipe of yours so he can try it. I have open sores on my scalp and was wondering if I can use coconut oil or should I wait until they are healed up? Thank you this has all been very helpful

    • Do you hear this scrub prior to using it?

  6. I just recently started using Coconut oil to cook with after going grain free, in part because of your article. Now, after reading more of your posts I use it as a shaving cream and lotion. It has only been a few days but I love how I smell and how soft my skin feels. I have been a little apprehensive to use it as a lotion on my face because I tend to be oily towards the end of the day, but will give it a try this weekend and see how it goes! Thanks for all your awesome advice and ideas!

    • I stopped using Coconut oil as a cleanser because of damage it could do building up in our drain pipes. It only melts at 78 degrees and we have a septic system that relies on good bacteria, so an anti-bacterial oil is not helpful, if it makes it to the septic in the first place. I’ve switched to washing my face with a little EVOO at night and so far, so good.

    • I use it on my oily face and it seems to help it not be as oily and it evens out my skin tone. After using this for a week I actually went out without makeup, which I never would have done before!!!!!

  7. It works great to get rid of cradle cap- rub it in, leave for 10 minutes, and comb it out!

  8. Love your blog, Katie! For the month of January, I tried giving up grains, but had intense sugar cravings like I’ve never experienced before (prior, I ate very little sugar, refined grains, or processed items). I ended up indulging in a little too much candy, and have been experiencing what I think is my first yeast infection, though I have no frame of reference for one. That leads me to two questions:

    1. I’ve been reading The Schwarzbein Principle, which states that the body can’t produce insulin or serotonin entirely on its own, and that healthy sources of grains can be one of the only ways to provide it (meats and veggies don’t produce insulin, according to the author). I read that diabetics are especially prone to yeast infections, and wondered if it was the insulin issue. That said, my hypothesis, for my body at least, is that I was craving sugar in refined because I wasn’t receiving it in better forms from carbohydrates. Do you know if these cravings, as well as yeast overgrowth, can be an effect of going off of grains? Any recommendations? I’ve reintroduced brown rice and quinoa in the last week and feel much better.

    2. I’d like to try the coconut oil treatment for the yeast–is it applied topically or taken internally?

    Thanks so much!

    • Both internally and externally. Plain organic yogurt also helps when used externally. You might be craving carbs, but it is possible to produce insulin from some veggies (especially root veggies) and fruits… Have you ever read the book “Deep Nutrition?” It addresses both the diet side and explains the yeast connection…

      • Sounds like you have a candida overgrowth. when you give up sugar and grains you are starving the candida and it makes you crave it to feed the candida. dont give in to it!

    • Getting enough refrigerated probiotics took away all my cravings. After several months I can maintain healthier levels with kefir, yoghurt and homemade saurkraut. Hope you’re doing better by now.

    • Eating a lot of sugar can cause yeast infections. I mean, it won’t just cause them every time, but a lot of sugar (and I mean more than just a few pieces of candy here, a few pieces there, but you did say you had over indulged, so I’d say the yeast infection makes sense) will produce more yeast in your system. Since the ph in our bodies naturally needs some yeast to balance out, it will always be there. When we eat a lot of sugar the overproduction of yeast can result in a yeast infection. I wouldn’t jump into saying you are not being hygienic enough, but you have to remember our *who-whoos* are wet all the time and open, so hygiene is so important! You probably are pretty healthy which is why this is the first time this has happened for you, but lost women will have a yeast infection at least once in their life, it’s very normal because they are so easily effected. But we have some great systems in our bodies because naturally they fight off infection and drain it out in its own. The sugar thing plus little things LIKE ANYTHING like keeping bathing suit on too long, having too tight of pants, working out and sweating and not changing quick enough or shaving and not cleaning enough can cause a yeast infections when the yeast is overproduced due to many things one of them being sugar overintake. Hope problem clears up soon! Wouldn’t depend on coconut oil, though I have not personally tried it. I hear it takes a while, so if you want a fast solution, the creams even over the counter at the drugstore should work. 🙂

      • I have found, for me anyway, taking turmeric after 3 meals daily takes care of yeast infections without using anything else. I take 500mg capsules each time. When I had a yeast infection, I also took a dose at bedtime to keep it at bay for a few days. I saw quick results. Since taking turmeric daily, I have not had any more yeast infections.

    • Look into the blood type diet. I know it sounds ridiculous but I read into it and I think there is something to it!

  9. I love coconut oil! I just made homemade lotion bars and lip balm for the first time and they are awesome! My husband does most of the cooking so he uses coconut oil in place of other oils that may not be as healthy. And as far as treating yeast infections goes, coconut oil is my life saver!

    • I haven’t seen any difference in my hair seems it made it more dry .

  10. My son has eczema and I did not like the idea of the creams the doctor would prescribe. I melt coconut oil and put it on him as a lotion after his bath. I started doing this everyday and now I only use it once a week and the eczema has cleared up.

    • Alicia, I make luxury oi, soaps and also do a special one for psoriasis and eczema. Use just a 1/3 c of coconut oil, j\heat it and then infuse rosemary into it – either in the sun which is time consuming or – I do it in the slow cooker on very low heat for 6 hours. Then use this base and mix with straight coconut. If you bet it like you would cream it bulks it a lot and it also does not go hard in cold weather like it usually does. The rosemary helps a lot with eczema and as a healer. Also good for hair.

  11. I use it in so many ways, but lately I have been putting it onthe elbows of my 4 year old Lab, Bear. Labs tend to get huge painful callouses there. After only two weeks of applying coconut oil twice a day, his callouses have gone down to practically nothing and the hair is growing on his elbows again! He loves to have it massaged in.

  12. I’m 8 weeks pregnant & I think I have Bacterial vaginosis ( I’ve had it on & off for years) is coconut oil safe to use on the vagina during pregnancy? Do you have any other suggestions of what I van do to treat it safely & naturally?

    • I have used in vaginally when pregnant but I’d check with a midwife or doc.

    • Brittany – try having a daily bath with sea salt – you can start with as much as a cup, although you may want to reduce that in a week or two to half a cup. There are youtubes about it.

    • I think the daily salt baths would be perfectly safe, but since you are pregnant, I would also check with your doctor about this as well. You want to make sure that both you and your baby are safe. Sometimes natural ways of treating things are great preventatives, but may not actually cure an existing infection. Best of luck to you!

  13. Can I use the jar of coconut oil I cook with to apply it to my skin?

  14. Do you prefer to use unrefined for everything and how much nutrients are taken away from coconut oil for refined compared to unrefined

  15. When I use coconut oil as a hair mask for a few hours, it can sometimes leave my hair smelling not so nice. Any tips on how to leave a nice scent and some extra shine?

    • Mixing a little bit of suave strawberry conditioner with coconut oil is very good at masking the funky smell that coconut oil can produce .

  16. Does coconut oil used for anti-aging? If so how or what are the steps.

    • I turned 70 last summer and am on a tight budget 🙂 Coconut oil certainly is more economical than those expensive beauty creams. It’s safe enough to eat, for goodness sake! We use coconut oil for cooking. We also put a little on top of our vegetables or whatever hot food we eat.

      There two kinds of coconut oil, the kind that gets solid under a certain temperature and the other that is liquid at any temperature. The liquid one is convenient. On the other hand, the ‘solid’ type smells more coconutty (it’s the more raw unprocesed version).

      I took small jars for use in the bathroom on my face. I use a small beauty spatula to scrape a little out of the solid version jar (keeps it cleaner). Then rub it in the palms to liquify, then apply to clean skin.

      We live in the desert region of New Mexico and you can guess how tough that is on your skin (I’m naturally very pale). Amazingly, those little scaly dry spots on the top of my cheekbones seem to disappear when I remember to put on the coconut oil, especially before bed.

      I love the way it is absorbed, leaving just a soft result with no grease. It takes maybe 30 minutes to fully absorb. You don’t feel like you have anything pasted on your face! Another plus is the oil can be used around the eyes without irritation (at least for me). Most other oils are too irritating to the eyes, but you know, the skin around the eyes is the place that needs help the most!

      • Make sure that you are applying a good sunscreen on top of the coconut oil. I love coconut oil too on my pale skin (I am 62 years young!) but sunscreen, even in a northern climate, is a must every day. Where you live it would be even more important. Many women (and men) could prevent future wrinkles and heal some of the sun damage they have by religiously using sunscreen with their other beauty products every day of the year.

  17. I use coconut oil on my face, neck and body. I don’t have the wrinkles most of my acquaintances have. I take reasonable care of myself, don’t smoke, no alcohol, no drug use. Prefer holistic remedies and cures. Hopefully my photo will appear so you may see how sixty looks. And yes, I have children and have had very stressful jobs all of my life!

  18. Wellness Mama! Thanks so much for this article. I am one of the people that coconut oil doesn’t help out when applied. I always wondered why because there are so many great reviews online about it. For me it is very drying. I have color treated hair and its lost volume due to my age/hormones so add that with dry and brittle and for me it was a recipe for disaster. I have found things that do work, such as black castor oil treatments which when washed out really add volume and stopped my hair from falling out. I wish I would have known this sooner as I could have saved some hair. All is well though, after two years of balancing my hormones and changing my diet I can honestly say my hair looks better now than it did 5 years ago (I know it will probably never look as thick as it did in my 20’s or 30’s but it really has improved to the point I am happy with. My skin, same thing … coconut oil does not help that either and it really makes me itchy. Just not for the outside of this body I guess, I do consume it and cook with it though with good results.

    • Yes, thank you for this article!! Like Dena, I too have adverse affects to externally applied coconut oil. It is very drying to my skin, and I made the mistake of applying to my very healthy, bra-strap length, non-chemically processed hair overnight, and to my horror, I woke up with fried hair. So coarse, stiff and brittle. I tried for two weeks to detox my hair, and moisturize using hair masks & conditioners – nothing worked. I finally had to cut off 7″. Although it was better, my ends were never in good shape, and were dry and constantly splitting until I got everything that was exposed to the coconut oil cut off – which was almost a year later. Jojoba is my favorite but olive, castor, and Argan oils are good for me too. Also like Dena, I had horrible hormone imbalances, such as debilitating endometriosis, hypothyroid… Hope this article encourages anyone who reads it and contemplates using coconut oil for the first time to test it out on a strand before slathering on all of their hair.

    • Thanks for this….I have experienced much the same!

    • I too would like to thank you for the current article. Since I have found your site I have made the body lotion as well as the sunscreen lotion. My daughter gave me the facial scrub for Christmas. I love it all.
      I started putting the coconut oil on my hair as my hair is extremely thin and I have lost quite a bit of it. I have recently decided to let it go grey to avoid the chemicals of dying it.
      I have not noticed any difference in my hair with external application but I have begun to put the oil it in my Golden Tea.
      I will let you know if I notice a difference.

  19. In winter my room temp is low enough to keep coconut oil solid, but in summer it is soft or liquid. Is there any harm/effect to food value due to these changes? I melted a big tub over boiling water to pour into smaller containers for storage; does that do any harm? Also I’m gonna try castor oil on lashes, used to be lush but now in my 50’s they are sparse. Love all your posts!

    • Hi Kathy 🙂 The melting point of natural coconut oil will see it liquefying & setting continually. This does no harm to the oil and is normal.
      Coconut oil is not changed by heating to the temperature you have, so decanting like that is ok. More important is the cleanliness of the containers and their lids.
      To keep it hygienic, make sure you use clean and dry fingers/spatula/spoon to remove the oil from the jar. You don’t want to introduce any pathogens, especially if you are applying to your face.

      • Thanks for the info Heather.

  20. I have been using coconut oil on every inch of my body for over a decade, including my hair. I have VERY thick, very long, very course hair, almost akin to a black woman’s type of hair, and this is the only thing that keeps it from being out of control.

    I have never had an issue whatsoever. I guess I’m the opposite of what your polls state. I couldn’t live without it – from everything from shaving lotion to toothpaste to hair gel. It’s the only thing I will use.

    • For Sandra,
      A black woman’s hair can be many types and textures, just like our complexions. Black women have straight, curly, fine, coarse, thin,coarse, etc. hair. There is no particular type of hair “akin” to a black women.

      • Thank you for your reply Bren. My hair is slightly dry and very curly and I am a Black woman. It is not however, coarse. I am sure Sandra meant no disrespect – perhaps she doesn’t know very many Black people – hence her limited frame of reference.

    • Coconut oil works better I think on African influenced curly hair and kinky hair types. I use it and it makes my hair thick, shiny and long I am black and have curly hair. YES I also apply it to my scalp.

  21. I have tried jaggery (raw unrefined cane sugar) with lemon. Heat jaggery and add half a lemon juice. That is it. Great for waxing at home.

  22. I use coconut or sesame oil on my thick dry curly hair before blowdrying. And I use a straight iron. The shampoo I use is Aubrey green tea shampoo; mandarin splash scent. Label says it deep cleans and detoxifies. Good system for me, I recommend trying it.

  23. I love coconut oil so much! A few years back I decided to buy a gallon tub of it from Azure Standard, and went through it in a month. Then I bought a 5 gallon tub from tropical traditions and since I haven’t used it as much it has lasted me years. But I want to get back into the habit of lots of coconut oil use. When I had my hair permed, I used it as my curl defining cream (just a dab and finger-combed it through). I like it as a skin cream, just not on my face. I prefer raw honey for that. I use it for my son’s diaper cream, make bulletproof coffee, in oatmeal, and smoothies. I’ve also been making your coconut flour biscuits with them!

  24. I am one of those people that coconut oil does not work well for. I have thick, naturally curly hair, which tends to be dry and frizzy. For years I used V05 hairdressing. I would apply it to damp hair then mousse it up, when I used the hair dryer the oil would moisturize and shine my hair up beautifully, but I wanted to find something more natural, and tried coconut oil. It certainly does work better than nothing (no moisturizer), but if I use it multiple days in a row it is very drying to my hair. I have tried a lot of different moisturizer / oils Argan, almond, canola, castor, I have even tried vegetable and safflower oil after kicking them out of the pantry, olive oil, and all sorts of blends of oils and other naturals. But I have found Avocado oil to be Amazing! Its not too thick or oily it doesn’t dry my hair, its shiny and I can actually run my fingers through my hair. I also wash my face with it, and once or twice a week I will follow up with a baking soda scrub. Leaves my face baby soft, never clogs my pores. Love, love, love the avocado oil.

    • Hi Bridgette, where do you buy avacado oil from? Thanks

  25. I’ve been using coconut oil on my baby instead of soap. His hair is falling out at 3 months. Could it be the coconut oil? I know hair loss is normal in babies.

  26. Yuck yuck yuck. I love coconut oil, I really do. But when I put it on my hair, what a freaking gross disaster. I have coarse, thick, curly, dry hair. turned it into a nasty, oily, stinky mess. will not use again. my hair is very picky about what products or allows to work on it, lol

  27. I make my own shampoo using coconut liquid. I boil raw coconut, let it cool and use the liquid, including the fat from it, as my liquid base in my shampoo. I add other oils, and mix with castile soap. Sometimes I add a bit of baking soda. My hair is far from perfect, but after using this for some time my hair has gone from limp and lifeless to more body and my curls are returning. Not sure if it is my homemade stuff, or just the fact that I no longer use commercial shampoos.

  28. I want to try using castor oil. Is there a difference in quality of the castor oil I see in drug stores/supermarkets and perhaps ordering online? Do you have a source you recommend? Happy Easter, by the way!

      • In India and specially in south India where coconut is abundand, most men and women uses coconut oil
        for hair. There hair are black and beautiful and many of them maintain such black, silky, shiny hair
        all the way to their senior age ( 60 + without a tint of grey hair or even heavy loss of hair )
        Coconut oil must me softly message in the hair root / scalp to allow their fine molecules to get absorbed.
        For best result, always use non-refined, non filtered, organic oil.

      • Is this the same one you use on your eyelashes?

  29. I switched to a dry shampoo-bar method to avoid all the chemicals and alcohol in commercial shampoo and my hair seemed to do okay except that I get a LOT of build up/residue. I have untreated (no color, no perm) straight hair that’s fine to medium in terms of each strand, and thick (I have a lot, I’ve been told). One of the main ingredients in my shampoo bars is coconut oil, so I’m wondering if that has to do with it. I do a vinegar rinse once a week but tat hasn’t really cut the residue issue.

  30. I use coconut oil on my skin when going out for sun and for oil-pulling plus eat some everyday in my morning smoothies. I mix a small amount with shea and mango butter along with argon oil and some other I forgot (the quart amount has lasted over 6 months!) for my hair. I am 61 years old, a male, and have mid back length hair and this stuff tames it quite well. Being a hippy and being no-poo for a little over 3 years this mixture is superb. Research commercial “sunscreens” and you’ll see why I use coconut oil for the sun.

  31. I’m dubious that coconut oil will clog pores I’ve been making skin lotion using CO for a couple of years now, with nary a zit in sight. There is a sect in India where the women don’t cut their hair until they are about 18 years old. They don’t use shampoo so much there, so these woman use only CO oil on their hair. Their hair is such good condition, they sell it to the companies that make hair extensions.

    • I too have good results with Coconut oil on my face. I am 50 years old now , but for most of my life suffered from Rosacea, some milder acne, and stupidly sensitive skin. I went from Acne to pre-wrinkles with no break in between. I didnt dare use anything with oil in it on my face. Then i moved to the mountains and had to put on something… enter Coconut OIL. I slather it on at night and in the AM. Sometimes on top of my makeup if my skin is thirsty. I am so thrilled with on breakouts at this ripe old age. I use it on my hands too, and on my hair after highlights from ill trained hairdressers who have fried it to bits. I have eaten coconut oil too, dont like the taste but I know its good for my insides. I put it in my dogs spoon once in a blue moon and he also licks it off.

  32. Wow! This was eye-opening and sohelpful! I have dry, brittle hair that is coming out from from formaldehyde from my Keratin treatment that I last did. I think in hindsight I’ve been experiencing problems and hair loss from the Keratin for years but just didn’t realize it. Anyway, I have been slathering on coconut oil on the scalp and hair and I do think my hair has gotten dryer. I actually switched to some different natural products that have mostly Shea butter on them a couple weeks ago, and my hair has become improved in condition. This is really enlightening. Thank you.

  33. I disagree with some points you wrote based on my personal experience.

    My hair is curly long, and I had dry hair and serious dandruff. Tried all sorts of treatments and they were all useless and damaged my hair and scalp due to the chemicals used.
    After using coconut oil ON THE SCALP and hair overnight, my dandruff disappeared almost at the first time I used, and my hair got A LOT better. I did not notice any hair loss, on the contrary, I actually noticed slight improvement, not much though.

    The oil can also be used as a leave-in, just put a small amount after you towel dry your hair (if you put too much it will look like you used gel)

    I’ve only felt some irritation on scalp if I leave the oil for 3 days in a row without washing. But a quick shower (just water, no need for shampoo to removed it) solves it quickly.

    Just make sure the oil is UNREFINED and ORGANIC.

  34. My husband is Guatemalan and I am African American. We have two beautiful daughters with different types of textured hair. My 10 year old have the “basic” biracial hair where its a curly-coarse texture, while my 6 year old have a curly-“Spanish” texture. I use coconut oil ONLY to get rid of the frizz for my 6 year old’s hair. But my other daughter, I use it for her scalp and hair.

    For facial moisture, my older daughter breaks out but my little one is fine… It’s weird but I get it LOL. I use it sparingly for my family. I hope this helped.

  35. Thanks for this article. I, too, am one of those who don’t respond well to topical applications of coconut oil. I’ve always found it to be very drying to both skin and hair (I have dry, curly hair). Now I know why!

  36. Another thing to avoid is “natural flavorings”…

    In many cases, natural flavors are just as bad as artificial flavorings.

    And yes – the rumor is true… one form of natural flavoring comes from beaver anus discharge… I am not kidding.

  37. i am one of those that cant use coconut oil on my hair (or body). it made my hair very dry and even courser feeling. same with my body. it made my hair on my legs grow faster and coarser!!! gah! no one wants that! i use almond oil now for my hair/body

    • Hey Susan, that’s a really interesting observation. I’m wondering if CO could be used to decrease dark, course body hair. And if used on fine body hair, will it become thicker?
      Mmmm…would be worth investigating!

  38. Hi Katie,
    According to the Blood Type diet- Blood Type ” A” should avoid coconut oil .I am a Type A & I love coconut oil! What are your thoughts on that?? Thx

    • I’ve never seen any evidence that the blood type diet is actually a legitimate thing, or that certain foods always effect people with a certain blood type the same way. I’ll be writing about it in the future once I’ve had time to do more research on it, but for now, I see no harm in consuming coconut oil as long as it’s not bothering you in any way.

      • Thx for that. Look forward to the research. I add coconut oil , turmeric powder & a pinch of sea salt when I cook Basmati rice & it’s delicious & healthy.

  39. I’ve posted this before in a different thread but seeing as this is the coconut oil thread, I’ll post it again…
    I cured a nasty staph infection by eating and topically applying coconut oil. Twenty something open oozing sores all over the body. Tried various natural remedies. Nothing worked. Finally, after about three days of eating and applying CO, I went through a sleepless night of fevers and chills after which I could feel the body recovering and a few days later, the staph was gone. I had tried golden seal, oregano oil, various things but coconut oil was the ONLY thing that worked. I was also eating lots of avocados and avoiding sugars and grains. Just thought I’d share that useful tidbit.

  40. Informative article! Thank you for sharing this.

  41. how do you use castor oil for eyelash and hair growth

  42. Coconut oil actually does not clog pores when used correctly and I have thick curly course hair and coconut oil works very well with individuals with thick and course hair especially minorities like myself , we live by coconut oil . Those who had issues were probably not using virgin organic unrefined oil

  43. Hi, I have just been told that my cholesterol is a bit on the high side. I have been using coconut oil for a while now but NHS site says that it is bad because it contains saturated fats. Heart UK Org also says this. Do you know if there is any evidence to refute this? I don’t really want to give it up as it has so many good properties. Thanks

  44. I have been using coconut oil once a well for many months, my hair is coarse and dry. I love it! Maybe I’m using the right amount or something. I have also gone on the no poo trend (I’m very late in trying it) and love it! But it’s definitly not for everyone

  45. I put coconut oil on my hair and I wasted it out and my hair wouldn’t dry it’s been like 2 hours and my hair is oily i think I put too much coconut oil and I’m worried if it will do any damage to my hair

  46. I did not know that coconut oil was the richest natural source of medium chain fatty acids. I understand that these fatty acids can be beneficial for our body and am happy to learn that they can actually help hair growth. I have also heard that argan oil is good for skin and hair. I will have to do some experimenting.

  47. Use the coconut oil on daughters fly way hair. Was very difficult to get out. Used ACV, baking soda and witch hazel. I must have used a tab bit! haha!

  48. I’ve noticed something after using coconut oil… it’s the type of coconut oil that you buy!! I used a few and my hair was terrible after using it!! Brittle and gross. I used another brand by fluke at a friends house because I had nothing else to use in my hair… and my hair was absolutely amazing. I think it’s the quality and type of coconut oil. In Australia we have litterally hundreds of different brands so it’s hard to chose one that works for your hair.the one that worked for me melted very easily and even felt different when it melted in my hands than the others. Everything about it was amazing for me. I can’t wait to try castor oil though!!

  49. After a few intensive hair masks with a hefty amount organic, non-refined coconut oil my hair became even more brittle and weak ( a few weeks ago I had a chopped haircut, however now ends of the hair are almost see-through. A shame that the oil did not cooperate well with my hair. Maybe such a thing ensued because my hair are damaged from bleaching agents and daily hair straightening? A pity, because it was waste of time, energy and money. It works wonders with the skin though.

    • This happened to me. My hair was so damaged because I refused to cut it ever! My hair was so brittle after using it. When my hair was healthy (I had to cut half of it off) the coconut oil worked really well. Also you have to try a few because some leave my hair feeling dry and brittle but there are some that transform my hair to soft and shiny! You can always try jojoba oil.

  50. Hi Wellness Mama,
    WOW, am I relieved to stumble upon your article after losing masses of hair, clumps, handfuls, brushfuls, on the floors of my house, everywhere… I feel so stupid, stubborn and naive! All I heard and read was how fabulous coconut oil is for your skin and hair. I used the best money could buy organic first cold press edible. I would put alot (and I mean alot on my dry hair) before washing it and wow did my hair fall out afterwards, in clumps. I cant believe I kept doing it. I was just so convinced the coconut oil was good for my hair and it was going to kick in. So Im leaving this comment to shed light for others. Proceed with caution. Not for everyone. Now what can I do to reverse all this hair loss? Do I dare try castor oil? Should I just give my hair a break? Will it improve with time? I was getting so concerned that Im relieved to have figured it out. It just couldn’t go on any longer. Take care readers!

  51. PLEASE DO A SPOT TEST IF YOU WANT TO TRY THE COCONUT OIL IN HAIR. I would recommend don’t use it at all to retain the pH and bacterial balance of your scalp. It ruined the balance of my scalp and my hair has been a roller coaster of unfortunate events since. I used organic non refined coconut in the jar, melted it to an oil, followed protocol, and within a minute of the coconut oil being on my head I suffered intense burning and itching. After research, YEAST, also known as Malassezia, FEED ON COCONUT OIL because Malassezia is a lipophilic yeast meaning it eats fats and oils to make itself grow. It really scares me that these beauty fads exist and are being pushed and marketed by hair care companies. The comments made here in response to those who had a bad experience saying, “you probably weren’t doing it right/using the right kind,” is ignorance. The skin and scalp are like an ecosystem and bringing in foreign agents may disrupt the natural balance disastrously. I wouldn’t wish what happened to me on anyone and would just like to share my experience to save others from having the same. Be careful.

  52. I have heard about using apple cider vinegar and then coating hair with coconut oil, leaving it on all day before using a nit comb and washing to rid children of knits. After reading about coconut oil maybe I should try olive oil or some other oil. What do you think

  53. So I accidentally didn’t do my studying on the correct way to use coconut oil and does it eventually go away and go back to your original hair or is it stuck like that because I added too much and now my hair looks oily

  54. Do NOT USE COCONUT OIL IF DIAGNOSED WITH TELOGEN EFFLUVIUM. It made my hair fall out and coarse and brittle at the scalp. I didn’t read this article saying don’t put it on the scalp and I did according to another page. I didn’t listen to the doctor and just use the stuff she gave me. Always listen to your doctor and consult with them before trying something you don’t know what will happen. Right now I’m moisturizing my hair hoping that this will fix the brittleness. I washed it three times and the oils are stuck in my scalp. Do no apply it to the scalp. I only had it on for an hour to do enough damage. I’m going to try all night to get this stuff out of my hair. It’s a disaster.

  55. Using any kind of straight oil on very thin, fine, Caucasian hair is a huge risk. Even though my hair is wavy, it can very easily become weighed down or greasy with heavy, oily products. I do much better with light moisturizing sprays or a spray on leave-in conditioner on my ends (no need to ever put any kind of oil on the roots of my kind of hair!) As a teenager, I used to wash my hair with dishwashing soap it was so oily (this was before I had ever used dye or anything else on my hair) and it was fine. Every hair type is so very different and it’s scary to read that some people actually ruined their long beautiful hair with coconut oil—natural is sadly not always better or safer! I think you certainly should not apply anything directly to your scalp unless it is a product designed to be used there. I find that it is also essential to demineralize any type of hair to regularly remove any build up from conditioners and products as this can affect the appearance and health of your hair.

  56. hi so I tried the No Poo sh#t with the baking soda. well I think I used to much my hair is dried out brittle I can not even get a brush through my hair can somebody tell me if the coconut oil help or what can I use I need my hair back to normal please

    • Sometimes natural is not always better or safer. Without knowing more about your hair type, I would be cautious about using coconut oil on damaged hair. As you may have read from some of the other comments, users ruined their hair with coconut oil—it works beautifully for some and not so well for others. I think using shea butter or oil, argan oil (much more expensive!), or jojoba oil would be safer as a first step. Alternatively, you may wish to explore use of hair products from a company like Just Natural or Morocco Method (they make more naturally-based products for a wide range of hair types and concerns). This may be more to your liking than a moisturizing drugstore or Sephora brand. Hopefully, you can get your hair back to good health again!

  57. I have oily hair but dry ends and I just used coconutoil for the first time in my hair, my whole head. I’m very careful when it comes to my hair. Do you think i should only do it once a week as a treatment for my hair, or not do it at all?

    • I have oily hair also, but the ends are extremely dry. I think it would be safe to use coconut or another organic oil on the ends of your hair only a few times a week. You could even try it as a pre-shampooing treatment. If you are nervous about how your hair might react to coconut oil (some horror stories above, especially when hair is damaged), you could try it on a small inconspicuous area of your ends first and then evaluate how your hair does with it first before you apply it to all of your ends. The beauty of using it on your ends is that this is the part of hair that a stylist would cut off anyhow in regular trims (versus applying it on or near your scalp, which I would never recommend with oily hair.)

  58. I have read a lot about it and i found out that coconut oil is rich in fatty acids that nourish and moisturize the scalp and hair, for me it reduces the hair breakage a lot and it works better than the hair conditioners and it promotes the hair growth generally it shows a quick result. I apply it every week on my hair from the roots till the end and leave it for 1 hour or more then wash it, sometimes if i don’t have time i just apply a little after washing it.

  59. Why do you say coconut oil works better for people with finer hair? I just started using coconut oil on my hair and it made my hair amazingly soft and manageable. I am east Asian and my hair is very thick and coarse that it tends to get very dry and brittle.
    I read that Indian women commonly use coconut oil on their hair as a beauty secret. As far as I know Indian women have thicker hair.

  60. If your water smells like bleach then you need to clean the sediment out of your water tank. There’s a tap on it. Rinclse it out into a container till it runs clear. Smh.

  61. I finished my chemo treatments in Dec and my hair is starting to grow back. It is maybe an inch long and grey/white. I really don’t want to go back to salon color. I’ve read that coconut oil and lemon juice might help with the grey. Would that be safe for my new hair? How long should I wait before trying it?

  62. I use coconut oil as an overnight treatment, as well as protection for whenever I am feeling like experimenting with my hair (which tends to happen often, especially in summer).

    With a night treatment, I put lots and lots on, making sure my hair is properly saturated; before covering my head with a shower cap and wrapping a towel around. Then I just go to bed. When I wake up, I use my usual redken all soft shampoo and conditioner (with an additional dash of olive oil in the conditioner, as always), finishing up by rinsing my hair out in cold (and I mean COLD) water and wrapping it up in a large towel until it’s dry-ish (not dripping all over the floor, that is).

    I recently did two rounds of full bleach, with less than a week in between, to prep my hair for a silver grey shade, and thanks to leaving my hair coated in coconut oil for 1-2 days before applying my bleach, the damage to my hair is barely noticeable except a couple of split ends – and when I say a couple, that is not an expression.

    My hair is the typical thick nordic type. It’s mostly straight, originally a pale dark blonde and naturally blessed with lots of volume –
    and it reaches just below my ass.

    Sadly, as mentioned, coconut oil isn’t for everyone. My sister for instance (whose hair is much thinner and straight with less volume, yet more shine, and a more strawberry blonde tinge) only got dry and brittle hair after a coconut oil treatment.

    On a daily basis, I coat my hair in a oil mix of coconut, argan, macadamia, olive and linen seed oil before combing it in the morning, which keeps my hair soft, smooth, manageable and shiny af throughout the day. I also only shower/wash my hair once or twice a week in order to keep my atopic eczema under check (for my skin treatment, hemp seed oil with epsom salt is a must).

    I keep my little oil mixture in a small, cylindrical plastic bottle (an old argan oil container which fit so perfectly in my purse that I’ve kept it around), so I always have it on hand if my hair needs a touch-up during the day. Thanks to the properties of the different oils and the texture, it kind of lasts forever.

    Will try to add some castor oil to my mix next and see how that turns out.

  63. A quick tip:

    Coconut oil and tea tree oil mixed together, or just added to your usual shampoo, works miracles on dandruff (well, the kind I had for a while, at least).

    Just massage lightly into your scalp and leave for a few minutes before rinsing out. Slight tingling feeling is to be expected, although it should not be uncomfortable in any way. Repeat once or twice a week until all signs of dandruff is gone (took me only 2 months).

    Though I do recommend doing a spot test if you have never tried one or both of the oils.