Coconut Oil for Hair Growth

You will never have the healthy and shiny hair of your dreams if your hair doesn’t grow properly. Hair growth is influenced by a number of factors, which include your overall health, your diet and of course whether or not you follow a good hair care regimen. If you are looking to promote hair growth, your hair care regimen must include oil application. Many people use coconut oil for hair growth. When used correctly this oil conditions, protects and moisturizes the scalp and allows the hair to grow properly.

In this article I’m going to tell you why coconut oil can help your hair grow faster, explain how to apply it to hair, and give you some general advice for using this amazing natural oil on your hair.

How Does Coconut Oil Work to Promote Hair Growth?

  • Shields hair protein:

    Lauric acid, a major component of coconut oil gives the oil its protective properties. Lauric acid is a fatty acid that easily binds hair proteins thus helping in protecting roots of hair strands and preventing hair breakage. A study conducted in 2003 revealed that coconut oil can reduce or prevent hair protein loss more effectively than mineral and sunflower oils (these two oils are common ingredients of many hair care products).

  • Seals in hair moisture: Regular application of coconut oil can help you to keep your hair strong and moisturized. Coconut oil possesses the ability of penetrating the hair shaft and thus conditions your hair from within. The oil supplies enough moisture to protect your hair follicles from environmental impurities and heat.Coconut Oil for Hair Growth
  • Contains antibacterial and antifungal properties: Coconut oil’s antibacterial and antifungal properties give the oil the ability of protecting your scalp against dandruff and lice, both of which can hinder hair growth.
  • Contains nutrients: Coconut oil is a rich source of nutrients like vitamin E, vitamin K and iron. These nutrients are essential for maintaining your hair’s shine and softness. Vitamin E is particularly effective in eradicating dandruff, which is a major cause of hair fall and hindered hair growth.
  • Improves blood circulation: Massage your scalp with coconut oil to stimulate blood circulation. Improved blood circulation to your scalp will ensure that your hair follicles receive the required amount of essential nutrients and oxygen. This will make your hair follicles healthy and promote hair growth.

How to Apply Coconut Oil

There are two ways to apply coconut oil to hair – either before or after washing:

  • People with slightly wavy or straight hair should undergo coconut oil treatment before washing their hair.
  • If you have curly or thick hair, you can apply coconut oil both before and after washing your hair. As curly hair tends to absorb oil quickly, you will not end up having greasy looking hair even if you apply coconut oil after washing the hair.

Before shampooing: First apply the oil generously to your scalp and rub the scalp gently to ensure that the oil spreads adequately to the entire area. Continue massaging the scalp for 5 minutes. Now, concentrate on your hair strands. If required you can take some more oil for oiling the hair strands. Leave the oil on your hair for at least 30 minutes (or up to 2-4 hours if you have a lot of hair breakage problems) and then wash the hair off with your regular shampoo.

During shampooing: Some people get amazing results by mixing their shampoo and/or conditioner with coconut oil (50/50 or some other ratio). Give it a try and see how it compares with using coconut oil as a pre-wash treatment. This is by far the least time consuming method, so that’s a big benefit as well.

After shampooing: Not all types of hair react well to post-wash coconut oil treatment. If you find that your hair is “protein sensitive”, it is likely to react badly to coconut oil as well, so keep this in mind. As for application, here’s what I recommend:u00c2u00a0if you have problems with split-ends or dry hair, apply a little coconut oil to the ends of your hair (up to 2-3 inches) after it has completely dried out.

Tips for Using Coconut Oil On Your Hair

While there are thousands of articles touting the benefits of coconut oil treatments for hair, very few of them provide tips to maximize those benefits and avoid any potential pitfalls. The truth is that coconut oil hair treatments are not suitable for everyone. In the next few paragraphs I’m going to give you some tips for using coconut oil, explain how it works, and help you decide whether this kind of treatment is right for you.

Q: Should I warm the oil up before applying it?

A:u00c2u00a0Due to the fact that coconut oil turns solid in lower (room) temperatures, it often makes sense to warm it up a little before use. This makes it much simpler to apply to hair/scalp. Avoid using hot oil as it can damage your skin. A simple way to prepare coconut oil for use is to fill a large bowl with boiling-hot water and then place a smaller bowl with some oil into it. Wait until the coconut oil melts and then use it!

Q: How much oil should I apply to my hair?

A:u00c2u00a0When applying coconut oil to your hair before shampooing you can use as much oil as you feel necessary. Many people dose coconut oil the same way as regular shampoo/conditioner by applying just enough to cover the scalp and full hair length.

Now, using coconut oil as a leave-in treatment after washing your hair is very different. Applying too much of it will almost certainly leave your hair looking greasy and tangled. Plus, oil attracts dust and other pollutants which can make the hair look dirty really fast. I recommend using just a tiny amount of coconut oil on the ends to help combat dryness. If you are looking for a suitable leave-in post-wash oil treatment for your hair, coconut oil is not it.

Q: What are the benefits of pre-wash coconut oil treatments?

A:u00c2u00a0Using coconut oil on your hair prior to washing is a great way to minimize damage and breakage that occurs when you wash your hair. Water has the tendency to soften our skin and can lead to the skin around your hair follicles becoming tender and prone to damage. This can lead to hair breakage, shedding and various other problems.

Luckily, since coconut oil is a water repellent, applying some of it to the scalp/hair before washing can prevent this from happening. Another thing that sets coconut oil apart from other oils is that it bonds with hair proteins with ease and can penetrate deep into the skin thanks to its light chemical properties. This creates a temporary “shield” that protects your scalp and hair from water damage.

Q: What about using coconut oil as a post-wash treatment?

A:u00c2u00a0Most people use coconut oil after shampooing to prevent split ends. Wait until the hair has dried out completely and then apply a little oil to the very ends. The oil is quickly absorbed by the hair and forms a “protective” layer shielding your hair from environmental damage.

Q: Does coconut oil really cure head lice?

A:u00c2u00a0There is a lot of evidence that coconut oil is very effective as a natural head lice treatment. For instance, one UK study found a special coconut oil + anise spray to be nearly twice more effective at eradicating head lice than any other widely used treatment today.

A commonly used (although never studied) lice treatment is to soak the scalp and hair in coconut oil, then cover with foil, shower cap or a towel. Leave it on overnight, then wash the oil out with shampoo. There’s no evidence that this treatment works, but many proponents of all-natural remedies swear by it.

If you have any questions about coconut oil for hair please ask in the comments below and I will answer them as soon as possible.

About the Author

Marina is a healthy living enthusiast who loves writing about hair care, natural beauty treatments and fitness. She started this website with the purpose to share her favorite hair care tips with as many people as possible!

Feel free to join this conversation

  1. Lauren January 25, 2013 at 3:44 pm - Reply

    Do I need to heat the oil up before applying it?
    Great info btw!

    • admin February 18, 2013 at 9:42 am - Reply

      I normally heat it up a little so it melts properly. Don’t make it hot though.

      • Batzion July 30, 2013 at 1:48 am - Reply

        Another way is to get one one of those nozzle-top bottles (the kind used for coloring your hair) from a beauty supply store. Pour the liquid coconut oil in the bottle. If it solidifies, just hold the bottle under hot water until the oil melts.

      • kay December 11, 2013 at 4:44 pm - Reply

        how long does it take for your hair to grow like 1 inch when using dis????????????

    • Saidah July 27, 2013 at 9:12 pm - Reply

      Ok i want my hair to be lighter and longer how can i achieve this?

  2. marlon q February 2, 2013 at 1:13 am - Reply

    make the oil a bit more warmer before applying it.

    • admin February 22, 2013 at 1:13 pm - Reply

      Yea you can fill a pot up with hot water, place a small bowl inside it and add some coconut oil to it and let it melt. Don’t make it hot though. Coconut oil is difficult to apply otherwise because it’s a solid mass in room temperatures.

  3. Don February 15, 2013 at 7:56 am - Reply

    Wonderful article and great to see you promoting the amazing benefits of Coconut Oil. I have been using it on my hair for several years now and enjoy its healthy shine. Coconut Oil is far better than any commercial product out there and knowing its 100% from nature, is the only way for me.

    • admin February 18, 2013 at 9:32 am - Reply

      Thanks for the comment! I only just enabled comments so still learning how it all works heh. :)

      There are many other oils that can be used to improve hair health and ultimately promote hair growth. I’ll try to cover some of those in another article soon.

  4. jayne March 6, 2013 at 1:59 am - Reply

    I have seborrheic dermatitis n oily scalp. Can I use coconut oil. Please advise

    • christie August 14, 2013 at 10:42 pm - Reply

      For the oily hair issue, you can use 1/4 cup of baking soda, 1/4 cup of coconut milk, an entire bottle of water, and a few drops of coconut oil. That is basically a homeade shampoo that works very well. For the seborrheic dermatitis, coconut oil should really help with that, but i would have to look into it more. I hope it works though

    • christie August 14, 2013 at 10:43 pm - Reply

      For the oily hair issue, you can use 1/4 cup of baking soda, 1/4 cup of coconut milk, an entire bottle of water, and a few drops of coconut oil. That is basically a homeade shampoo that works very well. For the seborrheic dermatitis, coconut oil should really help with that, but i would have to look into it more. I hope it works though.

  5. anju April 5, 2013 at 5:47 am - Reply

    i have curly dry hair from last 6 years its grown only 5 c.m now i am 22 years old,, what can i do please help me….

  6. Sha April 16, 2013 at 2:21 am - Reply

    I cut my hair recently. It’s not suitable for me. How can I grow my hair faster. I used biotin for 1 week. Rather than this way? Pls help me. My weeding on recently.

  7. Maria April 25, 2013 at 5:30 pm - Reply

    I have heard wonders about coconut oil benefits to the hair and have started applying it as a pre-wash treatment. However, I notice that every time I apply it some of my hair falls. I have relatively thin hair and I am trying to grow it out. Is hair loss normal when applying oil? Am I applying too much oil? Should I dilute the oil with some water? I would really appreciate it if you can give me some advice about how to best use coconut oil in my case. Thank you.

    • Marina April 25, 2013 at 6:09 pm - Reply

      Hey, thanks for your comment!

      Coconut oil is not suitable for all types of hair. Unfortunately, the only way to tell whether your hair will like it is to give it a try. Now, there can be many reasons why you’re losing more hair than normal:

      1. Using too much oil. Coconut oil mimics protein and some hair types simply can’t stand heavy protein treatments.
      2. Massaging your scalp for too long and/or irritating hair follicles. While scalp massages are a great thing, you must be very careful to apply oil smoothly without applying too much pressure on your scalp.

      Heavy shedding when using oil is not normal… especially if it continues. I would suggest either trying a different method (such as mixing coconut oil with shampoo or conditioner) or trying lighter oils (jojoba/olive + a couple drops of your favourite essential oil/oils. castor oil is another option, but it has a distinct smell that you might not like).

    • November 6, 2013 at 9:06 pm - Reply

      I use avocado oil for my hair as well as my face. It seems to work really well, but is not as “heavy” as coconut oil, so it might be more suitable for thinner hair. I also sometimes use almond oil, or a mixture of almond and coconut oil for a hair mask. Using a thinner oil makes spreading it to hair a faster feat.

  8. Salma April 25, 2013 at 8:40 pm - Reply

    How often should I use coconut oil on my hair? I have wavy hair and I want to grow it out fast. I would really appreciate a quick answer :)

    • Marina April 29, 2013 at 5:07 pm - Reply


      It depends on how you use it and whether your hair likes protein or not (since coconut oil mimics protein). I’ll write something up about hair and protein sensitivity in the next couple of days.

      If you have trouble retaining growth, do you also have split ends? Put some coconut oil on dry ends to give them a little extra protection. Is that doesn’t work – try using jojoba oil on your ends instead. Oh and don’t forget to trim the very ends before treating them with oils – existign damage (split ends) can’t be repaired and should be cut off.

      As for frequency… pre-wash leave in treatments I’d say about 1-2 times per week. If you mix coconut oil into shampoo or conditioner – every time you wash your hair (should be 1-3 times a week).

      Remember that not all hair types like coconut oil. If you find that your hair feels brittle, dry or weighed down – try jojoba oil instead! For most people it’s either coconut or jojoba.

  9. Brittany April 29, 2013 at 7:21 am - Reply

    Thank you for writing the article on coconut oil and its benefits. Is it okay if I mix castor oil & coconut oil together to use as a pre-wash? Also, can I use conditioner after shampooing even though I did a pre-wash with the coconut oil?

    • Marina April 29, 2013 at 5:19 pm - Reply

      No problem – thank you for leaving a comment!

      1. Mixing castor and coconut oils shouldn’t be a problem. Unless your hair doesn’t like coconut oil, of course.
      2. You can use a conditioner without problems. Think of oil products as an addition to your regular hair care routine. Some people find that adding coconut oil into shampoo or pre-soaking hair in oils before shampooing allows them to skip conditioner altogether. But that obviously depends on how your hair reacts to specific oils.

      Remember that both castor and coconut oils are considered to be quite “heavy” and can weigh your hair down if overused. I’d experiment with 2:1 and 3:1 (coconut:castor) ratios to start with.

  10. nayeli May 4, 2013 at 3:28 am - Reply

    Can i leave the coconut oil over night? Will it become greasy if i do?

  11. shay May 11, 2013 at 12:41 am - Reply

    hi i gave the coconut oil a go although i did it a little bit differently. i could only buy the pro chef cocnut oil spray and i sprayed it in my hands then rubbed it into my scalp and tips of my hair but i left it in over night and now im not sure whether to wash it out straight away with shampoo or leave it in for two days like people on other websites say to do.

  12. ian May 18, 2013 at 8:59 am - Reply

    my hair drops alot. will coconut oil help aid this problem?

  13. raj May 22, 2013 at 1:01 pm - Reply

    whether applying coconut oil at night time before sleep is good for hair growth and stops hair loss..?

  14. Heather May 25, 2013 at 7:29 am - Reply

    Good day,
    I have thin, fine hair. My hair tends to break off ever so often and mainly in the front on the sides and the back sleep section. I have tried so many products n wen it doesn’t work I stop give my hair a break and try something else. Should I try the pre was treatment seing as my hair is dry n thin.

  15. Kumar swamy May 30, 2013 at 4:42 pm - Reply

    How to treat bald spot by coconut oil.

  16. Hanan June 6, 2013 at 12:00 pm - Reply

    Does coconuts oil suit oily hair?

  17. Marnina June 11, 2013 at 1:48 am - Reply

    Coconut oil is not a protein treatment, not does it mimic one. It prevents protein leaving the hair shaft and furthermore locks in moisture.

  18. Audrey June 14, 2013 at 8:25 am - Reply

    can it darken hair? I hv some grey gair. can the grey hair turn black? or can black hair remains black?

  19. Rachel June 18, 2013 at 9:44 am - Reply

    Hi Marina, I’ve just started using coconut oil in my very thick, curly and frizzy hair. I had put in some coconut oil in it while it was dry and it felt nice and soft. I left it overnight and then washed my hair today. My hair felt quite dry after shampooing but this could be due to my hair being unhealthy at the moment.

    I then let my hair air dry and then put some coconut oil in my hair. My hair now feels really nice and soft. Do you think my hair likes coconut oil or not? I’m not sure if after washing is when my hair is telling me it doesn’t like it although it feels soft while it’s in my hair now. I look forward to your reply. THANKS!

  20. dinesh Babu June 22, 2013 at 1:23 pm - Reply

    for past 7 years I had hair loss . my hair loss from root . after hair loss . I took the hair and saw . end of the hair had white colour skin .why it’s coming and how to stop that.with two years marriage for me . revert me

  21. Lisa June 26, 2013 at 3:38 am - Reply

    Hello – Are there any brands of coconut oil you would recommend? Is the goal for Extra virgin expeller pressed? Any trustworthy brands you know? Thanks!

  22. Mandi July 6, 2013 at 7:04 pm - Reply

    Thanks to the wonderful post. I’m gonna try it tonight on my hair.

  23. Jeanine Jones July 23, 2013 at 7:14 pm - Reply

    I want to try coconut oil for hair strength and shine. After buying a small bottle of liquid at the beauty supply store called coconut oil, then buying a tub of Blue Magic at CVS, i realized both of these probably have very little coconut oil in them. I want to use the right stuff. Please tell me what brand or brands to buy. My hair is fine and straight. Thank u so much.

  24. aleem July 31, 2013 at 7:04 pm - Reply

    hey.. how long does it take before you start noticing the benefits of coconut oil on your hair? i just started applying it since i have an itchy scalp and i have hair loss..

  25. Faiza August 3, 2013 at 6:05 pm - Reply

    How often should I apply cocunut oil I really need something for hair growth Iam 14

  26. Cindy August 8, 2013 at 10:29 pm - Reply

    Hey ladies, I have problems removing coconut oil after any tips?

  27. Farzeen September 4, 2013 at 11:44 am - Reply

    Hey, I bought coconut oil recently and its called ‘Dabur Vatika’ coconut oil. Apparently, from what I know about coconut oil, it’s supposed to be kinda… solid-ish? The one that I bought is like pure liquid oil. Do you think it’s the same?

  28. Trace September 24, 2013 at 8:22 am - Reply

    Does it need to be “extra virgin” or refined to work?

  29. Golfielox Goldielox October 7, 2013 at 12:46 am - Reply

    I am racially mixed, I use coconut oil after I shampoo,I mix it with my conditioner so when I rinse it out it wont make my hair greasy,and since I blow dry my hair its perfect

  30. Jeanine Jones October 7, 2013 at 6:40 am - Reply

    I have Nature’s Way Liquid Premium Coconut Oil 93% MCTs non-GMO Expeller Pressed. It is very liquid-like in a bottle. I don’t think it would be too thick to pour into and use a spray bottle to apply it to my hair. What do u think? Thank you.

  31. LaColsha Williams October 10, 2013 at 6:31 am - Reply

    Does coconut oil help with detangling hair while washing?

  32. LaColsha Williams October 10, 2013 at 6:35 am - Reply

    I have been going natural from a year and nine months now. I’m trying to find something to help me detangle my hair easier without breaking my hair. I have bought a wide tooth comb but I need something that will help detangle my hair.

  33. Trisha Marchesa October 24, 2013 at 3:42 pm - Reply

    I’ve been using coconut oil on my waist length hair for 3 months. Sometimes it’s a real problem to wash it out so my hair isn’t greasy looking. I tried using a handful of baking soda mixed in with my shampoo to remove the excess coconut oil. It works!

    • Jenna Nolten November 3, 2013 at 9:36 am - Reply

      I have that problem now too. I used coconutoil for the first time yesterday and I had to wash my hair twice and it still was a little bit greasy looking. How did you come up with the idea to add baking soda in your shampoo? Isn’t that bad for your hair? Doesn’t it remove the positive effects of coconut oil?
      I’d be very happy with an answer!

  34. Hallie November 10, 2013 at 12:41 am - Reply

    how many inches would you say it grows in a month, after using everyday every week?

  35. Alexandria November 14, 2013 at 5:03 pm - Reply

    I put on coconut oil all over my hear (including the ends, and scalp) and leave it in for an hour. Then I take a shower in cool water, and wash my hair. I shampooed my hair twice. Will that take all the oil off? Should I shampoo my hair when taking a shower with coconut oil in my hair?

  36. bee November 17, 2013 at 6:24 am - Reply

    Hey guuuys! For those of you that have issues removing the coconut oil! I started using it a couple of weeks ago and had the same problem! What I did was taking baking soda and spread it all over my scalp, and massage it, as if it was dry-shampoo. I brushed my hair trying to get rid of as much baking soda as possible. Then showered. Also, during shower, I put conditioner (like a humongous amount of conditioner) and left it there for a while. Rinsed it, and did it again. After that there was no oil on my hair. And it still felt suuuper soft and shiny!

  37. Melody December 31, 2013 at 11:27 pm - Reply

    Would u still recommend rubbing coconut oil on our hair scalps if we have naturally oil-hair?

  38. nicole January 15, 2014 at 4:17 pm - Reply

    What if some hair comes out during a treatment? Is that normal or is coconut oil not right for me?

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