How to Use Coconut Oil for Hair Growth and Thickness

Coconut oil is a versatile and natural oil that has been used for centuries in cooking, skin care, and hair care. It’s no surprise that it has recently gained popularity as a treatment for promoting healthy thick hair. In this post, we’ll delve into the scientific support behind using coconut oil for hair loss as and for increasing hair thickness. We’ll also provide tips on how to use it for the best results and discuss any precautions to keep in mind.

How Coconut Oil Can Promote Hair Thickness

close up photo of thick brown wavy hair

Coconut oil is rich in nutrients and compounds that can nourish the scalp and hair strands, supporting healthy hair growth. These nutrients include fatty acids, vitamin E, and antioxidants, which may help to moisturize and protect the hair from hair breakage.

 

One of the key fatty acids in coconut oil is lauric acid, which has been shown to penetrate the hair shaft and reduce protein loss in both damaged and undamaged hair. Lauric Acid has been clinically shown to be able to penetrate into the hair shaft. This may be one of the key nutrients that allows coconut oil to help strengthen hair and prevent hair breakage.

 

In addition, the vitamin E and antioxidants present in coconut oil may help to protect the hair from environmental damage and oxidative stress. This may even prevent hair from becoming dry, brittle, and prone to breakage, leading to healthier and more voluminous hair.

Does Coconut Oil Prevent Hair Loss?

There is no peer-reviewed evidence to suggest that coconut oil can directly prevent hair loss. However, some studies have shown that using coconut oil can help to prevent protein loss in hair, which can lead to healthier and more voluminous hair.

 

Hair loss can be caused by a variety of factors, including genetics, age, hormonal changes, and certain medical conditions. While coconut oil may not be able to prevent hair loss or boost hair growth directly, it can help keep the scalp healthy while also benefitting hair health overall.

 

One study found that applying coconut oil to the hair helped protect hair from the protein loss that was associated with washing. The researchers suggest that coconut oil works to protect hair because of the lauric acid it contains. This indicates that coconut oil may also help prevent hair damage from hair that is chemically treated or straightened with a heated straightener – as this study demonstrated that these harsh hair treatment methods also result in hair protein loss.

 

While these studies suggest that coconut oil may be able to prevent protein loss in the hair, it is important to note that it is not a cure for hair loss. At best, coconut oil may help reduce the visual appearance of thin hair or thinning hair by strengthening hair follicles and hair cuticles. By reducing the protein loss of hair strands, hair may appear thicker – which may make hair thinning less visible.

 

Fortunately, there are plenty of other clinically supported ways to treat hair loss and thinning hair, including PRP injections, laser therapy, and microneedling.

How to Use Coconut Oil for Hair Health

While coconut oil may not support hair growth or prevent hair loss, it can be incorporated into your hair care routine in a few different ways to promote overall scalp health and strengthen hair. Here are some tips on how to use coconut oil for optimal results:

Pre-Shampoo Treatment

close up photo of the back of a woman's hair covered in shampoo in the shower

Before washing your hair, apply coconut oil to your scalp and hair strands. Massaging coconut oil into your scalp for a few minutes can help stimulate blood flow and facilitate nutrient absorption. Leave the oil in for at least 30 minutes or overnight (wearing a shower cap) before shampooing and conditioning as usual.

Leave-In Conditioner

After washing and towel-drying your hair, apply a small amount of coconut oil to the ends of your hair as a leave-in conditioner. This will help to moisturize and protect the hair from heat and styling damage. Just be mindful of the amount you use, as too much coconut oil may weigh down your hair in an undesirable way.

Scalp Massage

close up photo of a hand holding a clear squeeze bottle applying oil to the scalp of head with cornrows

To stimulate blood flow and promote healthy hair growth, apply coconut oil to the scalp and then massage the scalp with your finger tips. Use circular motions and focus on the roots of your hair follicles. This can help prevent dry scalp conditions due to the moisturizing properties of the oil. After the massage, you can wash the hair oil out using gentle shampoo.

Coconut Oil Hair Mask

cosmetic containers next to a coconut and palm fronds

In addition to using coconut oil as a pre-shampoo treatment or leave-in conditioner, you can also use it to create a nourishing hair mask. A coconut oil hair mask can help to deeply moisturize and nourish the hair, which may be beneficial for people with brittle or dry hair.

To create a coconut oil hair mask, follow these steps:

 

  1. Melt 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil until it is in liquid form. You can do this by placing the coconut oil in a small jar and heating it in a pan of hot water or microwaving it for a few seconds.
  2. Massage the melted coconut oil into the scalp and hair, focusing on the roots and ends.
  3. Cover your hair with a shower cap or wrap it in a towel to help the oil absorb into the hair.
  4. Leave the coconut oil in for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
  5. Shampoo and condition as usual.

You can use a coconut oil hair mask once or twice a week for optimal results. You can also add other nourishing ingredients to the mask, such as honey or avocado, to enhance its benefits. By incorporating a coconut oil hair mask into your hair care routine, you can enjoy the nourishing and protective benefits of this natural hair treatment.

Coconut Oil as a Hair Styling Product

clear pump bottle and spray bottle containers next to an opened coconut with a palm frond in the background

Coconut oil can be used as a styling product for a variety of purposes. It can help to tame frizz, add shine to the hair, and potentially protect it from heat damage when using styling tools or products. To use coconut oil as a styling product, simply apply coconut oil to the hair before using heat tools or styling products. You can also use it to help tame flyaways and provide a glossy finish.

 

When you apply coconut oil as a styling product, be sure to use only a small amount and avoid applying it too close to the roots. Too much oil can leave your hair feeling greasy or weighed down. Start with just a few drops of coconut oil and add more as needed.

Using Coconut Oil to Treat Dandruff

close up photo of a man wearing a t-shirt with dandruff on his shoulder

Coconut oil has long been used in India and other cultures as a scalp treatment to reduce dandruff. A 2021 study published in Scientific Reports (A well respected peer-reviewed journal) examined how applying coconut oil to the scalp would impact the microbiome on the patients’ scalps. Specifically, the researchers were monitoring the levels of Cutibacterium acnes and Malassezia globosa, which are microorganisms that are known to prevent excessive dandruff from forming on the scalp.

 

In this 16-week long study, patients were asked to apply 10ml of pure coconut oil to their scalp and leave it in for 2 hours minutes before washing it out with a gentle shampoo. Incredibly, this daily coconut oil treatment was shown to increase the presence of the beneficial scalp microorganisms! The researchers concluded that this daily application of a little coconut oil could serve as an effective way to treat dandruff.

 

So while there is no clinical evidence to suggest that using coconut oil for hair will prevent hair loss, it’s at least encouraging to see scientific support for it’s use as an anti-dandruff treatment. If you’re considering using coconut hair oil to treat dandruff, speak with your healthcare provider first to determine if it’s the right solution for you.

Coconut Oil for Split Ends

close up photo of brown hair with split ends

Split ends, also known as trichoptilosis, occur when the hair shaft becomes damaged and the ends of the hair split and fray. Split ends can be caused by a variety of factors, including heat styling, chemical treatments, and environmental damage. They can make the hair look dry, damaged, and unhealthy.

 

Coconut oil can be a useful natural treatment for split ends. Its nourishing and protective properties can help to replenish lost protein in the damaged hair, leading to smoother and healthier-looking ends.

Virgin Coconut Oil vs. Refined Coconut Oil

When shopping for coconut oil, you may notice that there are several different grades available, including virgin coconut oil. Here is a brief overview of the differences between the different grades of coconut oil:

Refined Coconut Oil

Refined coconut oil is made from dried coconut meat, also known as copra. It is typically highly processed and may be treated with chemicals to extend its shelf life. This type of coconut oil has a neutral scent and flavor and is generally used for cooking and industrial purposes.

Virgin Coconut Oil

Virgin coconut oil is made from fresh, raw coconut meat and is typically produced using minimal processing methods. It has a more distinct coconut scent and flavor and is considered to be of higher quality than refined coconut oil. Virgin coconut oil is often used in personal care products and as a hair treatment.

Extra Virgin Coconut Oil

Extra virgin coconut oil is similar to virgin coconut oil, but it is made from even fresher coconut meat and is produced using even fewer processing methods. It is considered to be the highest quality coconut oil and is often used in cooking and as a hair treatment.

 

When using coconut oil for hair care, it is generally recommended to use unrefined or virgin coconut oil for the best results. These types of coconut oil are less processed and contain more nutrients and beneficial compounds that can nourish the hair and scalp. However, if you prefer a neutral scent and flavor, refined coconut oil may be a suitable option.

Adding Essential Oils to Coconut Oil

bottle of essential oil sitting on a table next to rosemary leaves on a blue background

Coconut oil is a great carrier oil for essential oils, which are concentrated plant oils that contain the natural aroma and beneficial properties of the plant. Coconut oil can help to dilute essential oils and make them easier to apply to the skin and hair.

 

One essential oil that has been clinically shown to stimulate hair growth is rosemary oil. Rosemary oil contains compounds that can stimulate blood flow to the scalp may promote healthy hair growth in some people.

To use rosemary oil with coconut oil for hair growth, follow these steps:

 

  1. Mix a 2-3 drops of rosemary oil with 1-2 tablespoons of coconut oil.
  2. Massage the mixture into the scalp and hair, focusing on the roots and ends.
  3. Leave the mixture in for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Shampoo and condition as usual.

You can also add other essential oils to coconut oil for different hair care benefits. For example, lavender and Tea tree oil are commonly used in a variety of coconut oil products. By adding essential oils to coconut oil, you might be able to enhance the natural benefits of both oils and create a customized hair treatment. Just be sure to use essential oils in moderation, as they can be potent and may cause irritation if used in excess.

Precautions When Using Coconut Oil on Hair

While coconut oil can be a beneficial natural hair treatment, there are a few precautions to consider when using it.

Potential to Weigh Down Fine Hair

Coconut oil is a thick and heavy oil, which can weigh down fine or thin hair if used in excess. To avoid this, use a small amount of coconut oil and focus on the ends of the hair rather than the roots.

Potential to Cause Breakouts on the Scalp

For some individuals, coconut oil can clog pores on the scalp and lead to breakouts. If you have acne-prone skin or are concerned about this, try applying a small amount of coconut oil to a patch of skin on your arm or leg to test for any adverse reactions before applying it to your scalp.

Potential to Cause Allergic Reactions

As with any new product, there is a risk of allergic reactions when using coconut oil on the hair. If you are concerned about this, perform a patch test on a small area of skin before using coconut oil on your scalp and hair.

 

By keeping these precautions in mind and using coconut oil in moderation, you can safely enjoy its benefits for healthy hair growth and thickness. If you have any adverse reactions to coconut oil, immediately stop using it and contact a qualified healthcare provider such as a board certified dermatologist.

Alternatives to Coconut Oil for Hair

Coconut oil is a popular choice for hair care, but it is not the only oil that can be used to nourish and protect the hair. Here are a few other oils that are commonly used in hair care routines and products:

Olive Oil

Olive oil is a natural oil that is rich in antioxidants, vitamins, and fatty acids. It may help to moisturize and nourish the hair, supporting healthier and more manageable hair. Olive oil may also a good option for those with a dry or sensitive scalp, as it has anti-inflammatory properties.

Argan Oil

Argan oil is a natural oil that is extracted from the nuts of the argan tree. It is rich in antioxidants, vitamin E, and fatty acids, which may help to nourish and protect the hair from damage. Argan oil may help reduce frizz, tame flyaways, and promote shiny hair, making it a popular choice for hair styling.

Rosehip Oil

Rosehip oil is a natural oil that is extracted from the seeds of the rosehip plant. It is rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, and essential fatty acids, which may help to nourish and protect the hair.

Mineral Oil

Mineral oil is a synthetic oil that is derived from petroleum. It is commonly used in hair care products to add shine and moisture to the hair. While this oil might be effective at conditioning the hair, it is may not be as nourishing as natural oil alternatives.

 

When selecting the best oil for hair care, it is always important to choose high-quality oils and to use them in moderation to avoid weighing down the hair or clogging the scalp.

Conclusion

photo of white pump bottle and clear cosmetic container next to a coconut at the base of a coconut tree in the sun

In conclusion, don’t expect to see coconut oil help with hair loss prevention. However, it does have some other scientifically supported benefits – including the ability to enrich hair with protein and support scalp microbiomes associated with dandruff prevention. There are many ways to incorporate coconut oil into your hair care routine, including as a pre-shampoo, leave-in treatment, and scalp massage oil. While there are a few precautions to consider, such as the potential to weigh down fine hair or cause breakouts on the scalp, coconut oil can usually be a safe and effective natural treatment for promoting healthy hair.

Learn More About Treating Hair Loss

young woman with long braided hair smiling and holding up one hand blocking part of the camera's view

Blocking DHT and Stopping Hair Loss

Blocking DHT and Stopping Hair Loss DHT, or dihydrotestosterone, is a hormone that can cause male and female pattern baldness when its levels become too high in the body and on the scalp. DHT causes hair loss when DHT binds

Read More »
close up of hand holding a magnifying glass to examine the scalp of a person with short brown hair

15 Types of Alopecia: Symptoms and Treatments

15 Types of Alopecia: Symptoms and Treatments There are at least 15 different types of alopecia, an autoimmune disease that causes noticeable hair loss. The most common form, androgenic alopecia, affects both men and women as they age. There are

Read More »
a woman is turned away sitting in a chair getting brown hair extensions put in

The Best Hair Extensions for Thinning Hair

The Best Hair Extensions for Thinning Hair Hair loss and thin hair are common concerns for many people, and can be caused by a variety of factors such as aging, genetics, and certain medical conditions. While there are various treatments

Read More »