Coconut Oil for Hair Growth – Does it Work & How to Use It

by Leah Williams | Updated: 12/03/2021

Does coconut oil make hair grow faster and prevent hair loss?

While coconut oil has a host of benefits that may lead to the growth of healthy, luscious locks, it has not been proven to directly help your hair grow faster. Coconut oil can help with improving hair health and treating other issues but hair growth claims are unsubstantiated, as of now.

I have spent more than a decade styling other people’s hair and I’m always looking to expand my knowledge on haircare. I’m aware of the importance of preventing damage and caring for hair inside and out.

I learned this the hard way when I went through a rough patch of overstyling in my younger years. Since then, damage prevention has been my priority. I’m always interested in finding ways to grow healthier hair.

In this article, I’ll discuss the benefits of coconut oil for hair and the different ways you can use it. You will also learn the hair types that can benefit most from coconut oil and some precautions when using it.

Keep on reading to find out more about using coconut oil on hair.

Does coconut oil cause hair to grow faster?

Coconut oil is worshipped by bloggers and Youtubers who claim that it does wonders for hair growth. There are several anecdotes with before and after pictures to back up their claims.

However, there are no studies that prove it helps with growing strands quicker. When applied topically, it by itself cannot be linked to hair growth.

There is also no evidence that it can prevent the shedding of hair, specifically DHT-caused male pattern baldness. There are other scientifically-proven treatments for thinning tresses you can check out or discuss with your doctor.

That being said, coconut oil has several advantages. By promoting a healthy hair and scalp, it can encourage growth and treat causes of breakage and thinning locks.

What are the benefits of using coconut oil on hair?

These are some of the things coconut oil can do for your mane.

Coconut oil is a natural conditioner.

You may notice that manufacturers produce several coconut oil products, including hair masks, shampoos and conditioners. It’s rich in essential fatty acids and delivers lots of moisture to the strands. If your mane is feeling parched, try a coconut oil mask once a week.

It has antimicrobial properties.

Coconut oil reduces the level of yeast that accumulates on the scalp and leads to dandruff and other fungal infections. This scalp gunk blocks the growth of healthy locks. However, if you’re dealing with chronic flakes, an anti-dandruff shampoo is your best bet.

It strengthens the strands.

Brittle and weak locks are prone to breakage and split ends. Coconut oil averts this because it’s rich in lauric acid, a type of fatty acid that slows down hair loss and protects the roots. It’s proven to reduce the loss of hair protein better than sunflower oil and mineral oil when used before and after washing the strands. That’s because it readily penetrates the hair shaft and conditions on a deeper level.

Take note though that it helps with hair protein loss, not hair loss.

It reduces inflammation and soothes irritation

Coconut oil is an anti-inflammatory and you can take it orally if you suffer from chronic inflammation. This is an inside out approach which targets the root cause of hair loss.

Since coconut oil is rich in fats, it soothes irritation by sealing in moisture. Continuous itching can affect scalp health so getting rid of flakes and dandruff is a way to cam that down.

It cleanses and removes oil buildup on the scalp

Coconut oil deep cleans the scalp by cleansing it of excess sebum that causes blocked hair follicles, thereby affecting hair growth.

It detangles knots and enhances shine

Coconut oil is great for fine locks that get tangled easily. It gives lackluster tresses a healthy shine and tamps down frizz caused by split ends or humidity. Smooth strands look healthier.

It can protect your hair from heat and other causes of damage

Coconut oil is thick and emollient. It protects against stressors like UV rays, salt water, chlorine, heat styling tools, hair products and friction caused by brushing and combing.

Coconut oil locks in moisture so it doesn’t seep out when the strands are exposed to the elements. You can use it as a leave-in treatment, especially in the summer. Heat opens up the cuticle which promotes better absorption of the oil.

To sum up, coconut oil has not yet been proven to prevent or treat hair loss so the claims are neither true or untrue. However, coconut oil may be beneficial to the mane in other ways and it’s completely safe to use.

Can anyone use coconut oil on their hair?

All hair textures can benefit from coconut oil. It’s best for fine or soft locks, as well as medium to thick strands. Avoid using coconut oil regularly if you have dry, coarse or breakage-prone locks. It can add extra protein which will overwhelm these hair types.

Lastly, it’s best to use coconut oil on dry locks and at night, so the oil can seep in overnight.

How do I apply coconut oil on my hair?

There are several ways ways to use coconut oil to improve hair health, depending on your preference.

Deep Conditioning Treatment

One of the most common ways to use is to use it as a deep conditioner or hair mask.

Here’s how you can apply it.

  1. Warm up a generous amount of coconut oil between your hands or microwave it for a few seconds so it softens. Warm (not hot) oil penetrates locks better.
  2. Even distribution is important. Before applying coconut oil on your hair, divide your strands into sections.
  3. Apply a generous amount of oil from scalp to tips, concentrating on the dry or damaged parts. Massage into the scalp with your fingers. Skip the roots and scalp if your strands get weighed down or greasy easily.
  4. Leave the mask on for around 30 minutes. You can also leave it on overnight by covering your mane with a shower cap and wrapping it in a warm towel. You can also do a DIY hot oil treatment by by blow drying the locks for a few minutes.
  5. Wash out the mask very well. This may take several rinses. You can use it before or after shampooing, as well as before coloring or bleaching your strands.

Other Ways to Use Coconut Oil for Hair

Apply a few drops on the ends of the strands to moisturize and seal split ends. It can with detangling, enhancing shine and controlling frizz.

It can be used as a heat protectant before applying direct heat to your strands with flat irons and curlers. Coconut oil is great as a conditioning treatment before swimming in a pool or ocean and as a natural SPF during sunny days.

Are there any downsides to applying coconut oil on hair?

Applying too much coconut oil makes the locks look greasy. Oil buildup may clog your pores, which leads to acne, irritation or folliculitis (inflamed follicles). Avoid using coconut oil if you tend to get pimples on your scalp. Use a small amount and rinse out the oil thoroughly.

What is the best kind of coconut oil to use on hair?

It’s best to use the purest and least processed coconut oil available. Extra virgin coconut oil is great for deep conditioning treatments, especially if it’s cold-pressed and raw.

The Bottom Line

Coconut oil can help nourish and moisturize the locks but it has not been proven to help hair grow or prevent hair loss (only protein loss). In the future, these hair growth claims may be substantiated but for now, it’s mere speculation.

Coconut oil is safe to use and has several proven benefits that promote a healthy hair ands scalp when used properly and in the right amounts.

Looking for more tips and information about caring for your hair? Check out our other guides here.

About the Author

Leah Williams is the founder of Lucky Curl and has been in the hair care and styling industry for the last 15 years. Since then, she has developed incredible expertise and a deep understanding of how to treat and style the most difficult hair types and is passionate about sharing her knowledge with the readers of Lucky Curl.