Coconut oil has a long history in hair care and has gained popularity in modern times as an easy-at-home hair treatment and chemical-free alternative to commercialised products. We’re going to break down everything you need to know about whether using coconut oil is good for your hair and how to get the most out of this deeply moisturising and nourishing oil.
Coconut Oil Benefits for Hair
Coconut oil has a number of benefits when it comes to hair health. The fatty acids in coconut oil help it to penetrate the hair shaft and lock in moisture. Coconut oil’s molecular structure attaches itself to hair proteins which in turn can reduce protein loss and strengthen your hair follicle structure.
If you are constantly exposing your hair to heat, it works to tame frizz and split ends by smoothing out your hair follicles. In particular, if you are prone to frizzy hair, applying a small amount can help to protect your hair from humid environments. It can also be applied to your hair before straightening or curling to protect it from heat and give it that extra shine.
If you are prone to dry or damaged hair this could be the perfect treatment for you as it is deeply nourishing and helps to improve scalp circulation. It also has antifungal properties so massaging some into your scalp helps to moisturise and kill any yeast overgrowth that could be responsible for causing dandruff.
How to Use Coconut Oil for Hair?
Depending on your hair type, the type of coconut oil you use and the way you apply it are the two primary factors you should consider when applying coconut oil to your hair to achieve the best results.
What types of coconut oil should you use for hair?
When choosing what type of coconut oil you should use it's important you look for products that have undergone the least amount of processing to get the most natural option on the market. The key terms you want to look out for are “virgin coconut oil”, “extra-virgin coconut oil”, “cold-pressed coconut oil”, or “organic coconut oil”. Each of these options has different benefits and levels of quality:
- Virgin Coconut Oil: This oil is sourced from fresh coconut meat and hasn’t gone through a lot of processing. Meaning, the aroma and natural nutrients remain well-retained, making it a popular choice for hair treatments.
- Extra-Virgin Coconut Oil: It doesn’t differ much from virgin coconut oil in that it hasn’t undergone a lot of processing and usually has been cold-pressed to retract the oils.
- Cold-Pressed Coconut Oil: In order to extract the oils, they use minimal heat which keeps all the natural components and nutrients intact making it an excellent choice.
- Organic Coconut Oil: Opt for this option if you want to use a product without any exposure to pesticides or fertilisers.
Different ways to apply coconut oil to hair
Coconut oil can be used as a pre-wash treatment, leave-in treatment or scalp massaging treatment to help soothe any dryness you may be experiencing. Which treatment plan you choose is based on your specific hair needs and may need some trial and error to see which method works best for your hair. Here is a breakdown of each treatment and its benefits:
For a pre-wash treatment, begin by gently warming the coconut oil in your hands and begin to massage up your roots, slowly working your way up to the scalp. It is important to not use too much oil if you are prone to an oily scalp. For a short nourishing treatment, we recommend leaving it for at least 30 minutes but you can leave it in overnight if you want a more intensive treatment. You may need to wash your hair twice with shampoo to make sure all the oil is removed. We recommend the Pump hair growth shampoo for a gentle treatment.
If you are looking to control your dry hair, a leave-in treatment is best. Apply a pea-sized amount to post-towel dry hair, focusing on any split ends or dry areas. From here you can style your hair as normal as the coconut oil will help to control your frizz and add extra shine to your locks. Make sure you don’t add too much as it can weigh down your hair and cause it to feel greasy. For a lightweight treatment, the Pump Miracle Curl Oil is made up of four deeply nourishing oils including coconut oil, jojoba oil, virgin argan oil and grapeseed oil.
This method is best if you want to focus on hair growth and overall scalp health. Simply warm up a small amount of coconut oil by rubbing your hands together and gently massage it into your scalp using circular motions. This helps improve circulation and as a bonus, it is a nice relaxation method to integrate into your routine. Leave in for 15-30 minutes before washing it out. If you want to increase hair growth, we recommend trying Pump Liquid Growth Oil instead to really give your scalp and hair the extra boost it needs.
Limitations of Using Coconut Oil for Hair
Although coconut oil has been used for centuries as a natural hair care remedy, everyone will react differently to it. We recommend trying our different treatment methods with a week’s break in between to see how your hair reacts. It is also important to always do a patch test before applying it all over your scalp and hair as some people may have sensitivities or allergic reactions to it.
Frequently Asked Questions about Using Coconut Oil for Hair
Is it better to put coconut oil on wet or dry hair?
It depends on the desired outcome and hair type as both options have different benefits. If you want to do a leave-in treatment, applying to dry hair is better as it allows for the oil to deeply penetrate the hair shaft since there is no water barrier. If you have fine hair we recommend applying coconut oil on wet hair as it acts as a light conditioner and is easier to distribute evenly through your hair.
Does coconut oil help split ends?
Coconut oil can improve the appearance of split ends and protect other hair follicles from breaking but the only way to fully treat split ends is by getting regular cuts and keeping your heat styling or chemical treatments to a minimum. Check out our article for a full breakdown of how to care for split ends.
Does coconut oil help hair growth?
Coconut oil contains lauric acid which is packed full of moisture and nourishment which can contribute to a healthy hair and scalp environment. However, there are a lot of factors that contribute to hair growth, such as a balanced diet, genetics and hair care routine. For an extra boost, we recommend Pump Hair Growth Vitamins as beauty always begins on the inside.
What happens if you don't wash out coconut oil?
Amount matters! If you have put too much into your hair for extended periods without washing, it can lead to clogging the pores on your scalp and create buildup, leading to an itchy scalp. If you have fine hair, overusing coconut oil without washing it out can also leave your hair looking oily and greasy. Everyone reacts differently so it is a good idea to trial and error using different amounts and duration to get the most benefits for your hair.