Having curly hair is great — your hair always has volume, looks cute in a lot of different hairstyles, and doesn’t get greasy for days. But curly hair comes with its own set of problems, like frizz and dryness.
There are hordes of products marketed toward fighting frizz and moisturizing curly hair — special shampoos, leave-in conditioners, serums, oils, creams, and more.
But not all of those products work well, and those that do often come packed with fragrances, silicones, and a bunch of other chemical gunk.
If you’re someone who likes simple and natural solutions to your beauty problems, you’ve probably explored the option of using natural oils, such as coconut oil, to help care for your beautiful curls. There’s lots of information out there about coconut oil – whether it’s good or bad, and whether it actually works on your hair.
So, is coconut oil good for your hair? Yes, coconut oil is an amazing product to use on curly hair because it helps condition, moisturize, and nourish the hair without making it look too greasy. It also works for styling and defining.
Coconut oil has been used for various beauty and health purposes for thousands of years because it’s packed with vitamins and helpful lipids that people discovered early on.
In this article, we’re going to go over some of the best ways you can use coconut oil in your curls to make your hair healthy and beautiful from the inside out.
Why Coconut Oil Is Great For Curly Hair
Coconut oil contains a lot of fatty acids that are beneficial to the skin and hair. In fact, 47% of the fatty acids in coconut oil are lauric acids, which have incredible moisturizing properties and the unique ability to soak deep into the hair shaft rather than sitting on top.
This differentiates coconut oil from other popular hair oils that don’t have the capability to penetrate the hair so deeply. Lauric acid also allows the coconut oil to absorb quickly so that you’re not left with oily or slick hair.
As you’re probably aware, curly hair needs moisture more than other types of hair. The structure of the curls causes curly hair to lose water content easily. All that frizz? It’s caused by dryness.
Thanks to coconut oil’s superior moisturizing properties, it’s one of the best oils to reduce frizziness and help replenish lost moisture and bring softness, bounce, and smoothness to your curls.
A study on hair oils showed that coconut oil has another unique feature: it helps prevent protein loss. As you may know, the cortex of your hair is built up of proteins. Our hair often experiences a loss of proteins from styling, dyeing, and using heat on our hair.
With fewer proteins, the hair becomes weak and brittle. You might experience a lot of breakage or split ends when your hair loses protein. And there is almost no way to replenish that protein once it’s lost unless you’re willing to pay hundreds of dollars for a keratin treatment.
Coconut oil is the best oil for preventing protein loss, so the more you use it in your hair, the stronger and healthier your hair will be!
There are also many other benefits of using coconut oil, due to its vitamin and fatty acid content. Many people find that coconut oil can treat dandruff and other scalp issues. Some people find that it even helps prevent hair loss and grow back hair.
To summarize, here are some of the amazing benefits of coconut oil on curly hair:
- Penetrates the hair shaft and gets absorbed quickly
- Restores moisture in the hair and makes it softer, shinier, and bouncier
- Reduces frizz and split ends
- Prevents protein loss protecting the hair from breakage
- Helps treat scalp issues like dandruff and psoriasis
- Helps detangle the hair
- Helps prevent hair loss
- Helps you grow your hair longer
For a great example curly hair routine, take a look at this helpful video from Gabriella Rest on YouTube.
How To Use Coconut Oil On Curly Hair
There are many ways to use coconut oil on curly hair. Some ways are great for preventing damage, others are great as a way to replenish moisture in the hair.
Below are some great ideas on how you can use coconut oil in your hair to keep it healthy, strong, and beautiful:
Doing an overnight coconut oil mask is one of our favorite ways to use coconut oil for a couple of reasons:
- It allows the coconut oil to absorb all night replenishing moisture and nourishing the scalp for ~8 full hours.
- As you wash your hair the following morning, the coconut oil will protect the hair from harsh chemicals in your shampoo and will help your hair be soft and detangled post-wash.
- The coconut oil will prevent protein loss when you wash and style your hair the next day.
Making a coconut oil mask is as easy as taking out your coconut oil tub from the cupboard and putting it all through your hair. Seriously – you don’t need any other ingredients!
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Coconut oil
- An old t-shirt or scarf that you can wrap around your hair while you sleep
Here are the steps:
- Pick a night when you know you’ll be washing your hair the next morning.
- Pick up 1-2 tbsp of coconut oil and warm it in your hands to liquify it
- Spread the coconut oil all throughout your hair including the scalp and the ends.
- Pick up more coconut oil as needed and warm it up before applying.
- Wrap your hair in an old t-shirt or an old scarf to protect your pillowcases while you sleep. Coconut oil can leave permanent oily stains.
- In the morning, simply wash your hair as normal.
Your hair will feel extra soft and smooth the next day. You won’t have many tangles and your hair will be able to hold a better curl without any frizz.
This type of hair mask is great to do once a week or once every two weeks, depending on how your hair feels.
Coconut oil makes a great anti-frizz serum to be used on dry hair. If you’re about to go out the door and notice that your ends are a little frizzy, you can use a bit of liquified coconut oil to spread it over the frizzy parts of the hair.
All you need is:
Here are the steps:
- Pick up a small amount of coconut oil from the jar – about a dime size
- Warm it up by rubbing it in your palms until the coconut oil is fully liquified
- Gently run your oily fingers over the ends of the hair and other areas that are particularly frizzy.
- Wash your hands – you’re ready to go!
The key to using coconut oil as an anti-frizz serum is to start with a small amount of oil. You can always add more if needed.
Different people have different hair structures. Even curly hair varies from person to person. This means that the absorption rate of the coconut oil will vary too. Your goal here is to use just the right amount of coconut oil where it tames frizz and hydrates the hair, without being visibly oily.
The coconut oil will moisturize and smooth out the hair cuticles, resulting in smooth and shiny curls. It can also work to converge your split ends so that they’re less noticeable. Your hair will be less frizzy and more healthy-looking from just a small amount of coconut oil!
Coconut oil can be used in this capacity daily, although we recommend doing it every other day to prevent excessive build-up.
Doing an overnight coconut oil mask will ensure you don’t need any help detangling your locks the next day.
But on days that you didn’t have coconut oil in your hair all night, your curls may start to get knotted up. Thankfully, coconut oil can help with that, too.
The best time to use a detangler is right after washing your hair, while it’s still a little damp. Using a detangler will help prevent your hair from pulling and breaking, especially when it’s wet. This will allow you to brush through your hair without worry.
If you’re looking to detangle your hair without washing it first, we’d recommend using a spray bottle to get your hair a little damp before detangling.
All you need is:
Here’s how you do it:
- Begin with slightly damp hair.
- Warm up a small amount of coconut oil in between your palms to liquefy it.
- Rub some of the oil in areas of your hair that are tangled.
- Use the detangling brush to brush out the tangles starting at the ends and slowly working your way up.
The coconut oil should make it super easy to unravel any knots and as an added bonus, you’ll have a little bit of coconut oil in your hair all day, helping keep your curls moisturized. Think of this method as a detangler + anti-frizz serum in one step!
Because of its deeply penetrating and moisturizing properties, coconut oil makes the perfect deep conditioner.
A deep conditioner is like a regular conditioner, but it’s meant to be left in the hair for 5+ minutes before you wash it out.
You can do this when you have a little extra time in the shower. Deep conditioning doesn’t need to be done every time you wash your hair. It’s similar to a hair mask where you probably want to do it once a week or once every two weeks to avoid over-oiling your hair.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- A jar of coconut oil
- Your regular hair conditioner
Here’s how you do it:
- Begin by washing your hair with shampoo like you normally would.
- Make sure all of the shampoo has been rinsed out of your hair and you are left with damp hair.
- Squeeze out extra water.
- Pick up 2 tbsp of coconut oil and warm it up between your palms.
- Add a quarter-sized amount of your regular conditioner to your palms and mix it together with the coconut oil.
- Spread the mixture over your hair, focusing on the ends first and working your way towards the scalp. Avoid putting it directly on the scalp, especially if you have an oily scalp.
- Wait 5-10 minutes with the mixture in your hair. Great time to shave and do other shower stuff!
- After the time is up, gently rinse the mixture out of your hair. Your hair should feel extra soft and silky at this point.
- Dry hair as normal and enjoy your conditioned curls!
Have we mentioned that coconut oil is great for an itchy and flaky scalp?
Many curly girls suffer from dandruff, and coconut oil can help with that. Dandruff can have many different causes, including dry skin, fungal infection, psoriasis, and bacteria.
Thankfully, coconut oil is anti-fungal and anti-bacterial in addition to being super moisturizing. You can probably see why it’s such a great treatment for your scalp.
All you need to do to use coconut oil as a scalp treatment is:
- Heat 1-2 tbsp of coconut oil to liquefy it
- Rub it all over your scalp
- Leave for at least 2-3 hours (or overnight)
- Wash it out with your regular shampoo.
Truth be told, you will enjoy the scalp treatment effects of coconut oil anytime you put coconut oil on your scalp – whether that’s part of your overnight mask or deep conditioner.
Scalp treatments can be done 2-3 times per week while the issue persists. Once your scalp is no longer flaking, you can continue to do scalp treatments once a week as a preventative measure.
Coconut oil can also be used as a heat protectant. A heat protectant is a product you put on your hair before using any heat styling tools – hair dryers, flat irons, curlers, etc.
Coconut oil can protect your hair from damage by coating the hair shaft and replenishing moisture, which is often lost due to heat. In addition, coconut oil prevents the loss of proteins in the hair which can happen from consistent heat use.
Here’s what you’ll need to make your heat protectant out of coconut oil:
- 1 tsp of liquified coconut oil
- ¾ cup of water
- Spray bottle
Here’s how to make your coconut oil heat protectant:
- Mix your coconut oil with the water.
- Pour it into the spray bottle.
- Spray the heat protectant onto the tips of the hair before heat styling
We recommend shaking the spray each time prior to using it to make sure the oil and water are mixed well.
What Type Of Coconut Oil Should You Use For Curly Hair?
Refined, fractioned, virgin, hydrogenated – there are lots of different coconut oil types on the market. Most of them are made for different types of cooking, hence the variety.
When it comes to hair, curly hair, in particular, you can get coconut oil from your local grocery store.
Organic is best because it won’t have any pesticides in it, which can be harmful to the hair. Organic is also better to cook with, so if you’re planning on using your coconut oil for multiple purposes, definitely get the organic kind!
Refined Vs. Unrefined
If the smell of coconuts bothers you, refined coconut oil won’t have the typical coconut smell. Refined coconut oil has no smell at all.
Otherwise, stick to regular unrefined or virgin coconut oil for the best results.
You’ll notice that coconut oil appears solid most of the time. This is because it solidifies at room temperature. Heating it up just a little bit will make it liquid and oily. When using coconut oil on your curly hair, it’s best to warm it up so that it spreads easier and absorbs better.
You can heat it up by putting it in the microwave for 10 seconds or simply rubbing it between your hands until it starts to melt.