By Jc of The Natural Haven

Coconut oil is one of the few discoveries that I rave about endlessly. It helps hair maintain its moisture and even has a scientifically proven role in conditioning. However, I do get reports from naturals who struggle with coconut oil and report that it leaves hair crunchy or even feeling brittle. A super oily scalp is also another common issue.

Are you struggling to love coconut oil?  Here are my four of best hints and tips on how to get the most out coconut oil and conquer that crunch.

1. The fingertip technique

Coconut oil is not meant to be slathered on. It is light and spreadable which means that a little of it goes a long way. Use the fingertip technique to control how much you use.

Section your hair into four. Scoop one index finger of coconut oil and melt it thoroughly in your hands. Dab the melted oil to each of the four sections and then take the time to spread the oil on each section focusing on the ends. Before using more oil, look at your palms, if there is still oil on them, you do not need to add more.

2. Mix it up to prevent crunchy hair

Cold air can cause coconut oil to freeze which in turn makes hair feel hard and crunchy. Mix coconut oil with shea butter (40% coconut oil, 60% shea butter) to create an oil which does not crunch up in cold air. You can also combine coconut oil with oils which are liquid at low temperatures such as olive oil, almond oil or jojoba oil.

3. Use it before washing your hair

Coconut oil does not have to be used just to seal hair and if you have difficulty using it on its own then consider just using it before washing your hair. Apply it the night before the wash to allow it sufficient time to penetrate into the hair. Coconut oil will protect the cuticle from expanding excessively as water is taken up from the wash and protect your hair from losing its protein.

4. Words of Caution

a.) Shampoo is required
If you are not using a cleansing product (shampoo or soap), and you are strictly co-washing, you should watch out for build up if you regularly use any oil in your routine. Build up can be seen often as a white coating on hair but in the case of light build up it may just be that your hair does not respond as normal – for example it never feels moisturised or it feels very greasy or it feels hard.

b.) Coconut oil is not a substitute for a protein treatment
Coconut oil does not contain protein. The crunchy feel is related to the amount of oil used and the air temperature. Coconut oil  does indeed protect hair from losing protein but if your intent is to fill gaps in your hair and add strength as a protein treatment would do, then coconut oil is not the man for the job.

Have you tried any of these tips and tricks? And how do you use coconut oil in your own regimen?

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64 Comments on "How To Get the Most Out of Coconut Oil"

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beey

Does coconut oil have to be washed out of locs? If I wash then put it in my hair, is that bad?

Charlotte
Why is it everywhere I turn ppl are saying coconut oil is drying? I wish I could get some reassurance because my hair loves coconut oil! It seems to be just the thing my hair wants. I just leave it on my hair and I can apply it liberally to the last few inches of my hair. My hair grew to hip length when I was using coconut oil exclusively and now I have decided to go back to that because I want my hair to grow back. It’s barely tailbone right now because I just got a trim and… Read more »
Tania

My aunt makes me coconut oil from scratch its a long process but its pure coconut oil

Lisa

Thanks for sharing.The fingertip technique seems to be best for me.But like someone said everyone’s hair is different,as every individual is different.My combo is Castor oil and Coconut oil.And I get all my oils and beauty products on iherb.Com You can also use reward code ZQL811 and checkout and get $10 discount on your first purchase.Check it out girls 😉

KJ

The only things that penetrates my hair are pure shea butter, pure cocoa butter, and sesame oil.

Virgin and extra-virgin coconut oil dry my scalp out and it itches and hurts after using it. It also makes my hair shed more (maybe break more)and I don’t run comb through my hair at all, after adding it, if the oil makes my hair crunchy.

Everyone’s hair is different. Coconut oil is good for some people, not good for me.

Kim

How could I use coconut oil on my locs?

louise jack

K, What is Organic,Virgin,Unrefined coconut oil.I know how to make coconut oil because my grandmother show me how to make the coconut oil and i have been doing it for years.I have use it on my childern’s hair and skin.The coconut oil you are purchasing has chemical in it to preserve it.The one i make is all natural.
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shosho

how do you make it?

trackback

[…] thx! Thank you everyone. I learn so much from these forums :] i am ordering some more shea butter and will mix soon. i found an article about coconut oil that i thought was helpful in addition to the wonderful help everyone gave. thought it might help others too: How To Get the Most Out of Coconut Oil | Black Girl with Long Hair […]

Palm Oil Land For Sale

certainly like your web-site but you need to take a look at the spelling on several of your posts. Many of them are rife with spelling problems and I find it very troublesome to inform the truth however I’ll surely come again again.

Jo Somebody

If you’re going to complain about spelling errors (or British spelling), you should at least try to make sure your own spelling and grammar are on point.

Afroblue

Well said.. The nerve of this one here!

Ashley

Some of those spelling errors may come from the fact that JC is British, so the spelling of some words is slightly different (i.e. colour instead of color)

K.
I buy Organic, Virgin, UNREFINED coconut oil because in addition to using the oil in my hair, we eat it, use it on our skin, brush teeth and gums with it, and use it for cooking too. We keep our oil in the fridge because I prefer to eat it when it’s in a solid form. For other uses, we separate it into small glass bowls with lids. We keep some in the bathrooms as well as in the car for on the go applications. We only use Spectrum brand because I can usually find it at WalMart. And I… Read more »
Kaylin

What I find so itenresting is you could never find this anywhere else.

A.G.

I keep it simple. Shea butter, Coconut oil, and a bit of aloe vera gel at night when setting the hair with braids or twists. For a bit more scent you can add shea moisture’s coconut smoothie before heading out the door.

ScrewyHair

We make coconut oil at home, since it’s hard to find it in Lagos stores and I don’t trust the ones that are sold in markets. I use it in 3 ways:

1. In my shea mix (with olive oil, jojoba oil, and veg. glycerin)
2. In my oil mix (with olive oil and jojoba oil)
3. In my deep conditioner (with honey, olive oil, glycerin, and–every other DC–an egg)

So far, it works well in the mixes for me. My sister uses it on its own and loves it. We both have tightly-coiled hair.

timi94

hello , I live in lagos and have nooo clue where to get jojoba oil olive oil or anything needed for natural hair, all the products in stores contain horrid thinks like petroleum jelly so right now i buy all my stuff on amazon when at school abroad and it costs a bomb! do you happen to know anywhere or anyone who can style natural hair in lagos :s or where i can get productsxxx??/

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[…] Black Girl with Long Hair explains how to maximize coconut oil […]

zaksmama

I blend it with shea butter, castor oil, silk and/or wheat proteins and essential oils for detanglers and pomades. I love it, and buy it in bulk not just for business, but for personal use.

Hyspin

Don’t supposed you can tell me where I can buy wheat or silk proteins by themselves. I can’t use coconut because it breaks me out along my hair line and causes itch scalp.

I am looking for a way to maintain protein besides treatments. I have been using avocado and olive oil since I know they are the only other oils I know that get absorbed into hair.

The Natural Haven

Some body building suppliers stock hydrolysed wheat and collagen (if you are non vegetarian).

michelle

Can you buy coconut oil at the supermarket? Or where can you buy it?

Likewaterforchocolat

Sometimes the best place to get 100% pure coconut oil is Indian or African stores. 16 oz jar for $3.99. Also, a really good enriched coconut oil is the one by the Indian company Vatika. It uses pure coconut oil as a base and is enriched with lemon, henna and amla herbs. Jarrow also makes a really good organic coconut oil for around $6 for a 16 oz. jar. I usually get mine along with all my essential oils and herbal supplements at http://www.iherb.com. Good prices and fast, cheap shipping.

tobes

india,asian stores and over the internet

Sue

You can buy coconut oil in the regular grocery stores. I have bought some in Walmart’s grocery aisle in the oils section. In another store it was placed in the organic foods section. Some of the brands out there are Spectrum and Nutiva. Do some exploring in your area

smallfro

You can definately get at grocery store. Usually in oil section near olive oil. More varieties are in the health food stores. So I would check there as well. Way more accessible than most “natural” hair products.

tobes
In order of best oils in penerating scalp and popularity sunflower no hair shaft peneration / cheap olive oil very good/ cheap jojoba very good / sometime expensive/ easy to use coconut oil excellent/ cheaper/ special protien/ accesscible Argan oil aka morrocon oil from morrocco expensive/ AMAZING/ veryrich/ not as accessible/ sold at extortion prices due it been taken over by mostly lucrative bussiness. and as I have tried to buy some, most of the top brands selling them surprisingly do not ever use the argan oil in their products as they have come up with sythetics to replace the… Read more »
Likewaterforchocolat

I am sooo glad you noticed what is going on in the haircare market and the whole Argan Oil craze. I had to seriously mull the whole Argan oil thing over to decide whether it was ultimately worth it or just the new craze (remember when jojoba and shea went mainstream?)

Anulkah

Where do you all buy coconut oil? Is there any specifically for hair you’d recommend, or do you just buy it off a grocers store shelf?

christine

You don’t have to buy coconut oil that’s marketed as being for hair, that’s the great thing. It can be found in some grocery stores. I get mine from whole foods and when I catch a good sale, I get it from the vitamin shop. They have a sale going on buy one get one half off. PS, coconut milk also makes a great deep conditioner and that can be found in a can in some Latin or Caribbean grocery stores!

Likewaterforchocolat

Sometimes the best place to get 100% pure coconut oil is Indian or African stores. 16 oz jar for $3.99. Also, a really good enriched coconut oil is the one by the Indian company Vatika. It uses pure coconut oil as a base and is enriched with lemon, henna and amla herbs. Jarrow also makes a really good organic coconut oil for around $6 for a 16 oz. jar. I usually get mine along with all my essential oils and herbal supplements at http://www.iherb.com. Good prices and fast, cheap shipping.

Zyaran

I brought my Nutiva Extra Virgin Coconut Oil at Food Lion’s for $9.99 16oz size. If you have a health or natural food store they have different brands as well, example Spectrum, Jarrow’s, Nutiva…

brandi

Yes I love nutivia u can extra virgin coconut oil from 8oz to 5 gallons! Now that’s a lot of oil!!! From $15 to $150 I believe

The Natural Haven

Just any grocer’s shelf for me as long as it is 100% pure coconut oil 🙂

tobes

YES! buy parachute it’s in a blue bottle.
it’s made in India ,used by my Indian friends and they love it too
go to any indian shop or asain shop.i’m in England and our Asian stores sold them loads!
it should have a slight smell do not try to buy the overly expensive ones over the internet. if you really want the very best, by the organic, or cold pressed or extra virgin ones. but I strongly recommend parachute.
good luck

tobes
Finally! naturals who have heard of coconut oil.I have been using coconut oil for 6 years now and it has been amazing it keeps my hair in its natural curly pattern. I use it to sometimes cool my scalp (thanks to the specail protein it has),condition,straighten my hair when needs be, overall to protect hair during winters. I live in England and the weather is unbelievable and is a major threat to black hair and I also use it after I shampoo or sometimes before. I love coconutoil, it loves my hair and my hair loves it back! I do… Read more »
Jo Somebody

What is this special protein?! I’m intrigued!

Beneath The Clutter

I love coconut oil. Used to use it more often though. Now, I do a combination of #2 and #3. I mix it in with other ingredients (conditioner, coconut milk, and herbal ingredients) as a pre-poo. Seems to work.
I used to use it to seal, but now I’ve abandoned that technique. I did make the mistake of adding it to a leave in conditioner and placing it in the fridge. It hardened and I had little bits of coconut floating around. But, I remedied that by rubbing a small portion with my palms to melt it.

HairItIs

Coconut oil and I are engaged. It is a very deep, profound love affair.

It’s my favorite pre-shampoo treatment (often times I’ll use Vatika oil instead, which is coconut oil, but even better), and I also use it to make homemade oil infusions. I can take advantage of it becoming solid in cooler temperatures, because it makes it easy to “scoop” when I make homemade pomades (basically, it’s my base for when I make my healthy version of hair grease), and I find it less messy than dealing with liquid oils.

NancyM

Couldn’t agree more! I love coconut oil as well. I use Vatika for pre-poo and organic unrefined to moisturize/seal.

tobes

I love it when you can just scoop it as if it has desolved I find it hard to know the amount that will go on to my hair.
and yes it is so good as a natural hair grease.

Rashida

I understand why my hair has felt crunchy w/ coconut oil then. I’ll def try mixing it w/ my jojoba oil next time! Thanks 🙂

The Natural Haven

Glad to help Rashida, definitely update on how the mix went for you!

Lyxs

I use it in my DC, to seal, as a detangler… I like a lot the coconut smell =)

Shay

Ok coconut oil is my favorite oil.. I apply directly after I wash and my hair.Works wonders!!! Love it so much..lol

mangomadness

I use coconut oil as a detangler and pre-poo. I ocassionally use it to seal if I use a low/no-oil leave-in conditioner.

Louisa
The best way for coconut oil to benefit your hair is to eat it. For every 50 pounds [of your weight] take one tablespoon, daily. (So, if you weigh 150 pounds–take 3 tablespoons everyday.) If you’re overweight (and you stop eating sugar and processed foods) you’ll lose weight, and you’ll notice that your new hair growth is a lot softer and happens faster. (You can take red palm oil, too.) Try it for 30 days to see what happens. Note: Some people find that coconut oil makes one nauseous; so, start out slowly by building up to your optimal amount… Read more »
Metoyou

Agree 100%. one of the healthiest oils for human consumption…if anyone is interested, please read my comments below and do your own research about the wonders of coconut oil. You will do well to add it to your diet.

Metoyou

I emat to say read my comments above in reply to JC.

Likewaterforchocolat

I looove coconut oil. I purchase the Jarrow Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil (which is food grade) and use it on my hair. After using it for my hair only, I began to expirement and use it when I cook. I use it to sautee veggies and it is a good alternative to olive oil in my cooking.

The Natural Haven

Louisa I think that people should also be aware that coconut oil is very high in unsaturated fat and most health bodies in US and UK actually recommend watching your consumption of coconut oil (same with other saturated fats like butter, lard, ghee).

From my experience, losing weight requires you to be more active and generally eat less…….simple.

merry

i understand where you’re coming from, but people are not fat and suffering from obsesity-related disease because they are consuming extra virgin coconut oil.

i prefer to focus on those things people are consuming that are actually making them fat – processed foods, especially meat, lots of refined carbs, fried food, huge portions, etc.

americans consume very little in the way of healthful fats.

The Natural Haven

The issue with saturated fat is not that it makes you fat but rather that it can coat your arteries. It is a big misconception that fat equals unhealthy. In truth there are many people who are slim but consume a lot of saturated fat and therefore end up having heart attacks at 50.

I would personally say that it is not really good to say have a tablespoon of saturated fat every day when someone may already have high cholesterol, diabetes or atherosclerosis and not know it. It is not exactly the same as saying eat an apple.

Metoyou

There are several studies as well as anecdoctal evidence out there that prove that coconut oil is a superfood and has many benefits when consumed internally. Yes, coconut oil is a saturated oil but it is none the less healthy and contains no transfats. I think people should research and come to their own conclusion rather than just dismissing it because of wrong PR. Here are a few useful links:
http://www.coconutresearchcenter.org/The%20Coconut%20Oil%20Miracle-Where%20is%20the%20Evidence.htm
http://www.coconutresearchcenter.org/article10027.htm
http://www.naturalnews.com/036156_Coconut_oil_superfood_healing.html

Metoyou
…”Similarly, newer findings about coconut oil demonstrated that it, too, is a healthy fat. In 1988, N.W. Istfan of Harvard University Medical School’s Nutrition Coordinating Center, vindicated coconut oil. Dr. Istfan reported: “For the U.S. consumer, the use of coconut oil does not increase the role of heart disease.” Other researchers demonstrated that coconut oil reduces the risk of atherosclerosis, heart disease, cancer, and other degenerative conditions. It helps prevent bacterial, viral, and fungal infections, as a result of its antimicrobial component, lauric acid, which is found solely in coconut oil and in breast milk. Coconut oil is rich in… Read more »
BelovedPandora

This is true about the fats…but let us not forget that we are also a society that drives everywhere and dreads walking to the mailbox to check the mail. Obesity is not just diet, it’s mobility as well. Both good and bad fat are essential to a healthy diet. Modertion is more opf the culprit, not the fat itself. If you can’t control how much you consume of anything, it becomes harmful to the diet.

tinabobina

You are absolutely correct.

Frankifries

Hallelujah! Thank goodness people are educating themselves on nutrition. Coconut oil is a MCT And has long been used around tropical climates as a staple cooking oil. It provides a boost of energy like nothing else. To lose fat, we need to eat fat and the best fat to jumpstart weight loss is Coconut oil.

Great links Louisa–u might change someone’s life. I know WAPF and MDA both have been awesome for the health of my family!

Louisa
Saturated fat is a healthful and beneficial fat for the human body. It is not the evil fat that it has been portrayed to be by conventional dietitians and nutritionists, and the government, over these past few decades. The obesity rate has increased, whereas most Americans are fat/overweight, since we’ve abandoned our traditional eating habits. Look at family photos before 1970, and you will see very few who are overweight. Since eating mostly liquid fats (polyunsaturated oils)–one of the contributing factors to obesity–is when Americans started putting on the pounds. I’ve posted below a few links that dispute this bad… Read more »
The Natural Haven

sorry i made a critical mistake – i meant to say coconut oil is high in saturated fat.

Stephanie

the extra virgin coconut oil shouldn’t have any saturated fat or anything else that’s bad for your hair.

JJ

I didn’t know that coconut oil protects hair from losing protein. I will consider getting some once my huge bottle of castor oil is finished.

tobes

coconutoil is the only oil that penerates deep into the shaft and cuticles. the others either do not penerate as much as their molecules are too big. it also has it’s own special protein which is very unique.

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