What’s the Best Way to Apply Coconut Oil to Natural Hair?

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The Beauty Brains tackles another interesting question! Check it out:

CYW asks:

Is using coconut oil as a pre-poo or a leave in after shampoo/cond going to benefit my hair the most?

The Right Brain responds:

We’ve blogged before about how coconut oil is effective at treating hair damage. That’s because it’s one of the relatively few oils that are able to penetrate deep into the hair. Coconut oil is special because it has the right combination of molecular size and shape (it’s small and has straight line structure that allows it to slip into hair) and the right chemical structure (it’s derived from lauric acid which has an affinity for protein.) So while most conditioning oils (like silicones and mineral oil) just sit on top of that hair, coconut oil is literally able to work from the inside.

What’s the best way to apply coconut oil?

One of the best studies we’ve seen on this subject was conducted in India is in 2002. Researchers found that coconut oil reduces damage both as a pre-wash and post grooming treatment. However, results showed it worked better as a pre-wash which makes sense since that’s when a lot of mechanical damage occurs during the washing and drying process.

Does this sound too good to be true? Well there is a slight catch, at least based on the methodology used in this particular test. The coconut oil was applied to hair and allowed to soak in for 14 hours (overnight). Despite the usage instructions for many regular conditioners you don’t have to let those sit on your hair for very long. However, if you want good penetration (and who doesn’t?) you have to allow coconut oil to soak into your hair for quite some time. Maybe 14 hours isn’t the magic number but that’s the timeframe that researchers used in this study.

The Beauty Brains bottom line

We wouldn’t want to over emphasize the results of any single study, however, based on the research we’ve seen you should apply coconut oil to your hair at night before going to sleep. In the morning wash it out and you should see significantly less damage.

Ladies, how do you incorporate coconut oil into your regimen?

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107 thoughts on “What’s the Best Way to Apply Coconut Oil to Natural Hair?

  1. WOW i am going to do this TONIGHT!! My hair is so dry right now it’s going to need some coconut oil penetrating. Thank God Trinidad&Tobago make their own organic coconut oil.

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  2. I am a hairdresser and I use coconut oil as a prepoo on my clients and directly after any chemical service when the cuticle is open. Also, I apply before and during the conditioning process. My clients have seen a marked improvement in the health of their hair.

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  3. I wash my hair at night so I apply a lot of coconut oil to my hair and put it in a bun during the day, then wash it out at night.

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  4. I can totally attest to this!! I have fine, tightly coiled natural hair that was prone to easy damage. But I recently started a wash/cond. regimen that starts off with a coconut oil pre-poo, placed on my hair the night before my wash day. CHILD LET ME TELL YOU… it was like a revelation to my hair! I noticed a change in my hair immediately. I had significantly less of those tiny little broken hairs (barely any at all). I get less hygral fatigue when I use coconut oil as a pre-poo and protection when I use it to seal in moisture. So happy with it. #STAPLE

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    • Im going to try this method as soon as i take out my sew out I have problems with hair shedding and popping all the time & i use coconut oil but i use it mix with my shea butter whip – hopefully this method will
      Help me!!

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  5. I use organic coconut oil from my local grocery store. It’s foodgrade and works great as a deep conditioner. My hair is so shiny and healthy.

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  8. I have long relaxed hair and want it natural, what I am doing is not only deep conditioning my hair with coconut oil mix with an egg. But I keep
    applying it regularly on my hair and they look great . I am crossing my finger so in a year I will post my new look natural african Hair.

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  9. I use organic coconut oil on my scalp every other day. The days I put coconut oil on my scalp, I massage my scalp for 5 minutes. Also I use coconut oil as a pre poo on my hair the night before I wash it. My hair grows and average of a half an inch per month. Plus drinking a gallon of water, taking multi vitamin and 2500 milligrams of Biotin per day.

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  10. This is how I’m using it, when I work out I put it in, I massage it in the best I can, even when it’s hard. My hair really needs it. I put it in and then put my hair up with large hair claws. Many times I look ridiculous, but IDC. When I shower my hair loses less hair clumps, it’s easier to detangle, way easier. The heat of the workout makes my hair & head really hot, so that is great for it. Try it!

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  11. I have straight Indian hair and I usually put it In my hair at night before bed or in the middle of day if I’m not going out. Basically, I spread it from root to tip. Pay special attention to the tips. I wrap my hair loosely in one of my old hijabs and leave it overnight or for a few hours.

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    • Also,we’ve been using coconut oil as headache and scalp sorness (from putting hair up) for generations. A friend of mine complained about his head being sore and allowed me to massage coconut oil onto his scalp. I’m not sure Why but it helps. So its also good for soreness if you ever experience it.

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      • I first used coconut oil as a sealer after washing but it was to heavy for my fine, 3b hair. Wanting to still get the benefits of coconut oil I next used it as a pre-poo leaving it on my hair for only one hour. I am still amazed at the difference in my hair. The texture seems,looks and feels so much better. I have better curl definition and my hair just seems well moisturized.

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  12. Why are using a study done in INDIA to validate the ways to use of coconut oil on curly, kinky, african,black hair ? are there more details that you can provide about the study in India ?

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