How to Apply Coconut Oil to Hair, According to a Hairstylist

Updated 10/10/18

We can sing coconut oil's praises for days. When it comes to the hardest-working multitasking oils in the game, not many can compete with coconut oil's reputation of solving so many ailments at once. You can depend on coconut oil to swiftly remove makeup, hydrate your dry skin, strengthen your nail cuticles, whiten your teeth, grow out your brows, and more.

I've kept a bottle of Trader Joe's Organic Virgin Coconut Oil ($5) close by for years. Growing up with severe eczema, I relied on this all-natural oil to soothe my inflamed, dry skin and haven't been able to put it down since. I also love lathering it on my lips at night (especially in the winter) and waking up to a supple, smooth pout.

How to Apply Coconut Oil to Hair

To no surprise, coconut oil is equally effective on your hair. According to a study published in The Journal of Cosmetic Science, it greatly strengthens your hair shaft: "Coconut oil, being a triglyceride of lauric acid (principal fatty acid), has a high affinity for hair proteins and because of its low molecular weight and straight linear chain, is able to penetrate inside the hair shaft."

There's a specific way to apply it to your strands to get it to work best, though. We called on Nunzio Saviano, owner of Nunzio Saviano Salon in NYC, to fill us in on how to apply coconut oil to hair. You're going to want to know this for the next time your locks need a re-up.

How to Effectively Apply Coconut Oil to Your Hair

"The best time to use coconut oil is at night, and it works best on dry hair," says Saviano. "I recommend warming the coconut oil so it becomes liquified and rubbing in your hands to lather on the ends of your hair. You want to coconut oil to be warm (not hot) to open the hair cuticles, which allows the molecules to penetrate the hair." Saviano recommends against using coconut oil in the morning because it takes time to soak up and your hair can end up looking greasy.

I have naturally curly, textured hair, so coconut oil has saved my dry strands many of times. When it comes to natural hair, the biggest ailment is dryness year-round. Coconut oil is ultra moisturizing and soothing to the scalp. My favorite thing to do is use coconut oil as a refresher. On day two or three of my curly styles when I don't have time to start all over with wash day, I lather a generous amount from root to tip of my curls. The shine and hydration factor is next-level.

The Benefits of Coconut Oil for Your Hair

How to Use Coconut Oil for Hair

As proven, coconut oil is deeply penetrating for your hair. I swear by massaging a dollop of coconut oil into my roots down to the ends of my naturally curly hair. It leaves a subtle shine and my hair feels moisturized for long periods of time. Regarding hair growth, there's been some back and forth on whether or not coconut oil actually helps. Byrdie solved this debate a few months back with the help of dermatologists.

Shari Marchbein, MD, and board-certified dermatologist, confirmed that it cannot aid with hair growth: "There are no credible studies at this point linking the use of coconut oil to faster hair growth," explains Marchbein. "It can help to strengthen hair and nourish the scalp (as well as reduce oil buildup). By reducing hair breakage, the hair is less brittle and can appear healthier."

In other words, you should keep coconut oil around because it'll gift you with soft, shiny strands and salvage hair damage. Here are a few of our favorite organic coconut oil products that'll do right by your hair.

Our Favorite Coconut Oil Products for Hair

Trader Joe's Organic Virgin Coconut Oil $9
Quenching Coconut Curls Shampoo
OGX Quenching Coconut Curls Shampoo $6
Spectrum Organic Virgin Coconut Oil $12
Coconut Melt
Kopari Beauty Coconut Melt $28
Curl Quench + Coconut Oil Curl Milk
Maui Moisture Curl Quench + Coconut Oil Curl Milk $9
SheaMoisture 100% Extra Virgin Coconut Oil $13

This post was originally published at an earlier date and has since been updated.

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