How to Use Coconut Oil to Fix Dry Hair

How to Use Coconut Oil to Fix Dry Hair
Photo: Getty Images

Hey, happy December. How you holdin’ up, champ? You dealing with the frigidly cold wind, flaking skin, and dehydrated hair, alright? Or are you slathering your face in Vaseline and counting down the days until the spring humidity thaws your soul and turns your hair back into a recognizable thing? Yeah, us, too. But rather than stare at a calendar for another three months with your fuzzy hair chained into a topknot, give it a much-needed surge of moisturize with a few DIY coconut oil hair treatments.

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Sure, you could use some store-bought conditioner, but we can pretty much guarantee it won’t work as well as coconut oil. Because of its chemical structure, coconut oil can actually penetrate the inner core of your hair better than most cosmetically engineered ingredients, meaning its smoothing and strengthening benefits won’t slip down the drain as soon as your rinse it off. And because it’s so powerful, you won’t need a ton of it for each DIY, making it a pretty cost-efficient buy.

Keep reading to see our three favorite coconut oil treatments for all hair types, and get ready to have your hair—but, like, way better—back today.

coconut curly hair

Photo: Getty Images


Coconut Oil Leave-In Treatment:

If your hair tends to poof and frizz no matter what smoothing products you use (ah, the plight of coarse, thick hair), use coconut oil as a leave-in treatment to stave off frizz and poofiness as your hair dries. Here’s how: Melt a tablespoon of coconut oil in a small ramekin until liquefied—but not super-hot—then scoop it up and rub it around your hands as you would a hand cream (massaging it into your hands before applying it to your hair prevents you from using too much).

Flip your head over and scrunch your hands through the bottom few inches of hair, raking and smoothing through your ends until the coconut oil is evenly distributed and your hands are clean. Don’t get overzealous and apply a second coat; coconut oil is sneakily heavy and can weigh your hair down. Style your hair as usual, and then revel in the smooth, frizz-free finish.


Coconut Oil Curl Refresher:

If you have kinky curls that need a constant stream of moisture pumping through them (you know the feeling: Your hair turns undefined and fluffy by noon, and you’d give anything to swirl your head in a bowl of conditioner), then welcome to your savior. While most curl-refreshing sprays are crunchy, sticky, and straight-up ineffective, a coconut-oil spray adds lightweight moisture to dry-as-hell hair.

To make your own, heat a quarter cup of water in a mug, mix in three teaspoons of coconut oil until fully dissolved, and then funnel the mixture into a teeny tiny spray bottle (like the two-ounce travel-size bottles that can easily fit into a clutch). Spray it throughout your hair during the day for an instant moisturizing boost.


Coconut Oil Hair Mask:

Probably the best, most-common use of coconut oil for hydrating frizzy, dried-out hair is through a hair mask. Luckily, the application is also the easiest of all of these at-home recipes, with no additional tools required (though things will get a little messy, so make sure you’re standing in the tub or shower before you start). It sounds a little weird, but you’ll be applying your coconut oil to dry hair—oils and moisturizers can’t penetrate the shaft of wet hair as well as it can dry hair—so make sure to brush and detangle your hair before applying the oil.

Before you start, scoop a few large chunks of coconut oil into a bowl and microwave them for 15 to 30 seconds until slightly melted. Then, standing in the tub, section off a four-inch piece of hair and massage coconut oil through it from root to tip, combing it with a wide-tooth comb to make sure it’s evenly distributed. Repeat until your whole head is covered and combed, then twist and clip your hair into a topknot. Cover your hair with a shower cap (or, in a pinch, we’ve wrapped our heads in plastic wrap) and leave it on for 45 minutes to really let the oil soak into your strands. Then rinse your hair thoroughly—if your hair is fine, you may need to suds up twice to prevent the oils from weighing your hair down when it dries—and style as usual.

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