How to Use Coconut Oil to Moisturize Hair

by Kristen Hampton ; Updated September 28, 2017

Coconut oil has been used for centuries to achieve smooth, healthy hair. Its small molecular structure allows for easy absorption by the hair shaft. High levels of saturated fats lend it ultra-hydrating properties that infuse hair with moisture and softness. It is a particularly effective treatment for dry, damaged or overprocessed hair.

Buy a jar of coconut oil from a health food store.

Scoop out the desired amount using a measuring cup. The oil will be solid in the jar. How much you will need depends on hair length. For short hair, use approximately 3 teaspoons. Medium-length hair will need roughly 4 teaspoons. For long hair (shoulder-length and beyond), use up to 5 to 6 teaspoons.

Heat the coconut oil in the microwave (be sure to use a microwave-safe dish) or in a pan on the stove. The oil should be microwaved for no more than 30 seconds. On the stovetop, keep heat low and do not let the oil boil; just warm it through.

You may also warm the oil by rubbing it between palms. The heat from your hands will warm the oil, softening it from a solid to a liquid.

Allow the oil to cool for at least 5 minutes if microwaving or heating on the stove. Test the temperature with a fingertip before applying.

Spread the oil onto hair using fingers. Start at the roots and, working downward toward tips, massage into hair until completely coated.

Distribute evenly by running a wide-tooth comb through hair. In addition to helping the oil evenly coat hair, this helps to detangle.

Wrap hair in a warm towel or shower cap. Let sit for a minimum of 15 minutes.

Rinse hair thoroughly. Shampoo and condition as usual. For best results, repeat once a week.

As an alternative, use shampoo and conditioner containing coconut oil. If you're having difficulty finding pure coconut oil or do not need as much moisture, products made from coconut oil or coconut extract are good options. Examples of these products are Inecto Pure Coconut Oil shampoo and conditioner; Softee Coconut Oil Hair and Scalp Conditioner; and The Body Shop Coconut Oil Hair Shine.

About the Author

Kristen Hampton has been writing professionally since 2003, specializing in higher-education communications. Her work has appeared in the "Baltimore Sun" and publications for Loyola University Maryland, Drexel University, Lehigh University, Cabrini College and Royal Caribbean International. Hampton lives in Philadelphia.