Are you using coconut oil for hair care yet? This simple at-home hot coconut oil hair treatment moisturizes hair, improves scalp health, and prevents breakage for thicker, healthier hair.
*pours coconut oil over entire life*
Have you heard this joke before? It makes me giggle every time!
Because every naturalista knows coconut oil is Mother Nature’s duct tape!
It’s a fantastic single-ingredient body moisturizer, has been shown to boost metabolism and aid weight loss (source), and helps maintain digestive health and a balanced gut microbiome thanks to the antibacterial lauric acid in which it’s oh so rich (source). Heck, you can even take it into the bedroom 😉
But all jokes aside, let’s chat literally pouring coconut over your entire head.
Well, your scalp and hair to be exact.
Are you using coconut oil for hair care yet?
If not, you’re missing out on one of the biggest benefits of this healthy fat!
Coconut oil nourishes and protects hair
One study comparing the effects of applying coconut, sunflower, and mineral oils to hair found that coconut oil helped prevent protein loss when applied either before or after hair washing. Neither of the other oils had this benefit.
Why in particular is coconut oil good for hair?
Coconut oil’s unique chemical structure may be the key to its hair-protecting capabilities — it’s comprised of mostly medium-chain fatty acids that are more easily absorbed into the hair shaft than other fatty acids. (source)
Coconut oil may even help hair growth longer and thicker
By protecting hair and reducing breakage, using coconut oil regularly in your hair care routine may help increase hair growth and thickness. Not surprisingly, there’s a lot of anecdotal support for using coconut oil for hair growth.
Coconut oil can help reduce dandruff
Dandruff is often caused by an overgrowth of fungus or yeast on the scalp, or dry skin.
Since coconut oil is moisturizing and rich in antibacterial lauric acid (source), it’s often used as a natural dandruff remedy.
I’ve upgraded my grandmothers’ hot oil treatment and made it my own with coconut oil and essential oils.
Because that classic VO5 hot oil treatment she used to use? It’s filled with a bunch of unhealthy, chemical ingredients.
It has a 6 rating in the Environmental Working Group’s Skin Deep Database — see details here.
And ironically, it actually doesn’t contain very much oil!
These chemicals just aren’t necessary for healthy, smooth hair either.
All we need is coconut oil and some essential oils like lavender, rosemary, and peppermint which have been studied and found to increase hair growth and/ or thickness (more details below).
What sets a hot oil treatment apart from a hair mask?
Hot oil treatments are just as much about the scalp as they are the hair.
This super simple at-home hot coconut oil hair treatment not only deeply moisturizes hair but improves scalp health too.
At-Home Hot Coconut Oil Hair Treatment with Essential Oils
1) Determine how much coconut oil you’ll need based on the length and thickness of your hair.
- Short hair: 2-3 tbs coconut oil
- Shoulder-length hair: 4-5 tbs coconut oil
- Long hair: 6-8 tbs coconut oil
What’s the best coconut oil for hair care? Even though it’s going on your body rather than in it, I still recommend choosing organic coconut oil.
2) Choose which essential oils (if any) you would like to add to your hot oil treatment
Essential oils don’t just lend a relaxing aromatherapy vibe to your hot coconut oil hair treatment (although that’s a pretty good reason to include them in and of itself!). If you’re looking to use coconut oil for hair growth and thickness, you’re definitely going to want to include these essential oils.
LAVENDER ESSENTIAL OIL
One study found that lavender essential significantly increased the number of hair follicles and deepened the depth of hair follicles, reducing hair fallout and increasing overall thickness.
PEPPERMINT ESSENTIAL OIL
Another study found that peppermint essential also improved hair growth, with the researchers concluding that it “could be used for a practical agent for hair growth.”
ROSEMARY ESSENTIAL OIL
This study found that rosemary essential oil helped decrease hair loss in individuals with alopecia (a condition that causes hair loss).
Rosemary essential oil also helps decrease dandruff and soothe an itchy scalp — so don’t skip this essential oil if you struggle with either of those!
3) Heat your coconut oil
You totally can just use the microwave, but I prefer to heat my oil on the stovetop where I can better manage the temperature. All you need is a small pot and oven-safe measuring cup (like Pyrex).
- Fill a small pot with 2 inches of water.
- Set the pot over medium heat and bring the water to a boil.
- While the water is boiling, add your coconut oil to an oven-safe measuring cup.
- After the water has boiled, turn the burner off and carefully (don’t burn yourself!) set the measuring cup in the water.
- Let the oil sit in its bath for 3 minutes.
- After 3 minutes, check the temperature of the oil. You want it to be the temperature of a hot shower — above body temperature but not too hot! If necessary, turn the burner back on low until the oil is the right temperature.
- After the oil seems to be the right temperature, remove the measuring cup from the pot using an oven mitt.
- Using a spoon, drip just a small amount of oil onto your wrist to make sure the oil is not too hot.
4) Add the essential oils
You’ll want to add just 2 drops of essential oils TOTAL per tablespoon of coconut oil.
So if you have thick shoulder-length hair and so will be using 5 tablespoons of coconut oil, you’ll add a TOTAL of 10 drops of essential oil (example: 5 drops of lavender and 5 drops of rosemary).
5) Prep your shoulders and hair for your coconut oil hair treatment!
Comb your hair to work out any knots and wrap a towel around your shoulders to protect your clothing from the oil. You’ll want to use an old towel — one that you don’t mind likely staining with oil.
Or if you prefer, you can apply the hot oil treatment while naked in the shower, then rinse off after steps 4 and 5!
OR you can apply it while relaxing in the tub, and continue to soak for steps 4 and 5 🙂 Yes, this is my personally preferred method for obvious reasons!
4) Massage the oil into your scalp and hair
Pour about half of the oil directly onto your scalp, then gently massage it in for 1 to 2 minutes.
Then pour the remaining oil over the length of your hair, again massaging it in to make sure the entire length of the hair is coated.
5) Let the coconut oil hair treatment work its magic for at least 30 minutes
Leave the oil on your hair for 30 minutes to allow it to thoroughly penetrate the scalp and hair shaft.
To prevent the oil from dripping, you can wrap your hair in an old towel (one that you don’t mind getting an oil stain on!) or cover it with a shower cap.
6) Wash and condition hair as usual
You’ll need to use a regular surfactant-based shampoo to cut through the oil and effectively remove the coconut oil. Unfortunately for you “no-poo”ers, baking soda won’t effectively remove the oil from your hair.
I’ve found that washing just once usually isn’t enough to completely remove the oil so I’ll wash once, then wash a second time focusing just on the scalp area, and then condition just once as usual.
7) Bask in the beauty of your smooth, soft, healthy hair!
8) Repeat weekly or as often as you so desire
Hot Coconut Oil Hair Treatment FAQs
Can I leave coconut oil in my hair overnight?
While technically yes, you may leave the coconut oil in your hair overnight, it’s likely to stain your pillow case.
If you choose to leave the oil overnight, I suggest wearing a shower cap and covering your pillow with towel in case the cap comes loose in your sleep.
Do I need to wash the hot oil treatment out of my hair?
Eventually yes, you’ll need to wash the oil out of your hair.
But if you don’t mind walking around with grease-slicked hair, when to do so is completely up to you!
Again, I recommend leaving the hot oil treatment in your hair for a minimum of 30 minutes.
Can I burn myself with a hot oil treatment?
YES! This is why it’s very important to test the temperature of the oil with your finger before applying it to your scalp.
How do you wash coconut oil out of your hair?
You’ll need to use a regular surfactant-based shampoo to cut through the oil and effectively remove the coconut oil, and may need to shampoo twice. The “no-poo” method will not effectively remove the oil from your hair.
Have you ever used coconut oil for a hot oil treatment?
Or are you feeling inspired to do so now!?
Please share your experience and any tips you may have in the comments below!