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Curly Nikki

What’s the Best Way to Apply Coconut Oil?

By January 27th, 202145 Comments
What's the Best Way to Apply Coconut Oil?

via the beautybrains

CYW says…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 prewash 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.

Reference: Effect of mineral oil, sunflower oil, and coconut oil
on prevention of hair damage, J. Cosmet. Sci.,54, 175-192

How and when do you apply your coconut oil? Share your experiences!


  • Natural Beauty says:

    you don't have any friends

  • Hilary B. says:

    I apply coconut oil (Barlean's from Amazon) after my leave-in. It give great shine. Sometimes I use it as pre-poo. It's also a great nighttime face moisture. It's the one oil, besides jojoba but that's too expensive to use in abundance, that I've found multiple uses for.

  • Anonymous says:

    I use coconut oil as a leave in conditioner and it makes my hair so soft and i think it works really well

  • Anonymous says:

    hi everyone, can anyone recommend a good natural product my my toddler's (3 yrs.) hair, I tried Taliwagiid hair product for her but i found her hair was still dry and dull.

  • Anonymous says:

    Ok, I have a question. I use products with cones so will pre pooing with coconut oil be effective for me? I've read that once the cones are on your hair, nothing else applied on top of it can penetrate.

  • Almond Joy says:

    Hopefully I'll be getting my order of coconut oil this week so I can talk about how awesome it is 🙂

  • Anonymous says:

    Hey ladies! I am coconut oil fan! I add coconut oil along with sweet almond oil to Aussie Moist as my DC and it works well! I always have moisturized, soft, lush hair afterwards!

  • Anonymous says:

    I have always pre poos with oils such as castor oil, coconut oil, safflower oil, olive oil and vitamin E, once a month. I've been slippin recently but ill get back on it. I love coconut oil by the way lol

    Ashley L.

  • mangomadness says:

    @Kinkikw: Awesome! I always thought that using coconut oil on hair before swimming would be a good idea. When I go swimming this summer I'll do a chunky twist updo with coconut oil.

  • Kinkikw says:

    Okay, I just tried using coconut oil as a pre-poo again, but this time, I left it in overnight. My whole head felt a bit greasy when I first woke up. I decided to go swimming for a bit, so I got under the locker room shower first. Once I got out, I expected to feel brittle, dry, chlorinated hair. But it was the EXACT OPPOSITE! My hair was so smooth, even after it dried!! The only other thing I used to shape it was Aloe Vera gel. The verdict: coconut oil is my new chlorine combatant!! <3

  • watkinsabob says:

    so far i love it as a pre-poo along with olive oil. i pre-poo overnight

  • Laurie P. says:

    i use my coconut oil right after i get out of the shower. My hair is soaking i apply my leave-in then i add coconut oil to the section and style that section. I love using it that way because it gets absorbed and helps with shine when i'm in a leave-in conditioner only styling mode.

  • Anonymous says:

    Maybe I'm using it wrong but, I use it everyday or atleast every other day just for the moisture. Its the only thing that keeps my hair moist and tangle free.

  • Omolara says:

    I use coconut oil for pretty much everything in the warmer months. Pre-poo, detangling, twists/twist-outs, sealing…you name it. Then I use it all over my body as well. It definitely sits on my hair for about 14 hours when I use it to twist, so maybe that's why it has always seemed so effective. I even plan on adding it to my cooking game this summer so that I get full use of my jar.

  • Anonymous says:

    To Anonymous @ 11:18 PM, I believe the shelf life fo coconut oil is 2 years. But, you can keep on using your coconut oil, if it does not smell rancid or funny. Minus any weird smell, it should be okay. I hope that helps!

  • Anonymous says:

    I use coconut oil all the time. I use it in my prepoo mix, I use it in my Kimmaytube leave-in, and I use it in my deep conditioner today. Awesome saucesome.

    Does anyone know if this thang expires? I've had my jar for at least 3 years.

  • Anonymous says:

    Wow, I love coconut oil for deep conditioning, however, have not heard about using coconut milk for henna treatment, can someone go into more details about it.

  • Erica says:

    I use it in various forms: in Vatika oil for a pre-poo, sometimes in my dc and always as part of my Shea butter mixture for my sealant. My fine hair likes it diluted in other oils/butters, never alone. My body adores coconut oil all year round. I make body scrubs using sugar or white cornmeal mixed with coconut oil, jojoba and/or whatever oils are suitable for the season.

  • Anonymous says:

    I loved coconut oil when I first became fully natural. I have abandoned it to try different products, but I decided to return to it just before reading this article. What I've found is that applying it to my scalp and hair overnight provided amazing results in the morning. It makes me wonder why I ever abandoned it, silly me! I think I will give it another go as I am trying to simplify my regimen and products.

  • Sunflowergurl says:

    I've used it several times, but my hair is not giving off a positive response to it. I will try mixing a little EVOO to it and see what happens 😉

  • Anonymous says:

    I know coconut oil is so good for the hair/scalp, but I can't use it as a leave-in/styler due to horrible itching. If left on longer than a few days, my hair and scalp smells like sour milk. So what I do now is I add it to a natural conditioner. I'll detangle with this mixture, twist and rinse out in the morning. The best coconut oil is monoi oil.

  • Auset Abena says:

    My friends consider me the spokesperson for coconut oil. I use it as my sealant of choice. I just switched back to using a detergent shampoo (I gave up on CO washing, again.) So coconut oil as a pre-poo will be a must try for me. Good to know I need to apply it the night before. Makes sense. Also, have used it for oil cleansing my face, moisturizing my face, and as a lotion. It smells good and leaves a nice sheen that is subtle. If you want more sheen, I definitely suggest olive oil. I love this stuff, God's gift to this head of natural hair. I know some naturals hate it. That goes to show to each her own. It's def a hit or miss. For me, a definite hit. Also, coconut oil is good for high heat cooking. It does not turn toxic like other oils, such as olive when used at high heat. Don't get me started on coconut milk. That is the best DT for strength and can be used as the acidic addition of choice for henna application and I hear it makes henna dumb easy to rinse out. Also, coconut milk is the best base for vegan ice cream and the best addition for vegan desserts as a replacement for dairy milk. I'm done. And in other news, I need to reup my stash for coconut oil. The best brand is Nutiva for me.

  • Annie L. says:

    So timely!

    I just banned it – AGAIN! Not sure but I think it made my scalp itch. As a pre-poo I don't recall any ill-effects but I've nixed pre-pooing as well. As a sealant it left my strands bristly and 'stripped' feeling and clogged the pores on my scalp and face to no end.

    Alone or added to ayurvedic powders as a body exfoliant and as a post-shower body oil it's mar-ve-lous!

    Agree w/Anonymous 11:32am
    I like pomades & finding a coconut/protein-free one is challenging. Oyin's and DB's work beautifully on my WNGs for 2-3 hours but then leave me bristly until I re-spritz with water (on twists/braids the effect lasts longer). I just ordered OM's Hair Bling pomade and hope it's lack of coconut will help me avoid that straw feeling but we'll see. Great info from everyone btw!

  • Anonymous says:

    I love using coconut oil as a prepoo and as a sealer after moisturizing. As a prepoo, it helps my hair feel wonderful after washing.

  • mangomadness says:

    I use coconut oil as a pre-shampoo detangler/conditioner.

    First, I section my dry, stretched hair into 12 parts. Then, section-by-section, I apply a lot of coconut oil, finger-detangle and twist. Next, I cover my hair with a plastic cap/hat combo and let it sit for a while (~10 mins or overnight). After that, I continue with my hair care routine (shampoo, moisturize, style, seal & air-dry).

    I also like to apply Shea Moisture Purification Masque on top of a layer of coconut oil. This enables me to use less product [and save $$$] while also increasing the moisture level of my hair.

  • dianthe says:

    i use coconut oil as product – i apply it to my hair when it's wet, style and let it air dry – i use it as a sealant when i wear my hair straight – i also use it as lotion – pretty much for everything

  • Kinkikw says:

    I use it as a sealant, but since it's been pretty hot lately, I've switched to shea butter temporarily (it's frustrating to have to defrost my jar of coconut oil every time I want to use it.) I'll go back to it once I get my Juicy Leave-in conditioner in the mail. I've pre-pooed with CO once, but I didn't see much of a difference. As a sealant, it seems to do better in the winter than in the summer for me.

  • Anonymous says:

    Right on time, I just ordered coconut oil online last night!

  • ChrLvsBks says:

    I like using coconut oil as an overnight treatment. I usually mix it with EVOO (1 to 1 ratio). I have also used it as a DC leaving it on for an hour then rinsing it out.

  • leslie says:

    I love 100% pure coconut oil. I drench my hair in it. I leave it on for 30 min or longer depending on my schedule. I have like 6 bottles of pure coconut oil in my cabinet! I don't like it as a sealant.Instead i use shea butter and my ends are nice and soft.

  • marianela says:

    This is amazing, I love CO so much that I have considered moving to a tropical climate with a bunch of coconut trees around just so I could extract my own and be happy doing DC's and soaking in the warm suns rays.

  • Aren says:

    I also use the coconut oil as a pre-poo but I wasn't leaving it in for more than half an hour. Maybe I'll give that a try. I also add it to my deep conditioner along with grape seed oil, glycerin, peppermint oil, tea tree oil, and almond oil. I put all the same things in my daily spritz (half water and half everything else) and seal with shea butter. I may give it a try as a sealant also 🙂

    – Aren

  • Natural Beauty says:

    I'm going to have to try coconut oil.

  • Michelle@Radiant Brown Beauty says:

    I completely agree. I know a lot of naturals use coconut oil as a sealant but I've found it (and others I believe have too) to cause the hair to become crunchy when used in this manner.

    Therefore, i use it as a pre-poo for at least a day before washing and have seen good results.

  • Anonymous says:

    coconut oil always makes my hair hard and brittle and it does the same for many other ladies (more people like it though). I've noticed that if natural hair products don't have protein, 99% of the time, there's coconut oil and it's fairly frustrating when you know it's something your hair must avoid. Anyone dealing with this?

    I'm planning to write as many companies that formulate natural hair products and will write them about making products without coconut oil AND ESPECIALLY without protein (finding protein free products is especially hard for protein sensitive naturals).

    New naturals if everytime you use coconut oil, your hair feels hard and brittle, stay away from it. It's recommended by everyone but just make sure to really listen to your hair at the end of the day. I learned that the hard way (hey that rhymed!)

  • honeybrown1976 says:

    I mix it with EVOO and use it as a sealant.

  • cocobutter75 says:

    I have used coconut oil as a pre-poo and it made my hair itch. I'll probably give it another try.

  • Anonymous says:

    Thanks for the article sometimes I just need cut dry answers and this article had it….put on my hair/head before bed wash out in the morning! Simple!

  • Anonymous says:

    just saw that -fake Nikki- page, one word, creepy

  • Anonymous says:

    I use it as a pre-poo, in my deep conditioner & also to seal my ends. I feel like I benefit more when I use it everyday as a sealant, instead of having to rinse it out. I also use it on my skin & it makes it feel soft as butter.

    Brooke B.

  • CURLYNIKKI says:

    @anon above, I agree and have no idea where that ish came from! Some sort of bug, I'm working on getting it removed STAT! Hold tight 🙂

  • Anonymous says:

    Off topic, but I am not liking the look of the "trending topics" section of the new CN web page.

  • Anonymous says:

    I use coconut oil in my shea butter mix. Haven't tried using it alone. Might try oiling my braids with it on wash day.

    Miss TeeTee

  • Imani says:

    I actually use it for sealing but I might just try it added to my deep conditioning routine

  • myilanna says:

    i just start using it i mean just used it for the first time yesturday actually i used it as a pre-poo and then used it as a part of a hot oil treatment for about an hour and then used it again to seal my hair before styling my hair literally still feels wet but its not i think i went overboard…lol im not sure yet but my hair is definatly moisturized i can say that much…

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