9 Ways to Use Coconut Oil for Softer, Smoother Hair

Take a peek inside your kitchen cabinets, and we bet you have a jar of coconut oil hiding out in there. While it's an excellent baking ingredient, have you considered using coconut oil for your hair? DIY beauty fans swear by its multitude of benefits. You can rub it all over your body and face to make your skin softer. You can even swish it around your mouth for whiter teeth like Gwyneth. But where it really shines (literally) is in your hair routine. As versatile as it is nourishing, there are tons of ways you can use the kitchen staple to boost shine, repair damage, and protect your strands. Read on for the best ways to use coconut oil for hair that's strong and healthy.

Coconut oil benefits for hair

First things first, while coconut oil works like magic on a wide range of concerns (like dullness and frizz), there's one thing it doesn't do: moisturize. In fact, no oil does. Rather, like most oils, coconut oil is a powerhouse emollient (meaning it softens and smooths), and it's occlusive (meaning it helps trap moisture and emollients in your hair). Think of it as a sealant. It goes to work to keep nutrients and moisture in, as well as any damaging chemicals (like chlorine) out.

While all hair types can benefit from the reparative Vitamin E and amino acids in coconut oil, according to hairstylist Lauren Grummel, it's best for thicker hair types. She says you'll want to check the label to make sure you're using pure, extra virgin raw coconut oil, since anything with additives can be harsh on your scalp. And if you do have thin hair? Try using a product that contains coconut oil as an ingredient (more on those below) instead of applying it straight from a jar.

So, what does coconut oil do for your hair exactly?

1. It adds shine and softness.

If your hair's looking or feeling a little lackluster, coconut oil can help bring back its healthy, glistening sheen. That's mostly thanks to its occlusive properties, which again, help lock in moisture.

2. It helps repair damage.

Because of it's unique structure, coconut oil is actually able to prevent protein loss, keeping hair from becoming damaged and fragile.

3. It helps smooth down frizz.

Oils are a great alternative to silicone-based frizz tamers, which can weigh down your hair. Just keep in mind that a little goes a long way. A few drop where you need it will do the trick.

Kopari Coconut Melt

Parachute Naturalz 100% Organic Virgin Coconut Oil

Solimo Organic Virgin Coconut Oil

Healthworks Coconut Oil

How to use coconut oil for hair

Coconut oil can be used to as a hair treatment to repair damage and add shine in tons of different ways, here are nine of our favorites.

1. Use it as a traditional hair mask.

Hairstylist Alex Brown likes to use coconut oil to whip up a homemade hair mask that's great for repairing damage. She says to whisk together two tablespoons of coconut oil and one egg, and apply it evenly to towel dried hair. After 20 to 25 minutes, shampoo and condition as usual. You'll find that your hair will look and feel softer and smoother.

2. Wear it as an overnight treatment.

If your hair is really damaged, Grummel says it'll benefit from an eight-hour soak. Apply virgin coconut oil to dry hair, pop on a bonnet or headscarf, and go to sleep. If you don't wrap your hair, Grummel warns that the oil may ruin your pillowcase, so be sure to use one you don't care about or replace it with an old t-shirt for the night. The next morning, rinse out the oil and shampoo and condition as usual.

3. Use it as a swim cap before hopping in the pool or ocean.

"Chlorine makes your hair extremely dry and brittle," says Grummel, who recommends this trick before you go swimming. Rinse your hair before getting in the pool (you should do this anyway to protect it from chlorine, since wet hair is less porous than dry hair), and apply coconut oil throughout. The oil will create a barrier to keep chemicals out on its own, but if you want extra protection, you can also wear a swim cap on top.

4. Run it through your hair before a workout.

A great time to use a hair mask is while you're working out, since you're going to shower after anyways. Before your workout, coat dry hair in coconut oil and toss it up. Bonus: It'll help you get the perfect slick bun.

5. Use it as a protective pre-poo treatment.

If you have curly, dry hair, you can use coconut oil to protect your hair from moisture-stripping shampoos. Before you shower, work a little oil through the ends of your hair (avoid the roots), and let it sit for an hour or so. Shampoo and condition as normal.

6. Smooth out frizz with it.

Another trick for curls is using coconut oil to tame frizz. Just take a tiny bit (a little goes a long way), heat it up in your hands, and rub it on any frizz. "Keep in mind if you use virgin coconut oil for styling, you must keep styling tool temperature below 350," says Grummel. "Coconut oil burns at 350, any temperature above that on your hair will also cook your hair."

7. Turn it into a detangler.

Rather than spend money on a detangling spray, try using a tiny bit of coconut oil to help get knots out. The consistency of the oil will give your hair more slip, which will make running a brush or comb through easier.

8. DIY a shine spray

For an all-natural shine spray, simply put some coconut oil that has liquified in a spray bottle. Make sure to keep it in a warm place so it doesn't harden. Spritz it on whenever your hair could use a quick boost.

9. Give your conditioner a boost.

You can use coconut oil to make your current products even more moisturizing. Mix it a little into your curl cream or favorite hair mask, or apply it on top of your usual conditioner before rinsing to lock in the benefits.

Best coconut oil products for hair

Not big on the DIY route? Or have fine hair? No problem. These products contain all the benefits of coconut oil without the hassle or mess.

OGX Coconut Miracle Oil Dry Shampoo

IGK Rich Kid Coconut Oil Gel

Sun Bum Coconut Argan Oil

Ouai Medium Hair Conditioner

Bumble and bumble Hairdresser’s Invisible Oil Balm-to-Oil Pre Shampoo Masque

Playa Healing Hair Masque

Bella Cacciatore is the beauty associate at Glamour. Follow her on Instagram @bellacacciatore_.

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