Why Coconut Oil Treatments for Dry Hair Can Improve Your Hair Health

young woman with shiny hair full of purple and white flowers


Can you get thicker, healthier hair from using coconut oil on dry hair?

Studies show that coconut oils can prevent protein loss and strengthen thin hair.

Here you’ll learn how to use this natural plant oil to protect and nourish dry hair.

You’ll also learn how to choose the best coconuts oils for dry hair and read reviews from people who’ve tried this natural hair treatment.

First, we’ll take a closer look at the actual science behind using coconut oil for your hair and why it works so well….


1. Using Coconut Oil for Dry Hair Reduces Protein Loss Better than Other Hair Oils


Mumbai, India – Researchers conducted a study comparing the effects of coconut oil with other hair oils for preventing hair damage.

The reason study researchers chose these 3 types of oils was due to their popularity and usage in many hair care products in India.

  • Mineral oil – This is used in many hair oil formulas in India. It’s non-greasy and is low cost.

  • Sunflower oil – This is the second most widely base oil in many hair oil formulas. It has a low freezing point and it’s odorless at room temperature.

  • Coconut oil – This tropical oil is made up of special fats which are attracted to hair proteins; it’s believed this action allows the oils to actually penetrate the hair shaft.

The three oils were applied to hair samples and then analyzed the hairs to determine if there were any changes in their structure and appearance.

Researchers stated the following conclusions:

“Among three oils, coconut oil was the only oil found to reduce the protein loss remarkably for both undamaged and damaged hair when used as a pre-wash and post-wash grooming product…”

“Coconut oil, being a triglyceride of lauric acid (principal fatty acid), has a high affinity for hair proteins and, because of its low molecular weight and straight linear chain, is able to penetrate inside the hair shaft.” 


2. Coconut Oil Reduces Hair Breakage and Strengthens the Hair Shaft


A study published in May 2011 Journal of Cosmetic Science showed coconut oils can make your hair stronger and lessen the chance of breakage.

Improperly caring for your hair, sun damage, coloring and chemical treatments can actually change the physical make-up of your hair.

Scientists can use several methods to measure this hair damage, such as microscopic techniques, measuring protein loss and the tensile strength of the hair shaft itself.

A unique method for assessing hair damage is called the Hair Breakage Index (HBI). It’s based on measuring a ratio of actual diameter changes in the hair shaft, from the base root to the very tip. 

  • In this study, 30 participants were asked to apply coconut oil to their hair every day for 16 weeks – while another Control Group didn’t use any oils.

  • At the end of the study, researchers found coconut oil made hair stronger, with an increased Hair Breakage Index. The people using coconut oils experienced a growth in hair shaft diameter, resulting in thicker and stronger hair.


3. Using Coconut Oil for Dry Hair Protects from Hygral Fatigue


back view of woman with coconut oil on her long shiny black hair

Princeton, New JerseyWhat’s hygral fatigue? This is the result of your hair cuticle swelling when it absorbs water and then contracting when it dries on a repeated basis.

People who frequently wash their hair are at risk for hygral fatigue; and the result is ‘water-damaged’ hair.  This can lead to weak, dry and thinner hair that’s prone to stretching and breaking.

Can coconut oils help protect your hair from this water damage?

A study published in 2001 Journal of Cosmetic Science found coconut oil is better than mineral oil for protection against hair damage caused by hygral fatigue. They concluded coconut oil has a strong attraction for your hair proteins, resulting in superior oil penetration and protection from water damage.



Why Coconut Oils are Important for Hair & Scalp Health


spoonful of virgin coconut oil for dry hair


While shampooing your hair is an excellent way to keep it clean, doing it too many times may strip the hair of its natural oils and create hygral fatigue.

Over-washing and conditioning may stress the hair cuticle from over-exposure to water. This can cause the hair cuticle to constantly expand when wet and tightly contracting when drying leading to thin, weak hair that’s more prone to breakage.


Using coconut oils for dry hair and scalp may provide a natural source of fatty acids to help replenish and nourish your hair.

Coconut oil contains the fatty acids, capric and lauric acid. Lauric acid has been shown to increase the permeability of the skin, which can help moisturize your hair and scalp.



Follow Our Guide to Using Coconut Oil For Dry Hair:


If you’d like to try using coconut oil for dry hair, here’s these simple step-by-step instructions….

Before beginning this treatment, you’ll need a couple of items to prepare. You’ll also need about one hour to do this deep hair moisturizing treatment.

It’s important to allow for sufficient time for maximum results; the longer you allow the oils to soak into the hair and scalp, the better the results you’ll achieve.


You’ll need the following items:

– One jar of virgin coconut oil

– Plastic shower cap



  • Shampoo, rinse and then and let dry until slightly damp.

  • Apply a quarter-sized amount of the product to your palms and rub hands together to coat your fingers and palms.

  • Run your fingers through your hair. Concentrate on coating the entire hair shafts from root to tip with the oil.

  • Take the plastic shower cap and cover your head. This keeps your hairs in place and helps retain heat to increase absorption.

  • Leave on the shower cap on for about one hour, then remove and rinse the oils from your head.


How Many Often Should You Do Coconut Oil Treatments?


woman shampooing dry hair with coconut oil and shampoo


The overall condition of your hair will help you determine how often to use coconut oil.

For best results, you could try an initial treatment to gauge how much actual oil to use and the type of response you get.

You can then adjust accordingly to get the most from this treatment.

If your hair is colored, you have a perm or use lots of heat styling, then you may need to repeat this treatment more often to condition and moisturize your hair.


What are the Best Coconut Oils for Deep Scalp and Hair Moisturizing?


jar of garden of life coconut oil for dry hair

We recommend using only virgin, organic coconut oils, such as Garden of Life 100% Organic Extra Virgin Coconut Oil.

Other brands include Nutiva Organic Virgin Coconut Oil and Spectrum Organic Unrefined Coconut Oil For Body & Hair.

All of these products are made from fresh organic coconut meat.

You should avoid using lower quality coconut oils made from copra; this is a dried-out form of coconut meat that’s been bleached, deodorized and heat-processed.

Only virgin coconut oils are made from fresh, organic coconuts that are cold-pressed to retain all of the healthy fatty acids and nutrients your hair needs for maximum conditioning, moisturizing and protection. 

For more details, see our guide How to Choose the Best Coconut Oils and learn the secrets to choosing the best products.

You can also get coconut oil shampoos. These products have the shampoo and plant oils combined in one bottle for added convenience. The only disadvantage with these types of products is you will not know how much coconut oils are actually added into the product.

And another great option for conditioning and protecting your hair is Natural Leave-In Hair Conditioners.  These new hair care products have been shown to actually improve hair moisturization, provide heat protection and can help maintain curls and waves long after washing your hair.



Using Coconut Oil for Dry Hair Reviews

Here are actual testimonials and reviews from people who’ve have tried using coconut oil for hair conditioning and moisturizing.


Coconut oil for Processed Hair
I research everything and even with all the wonderful things I’ve heard about coconut oil I was reluctant to try it. The only disappointing thing I have…

Using coconut oil for gray – almost white hair
Has anyone with gray or white hair used coconut oil? How well did it work? Here’s my story. I used to dye my hair with henna, but when I ran out I…

Using Coconut Oil on Dry, Damaged Hair
I did a bit of research about the benefits of coconut oil last night and was surprised to find that it could repair dry and damaged hair. I blow dry and…

Benefits of Coconut Oil on African American Hair
Coconut oil is great for dreadlocks and braids. My daughter wears her hair in braids. For the past three years, I have used organic unrefined virgin…/p>

Coconut Oil on Frizzy, Curly Hair
I grew up in an Indian household, where coconut oil was used a lot. Unlike the rest of my family, I was a bit skeptic to use it. I started getting a slightly…


“Search for more Virgin Coconut Oils at Amazon.com”



Home Page > Coconut Oil Home Page > Why Coconut Oil for Dry Hair Works

Author Details
Author Details
Kevin is a full-time blogger with a passion for functional, whole food nutrition. A former Registered Respiratory Therapist with over 25 years experience in Intensive Care and Emergency Medicine, he also has additional training as a Certified Natural Products Advisor. He enjoys a vibrant lifestyle that includes healthy foods, workouts focusing on core strength with flexibility and longboarding to stay fit and agile.