Oh, the ever-polarizing coconut oil. What are we naturals going to do with you?


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From the moment we fell curls over heels for coconut oil, every curlyhead has had a memorable experience with it. Some of us love it. Some of us detest it. No matter where you land on the spectrum, there are eight surefire ways to use coconut oil to your advantage, especially when applying it to your hair.

Before you use coconut oil on your hair, do this for best results:

No matter your texture, porosity, or curl pattern, you absolutely MUST steam your hair before applying coconut oil. A curly-fav is the Q-Redew Handheld Steamer available at SHOP NaturallyCurly.

Don't have a steamer? No problem! Simply hop in the shower to begin the process of lifting your hair strands' cuticles. When this happens, the surface of your hair strands is ready to receive the moisture that coconut oil provides. This is how you can avoid the buildup and flaking that many curlyheads have experienced with coconut oil and coconut oil-based curly hair products.

Now, let's take a look at eight ways to use coconut oil.

Below we've listed the details on coconut oil usage and application. Check it out!

  • 1) Scalp treatment for dandruff: For many curlies, dandruff is a daily annoyance. If you've nearly given up, don't! Simply try coconut oil, a natural solution to dry scalp.
    • Tip: After sectioning your hair, apply 2-3 droplets of coconut oil directly to your scalp and rub it into affected areas. Let the oil absorb into your scalp for ten minutes, rinse with warm water. This can be a pre-poo treatment or a weekly scalp treatment depending on your needs.

MORE: Mineral Oil vs. Coconut Oil: Which is better?

  • 2) Natural shine enhancer: An all-natural option for shining curls is just an application away. For best results, cocktail the coconut oil with your favorite leave-in conditioner or daily moisturizer.
    • Tip: To avoid buildup and enhance your curls' natural sheen, ensure that your curls are clean and product-free before application!
  • 3) Deep conditioner: Every curly/kinky/wavy feels her best when she showers her curls in love. What better way to add that tender, loving care to your curls than with a coconut oil-based deep conditioner? To make your own, simply add as much, or as little, coconut oil to your favorite deep conditioner. If you have a coconut oil-based deep conditioner, you're already ahead of the game!
    • Tip: Using your finger tips, massage the deep conditioner into damp hair in a circular motion. Deep condition every curly strand for at least 15-20 minutes. Rinse with warm water.
  • 4) Detangler: Like most emollients, coconut oil is known for providing amazing slip to all texture types. No matter your porosity or hair strand width, this oil will help you easily detangle your curls, from ends to roots.
    • Tip: For easy detangling, curlies of a kinds need to wet their curls with good ol' H2O, apply 2-3 drops of coconut oil to ends of hair strands, and use a wide-toothed comb to complete the process.

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  • 5) Frizz fighter: One of the best things about coconut oil is its weight. It's light enough to absorb easily into your hair strands, and weighty enough to keep your curls from going berserk when humidity strikes.
    • Tip: For medium and high porosity curlies, gently palm a pea-sized amount of coconut oil over your strands to keep frizz at bay. For low porosity curlies, use about a dime-sized amount.

MORE: DIY Coconut Oil Curl Mask

  • 6) Light-hold styler: From dreamy ringlets to bouncing kinky curls, coconut oil is the perfect addition to any styling product. Cocktail it with your favorite gel or curl cream. Why? So that you're hair strands can receive constant moisture throughout the day.
    • Tip: To ensure your style stays put, wet your curls prior to styling. This makes the strands more supple and helps them lock in the oil as the hair dries/sets into your desired style.


  • 7) Seal in moisture: Protecting your hair strands is easy when you use coconut oil as a sealant. According to Evelyn Ngugi, "Sealing ensures that the moisture you put into your hair stays there. Moisture is lost when the cuticle is raised and water leaves the hair." So, you'll definitely want to seal those strands!
    • Tip: Section your curls, and gently finger comb 2-3 drops of coconut oil through your hair. By using your fingers, you're able to better seal every curl.

MORE:3 Hair Oils for Healthy Hair

  • 8) Light moisturizer: As mentioned, you can cocktail coconut oil into your favorite moisturizer for amazing results. However, you can also use the oil on its own to add moisture to every curl!
    • Tip: Remember to steam before applying coconut oil to avoid build up or hardened strands!

Image by Sweet Ice Cream Photography/Unsplash

Does your curly, textured hair like coconut oil? How do you use it?

This article was originally published in March 2014 and has been updated for clarity and grammar.