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Is Coconut Oil Good for a Dry Scalp

5 mins

Nancy Smith

Coconut oil is a versatile ingredient that is beneficial to have on hand. Find out if it's good for a dry scalp and how to use it.

Coconut oil has many different uses, from hair care to skincare to cooking. Many shampoos, conditioners, and other hair products contain this multitasking oil, and for a good reason: one of the main benefits of coconut oil is its powerful moisturizing effects. 

No one likes an itchy scalp — it can be very uncomfortable, not to mention the worry of getting flakes on your clothes. Thankfully, coconut oil is packed with fatty acids that can be ultra-soothing to the scalp (and a lifesaver for your favorite black top). 

Let's go over the benefits of coconut oil for a dry scalp and how to incorporate it into your hair care routine.

Table of contents:

  • What Causes a Dry Scalp? 
  • What Are the Benefits of Coconut Oil for the Scalp?
  • Loaded with Healthy Fats
  • Rejuvenates Damaged Hair
  • Nourishes Dry Skin
  • How Can I Add Coconut Oil to My Hair Routine?
  • Hair Oil
  • Hair Mask
  • Coconut Oil
  • Tips for Using Coconut Oil 

    What Causes a Dry Scalp?

    First, dry scalp and dandruff are not necessarily the same thing. You get small white flakes from dry scalp and larger yellowish flakes from dandruff. 

    When your natural scalp oils are out of balance, you can either get an over-oily, itchy scalp, or a scalp suffering from dry skin, resulting in itchiness and flaking. 

    Dandruff, on the other hand, is actually caused by a type of yeast, which is why it needs specific chemical compounds to help combat it.

    Both conditions can get worse if left untreated, and you should contact your local dermatology practice or personal dermatologist if you notice an excessively dry scalp. 

    Otherwise, there are many ways to help improve your scalp health depending on what may be causing that dryness — antifungal or anti-dandruff shampoos and scalp treatments are the first stops for many, but they may not be the right stops depending on what's wrong. 

    If you're experiencing a dry scalp, it may be due to the following reasons. 

    • Using Harsh Shampoos: Some shampoos contain ingredients that can strip your natural oils. It can lead to scalp irritation and dry scalp after continual use. 
    • Fungal and Bacterial Infections: Your dry scalp may be the result of a fungal or bacterial infection (read: dandruff!). 
    • Nutrition: Your scalp needs a certain amount of vitamins, fatty acids, and other nutrients to stay healthy. If you are nutrient deficient, it may result in a dry scalp. 
    • Weather: If your scalp is exposed to extreme heat or cold temperatures, it can cause dryness and irritation in the scalp.
    • Styling Products: Thermal damage from your styling tools, like your blow-dryer, can leave your scalp dry and irritated. 
    • Hair Dye: Hair dye and coloring contain many different chemicals that can dry out your skin cells and cause a dry scalp. 
    • Hair Care Regimen: Not taking proper care of your hair and scalp can result in dryness. A lot of people overwash, which can contribute to dryness, but washing at least once or twice a week and massaging the scalp can help get rid of debris buildup.
      washing hair

    What Are the Benefits of Coconut Oil for the Scalp?

    Loaded with Healthy Fats

    Coconut oil is loaded with healthy fats. One is lauric acid, which is a type of saturated fat that can help benefit hair because it may be able to prevent protein loss. When you dye, bleach, and style your hair, you can damage a structural protein called keratin and leave your hair fragile. 

    Coconut oil can penetrate the hair shaft and help strengthen your hair fibers, which can lead to less breakage and shedding with regular use. 

    These nourishing fats can also help hydrate your scalp, along with being versatile in use — you can use it on dry or wet hair and as a finishing product or as a moisturizer!

    Rejuvenates Damaged Hair

    Several studies have examined the effects of plant-based oils on hair damage. In one 2015 study, researchers found coconut oil can have a protective effect on hair strands against penetration by damaging chemicals and compounds. The same study found that coconut oil was the only oil able to prevent protein loss, compared to mineral and sunflower oil.

    Nourishes Dry Skin

    Coconut oil may help soothe a dry, itchy scalp thanks to its nourishing and hydrating effects, which can in turn, help combat flakiness. 

    coconut oil for hair, coconut oil use

    Additionally, it can also help promote a healthy skin barrier on the scalp due to its natural soothing properties, further contributing to balanced, healthy-looking hair. 

    A nourished scalp can go a long way in helping with hair growth and thickness. Coconut oil helps remove buildup in your hair follicles that can contribute to inhibited growth. 

    How Can I Add Coconut Oil to My Hair Routine?

    Now that you're ready to experience the wonders coconut oil can do for your hair and scalp, it's time to choose your products. 

    There are several different ways you can add coconut oil to your routine. 

    1. Prewash Treatment: Applying coconut oil to your hair before you shampoo can stop it from absorbing too much water and avoid dryness and damage.
    2. Conditioner: Coconut oil-infused conditioner helps strengthen your hair shaft, preventing breakage, and soothes your scalp. 
    3. Styling: Tame your frizzy hair with a few drops of coconut oil. Apply it to your damp hair before styling it for the best results. 
    4. Hair Oils and Treatments: Massage a teaspoon or two of a coconut oil treatment mask through your hair after shampooing. 

    Some conditioners offer a boost of hydration through the use of virgin coconut oil. WOW Skin Science's Coconut & Avocado Natural Hair Conditioner is infused with botanical extracts and vitamins B5 and E to help soften, rejuvenate, and repair weak, damaged hair. Plus, it doesn't contain any harsh or harmful chemicals that could irritate your scalp (none of WOW's products do!). 

    coconut milk hair conditioner

    Hair Oil

    Using a hair oil that includes coconut oil can help fortify and nourish weak hair. WOW Skin Science's Onion Black Seed Hair Oil With Almond, Castor, Jojoba, Olive & Coconut Oils can bring life back to dull, brittle hair.

    This hair oil can help reduce frizz and nourish your locks to improve the way hair looks, feels, and behaves. 

    Just dispense one to four pumps into your palms and gently massage it into your scalp using your fingertips, working from root to tip. Next, wrap your hair in a hot towel for 15-20 minutes and let the hair oil work its magic — we personally like using this time for a little extra pampering and self-care! Face mask, anyone? 

    For best results, leave the oil on for 30 minutes before shampooing. You can use this hair oil up to twice a week to transform hair with results that'll wow!

    Hair Mask

    If you're looking for a super-nourishing hair treatment, try our Moroccan Argan Oil Hair Mask For Normal Hair. It combines Moroccan argan oil, coconut oil, and other beneficial ingredients to make the perfect hair mask. The ingredients will penetrate your hair and scalp to strengthen your hair cuticles and leave you with a glossy shine.

    Coconut Oil

    You can also use straight coconut oil on your hair and scalp. You can massage it onto your scalp and let it sit before washing it with a clarifying shampoo. 

    However, when using straight coconut oil, you can end up with oily hair if you don't wash it all out, which is why we've done the work for you and combined coconut oil into thoughtfully crafted products that'll give you the hair of your dreams.

    using coconut oil for hair, how to use coconut oil for hair

    Tips for Using Coconut Oil

    Here are some final helpful hints as you add coconut oil to your routine!

    Warm It Up

    If you're using pure coconut oil from the jar, you may want to warm it up before applying it to your hair or scalp. 

    You can place the oil directly into your palms and rub your hands together to melt it. Avoid heating it up in the microwave because it can get way too hot to use even after a short amount of time. 

    Blend Oils 

    You can add a few drops of essential oil, like lavender or tea tree oil, to your coconut oil for aromatherapy benefits. You can also add coconut oil to a DIY at-home hair mask with ingredients like honey, olive oil, or avocado. 

    Other natural remedies for hair, like mineral oil, castor oil, and apple cider vinegar, can mix with coconut oil to create a home remedy for all hair types. 

    Give It Time

    Your hair and scalp will need time to absorb the coconut oil. If you apply it in the morning, your hair can look and feel greasy. Instead, it may be better to use it in the evening before you shower. Try wearing a shower cap to avoid getting the oil on your clothes or bedding while it sits. 

    shower cap for hair

    Start Small

    Avoid using too much oil at once because it can weigh your hair down and create buildup. Start with no more than a teaspoon and massage it onto your scalp. You may be able to use more oil if you have thicker hair. 

    (Or just opt for coconut-infused products that have already balanced out the perfect amount of oil for regular use!)

    Side Effects 

    Coconut oil is safe for most people to use. However, if your skin becomes irritated, stop using it and consult a doctor or dermatologist — people with nut allergies may also have sensitivities to coconut. You can do a test patch on your skin to see how it reacts before using it.  

    Final Takeaways 

    Coconut oil may help you say goodbye to dry hair and a flaky scalp to achieve the look and feel of healthy hair. If you're looking for a simple way to incorporate it into your routine, try WOW Skin Science hair care products formulated with coconut oil!

    Let's Share This:

    Nancy Smith

    Discover more in the world of beauty, style, and wellness with Nancy Smith, for she has written hundreds of articles on the topics. Readers, including brands, find her articles relevant and enlightening. Smith keeps herself up-to-date and enables her readers to explore the latest in fashion, beauty, and wellness. Follow her for more tips, articles, and product reviews.

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