More than just a kitchen staple, coconut oil has countless health and beauty benefits – and it’s a must-have for shiny, happy hair. Hydrating and rejuvenating strands quickly, often after only one or two uses, it’s commonly formulated into nourishing hair masks and spot treatments to repair breakage. And, despite what you might expect, coconut oil can also be super-beneficial for your scalp!
That’s right. If you’re suffering from tightness or flakiness, coconut oil can be applied directly to your dry scalp – and this article will tell you how! But first up, we’ll explain a few key things you need to consider before you oil up. Like whether you’re actually dealing with scalp dryness, or a more complex condition like dandruff…
To learn why we’re all so nuts about this natural beauty wonder, and discover how to treat a dry scalp with coconut oil in a few super-simple steps, read on!
Causes of a Dry Scalp
Let’s get a few things straight. Firstly, the root cause of a dry scalp can vary. For instance, your scalp could naturally just be drier (i.e. less oily). Alternatively, if you have flakes and itchiness, you might actually have dandruff. Not everyone with a dry scalp will have dandruff (and not everyone with dandruff will have a dry scalp), but the two can go hand in hand.
Dry scalp symptoms can range from a scalp that’s slightly dry and flaky, to skin that’s more severely irritated. Common causes of a dry scalp include over-shampooing, using the wrong haircare products for your skin, changes in the weather, stress, eczema, and even scalp psoriasis.
An easy way to tell the difference between a dry scalp and dandruff is to look at your flakes – those caused by dandruff are bigger and feel oily, with your skin looking scaly and red. One of the causes of dandruff is seborrheic dermatitis, a type of eczema, which makes your scalp oilier. Applying coconut oil in this case is best avoided, as adding more oil to the mix will only make the dandruff worse!
As you can see, identifying the cause of your dry scalp is important it you want to treat it effectively. Since there can be several factors giving you flakes, consider any recent changes to your haircare routine if your shoulders experience a sudden snowfall. The answer could be as simple as switching to a hydrating shampoo, using cooler water when you shower, or doing a hair mask now and then to restore deep moisture and essential nutrients. And, of course, using coconut oil for a dry scalp is one of the easiest, most effective ways to help alleviate those tight and itchy sensations!
Benefits of Coconut Oil for Dry Scalp
So, is coconut oil good for your scalp (as well as your strands)? You betcha! You’ve probably already read about the many benefits of this oil for hair, skin and body, so we’ll keep this brief! Using coconut oil for dry scalp treatments, in particular, works well for the following reasons:
It Restores Moisture - Studies show that coconut oil helps to both moisturise the skin and, over time, prevent damage by increasing the skin’s surface lipid levels. It also works to lock moisture in your hair, fortifying the cuticle while restoring vital proteins for a strong, shiny strands.
It Helps Reduce Inflammation - If you have a dry scalp, chances are you have a bit of inflammation or redness too. When applied to the skin, the oil acts as a natural analgesic and has anti-inflammatory properties.
- It Works as an Antimicrobial - Coconut oil contains a number of fatty acids, such as lauric, oleic, and caprylic acid. These have antibacterial and antifungal properties, which in turn help heal irritation and balance some of the root causes of dryness and dandruff. What a clever little coconut!
How to Use Coconut Oil for Dandruff and More
As mentioned above, dry and flaky scalps can range from relatively mild to more severe. In severe cases, it’s a good idea to consult a specialist or consider using a medicated shampoo and conditioner. DIY coconut oil scalp treatments won’t cut it in these cases and can sometimes do more harm than good by clogging your pores and throwing off the balance of your skin’s natural oils.
This doesn’t mean the oil itself is bad, but that you should turn to products with other ingredients in addition to coconut oil, formulated specifically for significantly dry scalps or for dandruff prevention. One of the tricky things about a DIY coconut oil scalp treatment is getting the balance right – too much oil and you gunk things up, too little and it might not be effective.
TL;DR — For more severe cases, go with a medicated shampoo or more potent and intensive treatments beyond just coconut oil.
Applying Coconut Oil to Your Scalp
Now for some quick tips for your DIY coconut oil scalp treatment. You can do this in addition to your routine shampooing and conditioning, or as a substitute. If you’ve never used this oil in your hair or on your scalp, go light and don’t use it more than two to three times each week. For mildly dry scalps, you’ll likely notice a difference after one use!
And don’t worry – putting coconut oil on your scalp really is as simple as it sounds. Just follow these three steps:
Step One - Melt one to two teaspoons of coconut oil, if the oil isn’t already in its liquid form. You don’t want the oil to be piping hot, but do want it to be a smooth consistency (aka not a paste!). Melt the oil in a small bowl in the microwave, or over the stove in a pan. You can also run the jar under hot water until the top layer of oil melts and you can pour it into a dish.
Step Two - Use your fingers or a brush to dab the coconut oil directly onto your scalp. Make sure you get a nice, even coating almost like a thin film. (P.S., comb any excess oil through your hair to add a little lustre to your locks.) Let the oil sit on your scalp and hair for five to ten minutes. For a more intensive treatment, leave it in overnight – just make sure to put a towel over your pillowcase and shoulders to protect against any drips.
- Step Three - Using cool to warm water, rinse your scalp and hair thoroughly. You won’t be able to get the oily feeling out completely without using shampoo, though we suggest waiting to shampoo (unless you left in the oil overnight) to allow the oil to work its residual magic.
For this reason, it’s often best to do a coconut oil scalp treatment later in the day. That way you can shampoo the next morning and don’t have to worry about walking around with a slightly greasy looking scalp!
When it comes to scalp care, this really is only the tip of the iceberg. Having a healthy scalp and knowing what might be causing you problems takes time and patience. While there are some pros and cons to using coconut oil for dry scalp dilemmas, it can be a great at-home remedy and works well as part of a more comprehensive haircare routine.
Or, if you’d rather buy than DIY, you can always try products that contain coconut oil to refresh your locks, like our Like A Virgin Hair Masque or Deep Clean Scalp Scrub. Let us know what works below and check out the Coco & Eve Instagram for more fun hair tips, styles, and tricks.
Edited by: Vidhya