DIY Hot Oil Hair Treatment at Home (Only 1 Ingredient Needed!)

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woman pointing to greasy hair roots holding phone in mirror

Great hair coming in hot (and greasy)! 🤣

Hot oil treatments have been around for quite some time simply because they’re proven to work. And since I’ve never tried one myself, I was curious to see just how well it works, especially since my locks could use a pick me up from all the blow drying, curling, straightening, and excessive amounts of dry shampoo I use on a weekly basis. 🤦‍♀️

I decided to create an easy DIY coconut oil hair mask, and ended up being super pleased with the results.

What is a hot oil treatment?

Basically when a plant-based oil is used to coat your scalp and hair – these include oils such as coconut, almond, jojoba, and olive oil. The main purpose of hot oil treatment is to nourish, protect and strengthen your hair and can be done as many as 3 times per week.

*Before doing a hot oil treatment, it’s always best to consult your doctor, especially if you have sensitive skin or skin conditions such as eczema or psoriasis. 

There are also many amazing benefits of hot oil treatments:

    • Helps strengthen hair
    • Increases blood flow
      • May lead to healthier, longer hair
    •  Contributes to shinier hair
    • Moisturizes hair and scalp
    • Less split ends and frizz
    • Minimizes dandruff

Here’s how you can do a hot oil treatment at home:

Step 1: Buy some oil.

hand holding a jar of Nutiva coconut oil

If you already have oil on hand, great! You’ve completed step one – wasn’t that simple?! I already had some of this coconut oil on hand and it turns out that coconut oil is also your best option (use virgin or refined oil) because it’s super-rich in nutrients, able to penetrate inside your hair shafts, and it’s “found to reduce the protein loss remarkably for both undamaged and damaged hair”.

Hip Tip: Need some coconut oil? You can scoop up my coconut oil on Amazon and with your Prime membership, you’ll score FREE two-day shipping and it’s even available on Subscribe and Save so you can save up to 15% off!

Step 2: Measure the coconut oil.

Next, you’ll want to scoop out the coconut oil. Depending on how much hair you have will determine how much you’ll want to use. For me, I used a little over a 1/4 cup and it turned out to be perfect. If you have short, thin hair you could probably use less and for thicker, long hair you might need a 1/2 cup or more.

Step 3: Melt the coconut oil.

hand holding an open jar of coconut oil next to bowl of melting oil

For this step, you’ll need a small pot of boiling water and a heat-safe bowl that can sit right on top – also known as a double boiler. Place you’re coconut oil in the bowl and stir constantly until melted – this will happen pretty fast! I found that as soon as all the coconut oil melted, it was the perfect temperature – but just to be sure, dab a small amount on the back of your hand.

Step 4: Apply the oil to your hair.

Hindsight is 20/20 and boy would it have been great to have a squirt bottle for application. 🤣 However, I didn’t, so using a tablespoon had to suffice – just know that if you don’t use a proper applicator things could get a little messy. Regardless, you may want to consider wearing something with no sleeves or a top you don’t care much about so you don’t spill oil on your favorite shirt.

Not that we’ve got all my first time fails out of the way, you’ll want to take your hot oil (hopefully in a bottle) and start at your roots. I really loved this part because it was warm and felt super relaxing on my head (some essential oils would have totally made this even more spa-like!). Then you’ll want to work the oil down until all your hair is covered. I massage and brushed the oil into my hair with my hands for a solid 5 minutes or so just to make sure it was generously applied from root to ends!

Step 5: Let it sit.

woman holding a jar of coconut oil with towel and glasses on head

Now the fun part is over and you get to let the coconut oil do it’s magic! Make sure to cover up your hair during the process either with a towel, or a fancy shower cap like Bryn uses.

Depending on how much time you have, you can let it sit overnight or wash it out as soon as 30 minutes… but any less and the coconut oil won’t have enough time to do its thing. I left mine in for 2 hours while I did stuff around the house – and yes, I have a shirt on… I just took my own advice and went with a strapless top. 🤣

Step 6: Wash your hair.

Now that you’ve let your coconut oil hair sit for a while, it’s time to wash it out! You do this just like you would any other shower so hop in and get to it! I ended up washing my hair two times and I felt it still needed a good lather after the first round. This is totally up to you, friends! Then apply your regular conditioner per usual and rinse.

Step 7: Style and enjoy your gorgeous & healthy hair!

woman wearing glasses next to photo of blonde wavy hair outside

Dry your hair and style as normal. How does it feel?! Soft and shiny, I’m sure!

My first hot oil treatment was a total success and I’ll be sure to do it again! After blow-drying my hair, it felt incredibly soft, and normally where my ends would be split and get tangled up easily, they didn’t and remained silky smooth. A friend even mentioned to me later in the day that my hair looked a little lighter, so I’m not sure if that’s relevant, but it had me feeling pretty good about my overall results. 🙌

Emily tried her own DIY dry shampoo.

About the writer:

Sara is a self-taught blogger & photographer and brings 9+ years of experience to her craft. Her work has been featured in numerous esteemed publications, spanning building, travel, and fashion. Beyond her creative pursuits, Sara’s primary mission is to empower others to embrace a toxic-free & sustainable lifestyle.

Join The Discussion

Comments 53

  1. Mrsyancy

    Love it. Seems so simple and doable. I really need to start doing this to my hair, bc I work out just about everyday and my hair gets so sweaty and then so dry. This seems like something simple I can do at night before going to bed. I just need to not be lazy and do it… Thx for the tip!

    • Sara

      You’re not lazy, Mrsyancy! This definitely takes time away from your regular routine, but it’s certainly manageable if you can make the time for it! Let me know how you like it!

  2. Jane

    Thanks for the informative post! I’m doing this tonight =)

    • Sara

      Awesome, Jane! Let me know how you like it!

  3. Dee

    Hair is only alive at the follicle, so coating it with oil is only going to have a temporary effect. If your ends are fried, you need a trim.

    • Sara

      A good trim is always good for the hair too, thanks for the feedback, Dee!

  4. ImThatJennay

    I tried this once. Never again! It took SEVERAL washes to get the coconut oil out. I even used dawn soap to help, it was a rough two days and my hair looked so gross. Beware!

    • Sara

      I’m really sorry to hear that you had such a horrible experience, Jennay! Maybe a different type of oil next time could be better for your hair?

      • MrsG

        This is actually great for those of us with “natural” hair. ☺️

    • Niki

      Me too, Jenny! I did it back in 2011 and no amount of shampooing could fix it. It took an entire week to look normal again. By then my scalp was dry from the shampooing. Just a heads up because it doesn’t work for everyone.

      • Sara

        Aw, I’m sorry to hear you had a bad experience, Niki! I’m already looking forward to doing this again. Maybe a different type of oil that I listed could benefit your hair more?

    • Kate

      I agree this would take forever to wash out.
      This would be awful, worse idea ever.
      Maybe a 1/8 tsp on dry hair to tame the frizz.
      And yes I am a licensed beautician.

  5. carrie

    Ok, how did you style your hair in a the after pics? I cannot for the life of me figure out how to get those giant waves?! 🙂

    • Jen

      I was going to ask the same thing! Love it and wish I could get those waves!!

      • Sara

        Thanks so much, Jen! It might seem silly but I actually use a 1″ wand and then brush all the curls out when I’m all done curling then I end up with big waves. Haha! Hope this helps!

    • Sara

      Thanks so much, Carrie! It might seem silly but I actually use a 1″ wand and then brush all the curls out when I’m all done curling then I end up with big waves. Haha! Hope this helps!

      • amy

        I can’t figure out how to get the big waves either. I have a 1” wand and it doesn’t look like the picture (which is gorgeous!) I am afraid to brush them, as suggested, because my hair will frizz so I gently break them up with my fingers…it still doesn’t look like it. 🙁 I seriously love those big waves.

  6. Lisa

    Would it be bad to just microwave the oil?

    • Sara

      I haven’t tried that, Lisa, but I would be wary of that since microwaves kill the nutrients in food. I’m not sure if microwaving coconut oil could take away from the benefits it provides for your hair.

      • Dee

        There’s no “nutrition” that is going to penetrate your hair. Everything but the follicle is dead, so no worries about microwaving. You are coating your hair with oil, not “feeding it” with anything.

        • Ana

          Dee, why you so grumpy?
          There are some hair types that will benefit from this. Stop.

          • Dana

            😂 @ Ana

          • a

            I don’t think Dee is being “grumpy.” I for one appreciate the facts.

      • Lauren

        That’s pseudoscience. Microwaving absolutely does not “kill” nutrients in food. First, nutrients aren’t living things that can be killed. Second, all cooking changes the nutritional content of food, but microwaving doesn’t do so any more than any other method of cooking. Yes, microwaving involves radiation. No, that’s not dangerous in any way.

    • Ash29

      You can microwave the oil just make it Luke warm. The other way is put it under the sun for 10-15 minutes. We are using this way since our childhood.

    • Latifa

      You can use the double boiler method, where you have your oil in a stainless cup/ glass cup seated in hot water, or you can just add the oil to your pan and heat it up. To test you want to apply a little to your wrist to have an idea of how hot the oil so you don’t burn your scalp lol. or better still, you can just sit your oil (in an applicator bottle) in hot water till the oil warms up. The oil doesn’t have to be hot to burn your scalp lol.

  7. Quinna

    I also recommend doing this treatment prior to bleaching (don’t rinse/wash it out before applying bleach). It helped so much to protect my hair during my monthly root bleaching routine, and my hair was much less dry with very little hair loss and breakage after processing and toning.

    • Sara

      Thanks for sharing your tip with us, Quinna!

    • Lexy

      No last time I did this thinking it would protect my hair it actually did the contrary I ended up with uneven color- since then my hair stylist told me she needed clean hair in order to do my hair

  8. Casey

    I have heard coconut oil is very hard to get out.

    • Lexy

      I do it all the time have never had a problem. My hair is long and straight

  9. Smitha

    You can leave the glass bottle with coconut oil in hotwater…not super hot that the glass breaks.
    You can even use the same method and change your oils every week. I vary between Almond oil, Coconut oil, coconut+Amla, Olive oil+Coconut oil and sometimes with just GHEE. My hair is naturally wavy, brown and mid length. Also use Argan oil for ends after every wash. I apply the oils every 3-4 days in the night, leave it on for the whole night and wash it next day. Its better to lay a towel on your pillow if you leave it on for full night.
    MAke sure you massage the roots well for 5-7 minutes and press the stress points. Don’t worry if the oil gets on your face or neck. You know its natural.

    • Smitha

      Also, almond oil makes the hair really soft and manageable next day and Ghee gives that super lustrous shine and healthy look.

    • Sara

      Thanks for all your feedback, Smitha!

  10. juma

    I love coconut oil for a good oiling. I keep a jar in the bathroom that’s just for my hair and body and one in the kitchen to cook with. I oil my scalp about twice a month on the weekend I’m not busy I leave it in for two days then shampoo it out I’ve never had issues with washing it out. I sometimes will oil my scalp lightly and put it on my hair as a moisturizer after blow drying. I burned the top of my arm while putting wood in stove and immediately got my coconut oil out rubbed my arm and it coolest the burning down. I didn’t even get a blister either continued to use it for two weeks. Coconut oil probably isn’t for everyone I’m sure everyone has a hot oil or a mask treatment that much prefer but coconut oil is my go to . I tried using olive oil and that was just horrible for my hair was so greasy, after several washes I got it out and moved on to coconut oil. Thanks for the helpful and informative beauty tips.

    • Sara

      Thanks for all your feedback, Juma! Glad to hear that coconut oil works so great for you too!

  11. JO

    Before you use oil in your hair figure out if you have high porosity or low porosity hair. I have low porosity curly hair and if I put coconut oil or any similar heavy oil in my hairI have a mess. If I use a light oil like argan in my hair it is heaven! Put a couple strands of your hair in a cup of water . If they sink ,you have porous hair that absorbs water. If they sit on top and it takes a while you have non porous. This can really help curlies!

    • Sara

      Thanks for the great tips and suggestions, Jo!

    • jen s.

      Thanks so much! I definitely fall into the anti-cocunut category!

  12. Jackie

    I do this all the time! I love coconut oil ❤️. I usually just get a zip lock bag and I put the coconut oil inside. Warm it with hot water and then cut a tiny little hole at the one of the corners. Less mess and easy to clean after. I also wash it 2-3 times and I feel like I don’t need conditioner when I use the oil.

    • Sara

      Thanks so much for sharing your feedback, Jackie! I’m so happy to hear coconut oil works so great for you too.

  13. Ann

    I have done this using some baby oil. I do not heat the oil just put it on right out of the bottle. It is comparable to a weekly deep conditioning and it works great!

    • Sara

      Thanks for sharing your feedback with us, Ann! Glad to hear that you found something that works so well for you!

  14. dblD Amber

    You’re gorgeous and I enjoy all your tips.

    • Sara

      Thank you so much, Amber! Your sweet comment made my week!

  15. Chrose

    My mother-in-law uses avocados. She just takes them and mashed them into a paste and puts in her hair for about an hour. She’s from Colombia and has lots of fresh ones around. Her hair looks and feels great afterwards also.

  16. MissJillian

    What a fantastic tip!!! Can’t wait to try it! And I agree with everyone…you’re hair is absolutely beautiful! One trick I had tried years ago was to use mayonnaise as a deep conditioner. OMGoodness!!!!….I can no longer eat mayo on/in anything. 😩….the smell was just too much!! 🤣

  17. Tammy

    I’d recommend not doing this on colored hair unless you’re trying to tone down a color that is too bright. I recently colored my hair red on hair that was colored blonde instead of doing it on my dark hair like previous times. Wow, I think I flash fried everyone’s retinas with the color that came out, lol. But, I went online to research a natural way to tone the color down without damaging my hair further and I found quite a few websites recommending warm olive oil and it actually worked. So, this is just an FYI in case anyone has colored hair or hair mistake (ha,ha)

  18. OG SG

    My hair is straight and fine and oil in general is too heavy for my hair…it’s hard to wash out and weighs it down. For people like me, I highly recommend the Ordinary’s hemi-squalene as a leave in. It’s like $4 a bottle and it goes a long way…and my hair is super soft with no weight.

  19. Cassandane

    This will not work well for every type of hair!!! Like another poster said above, check if your hair is low vs high porosity before attempting coconut based hair product. What works wonderfully for one will leave another looking limp. Some hair needs more moisture while others need protein. I had to use this on my oldest a few moths ago in order to comb lice out with the metal brush. It’s taken many weeks to help her thick & wavy/curly hair recover, but was necessary due to the lice situation ((shudder)). Olaplex no.3 is generally a good treatment to help hair recover. Many deep conditioning packets are easy to find (Target, Sally’s, etc) and fairly cheap.

  20. Gujugirl

    I’ve been doing the coconut oil thing since I was a kid. My grandma is from India and it’s something we did regularly. If you have an Indian grocery store near you, look for Parachute brand coconut oil. You can even get tiny bottles. You can put it in the microwave for a few seconds with no problem. Sometimes I leave it on for an hour, sometimes I leave it on overnight. I wash it out with regular Dove shampoo, never had an issue. I have eczema too and the coconut oil has never irritated my scalp.

  21. LT

    I have been using the fresh(from being grated) coconut milk and it’s the most effective one. I only use just a little by little if you don’t like it too greasy and vice versa. Nowadays, I can’t get the fresh ones I just bought the canned coconut milk( from Walmart or Asian store) freeze it up so they won’t go bad quick and thaw it before I take a bath. On that way even if it drips around me I will be in the bath tub. After using it I leave it for about 30 minutes to about two hours and just use shampoo to rinse excess oils.

  22. Jane Sizemore

    It didn’t work for me. It totally destroyed my hair! I’m still recovering 6 months later. I had to cut 9 inches off. Be careful.

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