How to Detangle Hair with Coconut Oil

There’s nothing more annoying than finding pesky, stubborn knots in your otherwise smooth and silky hair. The worst part is combing your hair over and over again to try to get the knot out, only to make it ten times worse and even more stubborn and tight.

You also have to keep in mind way too many rules when it comes to detangling. Some say detangling dry hair is super painful, while others hate doing it on wet hair because it tends to shed more. So what’s a girl to do when her hair goes from luscious to knotty and tangly?

One secret weapon is by using coconut oil. Yes, you heard that right. No expensive conditioners or branded detanglers here. All you need to get your hair back into shape is a dollop of the holy grail oil that’s probably already on your bathroom shelf.

Why is coconut oil excellent for the hair?

If you love hair care, you’re no stranger to coconut oil. This much-loved oil is rich in lauric and fatty acids that nourish the hair deeply, making it perfect for super dry strands. It also has protein to strengthen the hair and curb any further damage from the sun or heat tools.

Coconut oil is also known to have unique penetrative properties. It can go deep into your hair shaft to moisturize it from the inside out, which not that many oils can do. Instead of merely sitting on the surface of your hair, it sinks deep into it for the utmost level of moisture and conditioning.

It’s also known to promote healthy hair growth for a stronger and thicker mane, as well as improve issues with dandruff because of its antimicrobial properties. It goes without saying that coconut oil is a powerhouse oil for the hair.

However, note that coconut oil may not be the best for those with fine and low porosity hair. The protein in the oil can cause a build-up on delicate hair, making it stiff and dry instead of glossy and moisturized. Coconut oil is much better for those with damaged, dry, and coarse hair that can handle heavy oils.

Why should you use coconut oil to detangle knotty hair? 

Oils are a fabulous way to detangle stubborn knots and tangles in your hair. They’re inexpensive and don’t have harsh chemicals that can irritate your scalp. Using oils allows you to get rid of knots in your locks without having to pull and tug on your hair that much, which can cause breakage.

What’s great about coconut oil is that it’s very versatile. You can use it to detangle your coily locks while at the same time moisturizing them via a nice hair mask treatment or pre-poo before your wash day. You hit two birds with one stone—detangling your messy mop and moisturizing your mane too.

Plus, while detangling with coconut oil, you can massage the oil into your scalp to provide some hydration in your roots too. It’s a great way to stimulate your hair follicles while giving yourself a relaxing treat.

How to get rid of a stubborn knot with coconut oil 

If you’re dealing with a single stubborn, frustrating knot you just can’t move on from, grab that jar of coconut oil from the cupboard. Make sure to isolate the section of hair with a knot. Detangling with coconut oil is simple—just get a generous scoop of oil and rub it into the section of hair with the tangle.

Don’t use your fingertips to manually untangle the knot. Instead, finger comb gently and let the oil do the work. You’ll find that slowly but surely, the knot will start to disappear, thanks to the rich and nourishing slip of coconut oil.

If you don’t want to use your fingers, then grab a wide-toothed comb or detangling brush. These should have the same smoothing effect as using your hands.

Don’t be too rough with combing your hair with these tools. Always be as gentle as possible—no tugging and pulling, which can cause tension in your roots or break your strands. Think of your tools as just a way to assist the oil, not the main instrument for detangling your hair.

When you’re happy with how smooth your hair is, you can wash off the oil with a gentle shampoo. Now, you have silky hair once more!

The coconut oil should instantly detangle your stubborn hair, bringing smoothness back to your mane. If you do the process right, coconut oil can be even more effective than most detangling sprays and conditioners.

Doing a coconut oil pre-poo can detangle super coily hair

Coconut oil can also work to detangle your entire mane before wash day, which is a must for anyone with coarse, curly hair. To do this, you must use coconut as a hair mask or pre-poo before you shampoo in the shower.

A pre-poo is a moisturizing treatment that you leave in your hair for about an hour before your shower. It also protects your hair from becoming dehydrated after the surfactants of your shampoo strip it of its essential hydration.

It’s kind of like a primer for your hair—one last chance to moisturize it before refreshing your scalp and washing away all the gunk and grime from the last couple of days.

Now, people always say that you should always detangle when your hair is wet, never when it’s dry. But the good news is that coconut oil has a lot of slip, so you can massage it directly into your locks without dampening your hair.

For a mess-free application, section off your hair. Spread coconut oil across your entire head of hair in these sections, starting from the mid-shafts and working your way down to the ends. Make sure to distribute the oil evenly, so that every strand is coated and gets the moisture it needs.

Don’t forget to pay extra attention to the ends, since they’re the driest part of your hair. You can also massage it into your scalp to reap its dandruff-fighting and soothing benefits.

When all your hair is saturated in coconut oil, use your fingers or a wide-toothed comb to loosen up the knots and detangle your hair from root to tip. Leave the oil in your hair to sit for a while longer so your locks can drink up all the moisturizing and strengthening goodness of the coconut oil.

After 30 minutes to an hour, you can jump in the shower and do your usual wash day routine. Be extra mindful to thoroughly rinse all the rich coconut oil out of your hair.

Styling after your shower will be way more manageable since the coconut oil already did the tedious task of smoothing down your frizz and knots.


Coconut oil is the only thing you need next time you’re grappling with an annoying tangle or unruly hair that doesn’t want to be brushed through. Its awesome slip, deeply penetrating moisture, and economical price tag are only some of the reasons why it’s the best product to use for tangly hair.

Whether it’s for a quick detangle or a weekly pre-poo to let your hair be smooth and silky in the shower, coconut hair is always effective for detangling. Use it how you wish and enjoy healthy, hydrated, tangle-free hair from here on out.


I am Jessica Coles, a hairstyling and trends expert who also holds a master's degree in cosmetology. I am one of the leading hair care experts who has been offering support round the clock.

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