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Should You Use Coconut Oil Before Bleaching Hair?

Bleaching your hair at home is a fantastic way to save money and experiment with getting the color you want. You’ve probably also heard about the risks of applying bleach to your hair. Treating your hair with coconut oil is the perfect way to prepare for bleaching. 

Should You Use Coconut Oil Before Bleaching Your Hair?

Woman using coconut oil before bleaching hair while holding a coconut and a jar of the stuff

New Africa/Shutterstock

Yes. Using coconut oil to condition and fortify your strands before applying bleach has several benefits. You’ll protect your hair and scalp from the harsh effects of bleaching and get a better result. 

A hydrating coating of coconut oil protects your hair by limiting protein loss during the bleaching process. Proteins keep your hair healthy and strong. If you lose too much, your strands become dry, brittle, and prone to breakage. 

Bleach can be harsh on your skin as well as your strands. Coconut oil is an all-around powerful beauty product known for its benefits to skin and hair.

Nourishing your scalp with coconut oil before bleaching your hair protects your follicles too. Damage to hair follicles could lead to hair falling out. Spending money on products and putting in the time to bleach your hair means you want long-lasting results.

Coconut oil improves your hair’s overall health, making it easier for the bleach to bind with your hair and give you the color you’re looking for. It also means the results last so that you can go longer between touch-ups. 

Why use coconut oil before bleaching hair?

  • protect hair from dryness and breakage
  • protect hair follicles to mitigate hair loss
  • get longer-lasting results
  • maintain healthy hair after bleaching

You want to get the perfect tone without all the harsh damage that bleach can cause. Follow this guide to get amazing results with bleach without making your hair dry and brittle. 

How to Use Coconut Oil Before Bleaching

Coconut oil burst onto the beauty scene years ago with near-miraculous effects on hair and skin. Research has shown that coconut oil is perfect for hair because of its small molecular structure and affinity to bond with hair proteins. 

1. Pick a Good Coconut Oil

For the best results, use beauty-grade coconut oil. You can find different types of coconut oil for cooking or general cosmetic purposes. Food-grade oils are often refined and lack some of the fats that are good for your hair.

They get filtered out in the refining process so these oils will not give you all the benefits of beauty-grade coconut oil. The right kind of oil is solid at room temperature. Don’t worry, though.

It has a very low melting point. You can heat it for a few seconds in the microwave or rub it between your hands to turn it into liquid. To get the most nourishing coconut oil for your hair, look for organic, unrefined coconut oil.

Read the label to make sure you are buying pure coconut oil. As the market for beauty products continues to boom, some companies look to cash in by selling inferior products. 

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What to Look For
  • Solid-state coconut oil
  • Organic or unrefined coconut oil
  • No fillers in the ingredient list
What to Avoid
  • Coconut oils intended for cooking
  • Coconut oils with added ingredients

2. Apply Coconut Oil in Sections

To thoroughly protect your hair and scalp, you need complete coverage. Divide your hair into sections. How many sections you make depends on the length and thickness of your hair.

Thin or short hair only needs three or four. Long or very thick hair requires more sections to assure a thorough coating of oil.

  • Use hair clips to keep sections separated 
  • Use your fingers to coat your hair one section at a time.
  • Comb each section to assure each strand gets oiled. Some like to use a fine comb like the ones you use when dying your hair.
  • Massage some coconut oil into your scalp when you are done with all the sections. 

3. Leave Coconut Oil on Hair for Several Hours

A deep condition with coconut oil requires two or three hours minimum. It is even better to leave it on for twelve hours. The easiest way to do this is to plan to sleep with it on your hair. It is beneficial to use coconut oil the day before bleaching.

You can plan for your deep condition the night before your bleach your hair. Wear a plastic shower cap over your hair while you leave in the oil. It will protect your pillow and sheets from getting oily.

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The shower cap also keeps the oil against your hair so it soaks into the strands for the best results. 

  • Apply oil thoroughly
  • Cover with a plastic shower cap
  • Leave on for a minimum of two hours
  • Twelve hours or overnight is ideal

4. To Rinse or Not to Rinse

At this point, you’ll find differing opinions about the next step to take. There are advantages and disadvantages to rinsing the coconut oil out of your hair before applying bleach. Whether your choose to rinse will depend on your assessment of each option. 

Advantages of Rinsing

Hopping in the shower to rinse out the coconut oil before proceeding with bleaching makes your hair easier to work with.

You can also shampoo your hair to make sure you’re not dealing with oil-slick hair for the rest of the process. You’ll likely have to rinse longer than usual to gain the desired effect.

Disadvantages of Rinsing

You remove some of the protective advantages of coconut oil when you rinse it off before bleaching. 

Advantages of Not Rinsing

You applied coconut oil to protect your hair from the damaging effects of the bleach treatment. Keeping it on your hair gives you more protection than if you rinse it out. 

Disadvantages of Not Rinsing

The whole bleaching process will be messier and slippery since you’ll have an oil coating on your hair. The coconut oil may protect your hair too well. You may need to use more bleach than usual and/or leave it on longer to achieve the desired result.

5. Apply Your Bleach Treatment

Now you are ready to bleach your hair. Use whichever product you like and follow the directions as usual. The only difference is that you gave your hair a robust boost in protein and conditioning by applying a coconut oil mask before bleaching. 

Maintaining Softness and Hydration for Bleached Hair

After bleaching your hair, it is important to maintain moisture and protein to keep your hair from drying and breaking. Bleaching is a stressful process for your hair that will require some routine maintenance. 

Coconut oil can help you keep your hair healthy after bleaching as well as before. You can replace your conditioner with coconut oil or implement it into your hair routine in other ways. 

  • Replace your conditioner with coconut oil
  • Use a small amount as a leave-in after conditioning
  • Us coconut oil as a deep-conditioning mask about once a month

It’s easy to add coconut oil into your hair care routine to reap all these great benefits.

  • More hydrated hair
  • Faster growth
  • Less dandruff
  • Less fall out
  • Longer lasting color

Frequently Asked Questions

Woman getting her hair bleaching after applying coconut oil to her hair to soften it in a salon

Michelle Aleksa/Shutterstock

As with anything related to hair, it’s important to browse the FAQ section. If you have questions, chances are that someone else has already asked them. We’ve rounded up a few of the most common questions so you don’t have to go looking for answers.

Should I use coconut oil the day before bleaching my hair?

Many professional stylists instruct their clients to put coconut oil on their hair a day or two before coming in for bleaching or coloring. Stylists know the hydrating benefits of using coconut oil on your hair. When bleaching at home, you can apply coconut oil the day before you plan to bleach your hair. Keeping it on overnight will yield the best results.

Does coconut oil protect your skin while bleaching your hair?

Yes. If you choose to rinse a coconut oil treatment before bleaching, you can rub a little bit around your hairline, on the tops of your ears, and on the back of your neck to keep any bleach from burning your skin.

Can coconut oil bleach your hair?

No. Coconut oil cannot change the color of your hair regardless of how much you use or how long you leave it in. When you use coconut oil before bleaching your hair it helps the bleach take to your hair better. You’ll get a lighter color and longer-lasting results.

Can you overuse coconut oil on your hair?

Yes. Coconut oil can cause protein build-up, especially on hair that is coarse, thick, and straight. Protein build-up blocks moisture from penetrating the strands resulting in the opposite effect. The hair may become more stiff, dry, and brittle.

What should you not do before bleaching your hair?

There are several things to avoid before bleaching your hair. Don’t dye your hair for a few months before bleaching. Reduce or stop using heat tools such as blow dryers, curling irons, flat irons, and hot rollers for about a week before bleaching.

So, Should You Use Coconut Oil Before Bleaching Hair?

Coconut oil is a fantastic way to fortify and nourish your hair before you bleach it. You can protect your hair from dryness and breakage. Your scalp and hair follicles benefit from coconut oil too. So what are you waiting for — get some coconut oil today to try it out for yourself!