Does coconut oil lighten or darken hair? Does it fade hair dye?

light highlights on dark hair

I’ve been using coconut oil to nature my hair for a few years. I dye it often and I realized that it’s a great way to moisturize it after it loses moisture from using chemical products on it.

But, I’ve noticed that my hair looks a little darker when I use it. So, I asked myself, “Can coconut oil lighten or darken hair?”


 Before you start to get nervous, let me clarify one thing: coconut oil does not either lighten or darken your hair. Whether it’s dyed or your natural color, coconut oil does not interfere with color pigments.  

It’s that simple. Because the only thing that can lighten or darken your hair are products that are made for that purpose, whether they’re natural or commercial products.

Want to know how I found out?


Basically, through experimentation. Because although I had searched Google for hours trying to find information about it, I couldn’t find anything that convinced me.

So, I decided to do the same thing ad our not-so-distant ancestors: try my own experiment.


I would be my own Guinea pig to try to resolve this question that was eating away at me: Could my hair get darker because of coconut oil?

And after doing this experiment, I came to the conclusion that I told you in the first few lines. There’s a reason why.

Want to know why?


Then stick around because I’ll tell you:

  • Why coconut oil doesn’t change your hair color
  • What changes you can expect from using coconut oil


Ready to find out the details about my discovery?

Let’s go.


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Why coconut oil doesn’t change your hair color

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Like I said before, I started with an experiment.

I’m one of those people that uses coconut oil just about every other day. I use it as a hydrating mask, since after dyeing it so much, my hair dries out quickly.

But, over time, I’ve noticed that my hair started to look darker.

Was coconut oil pulling a fast one on me?


So, I stopped using coconut oil for fifteen days, and during those fifteen days, I took pictures of myself every day.

Why? What do you mean why? Don’t you remember the experiments that you did in high school?


To experiment, you need observations and you need to collect evidence. The photos were part of my collection of evidence.

I already felt like a forensic researcher, but I was ready to go all the way. I would find out if coconut oil can lighten or darken hair.

After fifteen days of not using coconut oil, my hair was the same color.

But what would happen if I used coconut oil for fifteen days?


For this part of the experience, I decided to apply coconut oil to my hair every other day and also take pictures to see my hair color.

Do you know what I found out?


 That coconut oil doesn’t change your hair color, all it does it create a visual effect or optical illusion, like a funhouse mirror.  

Do you know what an optical illusion is?


They’re images that look different from what reality. That is, optical illusions happen when our eyes send information to our brains that tricks us into seeing something that isn’t what it’s like in reality.

You’re probably asking yourself what this has to do with coconut oil.


  • It’s simple: Coconut oil forms a protective film over your hair. In doing that, it can make it so your hair looks less shiny and more opaque.
  • And, depending on your hair color, that might make it look lighter or darker. But, when you wash your hair again after using it, your hair will go back to its normal color, whether that’s the shade of the dye you’ve used or your hair’s natural color.
  • Do you have dyed hair? If so, don’t worry, because the coconut oil will seal your hair’s cuticles, which means that it will block the color molecules in the dye from fading quickly. But that won’t either darken or lighten your color.

It will just make the dye last longer.


  • So, after my experiment, I can confirm that coconut oil doesn’t change your hair color, whether it’s dyed or natural.
  • If it looks darker, that’s just because when you apply the oil, your hair looks oily and less shiny, which makes it seem darker.
  • And it cannot lighten your hair because it doesn’t have lightening properties in its composition, like for example, chamomile does.

It’s that simple.


Now that the great puzzle is solved, I want to tell you a few little secrets about coconut oil.

And those secrets have to do with the changes that you might actually see in your hair once you start applying coconut oil to it.


What changes does coconut oil produce in your hair

does not change the color of dyed hair

Now that we’ve already established that coconut oil can’t change your hair color, we can move onto another important topic.

Because, although it doesn’t influence your hair color, it can change other aspects of your hair.

For example, is your hair dry, does it break easily or is it sensitive to proteins?


 If so, then you might need to be careful when you use coconut oil. 

Because coconut oil contains lauric acid, which means that it has a high concentration of proteins. Those proteins are great for strengthening your hair.

So, what’s the problem?


  • The only reason that coconut oil might do more harm than good to your hair is if your hair is sensitive to proteins.

The proteins in coconut oil have positive effects on people with fine and soft hair, or whose hair diameter is mediumly thick. That’s because that kind of hair has the capacity to retain proteins and absorb their benefits.

But, when it comes to dry hair that breaks easily or is sensitive to proteins, it doesn’t have the same effect. That’s because those proteins are too strong for your hair and it makes it more rigid, hard and easier to break when you brush it.


Having this kind of hair doesn’t mean that you should never use coconut oil ever. You can use it, but you shouldn’t ever use it by itself. You can mix it with other oils like castor oil, for example.


  • When it comes to using coconut oil on your hair, the amount you use is important.

You’ve probably heard the phrase “too much of anything good,” and that definitely applies to coconut oil, too.

It’s the same thing that happens with supplements: if a little bit is good, a lot isn’t necessarily better.


  • Coconut oil is more beneficial when you use it in small quantities to cover your hair or reduce frizz.

To get the best results try to rub a small amount of coconut oil between your hands to warm it up and then, using your fingers, brush it softly through your hair. That should help you to control the frizz and make your hair shine, without the negative effects.



To sum it all up, what I can assure you is that coconut oil works differently for everyone.

But there’s something common to all hair types, and that is that coconut oil doesn’t lighten or darken your hair color.

Do you use coconut oil often? What changes do you notice in your hair?

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