Why Sesame Oil Is Better For Hair Than Coconut Oil

Both sesame and coconut oil are excellent for hair growth, to prevent hair fall, to fight against dandruff etc. But usage of coconut oil comes with some disadvantages, because of which, I vote sesame oil as the winner.

Sesame oil vs coconut oil

Sesame oil benefits

Skin and hair related benefits of sesame oil (gingelly oil):
Twachya – improves skin tone and skin quality
Keshya – Promotes hair growth
Balya – improves strength of skin, muscles, tendons and joints on massaging.
Useful in preventing graying of hairs.
Relieves itching and pain
Rich in Vitamin E, good for skin.
Useful in headache, arthritis etc. Read more – Sesame oil benefits – complete details

Coconut oil benefits

Skin and hair related benefits of coconut oil:
Relieves burning sensation
Useful in relieving hair fall and premature graying of hair.
Useful in relieving wounds. Read more – Coconut oil benefits complete details


Why sesame oil is better than coconut oil?
Ayurvedic preaching:
Of all the vegetable sourced oils, sesame oil is the best (Reference: Charaka Samhita Sutrasthana 13th chapter).
This is why, it is the number one used base for all kinds of traditional herbal oils (Taila)
If sesame oil is good for improving skin health, if it is good for massage, if it is good for improving nourishment, if it is the preferred base of oil for almost all massage oils explained in ancient traditional Ayurvedic text books, it should be the oil of choice for hair as well.

There is also a reference (Sharangdhara Samhita) that, in any Sanskrit verse of any Ayurvedic medicine, if taila (oil) word is mentioned but the specific type of Taila is not mentioned, then sesame oil should be taken by default.

Quality comparison: Gingelly oil does all the good things to hair that coconut oil does.

Worsening of sinusitis, rhinitis, cold cough etc.
The main problem with coconut oil is, it is coolant in nature. Coldness increases Kapha. Hence, for many people, who are prone to allergies, cold, cough, asthma etc Kapha symptoms, coconut oil based hair oils lead to worsening of symptoms. Even in some healthy people, who do not have cold etc problems, tend to have running nose, upon applying coconut oil (or hair oils with coconut oil base) at night.

For people living in Cold climate
I have heard from many of my clients from cold countries, they tend to experience hair fall with coconut oil (or herbal oils with coconut oil base) usage. This is because, Coconut oil being coolant, added with the cold nature of their place, increases Vata. Increased Vata causes hair fall.  Such a problem is not seen with sesame oil (or herbal oils with sesame oil) application because, it is primarily a Vata balancing oil.

Worsening of headache / migraine
It is another problem, related with Kapha and Vata increase, caused due to coconut oil. Whereas, sesame oil being Vata balancing, in fact helps to relieve headache.  

Time of oil application:
Longer the oil stays on the skin, more percentage of the oil will get absorbed, hence better will be the effect. Hence, head massage or hair oil application done at evening time is very beneficial. If you divide day time into three parts, evening time is dominated by Vata Dosha. At this time, coconut oil application may worsen Vata, because of its coolant nature, whereas sesame oil will calm Vata down.
Also, at night, when Kapha is dominant, again coconut oil increases Kapha. This is why, people suffer with cold and related symptoms with coconut oil, when it is applied at night.
Hence, if you wish to apply coconut oil, morning is the best choice.
Related: How and when to apply oil for hair?

How coconut oil usage became popular?
Kerala Ayurvedic text books came up with many of the coconut oil based herbal oils, not only for hair, but for other skin conditions as well.  Example: Eladi keram, Chemparuthyadi keratailam etc.

The reason is quite obvious. Entire Kerala, for most part of the year is hot and humid. Kerala is a coastal state of South India. Because of hotness, naturally Kapha and Vata are well under control. Hence, usage of coconut oil for hair or as part of diet is actually very beneficial for them.

Where coconut oil is beneficial?

For people living in hot climate,
For people with burning sensation – Pitta dominant conditions, coconut oil application over hair is very beneficial. But for the rest of us, Sesame oil makes better sense.

Mixing of black pepper
Some advise that, if you are really in love with coconut oil, but have cold and sinusitis problems, then mix a teaspoon of black pepper powder to 100 ml of oil, heat it for  five minutes, filter it and use it. But, usage of sesame oil, in place of coconut oil is a very simple solution to that big home work.

Related: Sesame oil, coconut oil, castor oil, mustard oil – comparison

Hair oils with sesame oil base

For USA and other countries, there are a few companies manufacturing hair oil with sesame oil base. Even if you do not get any such hair oil, you can surely use plain sesame oil itself as hair oil.
Trichup oil contains both sesame oil and coconut oil

62 thoughts on “Why Sesame Oil Is Better For Hair Than Coconut Oil”

  1. Dear sir
    It is really very very informative
    keep this going.
    I have become fan or rather a shisya of your teachings.
    Best wishes.

  2. Dear Dr

    You were saying within the context of sinusitis problem to warm up 200mk of coconut oil with a tsp of black papper powder n there after to filter it and apply. Please advice which part of the body to apply?
    Thank you

    Warm regards

  3. Greetings Dr. Hebbar!

    Thank you for the information! As a lady in the USA, we are always looking for insight into caring for our hair as products are very expensive and full of chemicals. I’ve ordered the Sesame oil today, and looking forward to using it and enjoying it. Thank you again!

  4. Thank you for a very informative and useful information on Gingelly Oil. We, south Indians always use Gingelly Oil for oil bath and not coconut oil.

  5. Very informative article about oils. I would like to know if ‘bael’ leaves can be used along with sesame oil during its preparation(i.e, heating the oil with bael leaves) and using it as hair oil daily. Kindly mention whether ‘black pepper’ or ‘black cumin’ needs to be added along with bael during the oil preparation for frequent allergies and cold.

  6. Dear doctor ,
    I am getting cold/sinus always after applying sesame oil on body/hair and taking bath ..Please let me know whether adding Bael leaves will stop that ? My parents are telling me to add pepper corns,cumin,ajwain to it..still I get running nose after applying it on. Is it due to climate(I stay in India!) or sesame oil?
    Thanks in advance!

    • Pretty unusual for developing cold with sesame oil 🙂
      bael leaves act against cold. Hence, boiling it with sesame oil should fix the problem.
      Or else, try Maha Narayana oil.

      • Very good, authentic and useful information about oil.
        I too had the same problem that Ramu said.Not only with sesame oil but with every oil.So for the last 40 years I have not applied any oil on head and have no cold or sinus problem at all(I am 55)

  7. I’m curious about this, since Ayurveda in general is against heating the head and sesame oil is heating in nature – if someone already has too much heat in the head area wouldn’t it be better for them to use coconut oil? Also shouldn’t the choice be per person per dosha per season? Thank you

  8. Thank you, Dr. Hebbar, for the information. I would like to know whether, mixing sesame oil and coconut oil (in equal proportion) is good for the scalp and hair in general.

    • Dear sir, I would suggest you to apply sesame oil in the cooler months (because of the heating action) and coconut oil in the warmer months (due to its cooling action) and not both at the same time.

  9. I get running nose with coconut nilbrigandi… Bit with sesame i get small pimples on scalp and scarring ones on my cheeks 🙁 . is this normal reaction to sesame? I’m overall a vata person

    • Hi, buy sesame oil hair oil. add coconut oil – 40 % to it. Mix well and apply it in the morning, 30 – 60 minutes before hair wash.

  10. Sir,

    I have soft hair an hair fall problem is high. Also my scalp is not strong like other person, mine is soft like skin. Please suggest on which one is best. sesame oil or castor oil?

    Also let me know whether should I apply directly or with coconut oil.

  11. Dr Hebbar, as per my understanding of coconut oil (heavy, cooling) and sesame oil (heavy and warming), both will aggravate increased kapha (eg sinusitis), even sesame due to its guru quality. Therefore it is best to avoid use of oils externally or internally when there is congestion in the body. However, in Kerala, they use asana eladi coconut oil for allergy/hayfever/rhinitis. It may be suited for the warm Kerala climate but maybe not for colder climes, as experienced in the West. What is your opinion?

    • Ms Gita,
      When compared with each other, Sesame oil is less Kapha aggravating than Coconut oil, due to ushna, Lekhana, Vishada and teekshna gunas.
      When these oils are processed with herbs, those herbs can nullify the effects of these oil to some extent.
      In case of Asana eladi, your assumption is correct. It works well in hot and humid regions and may not exhibit same effect in cold places.

  12. Hi sir,
    Plz do answer this
    1. Is there any difference between organic and other?will only organic will work for hair fall?
    2.which sesame oil is good for preventing hair fall, whether black sesame or white?

    • For external application or for hair application, organic version is not very necessary. There is no difference between the two
      Black sesame oil is the better one.

  13. Hello, great article. Thanks for sharing.
    Can you please answer my question is their a difference between using a toasted sesame oil or cold press oil for the hair and skin? And which one is better?

    • For external application on hair and skin, toasted or cold press – anyone can be used. Cold pressed is only slightly better.

  14. Can sesame oil used for cooking food be used for hair. Reason being, when checked nutritional facts , protein content were zero. If not, which sessame brand oil should be used for better results. Thank you.

  15. Very good information. what is the best remedy for premature gray hair? sesame oil is good for gray hair?

  16. Hello Sir,

    All the information given here is useful except one. You mentioned Kerala as hot and humid place for most part of the year . Its absolutely wrong. During summer season alone, its hot and humid. And the summer is from Mar to May. Its only 3 months.

  17. Sir, thanks for the article. I have purchased your book and use it as a ready reference. My daughter recently got a small boil on her head, she also hit her head in school at the same place. I applied coconut oil in the night and the next day the boil was gone, no inflammation too. But she has developed a bald spot there. Please suggest what hair oil I can use for hair regrowth.

  18. Doctor. Whenever i try coconut oil it causes heavy hairfall i almost got a bald patch on my forehead. It suits for all my family memebers. I have just started using sesame oil with curry leaves. All my family memebers use coconut oil and have beautiful hair. Will sesame oil helps to grow new hair on bald area.?

  19. Hi Doctor,

    I have heave hair fall. I have dry hair. I’m getting more hairfall if used shikakai or neeli bringhadi oil. Suggest me some some good oil, shampoo and capsules.


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