Winter, with its the freezing temps and indoor heat, can dry out your hair, causing it added stress. Alternatively, the frequent use of caps or hats, combined with less-frequent shampooing, can exacerbate problems such as oiliness or an itchy scalp. So, as winter finally begins to give way to spring, the remaining days (and nights) of inclement weather are the perfect time to concoct your own homemade deep-conditioning remedy from ingredients you have in your kitchen.
We’ve done some research and put together a guide for at-home conditioning treatments for every hair type. Simply mix your chosen ingredients in a bowl or blender and apply the masque. Then brew a cup of your favorite tea or hot chocolate, snuggle up with a good book or magazine, and let the treatment nourish and moisturize those thirsty strands!
For each masque, cleanse your hair first with your favorite Keratin Complex® shampoo, then squeeze out the extra moisture. Apply the masque throughout the hair, place a towel or plastic cap over your hair, and wait for 15 – 20 minutes (or longer) while the heat from your head helps your hair absorb the beneficial ingredients. Rinse the masque with warm water (or follow directions as specified per ingredient).
Conditioning masque for dry hair
Dry hair (dull-looking, brittle and easily tangled) needs oil and moisture to help protect against further damage, as well ingredients to add shine and manageability. Here are some basic masque ingredients that can be used to combat dry, damaged hair:
- Oil: Choose a base of mayonnaise (a mixture of eggs, vinegar and oil), olive oil or coconut oil. (Note that if you use olive or coconut oil, it may require an extra shampoo to remove the oil from your hair.)
- Avocado: This super-food is a natural moisturizer that is rich in nutrients and vitamins such as E and B. Mash about half an avocado and add it to your oil base.
- Banana: This fruit is especially good for improving hair elasticity, helping to prevent split ends and breakage. Use about a half a banana, mashed (you can freeze it first and then thaw for a looser consistency), in your masque.
- Eggs: With their high levels of protein, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins and other micro-nutrients, eggs are good for strengthening hair strands and follicles. A super-moisturizing hair masque is two egg yolks whisked into olive oil until evenly consistent, and rinsed well. (Note: If the smell of eggs bothers you, try an egg oil available in stores or online.)
- Honey: Its humectant (moisture-attracting) qualities make it eminently suitable for dry hair. But because of its general stickiness, as well as the fact that it can have a bleaching effect, a little goes a long way!
- Gelatin: If allowed to set on hair, unflavored gelatin can provide a protective protein coating on the hair. For best results, combine with water, vinegar, and a humectant, and deep condition afterwards (with Keratin Complex Vanilla Bean, of course!).
Deep conditioner for oily hair
Those who produce a lot of sebum, or natural oil, have hair that tends to become greasy and clumpy if not washed daily, losing its shine and movement throughout the day. A good conditioning treatment for oily hair will leave the hair and scalp feeling refreshed, but without drying it out.
Note that these ingredients are meant to absorb or rinse away any oil and dirt. Unless your hair is extremely greasy, it's best to use them no more than once a month.
- Apple cider vinegar: This pantry staple is a great ingredient for oily hair, as it helps decrease oil while also removing any cosmetics residue that may cause the hair to feel clumpy or heavy. To use, add 4 tablespoons to other ingredients of your choice, or use alone by diluting 1 part vinegar to 2/3 parts water.
- Strawberries: This fruit is packed with vitamin C, an essential for hair health. It also helps regulate oil production in the scalp. Mash a few up and apply to hair either alone or with other ingredients. You may also mix with a lightly moisturizing ingredient such as mayonnaise to prevent over-drying. Leave on for just 10 minutes.
- Baking soda: It’s very effective for removing buildup of cosmetic products, grease and dirt from the hair. Add a tablespoon to a moderately moisturizing ingredient, (mayonnaise or yogurt), or mix with water to make a paste and use in place of shampoo.
- Lemon juice: A well-known astringent, it helps to close the pores on your scalp, reducing oil production. Be warned that lemon juice may lighten hair color if used regularly, especially if you go in the sun with it on your hair. It can be used alone, diluted (juice of one lemon in 1 cup of water) to rinse hair, or added to a masque.
Conditioning treatment for combination hair
Combination hair is defined as hair that has both oil and damage problems. The suggestions below contain ingredients that seek to fix both issues.
- Yogurt: Natural yogurt provides essential nutrients and moisture, including protein—the building block of hair. It encourages hair growth and repair, while also rinsing away buildup and grease, making it ideal for combination hair. It’s easily combined with other ingredients such as avocado for extra moisture; or strawberries or baking soda if more oil regulation is needed.
- Mayonnaise and strawberries: The mayo helps moisturize and repair the dry areas of your hair, while the strawberries regulate oil production. Try mixing three mashed strawberries into 2 – 3 tablespoons of mayonnaise.
- Eggs and apple cider vinegar: The eggs provide protein and other nutrients, while the vinegar rinses away oil and buildup for shinier hair. For the masque, add 1 or 2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar into two beaten eggs.
Deep conditioner for itchy scalp/dandruff
The key for this hair issue is to clear away the unsightly flakes, while gently moisturizing and calming the scalp. Here are some effective ingredients:
- Apple cider vinegar: Besides clearing away residue and debris, vinegar helps combat dandruff by regulating the scalp’s pH.
- Baking soda: This natural ingredient can reduce overactive fungi that can cause dandruff. It can be added to other ingredients or used alone. Wet your hair and then rub a handful of baking soda into your scalp, then rinse.
- Nurturing oils: Coconut, olive and jojoba oils can help defeat excessive dryness, while mayonnaise would work on milder conditions of dry scalp or dandruff.
- Avocado: This truly is a wonder fruit! Its nutrients act as a natural deep conditioner.
- Banana: This also is good for controlling dandruff when added to a masque.
And there you have the basic deep-conditioning recipes for the main hair types. Since everyone’s hair is different, you may need to experiment with different combinations and amounts of ingredients to find out what works best for you.