20+ Natural Ways to Have Great Hair for Less

Skip the salon and add body to your wallet: Here are over 20 hair tips for natural ways to get lovely locks for less.

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Baking Soda
When it comes to personal grooming, too much of a good thing can spell bad news for your hair. But a thorough cleansing with baking soda at least once a week will wash all of the gunk out of your hair. Simply add 1 tablespoon soda to your hair while shampooing. In addition to removing all the chemicals you put in your hair, it will wash away water impurities, and may actually lighten your hair.

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Beer
Put some life back into flat hair with some flat beer. Before you get into the shower, mix 3 tablespoons beer in 1/2 cup warm water. After you shampoo your hair, rub in the solution, let it set for a couple of minutes, then rinse it off. You may be so pleased by what you see, you’ll want to keep a six-pack in the bathroom.

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Butter
Is your hair dry and brittle? Try buttering it up for a luxuriant shine. Massage a small chunk of butter into your dry hair, cover it with a shower cap for 30 minutes, then shampoo and rinse thoroughly.

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Castor Oil
For healthy, shiny hair, mix 2 teaspoons castor oil with 1 teaspoon glycerin and one egg white. Massage it into your wet hair, wait several minutes, and wash out.

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Fabric Softener
Liquid fabric softener diluted in water and applied after shampooing can untangle and condition fine, flyaway hair, as well as curly, coarse hair. Experiment with the amount of conditioner to match it to the texture of your hair, using a weaker solution for fine hair and a stronger solution for coarse, curly hair. Comb through your hair and rinse.

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Mayonnaise
You can massage mayo into your hair and scalp just as you would any fine conditioner! Cover your head with a shower cap, wait several minutes, and shampoo. The mayonnaise will moisturize your hair and give it a lustrous sheen.

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Olive Oil
Is your hair dry and brittle? Put the moisture back into it by heating 1/2 cup olive oil (don’t boil it), and then liberally applying it to your hair. Cover your hair with a plastic grocery bag, then wrap it in a towel. Let it set for 45 minutes, then shampoo and thoroughly rinse. Olive oil also works well if you got paint in your hair: Remove that undesirable tint by moistening a cotton ball with some olive oil and gently rubbing it into your hair. The same approach is also effective for removing mascara—just be sure to wipe your eyes with a tissue when done.

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Tea
To give a natural shine to dry hair, use a quart of warm, unsweetened tea (freshly brewed or instant) as a final rinse after your regular shampoo.

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Vinegar
Want to put the life back into your limp or damaged hair? You can whip up a terrific hair conditioner by combining 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar with 2 tablespoons olive oil and 3 egg whites. Rub the mixture into your hair, then keep it covered for 30 minutes using plastic wrap or a shower cap. When time’s up, shampoo and rinse as usual.

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Aluminum Foil
You want to catch up on your reading during the time it takes to color your hair. But you can’t read without your specs, and if you put them on, hair dye can stain them. Solution: Wrap the temples of your glasses with aluminum foil.

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Aspirin
Swimming in a chlorinated pool can have a noticeable, and often unpleasing, effect on your hair coloring if you have light-colored hair. But you can usually return your hair to its former shade by dissolving six to eight aspirins in a glass of warm water. Rub the solution thoroughly into your hair, and let it set for 10-15 minutes.

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Club Soda
If your blond hair turns green when you swim in a pool with too much chlorine, don’t panic. Rinse your hair with club soda and it will change back to its original color.

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Ketchup
More chlorine-in-pools problems: If your hair goes green or absorbs a strong, unwanted scent, eliminate the problem with a ketchup shampoo. To avoid a mess, do it in the shower. Massage ketchup generously into your hair and leave it for fifteen minutes, then wash it out, using baby shampoo. The odor and color should be gone.

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Lemons
For blond highlights worthy of the finest beauty salon, add 1/4 cup lemon juice to 3/4 cup water and rinse your hair with the mixture. Then sit in the sun until your hair dries. Lemon juice is a natural bleach. Don’t forget to put on plenty of sunscreen before you sit out in the sun. To maximize the effect, repeat once daily for up to a week.

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Petroleum Jelly
There’s nothing more embarrassing than a home hair color job gone awry. Imagine finishing applying that new auburn shade to your tresses when you notice that you’ve dyed your hairline and part of your forehead too. Next time, run a bit of petroleum jelly across your hairline. If dye seeps off your hair, the petroleum jelly will catch it.

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Spices
You can spice up your hair care regimen with a homemade tonic that will enhance your natural color and impart shine. For dark hair, use 1 tablespoon crumbled sage or 1 sprig chopped fresh rosemary or a mixture of 1 teaspoon allspice, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, and 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves. For blond hair, use 1 tablespoon chamomile. Pour 1 cup boiling water over the herb or spice mix, let it steep for 30 minutes, strain it through a coffee filter, and let it cool. Pour it repeatedly over your hair as a final rinse after shampooing.

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Tea
Turn gray hair dark again without an expensive trip to the salon or the use of chemical hair dyes. Make your own natural dye using brewed tea and herbs: Steep 3 tea bags in 1 cup boiling water. Add 1 tablespoon each of rosemary and sage (either fresh or dried) and let it stand overnight before straining. To use, shampoo as usual, and then pour or spray the mixture on your hair, making sure to saturate it thoroughly. Take care not to stain clothes. Blot with a towel and do not rinse. It may take several treatments to achieve desired results.

Tomato Juice
To restore the blond color to your hair after swimming in chlorine, saturate it with undiluted tomato juice, cover it with a shower cap, and wait 10-15 minutes. Then rinse thoroughly, shampoo, and soon you’ll be ready to have more fun.

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Toothbrushes
Dyeing your hair at home? Use an old toothbrush as an applicator. It’s the perfect size.

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Vinegar
Keep golden locks from turning green in chlorine by rubbing 1/4 cup cider vinegar into your hair and letting it set for 15 minutes before diving in.

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Adhesive Tape
To remove the gunk that builds up between the teeth of your comb, press a strip of adhesive tape along the comb’s length, and lift it off. Then dip the comb in a solution of alcohol and water, or ammonia and water, to sanitize it. Let dry.

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Baking Soda
Freshen up your combs and hairbrushes by soaking them in a solution of 3 cups warm water and 2 teaspoons baking soda. Swirl them around in the water to loosen up all the debris caught between the teeth, then let them soak for about half an hour. Rinse well and dry before using.

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Pantyhose
If you dread the prospect of cleaning out your hairbrush, here’s a way to make the job much easier. Cut a 2-inch (5-centimeter) strip from the leg section of a pair of pantyhose, and stretch it over and around the bristles of your new (or newly cleaned) hairbrush. If necessary, use a bobby pin or a comb to push the hose down over the bristles. The next time your brush needs cleaning, simply lift up and remove the pantyhose layer—along with all the dead hair, lint, etc. on top—and replace it with a fresh strip.

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Pencils
A pencil can help give lift to curly hair if you don’t have a pick. Two pencils crossed in an X also can stabilize and decorate a hair bun, plus provide you a new writing tool if you lose yours during the day.

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Shampoo
Skin oils can build up on your combs and brushes faster than you realize. And if you’re tucking them into your purse or pocket, they’re accumulating dust and dirt as well. Give them a fresh start in a shampoo bath. First comb any loose hair out of the brush, then rub a little shampoo around the bristles or along the teeth of the comb. Put a small squirt of shampoo in a tall glass of water, let the comb and brush sit for a few minutes, swish, and rinse clean.

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Originally Published in Reader's Digest