Healthy Hair Tips: 19 Natural Masks, Treatments, and Tricks to Add Shine, Fight Frizz, and Prevent Damage
You can stop splurging on expensive hair products—the key to shiny, healthy hair may be as close as your kitchen cabinet.
Add shine: Rub on an avocadoiStock/Thinkstock
Mash a ripe avocado (pit removed) with one egg, then apply to wet hair. Avocados are rich in vitamins, minerals, and essential fatty acids that can help restore luster to your hair, says Stephen Sanna, expert colorist at the Pierre Michel Salon in New York City. Leave on for at least 20 minutes, then rinse several times. Repeat once a week for damaged hair and once a month for healthy hair. Here’s how to repair damaged hair with items that are already in your home.
Revive limp locks: Try a vinegar treatmentiStock/Thinkstock
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.
Fight frizz: Rub in essential oilsiStock/Thinkstock
Mix a few drops of sandalwood oil with a few drops of olive or jojoba oil, rub the mixture between your palms, then smooth it through the ends of your hair for instant sleekness and a way to instantly curb and condition brittle, flyaway hair. Or you can squirt a few drops of hand lotion in your palm and smooth it through your hair.
Prevent dryness: Pop a hair-healthy supplementiStock/Thinkstock
Take one to three 250-milligram capsules of borage oil, evening primrose oil, or flaxseed oil one to three times a day. All are rich in omega-3 fatty acids like gamma-linolenic acid, great for keeping hair (and nails) moisturized, says Kathleen W. Wilson, MD, an internist at the Ochsner Health Center in New Orleans.
Avoid flatness: Use hair spray sparinglyiStock/Thinkstock
Too much hair spray can weigh down your hair, leaving it flat. Instead, try a styling spray that contains the B vitamin panthenol. It will condition your hair and help protect it from environmental and styling damage.
Pamper your hair: Coat in botanical oilsiStock/Thinkstock
Olive, jojoba, and sweet almond oils are all wonderful elixirs for hair. (If your hair is thick and heavy, coconut oil works wonders). Dampen your hair and apply small amounts of the botanical oil until your hair is thoroughly covered. Cover with a shower cap and warm towel for a half-hour, then rinse and shampoo as usual.
Avoid split ends: Wrap wet hair gently in a toweliStock/Thinkstock
Instead of vigorously rubbing your hair to dry it, let the cotton towel absorb the moisture for a few minutes. This helps protect against split ends.
Minimize styling damage: Get dressed and apply makeup firstiStock/Thinkstock
This way, your hair will be almost dry. Hair is most susceptible to damage when wet.
Add softness and shine: Try a DIY conditioneriStock/Thinkstock
Here are some simple tips to condition your hair using some everyday household ingredients:
Rub enough mayonnaise into your hair to coat it, wait up to an hour, and wash it out. You’ll be amazed at how soft and shiny your hair is, thanks to this great protein source.
Substitute condensed milk for your regular conditioner. The protein provides an extra-special shine.
Mix 2 ounces olive oil and 2 ounces aloe vera gel with 6 drops each of rosemary and sandalwood essential oils. Olive oil is an emollient, aloe hydrates, and rosemary adds body and softness.
Stop damage: Don’t dry your hair all the wayiStock/Thinkstock
Most people falsely believe they must use a hair dryer until their hair is bone-dry. Not true. Instead, dry your hair until 90 percent of the moisture is removed, then stop. The style should fall into place if your hair is healthy and well cut.
Strengthen your mane: Make an egg protein mask
Mix one egg with a small amount of shampoo, apply to your hair for five minutes, and rinse well. This “shampoo omelet” helps to enhance the protein in your hair.
Prevent breakage and brittleness: Let your hair downiStock/Thinkstock
If you usually wear your hair in a ponytail, take it out for a few hours a day to give your hair a break. Also, try not to pull hair back too tightly. And never sleep with any sort of accessories in your hair.
Avoid chlorine damage: Condition before you swim
Comb conditioner through your hair before you hit the pool to protect it from harsh chemicals. When you’re done swimming, rinse with 1/4 cup apple cider mixed with 3/4 cup water to help cleanse hair, recommends Susie Galvez, author of Hello Beautiful: 365 Ways to Be Even More Beautiful, then follow with more conditioner. Do the same before hitting the beach.
Get rid of product overload: Cleanse with baking sodaiStock/Thinkstock
Too many products can spell bad news for your hair. But a thorough cleansing with baking soda at least once a week will wash out all of the gunk. Simply add 1 tablespoon of baking soda to your hair while shampooing.
Liven up flat hair: Pour on a brewskiiStock/Thinkstock
Before you get into the shower, mix 3 tablespoons beer (make sure it’s flat) in a half cup of warm water. After you shampoo, 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.
Beat brittle hair: Butter upiStock/Thinkstock
Is your hair dry and brittle? Massage a small chunk of butter into your dry hair, cover it with a shower cap for 30 minutes, then shampoo and rinse thoroughly.
Soften dry hair: Apply an olive oil maskiStock/Thinkstock
Heat a half cup olive oil (don’t boil it), and then liberally apply 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.
Combat fine, thin hair: Use a moisturizing conditioneriStock/Thinkstock
Many people think conditioners flatten thin hair, but actually, using a moisturizing conditioner a few times a week will help your hair block out humidity, which can make hair flat.
Add a natural shine: Rinse with teaiStock/Thinkstock
Use a quart of warm, unsweetened tea (freshly brewed or instant) as a final rinse after your regular shampoo.