Understandably so, daily routines change when world events put normal life on pause. For example, I can’t remember the last day I used retinol and it’s been a long minute since I slathered on my favorite curling cream. Though I’m certainly not faulting myself because life is just like that sometimes, my hair is definitely suffering the consequences. Now, all of the things I used to do, well, aren’t working. So I’ve resorted to going the DIY route with what I think are some of the best DIY hair mask recipes.
Mayonnaise & Avocado Mask
Celebrity hairstylist Ricardo Rojas says one of the easiest (and most nourishing) things you can do for your hair right now is an avocado and mayonnaise mask. This hydrating combo is especially helpful in preventing split ends since mayo is loaded in amino acids and vitamins while avocado is a great source of healthy fats.
After mashing the two ingredients together, here’s how Rojas recommends applying it:
“Apply to damp hair starting at the root and applying in a downward motion to your ends, the way you would work in your conditioner. Once fully coated, grab your shower cap and chill for 15-20 minutes. Then a thorough rinse and finish with shampoo. Add a light conditioner for even better results. I use my Yerba Mate Super Shine shampoo ($34 at Amazon) and conditioner ($34 at Amazon) after applying a mask.”
Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse
Hair expert, chemist and founder of Bounce Curl Merian Odesho emphasizes the importance of detoxing hair from daily cleansers, conditioners, and leave-in products, all of which can cause major buildup.
“Sometimes, it is hard to get around this because conditioners contain cationic ingredients that will slowly build up over time,” she says. “Everyone uses conditioners, right? The easiest way to detox hair from your home ingredients is to use organic apple cider vinegar with a clarifying shampoo.” According to Odesho, the acidity in the vinegar will remove build-up, dirt, and oils, as well as rebalance the PH of your hair.
Below, her step by step guide to what I like to call “scalp masking:”
- Simply mix 1 cup apple cider vinegar ($3.02 at Amazon) with 3 cups water.
- Put this mixture in a bottle that you can take to your shower.
- Shampoo your hair with clarifying shampoo such as BounceCurl Enzyme Gentle Clarifying Shampoo and rinse.
- Apply the ACV mixture to your hair and scalp.
- Leave this mixture in your hair for 12-15 minutes.
- Rinse and then apply conditioner.
Ginger & Tonic Scalp Detox
Lorraine Massey, owner of Spiral (x,y,z) and founder of the CurlyWorld product line, has a very simple and effective Ginger and Tonic scalp and hair detox recipe that you can make right at home. All you need are two lemons, a large chunk of ginger and mint leaves (optional).
“This detox is the perfect solution for someone who is just coming off using heavy or hard-to-remove silicones/oils/butters on the hair—or for people who need to reboot from a trusted formula that no longer works,” she says. “Lemon water has an alkalizing effect, meaning that it can help begin to neutralize and dislodge silicone and oil/butter coatings on the hair fiber. Remember this will only be effective if you do not apply the same products that created the build-up in the first place.”
Here’s what you need to do. Blend your ingredients together and be sure to strain the lemon pulp. Use 2 tablespoons to a pint of spring or distilled water and pour over wet saturated hair. Take your mixture and massage the scalp tenderly and consciously for at least a minute (the longer, the better).
Massey adds, “a cranial massage can stimulate blood flow, providing health benefits to the scalp as the buildup of debris can trap dead skin cells that clog the pores on the scalp.” After rinsing the mixture, follow up with a water-soluble and sulfate-free cleanser or conditioner.
*Pro-Tip: You can also add the mixture to a spritz bottle with some water or refrigerate the extra juice for a lemon ginger body cleanser. You can also add to tequila, rum or vodka for a delicious margarita or mojito.
Yogurt & Olive Oil Mask
Dr. Serkan Aygin, a member of the International Society of Dermatology with over 24 years of experience in hair transplantation, counts yogurt as a game-changing multitasker for the skin and hair, in addition to olive oil and eggs. Yogurt can be “applied to the roots, rubbed on the skin, or spread on the hair strands, with benefits for most hair problems you wish to solve.” It’s also rich in proteins that can help strengthen the hair shaft, which consequently prevents split ends and hair damage.
“Lactic acid in yogurt hydrates the hair to embed deep moisture and nourishment within each strand, and when rinsing, the yogurt helps to lift away dead skin cells from the scalp,” he adds. Additionally, olive oil is a top-notch, all-natural conditioner. Its fatty acid content strengthens hair follicles. Sulfur in eggs also helps promote hair growth and balances oil secretion.
After blending one egg, one teaspoon of olive oil and 2 tablespoons of plain yogurt in a blender (aiming for a smooth consistency), apply the mixture to wet hair and massage gently. Cover your hair with a shower cap for 15 minutes and rinse with cold or warm water for instantly softened hair.
ACV & Lemon Juice Mask
If you find that no matter how many times you wash your hair it’s still feeling lifeless and dull, celebrity hairstylist and salon expert Michelle Cleveland recommends this quick DIY mask to nix buildup. “While apple cider vinegar is a great agent for balancing out your hair’s natural PH, it also helps close up any cuticles resulting in some serious shine,” she says. “The added juice from the lemon contributes to the shine.”
(*Note: too much lemon juice can slightly budge your hair color and create some homemade highlights, so tread lightly.)
To make the mask, add 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar ($3.02 at Amazon) to 1 cup of water. Squeeze the juice from half a lemon into the mixture and stir it to blend the ingredients.
“To apply, first wash your hair with your normal shampoo and rinse. Don’t condition. Instead, pour the mixture onto your scalp and massage it in working it all the way down to the ends of your hair,” says Cleveland. “Be careful not to get the mixture into your eyes, as it could burn quite a bit. Leave in for 10-15 minutes and then rinse out.”
Coconut Oil & Honey Mask
Cleveland is also a fan of coconut oil which she considers the ultimate source of hair hydration. “Unlike some other natural oils, coconut oil is made up of a smaller molecule which makes it easier to penetrate into the cortex (thickest layer) of the hair, providing more than just a shiny coat on the inside.”
Another go-to for Cleveland is honey, a natural humectant (pulls moisture out of the air) packed with antioxidants. When combined with coconut oil, you’ve got a sure-fire recipe for locking in moisture and shine. Cleveland recommends choosing an organic version of both ingredients so you can avoid any added chemicals or artificial ingredients.
“To apply, melt both the coconut oil ($5.71 at Amazon) and honey ($7.49 at Amazon) to room temperature (be careful not to make it too hot to avoid burning your scalp). Mix together before applying. Work the mixture through damp hair, making sure to coat every strand from root to tip. Leave the mask on for about 20 minutes and rinse well. Follow up with your normal shampoo and conditioner routine.”
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