Walk down the beauty aisle of any store and you’ll see thousands of products that claim to give you shiny, longer, healthier hair. However, upon closer inspection, you’ll see these products are chock-full of silicones, sulfates, parabens, and other nasty chemicals that give the illusion of healthier hair, but actually cause damage instead. Armed with a few simple ingredients from your local health food store (or good ol’ Amazon), you’ll be able to create your own healthy hair care arsenal, naturally.
Progressive Oiling Technique: During the winter, the ends of the hair can get a bit dry from the cold air. In-between deep conditioning treatments, you can do a progressive oiling on the length of the hair to introduce much-needed moisture. Choose a light oil (I recommend almond oil, apricot kernel oil, or jojoba oil for this) and take 1-2 drops, rub the oil between the palms, and lightly distribute through the ends of the hair. If you aren’t careful, this can make your hair look greasy, so start with 1 drop of oil and see how your hair responds. I do this every evening before bedtime so my hair has a chance to really soak in the oil.
Scalp Massage: In order to grow long, healthy hair, you must take care of the scalp! Regular scalp massages with stimulating essential oils will help increase blood flow to the hair follicles, bringing with it ample nutrients to encourage growth. Popular essential oils to stimulate hair growth include rosemary, lavender, peppermint, clary sage, and tea treee. Since essential oils have many antibacterial, anti fungal, and anti-inflammatory properties, they also help treat dandruff or other scalp conditions. Essential oils are potent and must be diluted with a carrier oil such as coconut oil, almond oil, or jojoba oil before applying to the skin or scalp. A 1% dilution is a safe place to start. Simply mix 3 drops of your chosen essential oil with 2 teaspoons of your carrier oil and massage into the scalp with gentle pressure for 5 minutes. You can leave the oil on for 10-15 minutes before shampooing it out. Any extra diluted oil treatment can be stored in an amber glass jar for later use.
Hair Thickening Oil: Castor oil is an age-old remedy for ailments raging from constipation to labor induction. However, it really shines as a treatment to stimulate thicker hair growth. Castor oil has natural antibacterial and anti-fungal properties and is high in vitamin E, minerals, proteins, ricinoleic acid, and omega 6 and 9 fatty acids. I personally used castor oil treatments to regrow a small patch of hair that I lost during my postpartum hair shed with great success.
Choose a castor oil that is hexane-free, unrefined, and cold-pressed for best results. It’s a very thick oil, so in order to make it easier to apply, mix it 1:1 with a thinner oil such as jojoba and store in a glass dropper bottle. To use, apply a the diluted castor oil to a slightly damp scalp (I use a spray bottle), massage in well, and allow to sit for several hours before shampooing the hair. Since I used this treatment for a small patch of hair, I found it easy to apply twice a week, however if you’re using it for overall hair growth, once a week might be more manageable. Bonus tip: castor oil is great for eyelash and eyebrow hair growth too! You can use 1-2 drops at night before bed to encourage long, conditioned eyelashes and fuller eyebrows (just be careful not to get it in your eyes).
*Jamaican Black Castor Oil is another popular choice, touted to be even more beneficial to those with thick, dry hair, though I haven’t used it myself (my hair is thin in texture, but thick in amount).
Hair and Scalp Tonic: Apple Cider Vinegar has long been known to help digestive issues, yeast infections, and even help burn body fat, but it’s also a fantastic hair tonic. When applied to the hair, it removes product build-up (clarifying treatment), balances the pH of the scalp, stimulates hair growth, treats dandruff and fungal issues, and enhances shine.
When using ACV on the hair, always make sure to dilute it! Start with a 1:3 ratio of ACV to water and see how your hair/scalp respond. Over time you can move to a 1:1 ACV-water ratio, but no stronger or it can be too acidic. To use, apply the diluted ACV to the scalp and hair after washing. Allow to sit for 5 minutes, and then rinse well with cool water. Don’t worry, the vinegar smell dissipates as your hair dries.
Shine Enhancing Rinse: Instead of store-bought shine sprays that coat the hair in dimethicone and other chemicals, you can use herbal rinses to condition the hair and bring out it’s natural highlights and shine. For blonde or light hair, brew a strong cup of chamomile tea, allow to cool and use as a rinse after shampooing and conditioning. For brunette or darker hair, you can steep fresh rosemary in hot water for 5 minutes, allow to cool, strain, and rinse in the same fashion. Please note that if you have a ragweed allergy, you should avoid chamomile.
Dry Shampoo: We know that washing hair too frequently can dry it out and cause breakage that will need to be cut off. Depending on your hair type and texture, this is easier said than done. In order to stretch the number of days between shampooing, many women turn to dry shampoo. However, store-bought dry shampoos contain many chemicals and tend to leave build up on the scalp that can clog the hair follicle. This can lead to scalp irritation and even cause hair to fall out over time. Using a homemade powder dry shampoo will help you stretch the time between washes without chemicals.
To make your own, mix together 1/4 cup blended oats (oat flour) , 1/4 cup corn starch or arrowroot powder, and 5 drops rosemary essential oil (optional for hair growth, scalp stimulation, and scent). Store the mixture in an airtight container. To apply, use a large, clean makeup brush to pat the mixture onto the scalp, allow to sit for 5 minutes, and then use your fingers to rub the powder into the scalp. Brush through and enjoy grease-free hair! If you have dark hair, you can replace some of the oat flour with cocoa powder-it’ll prevent the powder from leaving a white cast on your hair and as a bonus it will smell lovely.
*I am not a dermatologist or a cosmetologist, nor do I play one on TV! When using any new hair and skin care products, natural or otherwise, it’s always a good idea to spot test it on yourself to check for any type of reaction or irritation. These are DIY recipes that I’ve successfully used on my hair for years, but please use common sense and do your own research and testing when using new recipes, essential oils, and products. You can read my full disclaimer here.
Full disclosure: This blog post contains some affiliate links. Meaning, basically, if you make a purchase from any of these links it doesn’t cost you anything extra, but I may make a little money. So thank you in advance for supporting my family. I am not sponsored by any products, brands, or vegetables featured.