When we think of “shiny, clean hair,” we assume it’s freshly washed and conditioned. But water can actually damage your hair cuticle if it’s absorbed too quickly—that’s one reason if you wash it too much, you can strip away protective oils and dry out your mane. Commercial conditioners add oils—some that penetrate the hair shaft and some that coat it. How deep you want to go depends on your hair’s type and condition. Coarse, dry, curly hair can stand some full oil penetration; fine, wispy strands do better with less oil at the scalp and perhaps more on the ends.
The Science-y Hair Blog breaks down the penetration power of common oils and some you’ve probably never heard of:
- High penetration: Coconut oil, ucuuba butter, palm kernel oil, babbasu oil
- Medium penetration: Castor oil, olive oil, avocado oil, canola oil, sweet almond oil, argan oil, shea butter, grapeseed oil, rosehip oil, cocoa butter, safflower oil
- Little to no penetration: Rice bran oil, mineral oil, jojoba oil
You can find an infinite variety of hair and skin products featuring the above oils in stores and online, but you might have everything you need to make a great hair conditioner, right in your kitchen—things like cider vinegar, eggs and honey. While it may take tweaking to get the right recipe for your particular hair, the great news is that when you work in small batches, you can easily make adjustments and save money. You’ll also be able to pronounce and understand every single ingredient. You can add a few drops of your favorite essential oils to any of these recipes to create your own unique signature scent.
Here are some recipes to get you started on your home hair care journey. One thing to note: some of these conditioners are very viscous, so you might need a shampoo or two afterward to get them out.
Simple rinse from diynatural.com
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar (good for pH balancing and scalp health)
- 1 cup water
Mix above in a squirt bottle, apply to hair after shampooing, leave in for 1 to 2 minutes.
Daily lavender conditioner from FreePeople.com
- 1 cup coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon vitamin E oil
- 1 teaspoon jojoba oil
- 5 drops lavender essential oil
Combine all the ingredients in an electric mixer on high for about 8 minutes and then transfer to a container. A little goes a long way!
Frizz-taming deep conditioner from StyleCraze.com
- 1 tablespoon shea butter
- 2 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon argan oil
Warm the shea butter and coconut oil until they melt together; add the argan oil and whip until they’re combined. Apply the mixture to your hair, starting from the roots and working it down to the tips. Leave in 30 minutes.
Deep conditioner for curly hair from OneGoodThingByJillee.com
- 1/4 cup coconut milk
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
- 1 tablespoon Greek yogurt
- 2-3 drops rosemary or lavender essential oil
Combine everything in a blender or electric mixer, apply to your hair and comb through. Leave on for about 45 minutes with a shower cap or covered in plastic wrap (even a plastic grocery store bag will work). Rinse out and shampoo if necessary.