Make itDec/Jan 2015 Issue

Lovely Hair

Treat your tresses with DIY all-natural conditioner

Photo by ipg gutenberguk ltd/istock/thinkstock

Winter is the time of year when our hair could use a bit of TLC. Cold weather outside and heated air inside dries out the locks, making hair more brittle, prone to static electricity and harder to manage. A weekly deep conditioner can make a difference, bolstering hair’s shine, flexibility and overall health.

Conditioning hair treatments are available at most high-end spas, salons and beauty supply shops. Rich in natural creams and oils, they’re ideal for dry, damaged tresses that are over-processed by coloring and heated styling tools. But nothing beats tried-and-true homemade hair treatments using all-natural items from your kitchen. These old-fashioned conditioners, made of pure and simple ingredients, nourished the long hair of earlier generations of women. You can easily reproduce an updated version of these classic homemade hair packs.

For dry hair, use coconut oil, mashed banana or avocado and mayonnaise, either alone or in combination. For normal hair, a mixture of beaten egg, olive oil, plain yogurt and honey does the trick. For oily hair, add 1 to 2 teaspoons lemon juice or apple cider vinegar to the mixture used for normal hair.

Apply about cup (more or less, depending on hair length) to clean, damp tresses, massaging it in and distributing it down the strands with a wide-toothed comb. Wrap your hair in plastic wrap or use a plastic shower cap to hold in the heat for deep conditioning. Wait 15 minutes to allow the rich ingredients to penetrate. Shampoo as usual and rinse thoroughly with cool water. Hot water opens up hair cuticles, which can be drying and cause locks to look dull. For ultra-conditioning, try Ultimate Winter Hair Pack (below).


Ultimate Winter Hair Pack

1 TREATMENT

This conditioner nourishes dry winter hair. It’s so easy to make at home. Use it weekly for soft, radiant hair. Substitute your favorite light oil or a combination, if you wish.

1 teaspoon avocado oil*
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 teaspoon almond oil or olive oil
1 egg yolk
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

1. Place all ingredients in a bowl and stir to thoroughly combine.

2. Massage conditioner into your hair and scalp, distributing it down the strands with a wide-toothed comb.

3. Wrap your hair in plastic wrap or use a plastic shower cap and leave conditioner on your hair about 15 minutes.

4. Shampoo as usual, rinsing well with cool water.

*TIP Avocado oil is available in the cooking oil section of most grocery stores.

Janice Cox (janicecox.com) is the author of Natural Beauty at Home (Henry Holt and Company).

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