Healthy Hair Tips: 18 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.
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Add shine: Rub on an avocado
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 shine: Try a vinegar treatment
Spray in shine with a simple apple cider vinegar treatment. Doug Macintosh, a senior colorist at Kieran McKenna Salon in New York City suggests mixing one part apple cider vinegar to 10 parts water in a spray bottle and misting on clean, damp no more than once a week. The mixture is slightly acidic so you don’t want to risk stripping your hair. “The vinegar neutralizes the hair’s pH and closes the cuticle,” he explains. “It’s like doing a clear gloss at home.”
Fight frizz: Rub in essential oils
Rub a few drops of olive or jojoba oil 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. Jojoba oil is similar in composition to the body’s own sebum, so adding a few drops of the oil to your hair is a natural way to condition it, says Adam Livermore, an international educator for Oribe Haircare and a celebrity hairstylist. Find out if you’re making one of these mistakes that are aging your hair.
Avoid flatness: Use hair spray sparingly
Too much hair spray can weigh down your hair, leaving it flat. “The alcohol needed for hair spray’s fast-drying action pulls moisture out of the hair,” Macintosh says. Instead of spray, try using a moisturizing mousse, a styling cream or a pomade with hold, he suggests. These will give your style shape without causing dryness.
Pamper your hair: Coat in natural oils
Olive, avocado, and sweet almond oils are all wonderful elixirs for hair. (If your hair is thick and heavy, coconut oil works wonders). Macintosh suggests applying small amounts of the natural 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. Find more ways coconut oil can benefit your hair and skin.
Avoid split ends: Wrap wet hair gently in a towel
“It’s better to squeeze and blot your hair with a towel rather than rub it,” Livermore says. This helps protect against further split ends. Instead of vigorously rubbing your hair to dry it, let the towel absorb the moisture for a few minutes. This helps protect against split ends. Avoid making these other hair mistakes.
Minimize styling damage: Get dressed and apply makeup first
This way, your hair will be almost dry. Hair is most susceptible to damage when wet. If you can, give your drier a break entirely, Macintosh suggests. Find a style you can comb your hair into, apply styling product, and don’t touch it until it dries.
Add softness and shine: condition with mayo
Macintosh says mayonnaise is actually a genius deep conditioner. “Egg has protein which helps rebuild damaged hair, the oil adds moisture, and the vinegar will increase shine,” he says. Comb mayonnaise through your hair and cover with a shower cap and let it sit for 30 minutes before shampooing it out. Take your time to shower correctly to avoid irritating your scalp.
Stop damage: Don’t dry your hair all the way
Most people falsely believe they must use a hairdryer 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. Livermore suggests letting your air dry naturally whenever possible and keeping the use of hot styling tools to a minimum to keep hair healthy.
Strengthen your mane: Make an egg protein mask
Strengthen fragile hair with an egg mask. Jet Rhys, owner of Jet Rhys Salon in Solana Beach, California, suggests whisking half a cup of full-fat yogurt, three tablespoons of honey, and one egg yolk and applying it to your hair and scalp. Cover it with a shower cap and leave on for 15-30 minutes before shampooing out.
Prevent breakage and brittleness: Let your hair down
If you usually wear your hair in a ponytail, switch up your style to give your hair a break. “Don’t pull your hair tight,” Macintosh says. “You will start to lose hair at the front hairline, it’s best to wear your hair loose when you can.” Macintosh advises wearing your hair down as much as possible and when you do wear your hair back, secure it with a fabric hair tie. And never sleep with any sort of accessories in your hair. Aside from a too-tight ponytail, here are seven possible reasons your hair is falling out.
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 soda
Too many products can spell bad news for your hair. But an occasional scrub with baking soda cleansing mask will exfoliate and clarify, Rhys says. Simply add mix 1 tablespoon of baking soda with warm water, gently massage into your scalp, then shampoo and condition as normal. Baking soda can be abrasive, so don’t do this more than once a month to avoid irritation.
Liven up flat hair: Pour on a brewski
The hops in beer contain a wheat protein that can add natural body to limp hair, Rhys explains. She suggests pouring a pint of flat dark beer over hair and covering it with a shower cap for 15-30 minutes before rinsing and conditioning. You may be so pleased by what you see, you’ll want to keep a six-pack in the bathroom.
Beat brittle hair: Butter up
Is your hair dry and brittle? Treat dry, brittle hair with a small amount of butter for a glossy shine. Massage it into your dry hair, then cover your hair with a shower cap for about a half hour. Shampoo as usual, and rinse all the butter out. Macintosh says that if you try this technique you might want to first melt the butter, let it cool, and skim the fat off the top to clarify it.
Soften dry hair: Apply an olive oil mask
You can create a homemade hot oil treatment with olive oil, Macintosh says. Warm up half a cup of olive oil (do not boil it), comb through hair, and cover with a plastic cap. Let this home remedy do its thing for 45 minutes, then shampoo and completely rinse. Pay attention to your hair for these cues about your health.
Combat fine, thin hair: Use a moisturizing conditioner
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. Livermore explains that conditioners help close the cuticle and replace the natural protective barrier that gets removed by washing. Here are other ways to revive damaged hair.
Add a natural shine: Rinse with tea
Use a quart of cooled, brewed tea as a final rinse after your regular shampoo, Macintosh suggests. Blondes should use chamomile tea; black tea may darken their tresses. Before your next shampoo, find out if you’re making any of these hair washing mistakes.
- Stephen Sanna, expert colorist at the Pierre Michel Salon in New York City
- Doug Macintosh, a senior colorist at Kieran McKenna Salon in New York City
- Jet Rhys, owner of Jet Rhys Salon in Solana Beach, California
- Adam Livermore, an international educator for Oribe Haircare and a celebrity hairstylist
- Susie Galvez, author of Hello Beautiful: 365 Ways to Be Even More Beautiful