Sometimes the best strengthening and conditioning masks for your hair aren’t found in the sprawling hair aisles of Target or your local beauty supply store—they can be created right in your kitchen. Now, I’m no licensed trichologist, but with all the concoctions I’ve whipped up in my kitchen to treat all my hair woes (from dehydration to breakage and reversing damage), I do consider myself a kitchen beautician. After all, scanning the ingredients list packed with sulfates or poly-this, hydro-that, and every other word with over 10 letters is far too overwhelming. Unless you love scouring the interwebs to research each ingredient, you don’t really know what you’re putting in your hair.
You know what ingredients aren’t overwhelming or harmful to your mane? Essential oils, fruits, vegetables, and other protein-rich food packed with vitamins and minerals to nourish your crowning glory, inside and out. The beauty about homemade hair masks is that you’re able to tailor your masks to treat specific hair concerns. Suffering from brittle, breakage-prone hair? Olive and coconut oil will be your best friend. Tired of dull, lackluster hair? Have you heard of my dear friend, mayonnaise?
Below, five of the best beginner-friendly hair mask tutorials to treat every hair woe.
If your hair is in desperate need of some hydration:
What you’ll need: bananas, olive oil, and honey
Let’s face it: No one loves to eat brown-speckled bananas. But, you spent your hard-earned money on them, so rather than throw them away, crush them (or blend them, as Ashly did in the video above) to make a simple yet super nourishing mask for dry hair. Bananas are rich in potassium and improve manageability by making the hair shaft softer and shinier. Next, add the really good stuff: Olive oil is rich in fatty acids, which helps to penetrate the hair strands easily and provides a layer of moisture to dehydrated hair. Not only is honey great for reducing breakage and frizz, but it also conditions the hair and adds back shine your may have lost because of brisk winter weather.
If you want to retain moisture:
What you’ll need: fresh aloe leaf, olive and castor oil (or any essential oil of your choosing)
Styling hair can be frustrating, especially when it’s lifeless and dry and none of the products you’ve been using seem to be working. But, as the saying goes, patience is a virtue. While manufactured products also promise nutrients and vitamins, there’s nothing better than getting those same benefits from the source. Lathering your hair with raw aloe vera gel supposedly increases moisture and cleanses the scalp. DIY queen Naptural85 uses the multipurpose plant to “pre-poo,” aka use a treatment on hair before shampooing to add moisture or detangle. All you have to do is rubthe raw plant directly on her scalp and then soak with the oil mixture.
If you want to reduce flaky scalp and soothe:
What you’ll need: Yogurt, one egg, and honey
Priyanka Chopra has gorgeous, luminous hair, so when she offers up her own DIY hair secrets, you listen. The Indian actress grew up using a lot of homemade remedies to treat her skin, hair, and body, including this super simple, three-ingredient recipe that fights off flaky, irritated scalp. Yogurt is packed with anti-fungal agents that help to get rid of dandruff, while eggs are a great source of protein (great for promoting hair growth) and honey is moisturizing.
If you want to strengthen your hair:
What you’ll need: avocado, milk, olive oil, honey, and (optional) lavender essential oil
Look, avocados aren’t cheap, but with all the natural oils and vitamins the fruit packs, it’s absolutely worth it. This mask helps to lock in moisture and protect hair against all the combing, brushing, and styling it goes through on the daily.
If you’re recovering from heat damage and want to define your curls:
What you’ll need: bentonite clay and apple cider vinegar
If you’re an avid YouTube watcher or spend way too much time scrolling through Instagram, you’ve likely already seen the hype surrounding the Aztec Indian Clay and apple cider vinegar mask. It’s been praised as one of the best masks for skin, but it’s also ahhhmazing for reversing hair damage. In this video, Shlinda mixes her Indian clay with apple cider vinegar and generously applies it throughout her hair, making sure the hair shaft is completely coated. The clay is great for detoxifying the hair and cleansing it. Apple cider vinegar is used in hair masks to restore the hair’s natural pH balance and breaking down any build-up by cleansing the scalp. ACV is also used as a rinse for severely damaged hair.