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Over the last two weeks, we have been learning all about natural hair care. Last week, we learned about natural no-poo cleansers that are not too harsh to use on your hair. This week, we are learning about natural conditioners, especially the kind that don't include oils in them. While learning my way through natural hair care and the no-poo method, I have found that carrier oils by themselves, are very difficult to get out of your hair without shampoo and suds. This caused me to look in depth at other non-oil conditioner choices. There are actually many options out there, in you pantry alone, that you can use to condition your hair.
Natural conditioners for hair
- Raw Unfiltered Honey – The great thing about honey is that it's water soluble, meaning it is easy to wash out of your hair without soapy bubbles. Not only does honey make a great no-poo alternative, but its extreme healing capabilities make it a wonderful deep conditioner too. Honey is a natural humectant (it helps to retain moisture) and emollient (it softens and smooths). Honey's natural antibacterial and antioxidant properties have proven to help heal the scalp as well. (note: honey also has a small amount of peroxide in it and can, over time, lighten your hair. Those with darker hair may want to use molasses instead, though a deep conditioning treatment every now and then has never shown any change in my hair color.) To use, you can either combine equal amounts of olive oil over heat or apply honey by itself. After applying roots to tip, cover your head with a shower cap and let sit for 10 minutes before no-pooing as usual.
- Molasses – Just like honey, molasses is water soluble and a natural humectant and emollient. Like it's lighter counterpart, molasses also has a ton of minerals and antioxidants. Molasses also contains a good amount of B vitamins, which your hair happens to love! Use just like honey, but works best for darker hair rather than blonde.
- Carrier Oil – We all know that coconut oil, olive oil, hemp seed oil, etc. are fabulous treatments for our hair. Whenever I do a hot oil treatment in my hair, I always do it prior to my normal shampoo/no-poo routine. I have never been able to just simply rinse the oil out of my hair with solely water. My mud “shampoo” followed by an ACV rinse has worked for me in getting the coconut oil out of my hair after a deep conditioning treatment.
- Henna/Senna/Indigo – This is one of my favorite deep conditioners to use on my hair! Henna, a green grassy smelling plant powder used to dye hair and skin, also naturally strengthens and conditions your hair by penetrating the shaft of the hair and filling in gaps. True henna colors the hair lightly with red undertones. For blonde hair it's best to use Senna or neutral “henna” (also known as cassia), it does all the conditioning but none of the red color. For black hair, indigo is used. More on henna and natural hair coloring in the next post!
- Aloe Vera Gel – With a ph of around 4.5, aloe very makes a wonderful conditioner for our hair because it naturally helps to close the cuticle. Aloe vera also helps to soften hair, as well as to heal dandruff and other scalp conditions. It also helps with hair loss and hair growth!
- Avocado – Avocados are extremely good for hair! They are chock full of vitamins B and E, making them great to help with hair loss and hair growth. Their high fat content actually helps to deeply penetrate the shaft of the hair, conditioning your hair from the inside out. You can either just mash that avocado and apply directly to your hair, or add a Tbsp. of carrier oil for an extra deep conditioner.
Bananas– I was going to talk about how awesome bananas are because of all the vitamins and minerals they contain that your hair loves…but in the making of this post I made a banana hair mask and must not have combed my hair properly beforehand or something because it took me 20 minutes to get the banana out of my hair. It caused my hair to tangle so badly that I ended up losing a good deal of hair just trying to get it out…I would suggest you combine banana with a carrier oil and blend VERY well in a blender/food processor if you are going to put it in your hair for a conditioner. The oil combined with it blended well enough that there are no chunks, should help keep it from making your hair a sticky mess if you choose to use this option.
- Coconut Milk – Just like coconut oil, coconut milk can benefit your hair in many ways. It is often used in hair masks and fills up your hair with proteins. Rich in vitamins, minerals, and fatty acids, coconut milk can help with hair loss/growth, luster, softness, and SOOO much more. You can make a great 2-in-1 no-poo/conditioner with aloe vera and coconut milk!
- Eggs – Eggs are an excellent choice for a natural deep conditioner. Not only does the yolk, rich in fats and proteins, naturally moisturize your hair, but the whites, containing bacteria-eating enzymes, help to remove excess oils from your hair and scalp. I love to use eggs in my deep conditioning henna hair mix but you can just whip 2 raw eggs and apply to your hair alone if you don't have all of the other herbal ingredients.
Marshmallow Root Herbal Detangling Spray
I LOVE this spray! With no oils in it, this spray always leaves my hair soft but not oily at all. The marshmallow root is essential to this spray, giving it the “slip” that aids in detangling your hair. This spray is absolutely wonderful to use on small children who hate to have their hair combed! Add in some calming essential oils such as lavender and chamomile (which also have great healing effects for the hair too) and use this on your child's hair right before bed! I have also used this spray as a pre-wash before using my mud shampoo. I use it to detangle my hair before washing with the mud, to make it easier!
- 3 cups filtered water
- 2 Tbsp. marshmallow root (this is the herb that gives this spray it's slip for ultra awesome detangling power!)
- 4-6 Tbsp. hair healing herbs of choice (I personally ALWAYS make mine with 1 Tbsp. each of horsetail, oatstraw, nettle leaf, green tea, and for an extra little bit of a red boost I add hibiscus flowers, but you could also add chamomile flowers for blonde hair or rosemary leaf for dark hair. If given a choice of herbs for all hair types that really make this recipe awesome, I would say don’t leave out the horsetail, oatstraw, and nettle.)
- 1/4 cup aloe vera gel
- 1/2 cup filtered water/hydrosol (This is for the actual spray itself.)
- 20 drops essential oils of choice
- 8 oz. spray bottle
- (This decoction/herbal infusion is also the same one I use for my herbal mud shampoo) This recipe is first a decoction. When using roots, especially mucilage giving roots like marshmallow root, it is better to release their healing properties by simmering the root in water (or hydrosol) for 15-20 minutes. Bring 3 cups water (or hydrosol) and marshmallow root to a boil and turn down to simmer for 15-20 minutes.
- After making the marshmallow root decoction, remove from heat and add hair healing herbs of your choice. Leave all of the herbs to steep until it’s cool. Strain herbs, taking extra care to squeeze out the herbs to get all the extra tea.
- Combine 1/4 cup of the marshmallow root decoction/herbal infusion with 1/4 cup aloe vera gel, essential oils, and water/hydrosol to fill the spray bottle. Keep in the fridge to keep longer. You can also add a few drops of colloidal silver or citric acid for longer preservation.
- To Use: Shake before use. Spray onto wet or dry hair and comb through.
Heavenly Hippy Hair – Deep Conditioning Hair Mask
This hair mask doesn't smell the greatest but it makes my hair so soft and ultra conditioned while adding depth and color, that I am willing to withstand the smell of grassy apple cider vinegar while I am making it. It is WELL worth it in the end! I usually use this hair mask once every two weeks, but it can be used once a week if you need it that badly. If you are trying to go no-poo, this hair mask will greatly accelerate you through the detox period. People with extremely damaged and color treated hair have a difficult time during the detox process of no-pooing, and this helps to fill in the holes in your hair caused by all of that damage; making the transition easier on your hair. Whenever my hair got overly oily and dull, during the detox period, I just whipped up this mask and came out with lovely hair once again.
HEAVENLY HIPPY HAIR – DRY MIX INGREDIENTS
- 2 parts henna (this doesn't have to be colored henna, you can get the neutral henna, also known as cassia or senna, for just the conditioning properties of the herb itself, though henna is not like chemical color treatments. It is much more natural looking and will not come out with roots as your hair is growing. It only enhances the beauty of your hair rather than drastically changing it's color like conventional dyes.)
- 2 parts horsetail, finely ground
- 1 part oatstraw, finely ground
- 1 part nettle leaf, finely ground
- 1 part color enhancing herb, finely ground (I use hibiscus or calendula for red hair, chamomile or lemon peel for blonde hair, and sage or rosemary for dark hair)
HAIR MASK INGREDIENTS
- 3/4 cup raw apple cider vinegar (Coconut milk, hydrosol, or water can be replaced here if needed, but the ACV helps to further condition hair and some even say it helps your hair to absorb more of the color from the henna)
- 2 beaten eggs
- 1/4 cup aloe vera gel
- 2 Tbsp. carrier oil of your choice (You can use coconut oil, olive oil, hemp seed oil, etc. This oil can also be optional, but is very hydrating and washes out just fine with the herbal ingredients. I have never had my hair left oily from adding it into my hair mask)
- 1/2 cup Heavenly Hippy Hair Mix
- 20 drops essential oil (optionalchamomile and lavender are both very healing to the hair and scalp. Rosemary and basil can help with hair growth, and carrot seed is fabulous for dry brittle hair)
- Combine all of the powdered ingredients for the Heavenly Hippy Hair Dry Mix, in a glass bowl. Store powdered mix in a mason jar with a plastic lid or a plastic container. Will keep for a year or two, as long as no moisture is introduced.
- In a small pan, combine apple cider vinegar (or water/hydrosol) and 1/2 cup of Heavenly Hippy Hair Mix. Stir over medium heat for 5 minutes. Don't let it boil!
- Let mixture cool for 5 minutes and then mix in beaten eggs, oil, and essential oils.
- Apply to hair working from root to tips. Wrap head in plastic wrap or cover with a shower cap and then wrap with a warm damp towel around your head. You are trying to keep as much heat in as possible!
- Leave on hair for a minimum of 45 minutes up to 2 hours depending on the amount of color you want in your hair. It will never be so bold as chemical hair dye treatments, so leaving it on even for 2 hours still will look natural and beautiful.
- Rinse from hair with warm/cool water in the shower. It may take a few minutes to fully get the herbs out of your hair. There is no need to shampoo (or no-poo) your hair after this. Pretend this was your no-poo and follow with a diluted apple cider vinegar rinse (I use a 32 oz spray bottle and combine 1/4 cup ACV, 1/4 cup aloe vera gel, water to fill, and essential oils. I spray my hair until it’s soaked with the ACV rinse and then comb my hair through. You can either rinse clean or leave in to dry in your hair. It won’t smell of ACV when your hair dries.)
Miss part of this hair care series?
The Dirty Hippy Truth About No-Poo & Why I Won’t Use Baking Soda on My Hair – Hippy Natural Hair Care Series Part 1
Natural No-Poo Cleansers For Healthy Hair – Hippy Natural Hair Care Series Part 2
Natural Hair Conditioners & Herbal Detangling Spray – Hippy Natural Hair Care Series Part 3
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