Dry, damaged hair is often the result of using too many heat or styling products. Before you head to the salon for a major haircut though, consider the benefits of using a moisture-restoring hair mask.
Certain oils, foods, and other ingredients can all benefit damaged hair in different ways. The following ingredients may be found in many hair products, but you can also make DIY hair masks at home.
With the 18 ingredients below, simply coat your hair (the entire or just your scalp or ends), leave under a shower cap for up to 30 minutes, and rinse. Ta-da!
1. Almond oil
Sometimes used as a carrier oil, almond oil has long been a staple in natural skin care. The moisturizing benefits could extend to hair care, too.
When used for the scalp, anti-inflammatory properties could help treat dry scales related to dandruff, eczema, and psoriasis.
Older research has also shown that almond oil is rich in emollients, which help moisturize and soften your hair overall.
2. Argan oil
Traditionally used for hair growth, argan oil may also be used as a remedy for dry hair. It’s rich in fatty acids and vitamin E, which can help protect your hair and reduce damage.
Argan oil is often included in conditioners and styling products, but you can also make your own mask.
3. Avocado oil
Avocados are good sources of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, as well as polyunsaturated fats. Healthy, yes. But it’s thought that these natural oils can also benefit your hair — mainly by adding moisture.
You can reap the moisturizing benefits by using mashed avocado blended with a carrier oil, or by using avocado oil alone. The oil may also add shine and could act as a leave-in conditioner for extremely dry hair.
4. Coconut oil
Coconut oil is more than a superstar kitchen staple. The oil, which is extracted from coconut flesh, is thought to be rich in proteins that can potentially moisturize and strengthen your hair when used as a mask.
Furthermore, research shows that coconut oil may possess anti-inflammatory properties that could help with dry scalp conditions such as dandruff.
5. Jojoba oil
While often used as a carrier oil to dilute essential oils, jojoba oil reportedly has moisturizing properties for hair and skin when used alone.
You can apply jojoba directly to your hair and scalp. The oil is even light enough to use for oily skin types.
6. Lavender oil
As a popular essential oil, lavender is known for inducing feelings of calm.
Such effects may extend to dry hair and scalp, too.
Lavender oil must be diluted in your shampoo or in a carrier oil before use to prevent rashes and other side effects.
7. Olive oil
You probably know about the heart healthy benefits of eating this oil in moderation, but olive oil may also offer moisturizing effects for the hair.
If you have an oily scalp, consider applying olive oil to your dry ends only.
8. Sandalwood oil
Known for its warm, woody scent, sandalwood oil may be used for more than just a fragrance in your home diffuser. This oil may work particularly well on the ends of your hair, helping to moisturize and seal split ends.
It’s also known for its ability to help with eczema and psoriasis.
Using mashed bananas in your hair is thought to help restore collagen, thanks to the naturally occurring silica found in this fruit. The stronger your hair is, the less likely it is to dry out.
However, you should avoid bananas if you have a latex allergy.
10. Coconut milk
Coconut milk is prominent in many OTC hair treatments due to its high lauric acid content.
Using coconut milk also has the added benefit of potentially strengthening your hair and promoting hair growth.
Considered as a cousin of yogurt, this milk-based food is rich in proteins that can help soften and strengthen your hair. The acidity of curd may also help manage dry skin on the scalp.
When browsing hair mask recipes, honey is in many. Not only does honey hold other substances together when making a multi-ingredient hair mask, but it’s also purported to add moisture and shine to your hair by itself.
A honey hair mask may also reduce breakage and frizz.
For extremely dry, frizzy hair, some people consider using a mayonnaise hair mask. While sometimes touted as a lice killer, there’s little evidence that mayonnaise can get rid of head lice. But it may still help with some frizz.
Use caution if you have certain allergies, as many traditional mayonnaise products contain eggs.
Rich in probiotics, yogurt — especially Greek varieties — is a popular addition to any DIY hair mask. It’s thought that these probiotics help exfoliate dead skin cells while keeping your hair hydrated.
Yogurt also helps multi-ingredient hair masks stick together for easier application.
Keratin is a naturally occurring protein found in hair and nails. While some OTC products contain keratin in them, these are intended for occasional use to strengthen hair.
Overusing protein hair treatments can actually lead to further dryness and damage, so use in moderation.
16. Mango butter
Made from mango fruit seeds, mango butter is a rich emollient that’s most often used for dry, brittle hair, due to its high lipid content.
You can buy mango butter and melt it yourself at home for a rich mask. It’s also commonly mixed together with other rich ingredients, including shea butter and coconut oil.
17. Shea butter
Shea butter has increased in popularity in recent years as a skin remedy, but this ultra-moisturizing ingredient may also help with extremely dry hair and scalp.
It’s also thought that shea butter may help reduce hair breakage, thereby strengthening the cuticle.
18. Aloe vera
While touted for healing minor burns and wounds, aloe vera may also offer benefits for your hair.
An aloe vera hair mask may reduce inflammation that can lead to scalp irritation, as seen in some cases of dandruff. It may also help moisturize and strengthen dry hair.
This ingredient is especially helpful if you have an oily scalp and is considered safe for most people.
Aside from using a hair mask, consider the following methods to help treat dry, damaged hair:
- Reduce shampooing to every other day.
- Always follow up with a conditioner that suits your hair type.
- Allow your hair to air dry or wrap it in a towel. Avoid rubbing it dry, as this will cause frizz and damage.
- Use a comb on wet hair, not a brush.
- Avoid using heated tools more than one day in a row, including curling irons, flat irons, and blow-dryers.
- Reduce the amount of times you brush your hair every day.
- Go as long as you can in between coloring sessions, perms, and professional straightening.
You may notice more softness or shine in your hair right after using a mask. However, it can take several weeks to see more significant changes to dry, damaged hair.
If you don’t see any improvements after a month, see a professional hair stylist for advice.
With an increased focus on natural ingredients, many consumers are making their own DIY hair masks at home. You may also be able to treat dry, damaged hair by finding conventional hair products with the above ingredients.
No matter which method you choose, it’s important to be patient and try out different ingredients until you’ve found the best fit.