It’s hard to compete with that “just left the salon” feeling when it comes to your hair. If you’re like me, you love having soft, bouncy locks that look healthy and feel nourished. Yet, it’s hard to keep that up after just a few days. This is where DIY hair conditioners can really help.
You can find dozens of products on the market that promise to reinvigorate your hair and repair damage, but they can get expensive. So, save your money by putting together your own DIY conditioners instead. You probably already have the best ingredients sitting in your pantry. Plus, it’s an easy way to figure out what might work for you without sinking a bunch of money into products you’re unsure about.
For guidance on the sea of recipes and advice out there, we solicited the help of Gina Trail, who has been a cosmetologist for 15+ years in Oklahoma and has also tried dozens and dozens of DIY conditioners over the years. Here are four that she uses regularly on her own hair.
Get rid of daily build-up with vinegar.
This is one of the easiest conditioning treatments you can do right at home. Trail says, “If your hair is feeling heavy or caked down from day-to-day maintenance, give it a pick-me-up with vinegar.”
She says the directions for this one are simple. After shampooing, pour the white vinegar (apple cider vinegar works, too) all over your hair. Then follow it up with your regular favorite conditioner. It might not feel “salon soft” immediately, but this will get rid of the build-up that naturally happens with hair, and you should notice that healthier-feeling in a few days.
Raid you fridge to feed your strands.
Trail says food and kitchen items are popular and effective for many looking for a DIY conditioner. “Think of your hair as an extension of your skin,” she says. “It loves to soak up any nutrients you put on it! Yogurt, eggs, banana, honey, mayo, and avocado are all great products that you may have lying around the house. You really cannot go wrong in mixing and matching these to create your own conditioner.”
For most of these mixes, you’ll be creating a thicker product like a mask to go directly onto your hair. Trail says her favorite kitchen-based recipe is to mix equal parts yogurt and mashed bananas with one or two teaspoons of honey. Let it sit for at least 20 to 30 minutes. Then wash and rinse. If you prefer to have a conditioner that’s less thick, Trail recommends adding a little coconut milk, which will also help your products go further.
Hydrate dry or damaged hair with gelatin.
“Damaged and dried out hair is a very common issue,” Trail says. “Your hair is made up of keratin, and you can take vitamins to help replace it, but did you know you can replace it on the outside as well?”
Her favorite at-home remedy for keratin is to use a gelatin mask, which strengthens, conditions, repairs, and adds shine. Here’s Trail’s recipe, which you might need to double based on your thickness and length of hair.
- 1/2 cup distilled water (tap water is fine if you have good water)
- 1 tsp honey
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- Lavender aromatherapy drops (or any other flavor you like)
- 1 tbsp beef gelatin (steer clear of colored ones)
Heat your water and stir in gelatin quickly with a whisk. After it has dissolved, remove from heat and stir in honey and apple cider vinegar. Whisk thoroughly. Once the mixture has cooled, add the essential oils and stir. Before it cools too much, apply to your hair and cover with a shower cap. The shower cap holds in your body heat, acting as a dryer and opening up the hair cuticles. After 15 minutes, rinse thoroughly. Some people may need to follow up with a vinegar rinse if your hair tends to hold onto the gelatin, which is fairly common.
Bring moisture back with oil and eggs.
Finally, the mask Trail uses and recommends the most is a simple one using oil and eggs. She says it’s great for split ends and also gives moisture to your scalp — an area that tends to get neglected. Here’s the recipe:
- 1 to 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 to 2 raw eggs
- 1 to 2 tbsp coconut oil
Heat up the coconut oil. Usually, 20 to 30 seconds in the microwave should do it. Allow it to cool for about 60 seconds before whisking in olive oil and eggs. Mix until it’s very smooth. Apply to your hair, focusing on where you need it most. Cover with a shower cap and leave on for at least an hour. Longer is fine, too. Rinse with cool water (never hot when eggs are involved) to seal the cuticle. Shampoo and condition as usual.
The next time you’re thinking of trying an expensive hair mask or conditioner, remember you can always do a DIY conditioner instead. There’s a good chance you’ll get better results at a fraction of the price!