If you’ve noticed in uptick in scalp and hair issues — dry hair, a flakey scalp, thinning or frizz — and you’re tired of spending money on pricey products that underdeliver, you may want to try a natural hair rinse. These DIY rinses have taken TikTok, Instagram and YouTube by storm since they can easily be put together with what you already have around the house and leave hair looking healthier, fuller and shinier after just one use. To find the natural hair rinse that will work best for you, keep reading!
What are natural hair rinses?
“A natural hair rinse is a temporary treatment that can alleviate various hair issues that you may have,” explains hairstylist Carrie Butterworth, who has worked with celebrities like Sigourney Weaver and Mena Suvari. It involves saturating the hair with a solution made from nutrient-rich ingredients to address brittleness, frizz, thinning, split ends and more, for a healthier-looking head of hair. Some rinses also treat scalp conditions like dandruff or dryness to encourage hair growth for thicker hair over time.
How does hair benefit from natural hair rinses?
“Hair rinses are a great way to nourish both your locks and scalp,” says Robin Gagnon of the DIY beauty blog BeautyCrafter.com. “They can help to boost shine, repair damage, encourage new growth, improve elasticity and even help to restore faded hair color.”
While you can have a natural hair rinse treatment that targets your needs professionally applied at the salon, making your own at home with a few affordable kitchen and pantry staples is simple and just as effective, says Gagnon. “In fact, many expensive manufactured hair rinses rely heavily on ingredients you can find right in your kitchen, such as coffee and rosemary to encourage hair growth, rice water that gently relaxes hair and boosts shine and coconut milk and avocado, which help increase hair elasticity, reducing breakage.”
Natural hair rinses you can make at home
For a mess-free application, hair rinses are best applied in the shower. Simply pour one of the below DIY natural hair rinse recipes all over damp hair post-shampoo, massage into the scalp, then rinse out after five minutes. Read on to find the one that’s right for you:
1. The best natural hair rinse for fragile hair: rice water
“If your hair is weak and breaks easily, try rice water,” advises Butterworth. “Rice water is believed to strengthen the hair due to its vitamin B and minerals such as magnesium and manganese.” What’s more: Amino acids in rice water seal hair’s cuticle, which allows light to bounce onto hair to increase shine, while its vitamin E deeply hydrates hair so it maintains a youthful luster. (Click through to learn more about rice water benefits for hair.)
To do: In a bowl, combine ½ cup of uncooked rice and 2 cups of water; let rice water sit for 30 minutes. Next, strain the water into a jar and use on hair while showering. Note: Avoid using rice water if you have inflammation on your scalp, as this can exacerbate your condition, says Butterworth.
2. The best natural hair rinse for brittle hair: coconut milk
The combination of coconut milk’s lauric acid (it restores moisture to parched hair) and antioxidants (they mend damage and strengthen strands to thwart breakage) work together to reverse brittleness fast. And warming up the pantry staple before pouring it onto hair allows the milk’s nutrients to better penetrate the hair shaft and absorb into strands for long-lasting results.
To do: Warm ½ cup of coconut milk in the microwave before applying to hair while showering.
3. The best natural hair rinse for fine hair: rosemary essential oil
“As someone with fine hair, my personal favorite hair rinse is a mix of 2 tablespoons of aloe vera gel with a teaspoon or two of liquid coconut oil and a few drops of rosemary essential oil,” notes Gagnon. Fatty acids in coconut oil plump up strands to make fine locks look thicker. Plus, compounds in aloe lock moisture into hair and form an invisible barrier that prevents it from seeping out, keeping dry weather–induced frizz at bay. Even better? Rosemary’s unique compounds increase circulation to the scalp, stimulating new growth, and studies show it’s just as effective at regrowing hair as minoxidil.
To do: Mix 2 Tbs. of aloe vera gel, 1 tsp. of coconut oil, 5 drops of rosemary essential oil and ¼ cup of water; use on hair while showering. (Click through for a recipe that shows how to make rosemary oil for hair.)
4. The best natural hair rinse for flat hair: mint
Mint’s astringent compounds nix the buildup on the scalp that can weigh down hair and make it look limp. What’s more, menthol in the herb props strands up and off of the scalp for added volume.
To do: Steep 4 bags of mint tea in 3 cups of hot water; let cool fully before using on hair in shower. (Click here to discover new uses for used tea bags.)
5. The best natural hair rinse for thinning hair: coffee
The caffeine in coffee increases blood flow to hair follicles, prolonging the growth phase. Even better? Caffeine has been shown to block the effects of the hair loss hormone dihydrotestosterone (DHT) on the scalp, reducing future fallout. (Click through to learn what to do with leftover coffee grounds.)
To do: Brew 1 cup of coffee; let cool fully before using on hair in the shower.
6. The best natural hair rinse to stop shedding: beer
“My favorite hair rinse is beer,” says Butterworth. That’s because the malt and hops in beer are packed with protein that strengthens strands at the roots to thwart shedding, so hair looks and feels fuller. What’s more, B vitamins in the brew stimulate hair follicles to encourage new, healthy growth within a month.
To do: Once a month, pour a mixture of ½ cup each of water and room-temperature beer onto damp hair and massage into the scalp for 1 minute; let sit 5 minutes before rinsing.
Watch natural hair expert, askdebbieabouthair explain how a beer rinse is beneficial for hair
7. The best natural hair rinse for gray hair: chamomile tea
The older we get, the weaker our locks can become. This makes it harder for hair to hold onto dyes, requiring more frequent (and costly) touch-ups. What can help: “Tea, in its various forms, contains compounds that can restore vibrancy to strands,” says beauty expert Janice Cox, author of Natural Beauty at Home Handbook. And there’s a different tea that will work wonders for each hair color:
Blond or gray? Chamomile tea’s bisabolol sharpens and brightens lighter pigments.
Brunette? Black tea’s tannins enrich the hue of the darker-toned locks. Redhead? Rooibos tea’s red tinge enhances the fiery hue.
To do: Steep 2 bags of tea in 1 cup of boiling water; let cool. Pour onto damp hair from roots to ends and wring out excess liquid, then cover with a shower cap and let sit 30 minutes before rinsing.
Tip: Apply 2 drops of almond oil onto dry hair from mid-length to ends after using a tea mask, says Cox. It helps seal the cuticle to lock in color.
No time to DIY? Try one of these ready-made hair rinses
These rinses that you can easily, and affordably pick up in store are mad with natural hair- and scalp-nourishing ingredients?
1. Reverse an oily scalp with an apple cider vinegar-infused rinse
Apple cider vinegar’s alpha-hydroxy acids dissolve oil buildup on the scalp and in pores while its acetic acid stimulates blood flow to follicles to encourage growth. Plus, the vinegar’s astringent properties help tighten pores to reduce the amount of oil that is secreted.
Find it in: Aveeno Apple Cider Vinegar Clarifying In-Shower Hair Rinse (Buy from Amazon, $8.38).
2. Heal a dry, flaky scalp with a hyaluronic acid-infused rinse
Just like hyaluronic acid restores moisture to skin, the gooey substance that our bodies naturally create also deeply hydrates the scalp to sidestep dryness and nix flakes. Bonus: It seals hair’s cuticle so strands look more sleek.
Find it in: Not Your Mother’s Smooth Moves Instant Shine Lamellar Water Rinse (Buy from Amazon, $6.94).
3. Tame flyaways with an argan oil -infused rinse
The lipid-rich oil prevents moisture from escaping strands so they are less prone to static, while also slightly weighing down strands to prevent hairs from sticking up.
Find it in: Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Glass Hair Water (Buy from Amazon, $8.97) from scalp down to ends. Let sit 2 minutes before rinsing out with water.
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