A little hair care.... from your food cupboard

Let's face it, who doesn't love those rich, thick, teeny-tiny pots of hair treatments? But they're pretty expensive for what they are and the amount you get. So how about having a go yourself? Homemade hair masks are great for soothing and repairing cuticles damaged from colouring, heat, salt water, and even chlorine. Plus, they're customisable to your specific hair type or problem, whether it be coarse, frizzy, dry, oily, fine, or wavy. Here are just a few tried and tested remedies you could cook up at home:

A little hair care.... from your food cupboard

Coconut Oil

Coconut oil is great for taming thick, dry hair. It’s easily absorbed into the hair due to its fatty acids and it contains vitamin E which promotes hair growth and a UV filter to stop sun damage. As an added bonus, its moisturising properties protect your hair from drying out. There are a number of ways to use coconut oil depending on your hair needs. For one, you can try a pre-shampoo application for 10 minutes if you're using it as a treatment to strengthen the hair. Or, for a deep conditioning treatment, use in place of a conditioner and apply from mid-shaft to the ends to moisturise and de-frizz. Or, when rubbed directly on the scalp, coconut oil has an antimicrobial effect, which helps fight dandruff, unclog pores, and promote hair growth. Whatever method you choose, melt the coconut oil by rubbing a small amount in between your hands and using a wide-toothed comb to evenly coat the scalp and strands of hair. Coconut oil is heavy, so use the proper amount for your hair texture. For fine hair, about a teaspoon, and for thick hair, roughly a tablespoon.

Strengthen fine hair with a milk and honey mask

For fine hair, milk and honey make the perfect mask. Honey contains keratin which can help to strengthen the hair and prevent breakage. It also encourages cell regeneration for a healthier scalp and has anti-inflammatory properties that can calm irritation. When combined with milk, which is full of proteins, amino acids, vitamin B12, iron, and zinc, this can help soften the hair and support its structure.

Because milk is a very thin liquid, just put one cup of milk and one tablespoon of honey into a spray bottle and mist it onto the hair. Leave in for 10 to 20 minutes after shampooing (in place of conditioner). Rinse out with warm water for shiny, smooth results.

Banana and Olive Oil Restorative Mask

Two ingredients most of us have sitting in our kitchen that can work wonders on your hair are bananas and olive oil. Banana is rich in vitamins and minerals such as potassium that can strengthen the hair and balance the pH of the scalp. Olive oil is rich in healthy fats and vitamin E, which can make the hair look more shiny and sleek. It may also moisturise the hair and heal damage that can cause breakage and split ends. To make the homemade mask, use one ripe banana and one tablespoon of olive oil. Blend the banana until it reaches a lump-free puree using Carrera's No554 stick blender (or similar). Add the olive oil and continue blending. The result should be a creamy, frothy hair mask. While in the shower, apply the mask throughout the hair and scalp with fingers. Leave on for 10 to 15 minutes before rinsing.

Treatment for split ends

Split ends are caused by the weakening of the structure of the cuticle, resulting in damaged hair. Such damage is mainly caused by heat styling, harsh chemicals from highlighting or straightening, and free radicals in our environment such as pollution and sun exposure. And while nothing can really mend split ends, (you need to get a trim to completely get rid of them) a hair mask can make them look healthy in the meantime.

Avocados have minerals that can seal the cuticle, and proteins and vitamins to nourish and soften the hair. A layer of olive oil will add extra shine and sleekness to gloss over the damaged hair. To make, use half an avocado and a half cup of olive oil. Blend together using Carrera's No554 stick blender (or similar). This mask is best when left on for half an hour or so, so put on Netflix while you wait.

For frizzy hair, try some yoghurt

Yoghurt is apparently great for frizzy hair; the lactic acid hydrates the hair, which helps to moisturise damage and prevent frizziness. When the yogurt is rinsed out, it also helps to clear away dead skin cells that can build up on the hair follicles. And it can be mixed with many other ingredients depending on the desired result. Mixed with coconut oil, it will help with hair loss, mixed with honey and it can help hair retain moisture, with avocado it will help strengthen the hair and add shine, and with lemon to help balance the pH of the scalp. Mix 240ml of yoghurt with a tablespoon (15ml) of olive oil (plus chosen additional ingredient) and apply to your hair for 10 minutes or so, then rinse thoroughly with warm water.

For shiny locks, olive oil and coconut oil combined will do the trick

A combination of olive oil and coconut oil can contribute to commercial-ready, high-gloss shine. Both are natural emollients (softening agents) that keep hydration in the hair so it can remain smooth, soft, and shiny. And if you have dry ends, olive oil in particular will coat them, making them feel smooth and look polished. Mix 240ml of olive oil with 15ml of heated coconut oil - the warmth of the oil will open the hair cuticle for deeper penetration. Leave on the hair for 10 minutes in a shower cap, then rinse with warm water.

Remove build-up with lemon and egg

If your hair routine consists of lots of dry shampoo, hairspray, and other styling products, you're likely to be experiencing build-up on the scalp, in which case, try a lemon and egg mask. The whites of the eggs are high in protein and vitamins that can strengthen damaged hair. They can also remove build-up, making them great for oily hair and scalp health. Lemon can balance the pH of the scalp. It can also add shine and help reduce the 'egg smell' that may linger in the hair. Mix one egg white and the juice of one lemon and apply to clean, dry hair and scalp. Leave on for one hour before rinsing out.


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