Pampering yourself for pennies
by Tess Schulze
Plenty of people’s hair has suffered during lockdown; with salons and barbers shut down, we have all been left to our own devices. As it stands (or falls limp, really), we know there’s a chance of reopening again in a few weeks but many folks are also thinking it could continue for a lot longer like it did last year. So what are we to do? There are many easy guides for women and men on cutting your own hair at home that take you through the process step-by-step. Even with a fine haircut, though, I still find that my hair can be a little lacking. Especially if you have long hair, you might find that your ends are drying quickly or descending into a frizzy free fall that can be difficult to manage. Don’t worry, I have a solution for this: homemade hair masks!
Just like my previous post for Pampering Yourself for Pennies, this recipe is incredibly easy and uses products you might already have in your kitchen. You can also change up the ingredients based on what your hair and scalp need. I will walk you through my own recipe and then provide you with a number of variations that you might find useful depending on what you want or need.
For my recipe, I used the following:
- 1 overripe avocado
- 1 whole egg
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil, room temperature
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 4 drops vitamin e oil
- 3 drops tea tree, rosemary, and bergamot (for scent) oil
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
Put all of your ingredients into a large bowl and beat together with a mixer until everything is smooth and well-blended. Apply to your hair, making sure to rub it into your scalp and that you cover your hair from end-to-end (I have a lot of hair, so I gently brush it through with a detangling brush to be extra thorough), cover, and let it sit in your hair for 20-30 minutes.
While your hair is soaking up all that gorgeous moisture, draw yourself a hot tea bath! When you’re ready, rinse the mask out of your hair and vigorously wash it out. I recommend washing your hair with shampoo twice to make sure your scalp and hair are thoroughly cleaned. Once washed, condition and treat your hair as you normally would and enjoy your luscious locks!
Base notes – I use avocado and egg as the main base for my hair mask. They both serve to soften, strengthen, and protect your hair while lending it a gorgeous shine. They whip up really nicely and give the mask a lovely texture. I like to use overripe avocados that are just past their prime for eating so that they don’t go to waste.
Base variations – If you don’t have an avocado, you can easily replace it with a banana. Banana is an especially useful ingredient for those who suffer from an itchy scalp and/or dandruff. It is important to make sure you wash all of the bits left in your hair (shampoo twice!) as any leftovers in your hair could irritate your scalp, causing a worsening of itchiness and dandruff.
If you don’t have eggs or don’t want to use them, you can easily replace it with 60g of mayonnaise! Made mostly of eggs and oil, it is the perfect ingredient to add for people who have very curly/wavy hair and can reduce frizz.
Oil notes– When using coconut oil, it’s best to use it when it is at room temperature. If it’s too cold, it will be difficult to blend into your mask and will leave solid clumps. I recommend using it because not only does it smell wonderful, but also because it is useful for strengthening and moisturising hair.
I also love using the essential oils like tea tree and rosemary because of their antifungal properties and their purported benefits of stimulating healthy hair growth (please note: many essential oils are toxic to pets so use caution when handling).
Oil variations – Don’t feel limited to using only coconut oil! Any number of vegetable oils you have in your cupboard can do the job. Whether it’s rapeseed, sunflower, olive oil, or otherwise, it will serve its purpose in making your hair gorgeous.
Spices and herbs notes – Cinnamon is my usual go-to for skin care because it also stimulates healthy hair growth while exfoliating your scalp. It also smells wonderful!
Spices and herbs variations – There is a lot of room to play with this part of the recipe and there are many sources online that can help you tailor your hair mask to your needs. If you’re looking for a place to start, here is a great link to get you going on spices. If you’ve managed to forage some fresh herbs or get some from the Maxwell Centre, you can also use those!
Other notes/variations – Adding lemon to your hair mask helps to lighten your hair colour.
Using honey will add shine and help your skin and hair absorb the lovely oils in the mask.
Adding salt will help create more volume in your hair when it dries.
If you get a lot of flyaway hair, add some apple cider vinegar to the mask. You can also do an apple cider vinegar rinse after you have washed your hair. This is one of my absolute favourite tricks and it really works well!
No matter how you choose to treat your hair, it will thank you for it. You will be able to emerge from lockdown with enviable, gorgeous locks.
Don’t miss my next post of Pampering Yourself for Pennies: Coconut Lip Balm!