I grew up around women who knew how to work at-home beauty. As a little girl, I remember sitting in my grandmother’s kitchen on Sundays while she shooed everyone out the door after breakfast so she could have what she called her “Sunday Swing Time.” She used to mix homemade hair treatments like mayonnaise masks in bowls and slather them on her long, black hair, singing along to the radio. It seemed like just as she finished washing her hair in the sink, her friends from the neighborhood would magically arrive, wet hair wrapped in towels, cigarettes and curler bags in hand. They’d laugh and gossip while they rolled their hair in curlers from their tote bags and when they were done, they’d take cocktails out to the front porch swing and let their hair air dry while they smoked cigarettes and spent the day enjoying each other’s company.
I remember them swapping homemade hair recipes and tips on how to save money, writing down new mixtures to try that would save money on hair color and deep conditioning. I also distinctly remember two other tips from their conversations: Thelma down the street was a real catty bitch, and you needed to avoid Margaret’s yard or she’d shoot you for ruining her roses.
You probably already know all about the benefits of using fruit and nut oils (almond, macadamia, coconut, etc.) oils on dry hair, but there are so many other simple ways to keep your hair healthy with things you have in your fridge, pantry or even hiding in the forgotten back corner of your bathroom cabinet. Here are a few that I wanted to share:
1. Egg whites
I got this tip from an amazing natural foods chef, and it’s genius. Eggs contain bacteria-eating enzymes and, when applied to your hair like a shampoo, they actually “foam” and remove impurities and surface dirt. Just work two to three egg whites through your roots and rinse thoroughly. Your hair will be super shiny. If you have oily hair or tons of product buildup, you will LOVE this treatment.
A little cornstarch dusted into the roots of your hair will absorb excess oil (it’s the main ingredient of most dry shampoos). Just put about one tablespoon into an empty salt shaker, and sprinkle it on your roots. Work it through and you’re done. Just go a little at a time; you don’t want too much cornstarch in your roots or it’ll look like you’re wearing a powdered wig.
Coffee is my favorite way to refresh my hair color these days. Basically, make a really strong pot of coffee, and let it cool (I would personally drink some, but make sure you have at least a cup left for the mixture). Then you mix two cups of leave-in conditioner with two tablespoons of coffee grounds and one cup of the cold coffee you just brewed. Mix it up, let it sit for about five minutes, then massage it into your hair. Let it sit for about 45 minutes to an hour then rinse it out. You can also soak your hair with cold coffee and let it sit for about 20 minutes after you shampoo for a more subtle brunette boost. Redheads can try rinsing with cranberry juice, and blondes can use beer, champagne or vodka over their hair to clarify their color. Just be sure to condition afterwards.
4. Leave-in conditioner
You know how everyone says “the wet look is in?” Well, if you don't have a styling pomade, you can seal sleekness in place with leave-in conditioner. Just apply a good leave-in onto your hair while it's wet and brush it back into a sleek ponytail or chignon -- it’ll give you a quick polished look. It’s also the easiest post-workout hairstyle ever.
5. Refrigerator staples
I love making hair masks from things in my kitchen. You can soak your hair in a cup of mayonnaise mixed with one egg, an avocado mixed with olive oil (a personal favorite) or full-fat milk for up to three hours to replenish lost moisture. Slap on a shower cap and dare someone to say something to you. Then wash it out and you’ll love how soft your hair is.
Honey is a natural humectant, so it makes sense that it can lock in moisture pretty much anywhere, including your hair. You’re thinking, “That would make my hair sticky,” but not so fast. Just slather ½ cup of honey mixed with (this is the trick) 1-2 tbsp. olive oil onto your wet hair and leave it for about 20 minutes (concentrate on your midlengths and ends, not your roots.) Rinse it clean and buh-bye dry ends.
7. An almost empty bottle of conditioner
If you have a little bit of hair masque left and a bottle of conditioner that’s almost empty, mix them together. The hair masque amplifies the power of the regular conditioner, so you get an extra-hydrating treatment and nothing goes to waste. Just blend the two products together with your fingers, add just a tiny bit of water and shake. Apply it to your hair and leave it on while you shave your legs. Rinse with cool water. Done!
How do you get awesome hair without spending a dime? Let’s chat and share some hair-loving tips in the comments below!