The Best Dermatologist-Approved Ingredients for Your DIY Hair Mask—Plus 7 Recipes to Try
Looking to enhance your at-home hair routine? These dermatologist-recommended, all-natural ingredients will take your DIY hair masks to the next level.
At-home hair care is something of an art. Making the switch to products that feature all-natural formulas—the better to avoid effective but problematic liquid plastics—requires a fair amount of trial and error, as does mastering your preferred method of heatless styling. But when it comes to DIY hair masks, the results are all down to the ingredients.
While certain store-bought masks can certainly earn their #shelfie space, making your own hair masks allows you to find (and focus) the natural additives that let your hair shine—literally. Plus, you'll save money, along with any unnecessary waste.
What Are the Best Ingredients to Use in DIY Hair Masks?
According to Dr. Blair Murphy-Rose, MD, FAAD, the best at-home hair masks tend to center on one of four all-natural ingredients, each offering its own beauty benefits: avocado, honey, apple cider vinegar, and coconut oil.
Avocado is rich in vitamins, making the fruit's flesh protective and nourishing for the hair and scalp. Plus, its high-fat content promotes moisture and shine. Honey follows suit—and then some.
"Perhaps surprisingly, honey is an excellent moisturizer, as it serves as both an emollient and humectant," says Dr. Murphy-Rose. "Humectant properties attract water to keep hairs hydrated, while emollient properties smooth hairs. Moreover, honey boasts antibacterial and antifungal properties."
Apple cider vinegar's own antimicrobial powers make it the ultimate scalp detox—and help to clarify hair bogged down by product build-up—while coconut oil's fatty acids penetrate strands to moisturize and repair damage.
There are, of course, ingredients to avoid on your hair care journey. Dr. Murphy-Rose suggests eschewing potential irritants and allergens, along with abrasive exfoliators (sugar, salt) and egg yolks, which can actually negatively alter the pH of your scalp.
Read on for a selection of DIY hair mask recipes designed to inspire your own mane-minded projects.
7 DIY Face Mask Recipes to Try
1. Avocado and Honey Hair Mask
Photo: Lakewinds Food Co-Op
Nourishing hair heroes avocado and honey combine in a sumptuous deep conditioning mask. Olive oil adds to the emollience, while a few drops of lavender essential oil keeps strands smelling amazing.
2. Overnight Coconut Oil Hair Mask
Photo: DIY Candy
While most all-natural hair masks should be safe for overnight wear, this coconut oil option is primed for it. The extended application allows fatty coconut oil extra time to do its thing, leaving lengths soft and even moisturizing the scalp, promoting hair growth.
3. Coconut Oil and Cinnamon Hair Mask
Photo: Nature's Flavors
All of the above benefits, plus cinnamon. When applied to your scalp, the unexpected addition offers antimicrobial and exfoliative properties, all while stimulating hair follicles.
4. Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Mask
Photo: Eating Well
ACV's balancing benefits can do wonders for a dry scalp, and leave hair conditioned and shiny in turn. Adding olive oil to the mix means extra moisture, with honey's nourishing notes rounding out the blend.
5. Aloe Vera Hair Mask
Photo: Life in Reflection
Aloe vera is known for its ability to hydrate, and its jellied texture is ideal for use as a DIY hair mask. The plant is anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial, and anti-bacterial—say hello to a healthier, happier scalp.
6. Honey and Castor Oil Mask
Photo: Health Shots
Honey combines with castor oil for a moisturizing mask crafted to promote hair growth. Massage liberally into the scalp and distribute evenly throughout for a thicker, shinier, and softer mane.
7. Yogurt and Honey Hair Mask
Photo: Little Green Dot
Combat winter's want of frizz with this mixture of yogurt and honey (likely already waiting in your fridge or pantry). Yogurt's fat and protein content contribute to hair health, while honey softens strands. (Plus, this mask is a bit easier to wash out than some of its oilier counterparts!)
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