Have you ever wondered, “what is a hair mask and do I need a hair mask?” First, let’s be clear that it isn’t something you wear on your head. But it is something you put on your hair, and it can help you have the locks you’ve longed for. A hair mask is an easy and simple way to improve shine and manageability while providing nourishment to the cuticle, and it can be done right at home.
But who needs a hair mask? Well, it’s great for just about anyone, but can definitely offer hair health benefits for anyone who spends a lot of time in the sun, pool or adds color or other chemical products to their hair. While my DIY hair dye is the way to go, realistically, we know that most head straight to the salon for a change in color — but those chemicals truly damage the hair over time, especially if not used properly.
Whether you color your hair at the salon or at home, giving your hair and scalp a good mask treatment on a regular basis can help take care of those unruly strands. (Just like certain vitamins boost hair health.)
You may be thinking that your daily conditioner can do just as well, but because the conditioner just sits on the surface of the hair briefly, it can’t get to the cuticle, which is where the benefits occur. And if you are concerned about existing split ends, a hair mask treatment can make a difference. A haircut is part of the solution, but regular treatment can help those split ends retain moisture and be less noticeable. (1)
Background of Your Hair
To better understand, let’s learn a little bit about hair. Hair is a structured network consisting of the cuticle, cortex and medulla. The medulla is usually found in coarser hair like grey hair, thick hair and beard hair, and may have a lot to do with split ends.
The cuticle contains overlapping scales known as keratinocytes. Some people have thicker layers of cuticles, whereas others have thinner layers. Those with thinner layers are more prone to breakage.
You have probably heard about hair having protein. It is true. Beneath the membranes of the cuticle cells are three layers that contain proteins, some of which are responsible for the absorption of water and the hair’s ability to repair damage formed by such chemicals as hair color products. (2) The cortex contains the mass of the human hair and is comprised of protein and melanin as well as a matrix of fibrous structures called macrofibrils. When hair goes through different processes from cosmetic dyes, to perms and even hair straightening, it affects the strength of the hair and its ability to stay healthy. These products and processes can cause major damage such as split ends or cracks to the cuticle. And keep in mind that most shampoos out there contain a ton of chemicals too. It’s clear that excessive and repeated chemical treatments, poor grooming habits such as using shampoos and conditioners with chemical-laden ingredients, environmental exposure, and even poor management of hair ties and brushing techniques can produce changes in hair texture that cause that frustrating hair breakage, tangling and frizzing. (3)
Regardless of where you are in your battle to have luxuriously, shiny thick hair, preventing cuticle damage by using this DIY hair mask may be able to save you plenty of heartache.
How to Make a DIY Hair Mask for Dry or Curly Hair
To make this DIY hair mask, it is easiest if you use a blender, though you can use a bowl and whisk. Let’s start by placing the hair-benefitting coconut oil and avocado in the blender. For curly hair, you may want to try the olive oil per the ingredients list above.
If you are using the whisk method, you will need to soften the coconut oil first by slightly heating it. Coconut oil has long claimed reign as the king of oils for just about everything from whitening your teeth to zapping those zits, but it’s also the perfect ingredient for a hair mask. Coconut oil works because it’s high in fatty acids, which provide much needed nourishment and moisturizing for the scalp and hair. Studies have shown that coconut oil reduces hair breakage, possibly because it penetrates the hair follicle.
For the curly headed, olive oil is an emollient that can penetrate the hair. Olive oil is great for curly hair because it is naturally lightweight, allowing it to provide moisturizing without weighing down curls.
Avocado has long been used for improving the condition of the hair by moisturizing. The avocado is known as one of the most nutrition-packed foods on the planet, and it may prevent your hair from falling out while promoting hair growth! Being deficient in some vitamins can greatly affect the health of your hair from how shiny it is to to how thick it is. Avocados contain a fair amount of vitamins B and E, which can help protect and strengthen hair deep down to the cellular level. (4)
Now that you have blended the oils and avocado, add the eggs and honey for the DIY hair mask. Eggs are probably no surprise since they have been used to promote healthy hair since the 1940s, but what makes them so great? Eggs are jam-packed with lecithin and protein, two attributes that can help strengthen and moisturize your hair. And because egg yolks are great at binding all of the ingredients, it helps provide an evenly applied mask. (5)
A bonus is the sulfur they contain, which may help reduce dandruff. And, of course, honey can add to the emulsifying feature that the eggs provide, but it goes well beyond that. Raw honey is a humectant attracting moisture from the air. It’s antibacterial, containing lots of antioxidants, which leads to healthy scalp and hair all while sealing moisture and adding shine. (6) (7)
Now that you have blended all ingredients, let’s add the last ingredients for your DIY hair mask: rosemary and lavender essential oils. Rosemary oil has phenomenal properties, making it a great addition to this DIY hair mask. It has been reported that some experience an increase in new and rapid hair growth after using rosemary essential oil on a regular basis. In fact, people that live in the Mediterranean area have been using rosemary for hair care of hundreds of years. It works because it promotes cell division while dilating blood vessels. This action stimulates hair follicles that encourage new hair growth. Additionally, studies have shown an increase in healing of the scalp due to microcirculation. (8)
Lavender essential oil is great for hair, and like rosemary, can even help with hair growth. A study by a group of dermatologists showed that “44 percent of alopecia patients who were tested experienced new hair growth when they massaged their scalp daily with lavender and other essential oils for seven months.” (9)
Once you have combined all ingredients into your blender, blend again making sure they are well combined. To apply, dampen your hair, then apply the mask evenly throughout, making sure to cover all of the hair, especially the ends. Once you have applied it, cover the hair with a shower cap or towels so that you do not get it on your clothes. If you have long hair, tie it up first, then cover it. Allow the mask sit for 45 minutes to an hour. Wash out the mask with a natural shampoo and conditioner. For best results, try applying this mask once a week.
Most have no problem using any of these ingredients; however, if you notice any irritation, stop using immediately. One or more ingredients could cause an allergic reaction. Also, be careful avoid getting the mixture in your eyes. Make sure your essential oils are 100 percent certified organic for best results.
DIY Hair Mask with Lavender and Rosemary Oil for Healthy, Beautiful Hair
Total Time: 15 minutes
Serves: 1 application (double the recipe if you have very long hair)
You probably know that those bouffant hairstyles in the 60s, believed to have risen during the mid-to-late 18th century in western Europe, required a full can of hairspray! In fact, that hairstyle may have been created for Marie Antoinette due to her thin hair and her desire to thicken the hair.
Even though the bouffant, made popular by First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy a few decades ago, has faded, the use of hairspray still exisst to help set the hair and prevent fly away hair. Though some improvements have been made, in particular, going from aerosol cans to pump bottles in most cases, the toxins are still there in most store-bought versions.
But with this homemade hair spray recipe, you can eliminate those toxins and have beautiful and healthy hair. It’s not only easy and fast to make, but also very cost-effective and may help prevent hair loss! Try it today.
Let’s start by boiling the water. Once it comes to a boil, dissolve the sugar by adding it to the water and stirring. The more sugar you use, the stiffer the hold; however, if you use too much, you may find a sticky residue, so start with smaller amounts and adjust as needed.
Now, add the vodka to the pan. If you prefer, you can make this recipe without alcohol; however, the alcohol acts as a preservative.
Allow the mixture to cool, then add the essential oils. You can choose your favorite scents, but I love using lavender and rosemary essential oils. Both help with hair loss, so it makes sense that these ingredients would be perfect for your homemade hairspray.
Furthermore, lavender can give you a sense of relaxation, while rosemary is known as one of the best oils for enhancing hair growth, as well as thickening the hair. Rosemary oil is also believed to increase cellular metabolism that stimulates hair growth. Another benefit is that it can provide an increase in microcirculation of the scalp, which promotes healing.
Once cool, place the mixture in a spray bottle and store in a cool place. Shake before each use.
Like any product, make sure to avoid spraying in the eyes or the mouth.
Lavender & Rosemary Homemade Hair Spray
Total Time: 15 minutes
1 cup filtered or purified water
2 tablespoons cane sugar
1 tablespoon vodka
10 drops lavender essential oil
10 drops rosemary essential oil
Glass spray bottle or BPA free plastic dispenser bottles
Boil the water.
Dissolve the sugar in the boiled water. Stir.
Add the vodka. Blend again.
Allow mixture to cool, then add the essential oils.
Place mixture in a spray bottle and store in a cool place. Shake before each use.
Other than the common sunburn treatment and the original medicine purpose, here are a few other things I found to be true that you can use Aloe Vera:
1. Massages : If you mix two tbsp. of Aloe Vera Gel, 1 tsp.organic lemon juice and 2 tbsp. of organic brown sugar you have made yourself a homemade massage lotion!
2. Protection against scarringand stretch marks : With regard to rougher patches, you can mix 2 cups of sea salt, 1 cup of organic coconut oil, 1 cup of aloe and 2 tbsp. of organic honey. If you rub this on scarring or stretch marks, it turns out it works just a good, if not better, than a pricey jar at your local store to help reduce the showing of marks.
3. Asthma : If you boil hot water and add the Aloe leaves, and inhale, it becomes a soothing vapor.
4. Acne : For anyone having any kind of pimple problem, you can apply pure gel on your pores and skin after washing your face or taking a shower. It will reduce the showing and eventually disappear.
5. Makeup Remover : As most of those removers you buy are harsh for your skins with chemicals, you can substitute it with Aloe Vera. Squeeze just a dollop of pure aloe gel onto a cotton ball and wipe away your makeup!
6. Shaving Cream : This was something new to me and I had to try it! Not only can you use Aloe with other ingredients to make it a DIY, but because it's an antibacterial and a good moisturizer, you can use it on its on in place of expensive shaving cream!
7. Eyebrows : As a lot of girls clearly judge other girls based on their eyebrows, a good trick is using Aloe. Dip a clean mascara wand ( you can get these individually at your local Sally's Supply) in some Aloe Vera gel, and sweep over stray brows. It's almost like hair spray but for your eye brows, except they don't get hard and sticky!
8. Feet : Lets be real girls, and guys, we all have that cracked feet/heel problem! I have tried tons of things on Pinterest for this and nothing seems to work. However, I did start using Johnsons Baby Lotion on my feet before bed and they felt softer and less cracked in the morning. Make sure you put it on again in the morning though! For another way, using Aloe Vera is a good alternative! Mix 1/2 cup oatmeal, 1/2 cup cornmeal, 4 tbsp aloe vera gel, and 1/2 cup unscented body lotion ( I use Aveeno) and rub all over your feet until well exfoliated. Sit for 10 mins then rinse with warm water!
9. Hair : Not only can Aloe help your hair grow, but it can also help with other issues as well. It relieves scalp itching, scalp redness and inflammation, adds strength to your hair, anti-fungal properties while alleviating dandruff and helps your hair retain water and moisture. Just like using it as shaving cream, you can take Aloe and rub it into your hair, and massaging it into your scalp, let it sit and then rinse! I usually let it sit for the same time it would take to shave my legs and then I would rinse.
Most aloe topical products at your local stores contain less than 1% – 10% aloe vera in creams, lotions, and other body products. Studies have shown that a minimum of 30% concentration of aloe is necessary to receive the benefits of aloe.