Hair Chef: DIY Natural Hair Mask Therapy for All Hair Types

Dry hair? Greasy hair? No problem. This summer, your pantry has you covered. Have fun chef'n it up and go natural and crazy for cheap and easy hair masks. Concoct your own or try a recipe- either way, your hair (and your wallet) will love you!

This summer, hair is reaching its boiling point. The sun has wrecked havoc and left it… greasy? Dry? Greasy AND dry? There is nothing sexy about that!

No need to fret though. The solution could be hiding in your cupboard and refrigerator. No need to spend whopping amounts of cash on strengthening and moisturizing salon-treatments and expensive “hydra-sulf-instant-blah-blah” therapies. Going natural is fun, reliable, easy and best of all- cheap!

First off, let us diagnose the issue, as certain ingredients should be embraced while others discarded. Take a look in the mirror and examine your lovely locks.

Is your hair greasy at the top and dry at the bottom (combination hair), dry all the way through with split ends? Think horse tail…(dry hair) or is it just a flat-out grease-ball (you guessed it…oily hair).

Establish where you fit so that you are shooting for the right ingredients!

Hydrating ingredients


Hydrating ingredients are generally oily and contain vitamins that provide elasticity for repair. This means fewer split-ends and damage-reverse for dry, unruly hair.

Keep in mind that many of these ingredients (if used in excess) can leave your hair a royal, slimy nightmare. If making a hydrating mask, try and put less on the root-area and more on the tips. 

  • Avocado
  • Honey
  • Olive oil
  • Castor oil (great for dandruff)
  • Almond oil
  • Jojoba oil
  • Flax oil
  • Fish oil
  • Banana
  • Vitamin E oil
  • Essential oils
  • Agave nectar 

Strengthening ingredients


Strengthening ingredients are usually protein-based. They certainly don’t smell the best but they do wonders for dry, frazzled manes. Most strengthening ingredients are also hydrating ingredients. 

  • Mayonnaise
  • Yogurt
  • Garlic
  • Eggs
  • Whole milk
  • Cottage cheese
  • Butter
  • Purred beans 

Clarifying ingredients

When adding clarifying ingredients (for greasy and combination hair) be very scare and cautious. You do not want to fry your hair. These should be used VERY sparingly (and most intensely around the root-area).

  • Strawberries
  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries
  • Apple
  • Tea leaves
  • Citrus (be mindful of overuse as citrus can lighten hair)
  • Fresh ground-up red pepper
  • Mint
  • Baking Soda
  • Tea-Tree oil
  • Apple-cider vinegar
  • Parsley
  • Vodka (be careful with alcohol, NO more than ½ tablespoon)
  • Brandy (be careful with alcohol, NO more than ½ tablespoon )
  • Perfume/body mist (contains alcohol)

Great for base

If you want to add in your own stuff- you’ll need a stiff base.

  • Pureed beans
  • Yogurt
  • Clay
  • Mayo (only if hair is really dry)
  • Avocado

Chef’n it up: Your own concoction


Feel free to experiment with ingredients to create your own, one-of-a-kind hair mask. Make sure to keep your hair type in consideration. Normal hair doesn’t really need a mask, but can certainly still use one. The key to a successful hair mask is a good balance of ingredients.

Depending on the mask, you may want to begin with a clay-base. Store your homemade mask in the refrigerator and only use it once a week (max).

For Moisturizing masks, apply to dirty hair and let sit for at least 30 minutes. To kick up the moisture, wrap hair up under a shower-cap.

Using a blow-dryer, heat the mask under the shower-cap for up to 15 minutes. Be sure to rotate the blowdryer around your head so that you do not burn yourself. Once the mask is hot, wrap your head in a small towel (over the shower cap).

Feel free to sleep on it or wait a few hours. The towel will keep the mask warm and protect your pillow/house from getting melty guck drips. When you wash the mask out, use both shampoo and conditioner (or you can skip the conditioner).

Try and use cold water. Let your hair air-dry.

For Clarifying masks, be sure to be very sparing with drying ingredients. These masks should usually have a clay-base. Even though your hair is oily, you should still add a bit of hydrating ingredients, as over-drying the hair actually exacerbates the scalp’s production of grease.

I recommend combining clay with your choice of drying-ingredients with a bit of egg or strengthening ingredients and a dabble of honey (or a simple moisturizer that does not have oil). Be sure to rinse mask off within 30 minutes.

An excellent strategy is to use warm water and rinse hair with apple-cider vinegar (not too much though!). Generally, the ratio for apple-cider vinegar is 1 tablespoon: 1 cup water.

Creating a successful balanced mask makes a great gift for friends and family. Craft stores have all types of containers, label-makers and décor for glass and plastic adornment.

Sticking to recipes

When it comes to our hair – our pride and glory – not all of us are adventurous and confident about trying new things.  Not to worry – there are plenty of recipes (feel free to tweak with other ingredients).

Super greasy hair


You will need:

  • 80-100 grams of chopped, fresh parsley
  • 1 Teaspoon of vodka
  • ½ cup pureed beans
  • 1 Tablespoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons of castor oil

Muddle/blend all ingredients and apply generously to dirty hair from the scalp and down . Let sit for 30 minutes. Shampoo with a very light, clear shampoo. Rinse with warm water and a few tablespoons of apple-cider vinegar. 

Greasy hair

You will need:

  • 1 egg
  • 50 grams of yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 2-5 strawberries

Muddle/blend all ingredients. Apply to clean hair. Let sit for 30 min-1 hour and rinse with warm water.

Normal hair


You will need:

  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
  • 5 fresh tea leaves
  • ½ a banana

Muddle/blend all ingredients. Apply to clean hair. Let sit for 30 minutes-1 hour and rinse with cool water.

Dry hair


You will need:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 banana
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 50 grams of yogurt

Muddle/blend all ingredients. Apply to dirty hair and let sit for at least 30 minutes. Lightly shampoo and rinse with cold water.

Super dry hair

You will need:

  • ½  cup mayonnaise
  • 1 banana
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 gram avocado

Muddle/mix well. Apply to dirty hair and let sit for at least 30 minutes. Shampoo and condition hair as normal. Finish off by rinsing hair with apple-cider vinegar. 1 Teaspoon: 1 cup water.

You may omit this, but keep in mind that the vinegar adds shine and balances hair’s Ph.

Combination hair


You will need:

  • ½ cup pureed beans
  • 50 grams of yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon tea-tree oil
  • 1 teaspoon honey

Muddle/mix well. Apply to clean hair. Rinse with cold water and apple-cider vinegar. 1 Teaspoon: 1 cup water. You may omit this, but keep in mind that the vinegar adds shine and balances hair’s Ph.

Hair masks are an excellent way to get your mane in ship-shape condition. This summer, the scorching rays of the sun, the salty waves of the beach and the sticky hands of humidity do not need to cause chaos on your hair.

Instead, pop open your fridge and see what is available – there are more usable ingredients than you think!

Cover photo:

About the author

Alexandra Meehan

Alexandra Meehan is a poet and writer residing in Gainesville, Florida. When she's not writing, she is biking or spending time with her partner Cathrine and their beloved Australian Shepherd, Pekoe.

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