Healthy Hair Ingredients That May Be Hidden in Your Pantry
Clinical Herbalist Reviewed on November 2, 2018 by Paulina Nelega, RH
Posted in Hair Care Tips
When it comes to taking care of your hair, you might be tempted to scour the shelves at your local drug or beauty supply store to find the perfect blend of hair care products. These products are often loaded up with chemicals, and they can be quite expensive, particularly when used long-term. What many people don’t realize, though, is that the secret to healthy hair might be hidden in their pantry.
That’s right—natural ingredients you keep in your kitchen can unlock the moisture and shine you’re looking for. Whether you apply these ingredients to your hair by themselves or create a hair mask out of a mixture of a few, you should be able to find the perfect hair care solution that’s all-natural and much easier on your wallet.
Common healthy-hair ingredients
There are tons of ingredients hiding in your pantry or fridge that make great natural hair care treatments. Many of the following ingredients can be mixed together to make hair masks; once you mix and apply the ingredients to your scalp and hair, throw on a shower cap and let the mask sit for 30 minutes before rinsing. Other ingredients like baking soda are best used alone for a specific purpose.
- Honey: Honey is known for being ultra-hydrating for your hair. You can mix it with other hydrating ingredients to create hair masks or leave-in conditioners. Additionally, honey has been shown to be effective at reducing the effects of dandruff. Studies have shown that diluting honey with warm water and applying it to the scalp can help reduce flakiness and itchiness.
- Coconut oil: Coconut oil is present in an array of hair products, and for good reason. Unlike other oils that can sit on the top of the hair and make it look shiny, coconut oil is actually able to penetrate the hair deeply to moisturize it. Coconut oil makes a great base or additive to at-home haircare treatments. It can also be applied to just the ends of your hair to tame split ends and frizziness.
- Avocado: Avocados contain high levels of vitamins B and E, as well as proteins and fats. They are great for replenishing moisture and shine.
- Yogurt: Yogurt is an ideal deep conditioner thanks to its moisturizing abilities. The lactic acid, antifungal and anti-bacterial properties can also help remove dead skin and halt itchiness on the scalp.
- Olive oil: Olive oil is similar to the natural oil your scalp produces, making it a good alternative for hydrating dry and brittle hair. You can use olive oil as both a pre-shampoo treatment or as a leave-in conditioner by itself, or mix it into hair masks to enjoy its benefits alongside numerous other ingredients.
- Eggs: A whipped egg might have benefits when applied to hair in a hair mask or treatment. Egg whites are known to cut back on excess oil on the scalp, while egg yolks are rich in proteins and fat that can help strengthen and moisturize dry and damaged hair.
- Banana: The high potassium levels in bananas help strengthen hair and provide elasticity that can fight against breakage. Bananas are also great for moisturizing hair and controlling dandruff.
- Apple cider vinegar: Apple cider vinegar is useful to treat fungal causes of dandruff because it contains antifungal properties. If you have dandruff, rinse your hair and scalp with apple cider vinegar. Then, rinse your hair well with water to remove the scent.
- Baking soda: Mixing one part baking soda with two parts warm water and massaging it into your scalp and strands in lieu of shampoo can help rid your hair of excess oils and residue from chemical-based hair care products. You don’t want to do this too often, as it can dry out your hair by stripping it of its natural oils. However, it makes for a good cleansing rinse if your hair is feeling particularly weighed down.
Ingredients to help heal hair from the inside-out
In addition to the ingredients you can apply directly to your hair to moisturize, boost shine and remove excess oil, there are also lots of ingredients in your home you should be putting into your body. Hair health truly starts from within, so make sure these foods are present in your diet:
- Water: Water is the most important thing for your overall wellness, in addition to healthy hair. If you are dehydrated, your hair will be too. Make sure you’re drinking at least 8 cups a day to stay healthy and hydrated, and to prevent hair loss.
- Protein: Your hair is made of proteins, so fueling your body with ample protein is critical to maintaining healthy hair. In fact, getting too little protein has been linked to hair loss.
- Foods with biotin: Biotin is an important B-complex vitamin that is associated with glossy and strong hair and clear skin. Eggs, cheese, spinach and mushrooms are just a few of the many foods rich with this vitamin. There are also supplements on the market, if you are not getting enough biotin in your daily diet.
By using natural ingredients on your hair and in your body, you’ll begin to see a difference in the health of your hair. Hair care doesn’t have to be complicated or expensive, so look inside your pantry to see what hair-helping ingredients you have waiting.
Paulina Nelega, RH, has been in private practice as a Clinical Herbalist for over 15 years. She has developed and taught courses in herbal medicine, and her articles on health have appeared in numerous publications. She is very passionate about the healing power of nature. Ask Dr. Jan