Woman looking at hair

Don't get stuck in a hair muck. Revive your strands with these DIY hair care recipes. Photo: Getty

If hair concerns have got you down, you don't need to go out and buy a fancy product or pay out the nose for a professional salon treatment.

Instead, we've gathered natural recipes that you can create in your very own kitchen, that women have used for centuries to care for and coax their hair back to resilient and shiny health.

We suggest putting some time aside for some pampering, and perhaps mixing up a facial mask or drawing a relaxing bath while your strands enjoy their therapy.

So turn off the cell phone, disconnect the computer, and even lock the bathroom door if you have to -- and take the time for yourself.







Dry Scalp

High fat and protein ingredients will replenish a thirsty scalp, though you have to make sure the product penetrates the top barrier level of skin in order to have an effective treatment, says Marina Valmy, director of Christina Valmy Skincare.

Ingredients

1/2 cucumber
1/2 avocado
1/3 cup sour cream
Large cube of eggplant

Blend the cucumber, avocado and sour cream together in a blender and scoop onto scalp. Massage the mask into your hair and scalp with the eggplant cube. Then cover your hair with a shower cap or seran wrap for a half an hour, finishing with a rinse that will leave your hair follicles moisturized and scalp soothed. If you can make it a cool rinse, all the better for a shiny result.


Brittle, Damaged Hair

"The hair and nails are a barometer of our inner health," says Valmy. That's why after illness, stress and major hormonal changes, our hair can look excessively damaged. This treatment uses a large dose of cholesterol -- which may not be good for your arteries, but is ideal nourishment for your strands -- with a mix of oils to strengthen fragile hair.

Ingredients

1 packet Knox Gelatine (unflavored), melted in 1/2 cup hot water
3 egg yolks
4 tablespoons grape seed oil or olive oil
3 capsules primrose oil

For a less oily feel, Valmy suggests opting for grape seed oil. Mix all ingredients together, puncturing the primrose capsule to use the oil only, and discard of the rest of the capsule. Saturate hair and scalp with the mixture, and cover with a shower cap or seran wrap. Leave on for 45 to 60 minutes for an indulgently deep treatment that can be further intensified by running a hair dryer over your wrapped head.

"It's great if you can take a hot bath while this is on your hair, as the heat will open up the pores of your scalp and penetrate the mixture into the root of the hair shaft," suggests Valmy.


Oily Hair And Scalp

"Oily hair benefits from rinsing with herbal infusions rather than conventional conditioners which may contain silicones that make the hair even oilier," says Julie Gabriel, author of Green Beauty Recipes -- who we hear will soon publish a recipe book for natural hair treatments.

"Nettle helps normalize the sebum production in the scalp, while apple vinegar helps soothe the scalp and make the hair glossy and soft. Other helpful herbs for oily hair are linden blossom, hops, bay leaf and green tea," advises Gabriel.

Ingredients

3 cups water
2 tablespoons dry chamomile flowers or 4 chamomile tea bags
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon fine sea salt

Boil the water and pour it in a non-metal container. Place tea bags in the water and cover well. Let stand for five to six minutes. Strain the liquid and add the vinegar and sea salt. Pour in a spray bottle. Then spritz as often as necessary to saturate your hair from roots to ends. It's ideal to air dry your hair if possible, but you'll still see results if you blowdry too.


Fading Hair Color

Choose from blonde, redhead and brunette options below.

Blonde

Chamomile has long been used to brighten blonde hair naturally and lift dullness from light locks. "This treatment also leaves a great scent and lots of shine," says Valmy.

Ingredients

6 chamomile tea bags
8 ounces of water

Create a leave-in spritzer by first placing the chamomile tea bags into the water, and then bringing to a boil. Turn off the flame, and let the bags steep for three to four hours. Then hop in the shower and shampoo and condition as usual, finishing with a cool rinse. Towel dry and spritz strands with chamomile mix for blonde-highlighting shine and a delicious scent. You can blowdry or airdry as usual, instructs Valmy.

Redhead

"Carrots are high in vitamin A in its natural form, beta-carotene. This pro-vitamin is naturally red in color and is highly pigmented," says Gabriel. "Honey provides your hair with strengthening enzymes and minerals, while cranberry acts as a natural penetration enhancer thanks to the high content of fruit acids," adds Gabriel.

Ingredients

1-5 large carrots, depending on length (two for short, three for shoulder, and five for long)
1/2 cup cranberries, fresh or frozen
1 tablespoon honey

Wash, scrub, chop and steam the carrots. Mash with a fork or a stick blender. Add cranberries and mash the mixture even more, finally adding honey and stirring well. Then shampoo your hair, and skip the conditioner. Towel dry strands, and then apply mask generously from root to end. Relax for 10 to 15 minutes, and rinse mask off.

"You'll have a glistening crown of hair! Just take note: this mask can turn your highlights golden brown or add coppery tones to your existing red or auburn hair color," advises Gabriel.

Brunette

"Coffee and chocolate are rich in natural brown pigments, and cocoa butter in chocolate nourishes dry hair without weighing it down. Lemon juice acts as a mild penetration enhancer, helping pigment particles enter the hair shaft," explains Gabriel.

Ingredients

1 cup water
1/2 cup dark roast ground coffee
1/2 bar dark chocolate
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Prepare a very strong coffee using a coffee press. Place the coffee in a pot and top with boiling water, then cover with lid and let steep for five to seven minutes. Strain the liquid, and pour the coffee into a small saucepan. Crumble the chocolate into the pan, and heat the mixture over low, stirring well until chocolate melts. Remove from heat and cool, finally adding lemon juice and stirring well.

Shampoo your hair, skipping the conditioner, and towel dry hair. Apply the mixture generously from root to strand, taking care not to stain your skin -- as the brown pigment can be stubborn. (You can also apply rich cream along the hair line to prevent staining.) Cover your hair with a shower cap and wrap with an old towel. Let sit for 10-15 minutes, rinse off, and style as usual.

The treatment may darken some scalps -- if you don't like the effect, Gabriel recommends shampooing your hair for one to two minutes after rinsing off the mixture.


Dull Hair

"The two most important things for shiny hair are to eliminate build-up from factors like product residue and the environment, and then to moisturize," advises Alexis Wolfer, founder of the natural beauty savvy website, The Beauty Bean.

Ingredients

(Step One)
Juice of one lemon
2-3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cups warm water

(Step Two)
2 eggs - room temperature
2 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons olive oil

Mix the lemon juice with apple cider vinegar and warm water. To remove residue and neutralize your hair's pH balance, apply the mix to hair and rinse with cool water.

Then to moisturize, beat together the eggs and coconut and olive oils, and massage through dry hair. Cover with a shower cap and towels warmed from the dryer -- or you can enjoy a steamy bath or shower. Let sit for ten minutes, and then shampoo out.

If you've enjoyed these recipes, check out our tips for healing your body and mind with more helpful things you can do at home.

And check out these recipes for homemade beauty treatments for your face and body.