6 Simple Homemade Hair Masks to Treat Your Tresses

avocado cut in half rests on blue floral geometric plate

Treehugger / Lesly Junieth

In 2013, Americans spent $11.4 billion on haircare products. That’s a lot of money spent on chemical-laden mystery concoctions that are potentially doing more harm than good. The U.S. EPA lists a number of unsavory ingredients found in the things we use in our hair, ranging from lead and sodium hydroxide to dibutyl phthalates and formaldehyde – with a host of associated health effects that are disconcertingly dire. While we’re not exactly saying that your store-bought shampoo and conditioner are going to kill you, we are saying that it really couldn’t hurt to use things that are simple, clean and pure. Like, food! We’ve already covered the shampooing part; so here we have a list of one-ingredient masks using things from the kitchen to tackle a host of hair complaints. Not only are the following treatments safer for you, but they won't foul the wastewater, don't produce excess packaging and are much cheaper, among other benefits. Plus, it's fun to mash food into your hair.

of 6

Egg for all hair types

three white bowls with three raw eggs: whites, yolk, and altogether

Treehugger / Lesly Junieth

Eggs are magical little packages of protein, vitamins, essential fatty acids and antioxidants – they are great to eat and they are also great for slathering all over your head to make your hair look awesome. For normal hair, use both the yolk and whites. For oily hair use just the whites; and for dry hair, use just the yolks.

Apply about 1/2 cup of whatever part you would like to use (if using whole, beat them a bit first) to clean, damp hair. (For longer hair, you may need more.) Leave on for 20 minutes and then rinse with tepid water, and shampoo. Some experts recommend whole egg and yolks-only masks be used just once a month and the whites-only treatment be used once every two weeks; others say more frequently is OK. Since everyone's hair is different, experiment and see what works best with yours.

of 6

Beer to enliven limp hair

can of beer poured into measuring cup, next to olive oil and egg for hair mask

Treehugger / Lesly Junieth

Just like a glass of beer can embolden the shy, so can it add pep and courage to insipid hair. Beer's yeast and vitamins can bring out the body and shine in otherwise limp hair; bonus points for having a new use for leftover beer. There are several approaches:

  • Pour one cup of flat beer through your hair after shampooing (and still in the shower) and allow it to soak in for three or four minutes before rinsing with tepid water.
  • You can also put flat beer in a spray bottle; spray it on dry hair and leave it in for 20 minutes before shampooing.
  • The messiest approach may be the best, however. Mix 1/2 cup of flat beer with a raw egg and a teaspoon of olive oil and apply to clean damp hair; keep on for 15 minutes. Rinse with tepid water and shampoo as usual.
of 6

Cornstarch for greasy hair

hands scoop cornstarch with a spoon into mini glass container with sprinkler top

Treehugger / Lesly Junieth

Basically, dry shampoo from your pantry. All you have to do is sprinkle about one tablespoon of cornstarch into dry hair and scalp and gently work in. Let it do its magic for 10 minutes, then brush it out completely. If you incorporate this treatment into your beauty routine, you can fill a salt shaker with cornstarch for regular applications. And if you add a drop of essential oil to the mix, it brings a little extra something to the party.

of 6

Yogurt for dull hair

pile of thick Greek yogurt in dark blue bowl on wooden table

Treehugger / Lesly Junieth

If you are following a no-shampoo routine you probably do not suffer from dull hair; but all can potentially benefit from the application of yogurt. With a one-two punch of lactic acid and dairy fat, yogurt both strips away dulling residue while also moisturizing. Massage 1/2 cup of full-fat yogurt into dry hair and let sit for 20 minutes. Rinse and shampoo as usual.

of 6

Avocado for frizzy hair

tattooed hand holds out patterned plate with avocado cut in half

Treehugger / Lesly Junieth

It seems that frizzy hair is the bane of many a hair haver's existence. If such is the cursed case for you, behold the avocado. And then mash it up and put it in your hair. Avocado's oils and vitamins are a wonderful combo for smoothing crazy hair. Mash up half an avocado and massage into damp hair, leave on for 15 minutes before rinsing and shampooing as usual. For an added boost, add a tablespoon of yogurt or an egg yolk to the mix.

of 6

Honey for an itchy scalp

chartreuse yellow-green ceramic crock filled with honey and honey dripper inside

Treehugger / Lesly Junieth

Is there anything honey can't do? It seems unlikely. And in fact, one study has even shown that it can effectively treat chronic seborrheic dermatitis and dandruff. Patients were given topical treatments of honey; for all of the patients, itching was relieved and scaling disappeared within one week. Patients showed subjective improvement in hair loss as well. Even if your scalp problems aren't that severe, honey will help; and it will make your hair shiny too.

For the study, researchers used 90 percent honey with 10 percent warm water and massaged into scalp for a few minutes. Heads were then covered with a shower cap for three hours. The treatment was administered every other day for four weeks, after which it was done once a week to prevent relapse. You can modify the plan based on personal needs.