hair

By Chin­we of Hair and Health

When it comes to hair care, it is vital to know how cer­tain ingre­di­ents work on our strands. Hav­ing this knowl­edge reduces the “tri­al and error” involved in both build­ing and adjust­ing a hair care reg­i­men.

Below is a quick guide for the more pop­u­lar, main­ly nat­ur­al ingre­di­ents involved in do-it-your­self (DIY) hair care. Do keep in mind that what works for most indi­vid­u­als may (or may not) work for you.

1. When you want to take advan­tage of the humid­i­ty:
Glyc­erin, hon­ey, aloe vera juice
Why: Humec­tants (mois­ture reten­tion).
How to use: Add to a mois­tur­iz­er or a leave-in.

2. When you want an oil-based sealant:
Soy­bean oil, grape­seed oil, cas­tor oil, avo­ca­do oil, sweet almond oil
Why: These oils can reduce mois­ture loss.
How to use: Use sep­a­rate­ly or add some to your mois­tur­iz­er.

3. When you want a light sealant:
Jojo­ba oil, grape­seed oil
Why: These oils are light com­pared to oth­er oils.
How to use: Use sep­a­rate­ly or add some to your mois­tur­iz­er.

4. When you want a heavy sealant:
Olive oil, shea but­ter (melt­ed) mixed with any oil
Why: Olive oil is one of the heav­ier oils. Many but­ters (such as shea) con­tain fat­ty acids like oils but are heav­ier than oils.
How to use: Use sep­a­rate­ly or add some to your mois­tur­iz­er.

5. When your scalp is itchy:
Tea tree essen­tial oil, aloe vera juice
Why: Some find either of these sub­stances to be sooth­ing to the skin.
How to use: (Tea tree) Use a few drops with water or a car­ri­er oil. (Aloe vera) Use straight or mix with water. NOTE: If you are preg­nant or have a health con­di­tion, please con­sult your doc­tor before using essen­tial oils.

6. When your scalp is dry:
Jojo­ba oil, aloe vera juicegrape­seed oil
Why: Jojo­ba oil is light and said to be very sim­i­lar to our sebum. Aloe vera juice is light, mois­tur­iz­ing, and sooth­ing to the skin.  Grape­seed oil con­tains a high amount of linole­ic acid, which has been shown to pro­tect against mois­ture loss (British Jour­nal of Derm. 1976 Sept;95(3):255–64).
How to use: (Jojo­ba, grape­seed) Mas­sage a few drops into the scalp. (Aloe vera) Use straight or mix with water.

7. When you want a mois­tur­iz­ing or soft­en­ing oil:
Grape­seed oil, saf­flower oil, cas­tor oil, argan oil
Why: These oils tend to leave the hair feel­ing soft and moist.
How to use: Use sep­a­rate­ly on damp hair or add some to your mois­tur­iz­er.

8. When you want a mois­tur­iz­ing or soft­en­ing non-oil:
Glyc­erin, aloe vera gel/juice, rose­wa­ter, hon­ey, water
Why: Glyc­erin and hon­ey are humec­tants (good for mois­ture reten­tion). Aloe vera gel/juice and rose­wa­ter are mois­tur­iz­ing. Water is the best nat­ur­al form of hydra­tion.
How to use: Use sep­a­rate­ly, add to your mois­tur­iz­er, or mix one (or more) ingre­di­ents to cre­ate a mois­tur­iz­ing spritz. Glyc­erin and hon­ey work best when applied to damp hair or mixed with water.  NOTE: Adding water, aloe vera juice, or rose­wa­ter to a whipped but­ter can cre­ate an envi­ron­ment for bac­te­r­i­al and/or fun­gal growth.

9. When you want shine or sheen:
Cas­tor oil, coconut oil, avo­ca­do oil, apple cider vine­gar
Why: Cas­tor oil has been shown to impart sheen (J Cos­met Sci. 2003 Jul-Aug;54(4):335–51). Coconut oil, avo­ca­do oil, and apple cider vine­gar are ones that many nat­u­rals swear by.
How to use: (Cas­tor, coconut, avo­ca­do) Use sep­a­rate­ly or add on top of your mois­tur­iz­er. (Apple cider vine­gar) Use as a post-wash rinse with cold water for 5 min­utes.

10. When your sham­poo is dry­ing:
Coconut oil, olive oil, argan oil
Why: These oils are mois­tur­iz­ing and lubri­cat­ing.
How to use: Pre-poo with any of the above oils or add to sham­poo.

11. When your sham­poo is not cleans­ing enough:
Bak­ing soda
Why: Eas­i­ly lifts oils and dirt.
How to use: Mix a lit­tle with your sham­poo. (Be sure to fol­low up with an apple cider vine­gar rinse.)

12. When you want more slip in your con­di­tion­er:
Shea but­ter (melt­ed), coconut oil, olive oil, jojo­ba oil
Why: Lubri­cat­ing.
How to use: Add some to your con­di­tion­er.

13. When you want a more mois­tur­iz­ing con­di­tion­er:
Glyc­erin, hon­ey, shea but­ter (melt­ed), argan oil
Why: (glyc­erin, hon­ey) mois­ture reten­tion; (shea but­ter) emol­lient.
How to use: Add some to your con­di­tion­er.

14. When you want a more strength­en­ing con­di­tion­er:
Coconut oil, gelatin, oth­er hydrolyzed pro­tein (e.g. ker­atin, col­la­gen)
Why: Coconut oil has been shown to pen­e­trate the hair and reduce ker­atin loss (J Cos­met Sci. 2003 Mar-Apr;54(2):175–92). Hydrolyzed pro­tein, includ­ing gelatin, pro­vides rein­force­ment by tem­porar­i­ly patch­ing the cuti­cle lay­er.  For max­i­mum strength­en­ing, go for con­di­tion­ers con­tain­ing hydrolyzed pro­tein.
How to use: (Coconut oil) Best used as a pre-poo to min­i­mize break­age, but may also use post-wash. (Gelatin) Mix with an avo­ca­do, yogurt, and/or oils to cre­ate a strength­en­ing con­di­tion­er. (Oth­er hydrolyzed pro­tein) Find a com­mer­cial con­di­tion­er with this ingre­di­ent.

15. When you want more hold and def­i­n­i­tion:
Shea but­ter, man­go but­ter, beeswax, flaxseed gel
How to use: Add some to your mois­tur­iz­er or use sep­a­rate­ly.

16. When you want to add fra­grance to your mix­ture:
Laven­der essen­tial oil, jas­mine essen­tial oil, rose essen­tial oilorange essen­tial oil
Why: These oils are some of the bet­ter options for specif­i­cal­ly adding fra­grance.  Laven­der, jas­mine, and rose have flo­ral scents while orange has a cit­rusy scent.
How to use: Add some to your mois­tur­iz­er or spritz.

17. When you want a lighter, less oil-based whipped but­ter (e.g., warm weath­er):
Aloe vera gel, jojo­ba oil
Why: mois­tur­iz­ing, but light
How to use: Mix a 1:1 shea but­ter and aloe vera gel mix­ture (or a vari­a­tion of this recipe).

18. When you want a heav­ier, more oil-based whipped but­ter (e.g., cold weath­er):
Olive oil, coconut oil, grape­seed oil, avo­ca­do oil, cas­tor oil
Why: mois­tur­iz­ing and seal­ing
How to use: Mix a 1:1 or 2:1 shea but­ter and oil(s) mix­ture.

Ladies, what nat­ur­al ingre­di­ents do you look for in hair care prod­ucts?

Chinwe

Empow­er­ing women of col­or to break bar­ri­ers. Cherish.Thy.Melanin. https://cherishthymelanin.com/
https://www.facebook.com/cherishthymelanin/

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56 Comments on "25 Popular Oils, Butters and Natural Ingredients and How To Use Them on Natural Hair"

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Epiclear

Very nice arti­cle. I cer­tain­ly appre­ci­ate this web­site. Stick with it!

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[…] in com­mer­cial hair prod­ucts. If you want a list of DIY, nat­ur­al ingre­di­ents, I would rec­om­mend this arti­cle on Black Girl Long […]

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[…] than coconut oil. When it’s hot and humid, I’m almost exclu­sive­ly a coconut oil girl.This arti­cle lays out even more uses for but­ters and […]

Nana

Which do you guys pre­fer for mois­tur­iz­ing and seal­ing shea but­ter or argan oil??

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[…] • That being said, dif­fer­ent oils have dif­fer­ent ben­e­fits. I recent­ly came across this nifty lit­tle guide on Black­Girl­Long­Hair. […]

Leslie

Hon­est­ly I use this as my hair BIble/Dictionary: http://www.healthyskinhappylife.com/ingredients-good/

Their con­di­tion­er isn’t half bad either.

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[…] year, I post­ed an arti­cle on “25 Pop­u­lar Oils, But­ters and Nat­ur­al Ingre­di­ents and How To Use Them on Nat­ur­al Hair.”  The list con­tained a num­ber of well-known oils — such as olive, coconut, and avo­ca­do — […]

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[…] year, I post­ed an arti­cle on “25 Pop­u­lar Oils, But­ters and Nat­ur­al Ingre­di­ents and How To Use Them on Nat­ur­al Hair.” The list con­tained a num­ber of well-known oils — such as olive, coconut, and avo­ca­do — […]

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[…] year, I post­ed an arti­cle on “25 Pop­u­lar Oils, But­ters and Nat­ur­al Ingre­di­ents and How To Use Them on Nat­ur­al Hair.”  The list con­tained a num­ber of well-known oils — such as olive, coconut, and […]

Spirit

I was with you all the way to num­ber 15. Beeswax is not good for hair it clogs the fol­li­cle, which stunts hair growth and caus­es break­age. But every thing else was okay…

SRRNatural

I love this arti­cle, I’m actu­al­ly fol­low­ing this arti­cle as my guide to have a healthy head of hair, I’m so excited,I’m also using a stim­u­lant. Wish me luck

lexi

Which stim­u­lant are you using. I apol­o­gize in advance if I read your mes­sage incor­rect­ly.

Jnatural

Repost. Repost. Repost. Repost. This arti­cle is straight to the point, infor­ma­tive and what every nat­ur­al wants to know. Good!

Mind of B

#8 is great for me, espe­cial­ly since I have a scalp that is severe­ly sen­si­tive to oil. I pre­poo with honey/floral water solu­tions, along with apple cider vine­gar to increase the antibac­te­r­i­al and anti­fun­gal prop­er­ties. Doing so’s been a big help this win­ter. Oh, the dry skin human­i­ty…

Glam

Great arti­cle!

Sylvie

Very infor­ma­tive. I would also add Mafu­ra But­ter to the list. It is excel­lent for soft­en­ing and mois­tur­iz­ing

joy

I’m curi­ous. Why would adding water to a whipped but­ter cause bacteria/fungal growth? Most prod­ucts w/ shea but­ter has water as the first ingre­di­ent.

Michelle
It’s not nec­es­sar­i­ly the water that pro­motes bacterial/fungal growth. Most prod­ucts on the mar­ket that have an oil and water mix­ture have preser­v­a­tives in them to keep them shelf sta­ble and to pre­vent the prod­uct from spoil­ing. If you make your own but­ters and creams (like I do), you have to always include a vari­a­tions of a preser­v­a­tive (Potas­si­um sor­bate, vit­a­min E). Just think of it this way, when you cre­ate an oil mix­ture and then add dis­tilled water..it might be okay for a few days, but then you start dip­ping your hand in the mixture…thus intro­duc­ing germs that can… Read more »
Cindy

I dis­tilled water isn’t used.

DeAna

Great Arti­cle!

Ms Marcy
Thank you for this infor­ma­tive ingre­di­ents chart. I am a 50 year old, 4C, thick and dense haired woman. I have tried to go nat­ur­al, at least, 5 times in my life. I nev­er felt com­fort­ed not accept­ing or under­stand­ing a part of me. This last jour­ney, thanks to you beau­ti­ful young peo­ple has been the most suc­cess­ful. Although I had a set back last year when I was iron and vit­a­min D def., my hair has grown back thick and healthy. You girls made a scary time in my life doable with all of your hair advice and You… Read more »
Abi

I’m look­ing for oils that will real­ly mois­turise my hair because what­ev­er I use, my hair drinks it all up. And an hour lat­er it is dry again plus liv­ing in Cana­da makes it even hard­er to keep my hair hydrat­ed. I’m also look­ing for oil that will pre­vent my hair from break­ing, just to strength­en my hair. And this arti­cle real­ly helped me under­stand all the ben­e­fits each oils have to offer. Thanks ????????

Sequitta

Remem­ber that oils will not “mois­tur­ize” your hair, but rather seal in the mois­ture. Get a real­ly good leave-in and seal in with a rich oil and/or but­ter. Oth­er­wise, just apply­ing oil with no mois­tur­iz­er will do more harm than good, because you’ll actu­al­ly be block­ing the mois­ture out…

Cindy

I know Cana­da weath­er oh too well. You must lay off the humec­tant s when its cold. Like glyc­erin rich prod­ucts and lim­it your hon­ey and aloe uses. Remem­ber lim­it, not cease unless nec­es­sary. Try invest­ing in a hair steam­er and I am almost pos­i­tive you will see a dif­fer­ence

Jj

loved this arti­cle!

Shelly_Shelle

I’m very anti-store prod­ucts. They have too many tox­ins.

I keeps it real, no filler ;) My sta­ple ingre­di­ents…

- BAKING SODA: to wash hair
— APPLE CIDER VINEGAR: To con­di­tion; add plain yogurt for deep con­di­tion
— OLIVE OIL: Use after wash
— JOJOBA OIL: to spruce up shine mid-week
— CASTOR OIL: to com­bat dry scalp (rare)

I mix: Shea But­ter Pomade (twist outs) and Flaxseed Gel (edges) via Nap­tural85 recipe

This nat­ur­al hair thing is quite sim­ple if you let your hair do what it do and give it what it needs: Mois­ture, Groom­ing, and Respect.

Lucky

Ooooooh, I’m lov­ing this list! Thanks for shar­ing.

*BOOKMARKED!*

Shell

A great list. Going to keep copy and save it for future ref­er­ence.

101Corkscrews

This arti­cle is so awe­some. I’m not much for mak­ing my own stuff but this has helped me to under­stand why I like cer­tain prod­ucts. I now know how to be more judi­cious in prod­ucts I buy. So infor­ma­tive. Thanks for all your hard work. The girl’s hair in this post is AMAZING! Who is she?

Amber

Just gave myself a fab­u­lous greek yogurt/black molasses/banana pro­tein dc yes­ter­day and my hair came out sooooooo smooooooooooootheeeee and stroooooooooonggggg! OMG I thought yogurt was only effec­tive in soft­en­ing up my hen­na, but noooooo. And I have plen­ty left over. A store would have charged a for­tune for this sim­ple recipe.

xyzebra

This is a great ref­er­ence guide! 

I am feel­ing you on point 8, the note about beware of aloe vera/water/rosewater in prod­ucts. I learned this the hard way (found mold in it after a few weeks). Now I only put my aloe vera gel/juice in prod­ucts that have a fast rota­tion. And for spray, I put it in a tiny, trav­el size spray bot­tle, know­ing I’ll go through it quick­ly from dai­ly use, refill after about a week, rins­ing between refills, while I keep the main jug of aloe vera juice/gel refrig­er­at­ed at all times.

Hansy
I love these types of arti­cles because I love to make my own hair con­di­tion­ers and this info will make things eas­i­er for me. For some rea­son my hair does not like store bought con­di­tion­ers. My favorite con­di­tion­er is a home­made banana con­di­tion­er which recipe I got from anoth­er BGLH arti­cle. I also use a lot of oils but I think I am aller­gic to jojo­ba oil so I had to stop using it. Right now I love Coconut, Olive and Canola oils. I also use lots of hon­ey, aloe vera (I live in the Caribbean and in my back­yard… Read more »
hmm

Can you write/link the banana recipe? Also, do you have to make it every time or can it last in the fridge?

Hansy

Here is the link. It works won­ders for my 4A/B fine hair. The only thing I changed was that I sub­sti­tut­ed the glyc­erin (not avail­able where I live) for Aloe vera. A very impor­tant advice is to use a blender if you use a banana instead of the baby food because if not you will have banana bits on your hair for ever. 

http://blackgirllonghair.com/2012/08/3-easy-to-make-homemade-deep-conditioners-for-natural-hair/

Bye to Dry naptural

Great info, and as said, what works for one may not work for some­one else. Hair is as unique as per­son­al­i­ty. I love shea but­ter and oil mix­tures even in sum­mer, because my hair is so thick and dry.
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nappy headed black girl

Great post. Ingre­di­ents I look for are water first and I’m becom­ing a fan of aloe vera. I avoid beeswax, gel, and shea but­ter (too heavy for my lik­ing).

Shenika

Thank you so much for shar­ing what all these oils are good for. I also make my own prod­ucts and am always look­ing for new infor­ma­tion and tips on what works well. I am in love with cas­tor oil when I need some­thing that is going to lock in the mois­ture for a long time and jojo­ba oil when I need some­thing light. 

Check out my blog 

sheni-kare.blogspot.co.uk

x
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Phoxxie

Look, I’m keep­ing it sim­ple with some good old Blue Mag­ic. I tried using dif­fer­ent oils etc but now I real­ize I have to keep it sim­ple. If it’s good enough for lit­tle girls (and you see how long and healthy their hair tends to be) then its good enough for me. Hon­est­ly, I retain more mois­ture with Blue Mag­ic (blue grease, not the green).

Phoxxie

I got thumbed down for that? lmao its my hair. If I want to use hair grease thats my busi­ness. Saves mon­ey too.

Adrienne

I think you got thumbs down main­ly for the fact that you say that using hair grease in a child’s hair helps it grow longer. When in actu­al­i­ty it’s the fact children’s hair tend to be longer than an adult woman main­ly because a lot of women don’t do much to their children’s hair. Grow­ing up it wasn’t uncom­mon for my moth­er to braid my hair or put it in plaits to last the school week. Keep­ing my hair in pro­tec­tive styles is what helped my hair to grow. The hair grease just gave me a head full of dan­druff

NaturallyPhoxxie

I think its a com­bi­na­tion of the hair grease and pro­tec­tive styling I use it when I twist my hair and leave it in for 2 weeks. Per­son­al­ly, I’ve used prob­a­bly half the oils list­ed up there. Coconut oil, jojo­ba oil, sweet almond oil, seal with shea etc. I end­ed up broke with dry hair. So, I took it back and got even more sim­ple with it.

You prob­a­bly got dan­druff because your scalp was greased with it. I only grease my hair. Not my scalp and I nev­er had a dan­druff prob­lem.

Mimi
I am going to book­mark this arti­cle because it is just…dare I say it: per­fect. Most of this infor­ma­tion is already out there for peo­ple to absorb, but this is an excel­lent com­pi­la­tion of every­thing float­ing around the world wide web. A great ref­er­ence guide, if you will. I didn’t know shea but­ter could be used for that many things, which is prob­a­bly why I nev­er real­ly used it in my hair. I ruled it as being too heavy for use when there are so many options for incor­po­rat­ing it in my mix­es. I am also more tempt­ed to try… Read more »
Just Joy

Anoth­er sug­ges­tion for #5: “When your scalp is itchy”
Pep­per­mint essen­tial oil, and Vit­a­min-E oil.

Sooth­ing heav­en! ?

CurlyQ53

Just be VERY care­ful with Jas­mine and Ylang Ylang– more care­ful than you might be with oth­er essen­tial oils. I don’t know if it was just the brand I use or what, but those two scents are STRONG. I put TWO drops in about six ounces of water and oils to scent my spritz (two drops!) and I was clear­ing rooms it smelled so strong. So use very, very lit­tle of those two and be care­ful with it. 

Some of the EOs you can get away with being heavy-hand­ed.… Not those two in my expe­ri­ence.

JENNID

Thank You for this. I may print this off and post it on the fridge for future ref­er­ence. Ever since I became nat­ur­al many years ago now I have nev­er kicked my love of play­ing mix­tress in the kitchen. A lot of these ingre­di­ents can improve the skin as well. I tried out a tea tree and acv ton­er recipe that was pret­ty good. Except glyc­erin which I didn’t like at first, I like all the ingre­di­ents men­tioned above. I think I will retry the glyc­erin now that I have a bet­ter under­stand­ing of how it works.

.....

What hair type does the girl in the pic­ture have?

momofIV

Very infor­ma­tive,
Thank you

luminous

Oth­er great fra­grance essen­tial oils: lemon­grass, berg­amot, and ylang ylang.

JJ Williams

I find these arti­cles help­ful in that they give me a start­ing point. I know what I’ve tried and hate I know what I like these arti­cles just give me oth­er ideas.

CurlyBlue

I enjoy read­ing your arti­cles BUT some­times it can be over­whelm­ing and more of a “preach­er like” arti­cle. Your not a true nat­ur­al if you don’t have ABC. If you want your twist out to last longer do steps 123. It’s not real­is­tic. Nat­u­rals have at least three tex­tures. I find it hard to enjoy the jour­ney when it’s oth­er nat­u­rals say don’t be a prod­uct junkie BUT you need this. I try not to look to deep in these arti­cles but, it’s start­ing to sound like a revolv­ing door.

Elle
I think Curly­Blue pre­sent­ed her cri­tique respect­ful­ly enough not to deserve all the thumbs down.  True, many stress that all the advice in the world doesn’t mean did­dle if your hair is say­ing some­thing else, how­ev­er the tone of some arti­cles around var­i­ous hair boards at times becomes guru-like. It’s annoy­ing. But I don’t think the issue is hubris or a ‘cult men­tal­i­ty’, but rather a need for more edit­ing, a dis­tance by the writer from their piece.  I like the sug­ges­tions in the arti­cle. Some may also want to try lau­ric acid (coconut and palm ker­nel oil) as a strength­en­er.… Read more »
Phoxxie

I agree. Thats why I keep it sim­ple with Blue Mag­ic hair grease. No shame. It keeps my hair mois­tur­ized longer than shea but­ter and coconut oil.

Adrienne

Like every­one else is saying…you have to use what­ev­er works best for your hair. I mean Phoxxie says that she only uses blue mag­ic to “mois­tur­ize” her hair. But since petro­le­um jel­ly (which is all blue mag­ic is) acts more like a sealant, prod­ucts like Blue Mag­ic actu­al­ly seals out all oth­er forms of mois­ture when­ev­er I apply it to my hair which always leads to exces­sive dry­ness and break­age. Not too men­tion the fact that it makes my scalp itch like crazy.

NaturallyPhoxxie

Nope. Didn’t say that. I said it keeps my hair mois­tur­ized. As in after I wash it, con­di­tion, then slap the hair grease on. It keeps my hair mois­tur­ized for the whole week until I wash again. Also, I would­nt say that it keeps out mois­ture all togeth­er. Cer­tain­ly in the first 2 days. Some­times but not too often, on day 3 or 4 I spritz with water, rub olive oil in, then my curl n style milk then blue mag­ic. It seals every­thing in until Im ready to wash again.

The Natural Haven
Hon­est­ly, I feel like com­ments like yours Curly Blue are based on per­cep­tion and not real­i­ty. This arti­cle start­ed off by men­tion­ing two key prin­ci­ples: 1. Tri­al and error 2. I quote here ‘Do keep in mind that what works for most indi­vid­u­als may (or may not) work for you’ Every arti­cle in this blog with hair advice in gen­er­al will make a sim­i­lar pro­vi­sion to say that what is writ­ten is gen­er­al­ly true but if you expe­ri­ence oth­er­wise, do trust your hair.  I per­son­al­ly liked this arti­cle a lot because it gives an expla­na­tion as to why an ingre­di­ent may work. No… Read more »
momofIV

They are just sug­ges­tions or recommendations.…you are not required to do anything…take it or leave it. It’s all good. :)

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