What is the best DIY hair mask?
When it comes to DIY hair masks, there really is no one best mask. Finding the right DIY hair mask recipe, says Dr. Geeta Patel, a Houston-based dermatologist, comes down to your hair’s individual needs. “Every ingredient targets different needs, so there are different ‘bests’ for different purposes,” she explains. For instance, some people may need a shine boost, while others need help de-frizzing.
Here are 12 DIY hair mask recipes to try, no matter what kind of TLC your hair needs:
1. Coconut oil, mayonnaise, yogurt
Great for: Damaged hair after coloring
- 2 Tbsp. full-fat yogurt
- ½ cup mayonnaise
- 2 Tbsp. coconut oil
- “To get the most out of this repairing mask, you have to first wash your hair with a clarifying shampoo to unclog the cuticle,” says Monica Davis, a hairstylist in Cedar Rapids, Ohio.
- Next, evenly apply the mask to damp hair, raking it with your fingers from the mid-length to the ends, leaving the roots clean.
- “Let the mask do the job for around 50-60 minutes and rinse it out with shampoo—not the clarifying one this time!” Davis says.
- Finish with your usual conditioner.
2. Apple cider vinegar, aspirin, tea tree oil
Great for: Early stages of dandruff
- ½ cup apple cider vinegar
- ½ cup water
- 10-12 drops of tea tree oil
- 1 tablet of aspirin
- “Crush the aspirin with a spoon or cup bottom on a piece of paper—or a kitchen mortar, if you have one,” Davis says.
- Thoroughly mix the ingredients in a spray bottle and spray it all over your scalp.
- Let it sit for around 30 minutes and shampoo it out.
Aspirin contains salicylic acid, which Davis says helps to reduce inflammation and exfoliates dandruff flakes. Per Davis, you can repeat the procedure each time you plan to wash your hair, until the dandruff goes away. For those with lingering dandruff, make sure to see a dermatologist for a professional evaluation.
3. Avocado, olive oil, manuka honey
Great for: Shine and hydration
- 1½ avocados
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 2 Tbsp. manuka honey
- Juice of ½ lemon
- 1-3 drops of an essential oil of your choice (optional)
- Mix all ingredients in a blender until smooth.
- Coat the hair evenly, cover with a shower cap and let sit for 45 minutes.
- Wash out with shampoo and conditioner.
“This is the ultimate mask for bringing back healthy, shiny, and hydrated strands,” says celebrity hairstylist Annagjid “Kee” Taylor. The natural oils from the avocados can help heal and moisturize a dry scalp, while also acting as a detangler by coating the hair for easy comb through without tugging or tangles. In other words, this is the moisturizing hair mask of your dreams. “The added lemon is an antibacterial and helps with dandruff,” Taylor adds. Olive oil protects the hair from heat, and manuka honey helps with hydration and shine. If you choose to add an essential oil, think about your hair goals— tea tree oil is often used to treat dandruff, and peppermint oil is great for the scalp, says Taylor. You can also just choose one that smells great to you, but remember a little goes a long way.
4. Greek yogurt, castor oil, coconut oil, egg
Great for: Hair breakage repair
- 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
- 1 Tbsp. castor oil
- 1 Tbsp. coconut oil
- 1 egg
- Mix Greek yogurt until smooth.
- Add remaining ingredients and stir until even.
- Apply and cover with a plastic cap and leave on for at least an hour.
- Rinse thoroughly.
“This is the mask for deep restoration, and it’s great to use on a weekly basis,” Taylor explains. She says the protein in Greek yogurt and eggs will help strengthen weak, dry hair strands and prevent breakage. “One of my favorite products to use is castor oil, which will not only nourish your hair, but also can help thicken your hair, and acts as an emollient to prevent the hair from losing moisture and breaking—a good way to aid in hair growth especially for my natural girls,” Taylor explains. So if you’re looking for a homemade hair mask for hair growth, this is the one for you.
5. Apple cider rinse
Great for: Improving scalp health, dandruff, and frizz
- 1½ cup hot water
- 2-3 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
- 2-4 drops of an essential oil
(Optional: You can mix and match 4 drops of lavender, 3 drops of lemongrass, 2 drops of tea tree, and/or 3 drops of rosemary oil depending on the result and scent you’re looking for)
- Mix all ingredients in a bowl.
- Shampoo your hair, then rinse.
- “Apply the mix using a spray bottle or squeeze bottle, or slowly pour on your hair (avoiding the eyes),” explains Shiry Raz, a celebrity hairstylist for Maya Rudolph, Jennifer Lopez, and Gwyneth Paltrow.
- Apply root to ends, massage in the scalp, let sit for 5-10 minutes, then rinse, dry, and style.
“This mask is full of vitamins C, B, folic acid, and biotin,” says Raz, who suggests applying this after shampooing hair once a month for best results.
6. Coconut oil, avocado, egg, honey
Great for: Thinning hair
- ½ avocado
- 1 egg
- 1 Tbsp. of coconut oil
- ½ tsp. of honey
- Mix all ingredients together and massage into your hair and scalp.
- Leave it on for at least 30 minutes.
- Rinse, shampoo, and condition as required.
“One of the biggest contributing factors to hair loss and thinning hair is a lack of protein in our diet,” explains Dawn Clemens, a hairstylist and founder of LarweHair. This mask, she says, can give your hair a dose of “protein nourishment.”
7. Banana, olive oil, coconut milk
Great for: A moisture boost
- 1 banana (the riper the better)
- 2 tsp. olive oil
- 2 tsp. coconut milk
- Blend the banana thoroughly until it’s lump-free.
- Then slowly add the olive oil, while blending, followed by the coconut milk.
“Pro tip: If you’re low porosity [a type of hair texture that repels water, making moisture difficult to absorb], be sure to use a heat cap or steamer to allow the mixture to thoroughly penetrate,” says Adria Marshall, a hairstylist and founder/owner of plant-based hair line Ecoslay.
8. Egg, banana, milk, honey, olive oil
Great for: Smoothing and some love for brittle hair
- 1 beaten egg
- 1 mashed banana
- 3-4 Tbsp. of dairy milk
- 2 Tbsp. of honey
- 5 Tbsp. of olive oil
- Mix together and apply a thin layer to the scalp and hair.
- Leave on for 40 minutes and then wash off with a gentle shampoo.
9. Avocado, egg, honey, olive oil
Great for: Repairing damaged hair
- ½ avocado
- 1 egg
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 Tbsp. honey
- Using a fork, mash all ingredients together.
- Apply to dry hair, starting at the ends and working your way up.
- When finished, roll up your hair and put it in a shower cap or wrap in a towel for up to one hour.
- Rinse with warm water to remove the mask, then shampoo.
“Hair is protein, and this mask contains hydrating oils and plenty of nourishing protein,” says Dr. Anna Guanche, a dermatologist and celebrity beauty expert in Calabasas, California. “Your hair will be hydrated and soft like silk.”
10. Coconut oil and brown sugar
Great for: Nourishing your scalp
- 2 Tbsp. of unrefined, melted coconut oil
- 2 drops of peppermint essential oil (or your favorite essential oil)
- 2 drops of tea tree oil
- 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp. of your favorite hair conditioner
- In a small bowl, mix together the coconut oil, the essential oil of your choice, and the tea tree oil.
- In another bowl, combine the brown sugar and your favorite hair conditioner.
- Part your hair into sections and apply the oil mixture to slightly damp hair, starting at your scalp and working to the ends.
- Take the brown sugar/hair conditioner mixture and apply to the scalp only, lightly massaging. Do not scrub.
- Leave the mixture in your hair for one hour, then rinse with lukewarm water and shampoo normally.
I have been treating my hair with masks for 2 weeks now. My last dye job and hair cut was devestating. This is the reason I will go without a hair cut for a year. And I do my own coloring because I can not trust anyone. I find a good haircut and by time I go back she either moved on or no longer in the city. EVERYTIME! It is now that I am repairing the damage I got. Hair masks are incredible and really work well. Enjoy the recipes and get youn a good hair mask at least once a month.