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3 Easy Homemade Conditioners for Slip, Moisture and Protein

• Nov 9, 2013

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Creating hair conditioner from fully natural unprocessed ingredients is a job for the dedicated kitchenician. One of the main reasons why a kitchen product may not get you the results of a commercial conditioner is because the real power of a commercial product is in the inclusion of ingredients to smooth the cuticle after shampooing (cationic surfactants). As discussed previously, these surfactants are generally made by modifying coconut or palm oil so do have a natural origin. However, if your aim is to create something fully natural, here is a guide on what to consider adding in order to get a great result:

1. The Base : Yoghurt (plain) , Banana (baby food), Avocado (creamed)
The base of your natural conditioner needs to be thick enough such that it does not drip off your hair but at the same time be able to be spread easily enough to coat the hair strands. A major mistake people make when picking a natural ingredient like banana or avocado is that they do not blend it down to a complete pulp. If there are still pieces in the mix, there will be pieces to pick out of your hair. A simpler option is to use a thick plain yoghurt or purchase baby food. Avocados are rich in fat and this is useful if your hair needs softening during conditioning.

2. Ingredients for slip : Olive oil, jojoba oil
If you want to detangle your hair with your natural conditioner, then it would be a good idea to add some oil to the base of your choice. A more liquid oil e.g olive oil or a liquid wax e.g jojoba oil is generally a better option than an oil that is more viscous (e.g castor oil) or one that changes from solid to liquid with low heat (e.g shea butter or coconut oil). However, if you intend to use your conditioner warmed up, then it is perfectly fine to use any oil of your choice.

3. Ingredients for moisture — humectants: Glycerin, honey, aloe vera
Humectants purely for moisture are probably best used during the leave in process rather than during the conditioning process. However, there is no harm in using them during the conditioning process. Glycerin, honey and aloe vera are all natural humectants. You can add any of these to your base in a quantity of your choosing. As you will be rinsing off the hair conditioner, most of the humectant on the surface will also eventually be washed away. Therefore, even if you do not particularly like glycerin in a leave in, you may find that in the conditioner mix, it is perfectly fine.

4. Ingredients for strength — protein: Gelatin
If you would like to have some hydrolysed protein in your hair, then you have to slightly break the rules of non-modification and select gelatin to add to your base. I do know that there are people who promote eggs as a natural protein conditioner but it is not really clear if the size of the protein in eggs can really work as well as a hydrolysed protein.

5. Extras — fragrance (essential oils), increase fluidity (coconut cream/milk)
Finally, if the consistency of your final mix is too thick, consider adding coconut cream or milk to it. The liquid here contains some oils from the coconut and therefore adds both fluidity and slip. Plain water may cause some of the oils added to the base to separate (surfactants in commercial conditioners help prevent this, but we don’t have them in the natural options). If you would like some fragrance, do consider some essential oils.

Note: If you are going to go for a 100% natural conditioner, you ideally need to avoid a shampoo with surfactants that will raise the cuticle as the natural conditioner does not really have the same ability as commercial conditioner to fix this. Most commercial shampoos are ruled out but if you are ingredient savvy, you may be able to find a shampoo with non cuticle disruptive surfactants such as tween or cocobetaine (please do your research). Any of the previously discussed natural shampoo options would work. If you are a heavy oil user and want to go down the 100% natural route, you may find a commercial clarifying shampoo to be useful when used infrequently (once a fortnight/month) to prevent build up.

Ladies, do you have homemade fixes for slip, moisture and protein? Share in the comment box!

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shaniqwa
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shaniqwa

I always wanted to try homemade shampoo/conditioners but how would it stay fresh since it is food? Or do i just re-make it every time i want to shampoo/condition

Balanced Melting Pot
Guest

You would need to make it every time that you need to use it. Many of these ingredients do not have long shelf lives and I think the reason they are so rich in nutrients is because they are fresh.

Amber
Guest
Amber

Freeze it in an ice cube tray.

Dananana
Guest
Dananana

I would love to try this, but I’m curious: How would one preserve what they make?

Mahogany
Guest

I enjoy making my own hair conditioner. I feel it softens and deranges my hair much better than the store brands. I mix mayo, honey, aloe, and jojoba oil/coconut oil. Sometimes I mix in different items. It just depends on what I have on hand. I make a new batch weekly.

Tanya
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Tanya

I made a DIY deep conditioner with 6 scoops of mayonnaise, 2 eggs, honey and olive oil. It was super messy but I left that in my hair for an hour and it made my hair super easy to detangle. can I use this deep conditioner once a week? Is this too much protein? Should I replace the mayonnaise with a trader joes conditioner? Should I eliminate the eggs if I decide to deep condition with trader joes citrus conditioner. Btw my hair is very thick but multi textured due to heat damage. I love this website any advice is… Read more »

Tracy
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Tracy

I think you should listen to your hair. Only because what’s good for one natural may not be good for the next. If your hair feels good meaning not brittle, no extra shedding, no extra breakage, etc. then you’re safe. And if you’re familiar with the rule of diminishing returns then you should always try and switch it up because the more you use the same exact thing the less of an impact it will have. To let you know I have very dense thick hair and use advice as a guide because we know our own hair better than… Read more »

Talia
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Talia

Well, mayo is eggs+oil (olive or sunflower or some other). So you can either just blend eggs with olive oil, or use mayo. Of course the store mayo would have multiple artificial additives and preservatives that you would probably want to avoid.

JENNID
Guest
JENNID

Tanya your mix sounds good. Weekly might be over kill as it may cause some buildup due to all the heavy ingredients. Two or three times a month maybe a nice little treat for your hair though. The best way to know is to try it again weekly for the next few weeks and see how well your hair responds to it. If its all good keep using it! I think the eggs are fine, the protein in them may not be that beneficial but the yolks are fatty and rich which makes the hair nice and soft.

Francesca
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Francesca

I mix a batch of banana and coconut milk (very finely strained of hard to wash out chunks)and freeze the extra in a small single use size ziploc bag. I do the same with my henna treatments. I snip a corner off to apply. So easy and not messy. I prefer not to use preservatives since freezing and thawing is easy to do.

Dananana
Guest
Dananana

I hadn’t thought of that…great idea!

luminous
Guest
luminous

My DIY deep conditioner: avocado, banana, egg, honey, coconut oil, and olive oil. I mix it with a hand blender. I apply all of it to dry hair. Then I put on a plastic cap and let it sit for a couple of hours.

Chichi
Guest
Chichi

I make leave-in conditioners that last me about 3 months at a time… however it takes 6 weeks to make! it’s a mixture of herbal decoctions and herbal oil infusions. Of course I add in essential oils and a bit of my home made oil mix and it work wonders! To be honest, I don’t always use that, 6 times out of 10 you’d find me using water and my oil mix, that always does the trick! I don’t even need to apply a deep conditioner to being with before doing my hair! It usually stays moisturised on till I’m… Read more »

Cindy
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Cindy

Could you elaborate? What herbs do you use in your decoctions and infusions? How do you make them and how are they used?

Chichi
Guest
Chichi

Hi Cindy, It’s a lot to explain by text. I’ll post the links of the videos I used to come up with the idea. How To Make An Infused Oil How To Make A Decoction How To Make A Cream And DIY Homemade Hair and Body Oil This youtuber is the best I found in relating homemade herbal oils to hair: Hair Growth Oil for Natural Hair In term of what herbs I personally use? I use the herbs of the same essential oils I like to use (rosemary, lavender and sage)… i have horsetail and nettle in my mixture… Read more »

Cindy
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Cindy

Thank you so much for taking the time to respond! I will definitely investigate further.

Knotty Natural
Guest

Here’s my all-start DIY Protein Deep Conditioning Recipe! I love it! Provides slip, moisture and protein through all natural ingredients, right from your kitchen or health food store!

http://www.lillian-mae.com/diynatural/diy-natural-deep-conditioning-protein-treatment-recipe/

Knotty Natural
Guest
la*belle
Guest
la*belle

Lovely, thank you Jc. I need budget friendly hair care,and this as well as your natural shampoo article have helped tremendously.

mangomadness
Guest
mangomadness

My favorite moisturizing homemade deep conditioner is a mix of 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt, 3 tbsp coconut oil, 1 tbsp food-grade aloe vera gel and 1 tbsp raw honey.

My favorite strengthening homemade deep conditioner is mayo made with 1 large egg and 1 cup of oil (olive or sunflower) emulsified in a blender.

I’ve had success with adding using banana baby food and glycerin in homemade deep conditioner in the past. I will revisit these ingredients.

Lunye'
Guest
Lunye'

I also make conditioners for my hair. For protein I use mayo (which I do once a month), and I also use banana baby food, or shea butter. I mix them mostly the same maybe just switching up the oils depending on what my hair needs. I add oils and coconut milk (that I sit in the frig and it forms a cream), most times ayruvedic powders (amla mostly but neem, tulsi and hibiscus powders). I mix as much as I need that for one wash. Although the tip Francesca gave about freezing is such a good idea. I have… Read more »

mangomadness
Guest
mangomadness

Your mixes sound lovely!

What effect does amla powder have on your hair? How much amla powder do you usually add to your homemade conditioners?

Knotty Natural
Guest

I LIVE by tea rinses! We should swap recipes! Here’s a link to mine!

http://www.lillian-mae.com/kitchen-chemist/beauty-day-featuring-homemade-herbal-black-tea/

I also am growing lavender…wish it didn’t take a full year to come to full term though!

nappy headed black girl
Guest

If you use eggs for protein, be sure they are organic. Otherwise you’re not getting the full benefits.

I would love to try the gelatin for protein but, as usual, I’m concerned about being able to rinse everything completely out of my dreads. I don’t want to smell rotten yogurt all week o_0

tmc (toronto meet up, nov 16)
Guest

hi Jc, I blended my banana the second time I used it as a treatment and was still picking it out of my hair. The seeds/sandy stuff in it also got stuck in my hair. But i guess baby food would be the best way to go.
Thanks for sharing about gelatin, I don’t like the smell of eggs, so this is a great substitute
themanecaptain.blogspot.ca

melissa
Guest
melissa

for slip I always add oils or melted butters to my deep conditioner.

Tyku
Guest
Tyku

If you’re vegan and don’t want to use honey, eggs, yogurt how will you go about getting the protein?

Bri Van Der Pol
Guest
Bri Van Der Pol

Quinoa protein

Kristen
Guest
Kristen

What do you all use for a natural Shampoo. I would like to stop using store bought! Also, I’ve heard alot about using apple cider vin for a conditioner. Do y’all recommend this in between using your home made oils/conditioners?? I’m a newby to this but would really like to learn more before I start. 😉

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[…] previous articles, I discussed the options for 100% natural shampoo and conditioner treatments based on possible efficacy from a scientific perspective. This week is the turn of pre […]

Funmi
Guest
Funmi

Please help me, am a Nigerian, my hair is about 2inch long and soft but it breaks when is a little long than that, which i don’t like. i have tried egg and mash banana once.But i want my hair to be strong and shining because if i do braiding it doesn’t 2 weeks before it becomes untied.
I will appreciate if you can help me.
Thanks
Funmi

zuelika
Guest
zuelika

Funmi,
I think that if you keep doing deep treaments and moisturizing your hair it will help. keep in mind that for your hair to be strong and shiny, it will take time. so patience is the key. this website has a lot of good articles. you can also go to http://www.naturallycurly.com/ and find some good articles. So good luck on your journey and if your patient and keep doing deep conditions, you will see a diffence.

jausserehl
Guest

Im not big on raw food in my hair…i rather just gobble it all down. My dc mix is usually mayo, olive oil, honey. I do however want to try baby food and see how that works, i dc once a month so i guess using the same old recipe would work for a while. Will be trying some of the recipes ive read on here tho…

Amanda Makyn
Guest

For those of you interested in keeping your mixture longer there are a few natural preservatives available, that I desired to share — but always do your own research. Grapeseed Extract (GSE) is a natural preservative, Rosemary Extract & Essential Oil acts as a preservative and also stimulates growth (speaking of essential oils, Peppermint E.O. is another that stimulates circulation & growth so would be a great addition to this recipe), and Vitamin E (tocopherol) is another powerful antioxidant often used as a preservative. I am unsure as to how long each of these would extend the shelf life of… Read more »

DivaVocals
Guest
DivaVocals

Note: If you are going to go for a 100% natural conditioner, you ideally need to avoid a shampoo with surfactants that will raise the cuticle as the natural conditioner does not really have the same ability as commercial conditioner to fix this”

Personally to solve this, I use a regular commercial conditioner while in the shower after I shampoo.. I apply my natural conditioner to my hair after I get out of the shower and cover with my microwave conditioner cap and rinse out after 30 minutes.. THIS works for ME and MY hair.. (your mileage may vary)

Keneesha Hodge
Guest

I managed to do well with a mix of Greek yogurt ‚an egg white and a little olive oil. Because I must have over-moisturized my hair, I did treatments every time I cleaned my hair for a few months and then once a month until I got lazy. Needless to say I’m back to needing the regular treatments. This time I was researching if buying a product would be better than mixing my own.

Sara35
Guest
Sara35

I just used 2 eggs, yogurt, olive oil, coconut oil, castor oil and avocado. My hair is very dry and I haven’t been taking care of it as i should. The front caught on fire a couple weekends ago and I was depressed and unmotivated because of that, people say they don’t notice much gone but I do. Took three years for my hair to reach this level and that happened. Will just try again, at least the back is intact

Bri Van Der Pol
Guest
Bri Van Der Pol

How much of each ingredient are we supposed to use?

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