The Science of Hair:
In the last DIY Hair Mask post we talked about the science of hair. I’m going to include it again but if you want to look back at the DIY hair mask to Repair Damaged hair click here.
Hair strands are made up of layers. Most people have two layers and some people have three. The Cuticle is the outermost layer of hair and protects the strand like shingles on a roof. It is translucent and provides protection. The Cortex is the inner layer that gives hair its color and is made of protein. The protein is like a rope, keeping the structure.
Dry Scalp is:
Dry scalp is the lack of moisture in the skin and hair. The lack of moisture could be due to over washing, irritating products, and or environmental reasons like winter. The scalp creates its own oil called Sebum, genetics can play a role in how much oil you create or not. Some people have less sebum produced naturally and when combined with other irritants causes a very dry itchy scalp. This is not dandruff, but true dry skin.
How to build your own mask:
First lets explain a few key ideas:
Acidic components like Lemon or Apple Cider Vinegar will cause the cuticle to shrink and harden. This doesn’t let things in and is best for environmental protection.
Alkaline components like baking soda, certain oils and water will cause the cuticle to swell up and soften. This is most hair masks. This is good for getting hydration into your hair but you must rinse with an acid to close the cuticle afterwards.
Amino Acids are the building blocks of protein and are required to nourish your hair. We do get this naturally from our diets but it helps to strengthen the hair shaft when added.
1. The Basics: Oil-Base-Protein
Every basic DIY Recipe will need an oil, a base, and a protein. You can mix and match to find the best for you.
Thicker oils work best on hair especially near the ends. Lighter oils are better for the scalp though- Jojoba is very similar to skin sebum and would work well for dry scalp.
- Heavy oils with Oleic Acid – castor or coconut oil. Work better to penetrate hair.
- Light oils with Linoleic Acid- grapeseed oil- can still be used and is easier to wash out.
The base is what makes the mask masky. It holds everything together in a mask consistency. Some bases double as proteins.
- Aloe Vera – Aloe vera has fatty acids and amino acids and is rich in vitamins A, B12, C, and E. Use store bought get or buy an aloe leaf from the store and spoon out the interior.
- Avocado- Avocados are loaded with potassium and protein. Just mash an avocado like you are making guac.
- Mayo-Mayo has an amino acid called L-cysteine. This due to addition of lemon juice and vinegar. It also has eggs for protein. Just use a scoop or two from the jar.
Like I said earlier some proteins can double as bases. That makes mixing and making even easier. Protein is necessary for hair repair masks.
- Collagen Powder- add to any mask for added protein
- Yogurt- Can also be used as a base and has all 9 essential amino acids
- Eggs- Crack one in for some protein.
DIY Hair Mask Recipes for Dry Scalp
Colloidal Oats & Yogurt
1 Tbsp Sunflower seed oil
1/2-3/4 C Colloidal oats
1 C Yogurt
10-15 drops of Lavender or Chamomile Essential oil
This recipe is good for treating the itch and redness of your dry scalp. Colloidal oatmeal does wonders for the skin, but it may be a little tougher to get out for the hair. Leave mixture on as long as possible.
Aloe Vera & Honey
Gel from 1 Aloe Leaf
1 Tbsp Hempseed oil
2 tbsp Honey
Honey is sticky but combined with oil and aloe not so much. Honey is a wonderful conditioner alone but combined with Aloe Vera they bring out the best in each other. Leave on at least 20 mins.
Rosemary & Avocado
1/2 of an Avocado
1 tsp Jojoba oil
1 tbsp rosemary infused oil or 20 drops of rosemary essential oil- Extra points if your rosemary infused oil is made with jojoba oil. (to infuse oils- simply add fresh or dried rosemary to oil in an air tight container and let it sit in a dark place for a month)
After the Mask:
Rinse your head in cool water to remove the mask then use shampoo still with cool water. Try to limit your washes to 2x per week or less and use a mask before each washing to help stop, soothe and prevent dryness.