DIY hair masks: The ingredients you need for the type of hair you have


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We put our hair through a lot sometimes. We weigh it down with gel, mousse and hair spray or strip it because we want to go that intense shade of never-occurs-in-nature red just one last time. We flat-iron or curl or blow-dry until we can almost hear each strand whimpering for mercy. The results can often aggravate already-problematic hair and leave it dry and brittle, oily or just plain dull.

A vast assortment of products ranging from reasonable to are-you-kidding-me are out there for the taking, all claiming to flatten frizz, add volume, revitalize and basically leave hair looking like you’ve stepped out of a shampoo ad. But if the wallet’s hurting a bit or you just feel overwhelmed by all the choices out there — hey, it happens — you can try making your own hair mask.

Simply apply to your hair a mask made with ingredients that target your specific issue, leave it in for about 15 to 20 minutes and then rinse. All you have to do is know which ingredients work for which hair type and issue. And it’s your lucky day, because we’ve rounded up a nice cheat sheet for you.


Before you begin

You’re going to want to prepare your face mask first and set it aside while you wash your hair with your usual shampoo. Do not use conditioner — which sucks if you’re hair gets tangled, because you’re going to have to comb it. Your hair should be wet, but squeeze out all excess water so the mask doesn’t just slide off onto your floor.


Dry hair

Your hair needs moisturizer, so focus on ingredients that replenish your hair with the oil it so desperately needs. Avocado is rich in vitamins E and B, and will restore shine to that dry hair. You’ll need at least half of one, so enjoy one half in a salad while mashing the other half for your hair mask. The great thing about avocado is that you can combine it with other ingredients or use it entirely on its own. It’s that darn good.

Other ingredients that will benefit dry hair include mayonnaise and olive oil, both of which can be mixed with your mashed avocado half. The eggs, vinegar and oil in mayo help hydrate hair and add some volume, too. Like avocado, mayo can be used on its own, so go on and slather your hair like it’s a sandwich.

Believe it or not, bananas help prevent split ends. And since it helps to moisturize that dry scalp, it helps minimize dandruff. Mash up half a banana until it’s as smooth as you can get it, and combine with olive oil.

Use these masks once every three weeks or so to keep those locks hydrated.


Oily hair

Oily hair sufferers pretty much have to wash their hair every single day or risk looking all greasy. The problem with products that cut back on that oil is that they tend to contain alcohol, which can dry out your hair a bit too much.

That’s where apple cider vinegar comes in. Simply dilute one part vinegar in two parts water, apply and sit back while it regulates your scalp’s pH. The vinegar also strips residue that your shampoo misses so your hair doesn’t look all limp and weighed down by the mehs.

Lemon juice is an astringent, which will close the pores in your scalp when applied. This, of course, helps reduce oil production. Dilute the juice of one lemon in one cup of water and apply. Be warned, though, that if you use regularly, it may lighten your hair color.

Don’t want to take that chance? Mash up some strawberries. These babies are rich in vitamin C, which your hair needs to look healthy. Bonus: They, too, regulate oil production. Combine them with a bit of mayo so that you don’t over-dry your hair.

Stick with doing any of these masks once a month, because you don’t want to strip away all the oil. Then you’ll have to scroll up to see what to do about dry hair. You can actually combine any of these with some mayo to avoid absorbing too much oil.


Combination hair

You know the deal. Oily scalp and dry ends make for a lot of miserable hair days. Yogurt to the rescue! It’s protein, so it not only encourages growth and repairs damaged locks but also helps strip away residue that your shampoo misses. If your hair skews toward being dry, mix yogurt with olive oil. If it skews toward being oily, mix yogurt with some mashed strawberries.

The idea is to regulate the pH, so grab that apple cider vinegar and a couple of eggs. Mix 2 tablespoons of the vinegar into two beaten eggs and apply. The eggs are protein, so like the yogurt, they repair damaged hair.


Ready to rinse

Regardless of which mask you use, leave it in for 15 to 20 minutes and rinse it off with lukewarm water. Once you’ve rinsed out the mask, rinse your hair one more time in cooler water, comb and air-dry.