Chances are you put your hair through the wringer. At-home dye jobs, flat ironing, and even the sun’s rays can all lead to dry, damaged hair. And when your hair is in this state, it’ll break faster than it can grow, leaving you to wonder why it seems like your bob won’t ever reach your shoulders.
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So how can you make your hair grow faster naturally, without using an actual product? The truth is, there’s no overnight solution to promote strength and thickness. Some treatments—like hair growth oils and homemade masks—may hydrate and infuse strands with nourishing ingredients that promote overall health, but “minoxidil (the active ingredient in Rogaine) is the only FDA-approved drug clinically proven to regrow hair,” says Dr. Howard Sobel, a board-certified dermatologist in NYC.
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The bottom line: If you’re suffering from extreme loss or thinning, check in with your dermatologist for help. But if the goal is simply to treat strands to a little TLC at home and possibly see some growth and added volume, these DIY hair masks can help. Bonus: They also bust dry scalp and any resulting dandruff, diminish frizz, and add shine.
Castor Oil Hair Mask
Use it to treat: Dry scalp and dandruff. Celebrity stylist Michelle Cleveland recommends this mask, because castor oil is rich in fatty acids that moisturize and has antimicrobial properties that make it a worthy treatment for dry scalp and dandruff.
Ingredients: 1 teaspoon of castor oil.
Directions: Put cold-pressed castor oil in a small bowl. Heat in the microwave for about 10 seconds. It should be warm, not hot. Using your fingertips, massage the castor oil into your scalp and down the hair shaft. Leave on for 15 minutes, then rinse well, then shampoo.
Cinnamon and Coconut Oil
Use it to treat: Thinning and f4vn.com spice works to stimulate blood circulation and promote hair growth and strength, while the coconut oil is rich in fatty acids, helping to further repair, says Melissa Peverini, a hairstylist with Cricket.
Ingredients: 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1 teaspoon of coconut oil.
Directions: Blend ingredients together well. Apply the mask onto your roots and part, massaging into your scalp. Let mask sit for 30 to 45 minutes, then rinse with warm water.
Coconut Oil, Lemon, Yogurt, and Egg
Use it to treat: Dry hair. Cleveland says the egg in this DIY mask has plenty of vitamins to nourish strands, plus contains hydrating ingredients like coconut oil and yogurt.
Ingredients: 1 teaspoon of coconut oil, juice of 1 lemon, 1/2 cup plain yogurt, and 1 egg.
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Directions: Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl until well combined. Use your fingertips to apply from the scalp down to your ends. Cover with a warm towel or shower cap to lock in the natural heat from the scalp. Leave on for 15 to 20 mins. Rinse well with warm water, then shampoo as usual.
Coconut Oil, Honey, and Avocado Oil
Use it to treat: Frizzy hair. The fatty acids, minerals, and antioxidant properties of the mixture will help reduce frizz and add shine, says Bryant Anthony, an advanced designer at Salon Eva Michelle in Boston.
Ingredients: 1 teaspoon refined coconut oil, 1 teaspoon of 100 percent pure honey, 1 tablespoon of avocado oil.
Directions: Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl until well combined. Use your fingertips to apply, starting at your scalp and working down to your ends. Leave on for 10 minutes. Rinse with warm water, then shampoo with a clarifying shampoo and your usual conditioner.
Honey, Avocado, Yogurt, Brown Sugar, Bananas, and Apple Cider Vinegar
Use it to treat: Damaged hair. Honey is loaded with vitamins and minerals to treat split strands, says Fred Connors, owner of FRED Salon. Plus, avocados are packed with essential fats and biotin, while bananas contain silica for additional hair-strengthening properties.
Ingredients: 1 tablespoon of honey, 1 tablespoon of avocado, 1 tablespoon of plain yogurt, 1 tablespoon of brown sugar, 1 tablespoon of banana, 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar.
Directions: Using a fork, mix these ingredients together in a bowl until it forms a smooth, even paste. Using your fingertips, massage the formula into your scalp, working your way down to your ends. Wrap hair in a plastic cap to keep the mask in place and seal in the heat from your scalp. Let sit for at least 20 minutes, then rinse out and shampoo as usual.
Coconut Oil and Honey
Use it to treat: Dry, damaged hair. This simple mask will make frizzy hair and split ends soft, shiny, and smooth, says Nycole Jones, a hairstylist with Cricket.
Ingredients: 1 tablespoon of organic unrefined coconut oil and 1 tablespoon of raw honey.
Directions: Mix the ingredients in a small mixing bowl until well combined. Apply to wet or dry hair, taking care to focus on the ends, since that’s where you’re most likely to see the most damage. Let sit for about 30 minutes, then rinse and shampoo as usual.
Coconut Cream, Cocoa Powder, and Cinnamon
Use it to treat: Thinning hair. This mask works to promote thickness, thanks to antioxidant rich dark chocolate, theobromine to boost growth stimulating blood flow, and cinnamon that promotes circulation around hair follicles, says De L’isle of Happy Curls, Happy Girls.
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Ingredients: 5 ounces of coconut cream, 1/2 cup of no-sugar-added cocoa powder, 3/4 tablespoon of powdered cinnamon.
How to DIY: Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl until smooth and creamy. Apply to damp hair from root to tip, cover with a plastic cap, and let sit for at least 30 minutes. Rinse with warm water, then shampoo as usual.
Apple Cider Vinegar
Use it to treat: Flakes and itchy scalp. Thanks to its acidic nature and antimicrobial properties, an apple cider vinegar rinse helps cleanse your scalp and restore shine, says Kali Ferrara, a hairstylist at The Salon Project in NYC.
Ingredients: 1 part raw, unfiltered apple cider vinegar and 10 parts water.
Directions: Mix the two ingredients. Apply to wet hair after conditioning, massage into the scalp, and let sit for five minutes. Rinse well.
Avocado and Banana
Use it to treat: Dry, damaged hair. This mask is a deep conditioning treatment that contains nutrient-rich ingredients to add protein back into the hair, making it look super shiny and healthy, says Maressa D’Arezzo, a hairstylist with Cricket.
Ingredients: 2 tablespoons of banana and 2 tablespoons of avocado.
Directions: Using a fork, mash banana and avocado together until smooth. Apply the mixture from roots to ends to thoroughly saturate each section of hair. Let sit for 15 minutes, then rinse out.
Sugar and Olive Oil
Use it to treat: Dry hair and dandruff. Sugar is a great exfoliant for the scalp and hair shaft to clear out product build-up (think caked-on dry shampoo) and treat any flaking, says Ferrara. As the sugar dissolves, the oil delivers healthy fats and emollients to dry scalp and hair for moisturizing benefits.
Ingredients: 2 tablespoons of sugar and 5 tablespoons of olive oil.
Directions: Stir the two ingredients together, being careful not to fully dissolve the sugar. Work the mixture into your scalp to dissolve the sugar, gradually moving down your hair until you reach your ends. Rinse out immediately and shampoo.
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