Natural Beauty

Nourishing Hair Mask

According to the Environmental Working Group (EWG), “We each use about 10 personal care products each day, repeatedly exposing ourselves to tons of unique ingredients. Some may be benign, but others may be harmful. Some chemicals, like those that affect our hormones, can have an effect even at low doses.”

They state, “Research shows certain chemicals may cause long-term, gradual changes – changes that you may not notice for years, if not decades. For example, some common ingredients are ‘sensitizers.’ Repeated exposure may cause you to develop an allergy. Many chemicals associated with health hazards accumulate in the body. Some are passed through to the fetus. Some cosmetics ingredients have been linked to cancer or developmental problems.”

Conventional hair treatments often contain problematic ingredients, like added fragrances and colorants that can cause issues like endocrine disruption, allergies, immunotoxicity, neurotoxicity, and more.

You can check EWG’s online database to find out if your favorite products contain harmful chemicals and if so, identify some safer options from their “EWG verified” products list.

Making your own hair products, however, is ultimately the best way to know that your hair care products are completely safe. Using simple, non-toxic ingredients is not only beneficial for the health of your hair, it’s also much cheaper than buying conventional beauty products.

This hair mask combines all natural, nutritious ingredients to boost overall hair + scalp health, reduce tangles + frizziness, and to give hair added volume + shine.

Bananas are rich in nutrients, like silica a mineral that strengthens hair. They are also a source of antioxidants that boost the health of your hair follicles, which helps hair grow stronger & longer.

Banana hair masks improve overall hair health and volume. Their moisturizing properties make bananas especially helpful for dry, brittle, or frizzy hair and for easing itchy scalp conditions, like dandruff.

Bentonite clay is rich in minerals that nourish your hair + scalp, helping to boost growth and make hair softer, shinier, & less frizzy. It naturally cleanses hair, removing excess oils + toxins and exfoliates the scalp — which may ease dandruff + itchiness and prevent infections of the scalp.

Aloe Vera is a source of nutrients that improve the health of hair follicles, including amino acids, fatty acids, and vitamins A, B12 & E. Enzymes in aloe help to cleanse greasy hair by breaking down excess oil on the hair & scalp.

A study has found that aloe vera protects hair from sun damage caused by UV rays, which can can make hair dull, rough, and brittle.

Apple cider vinegar is rich in nutrients that improve overall health of your hair and scalp. It helps to balance the pH of hair, which lends shine and makes it less prone to tangling.

Apple cider vinegar is gently exfoliating to the scalp — removing dead skin cells & build up from sweat & conventional hair products. It can be helpful for dry itchy scalp due to dandruff or other scalp conditions.

Chamomile is rich in antioxidants that boost overall hair health. It is soothing, healing, and gently cleansing to the scalp.

Peppermint essential oil contains menthol which — in addition to its fresh, minty smell and tingly, cool sensation — helps to improve blood flow to the hair follicles, to help improve hair growth, reduce hair loss, and improve the overall health of your scalp. Its cooling effect may also be helpful for easing itchiness associated with dandruff or other scalp conditions.

Nourishing Hair Mask

Ingredients:

  • 1 small banana (about 1/4 cup banana mash)
  • 1/4 cup bentonite clay
  • 1/4 cup aloe vera gel
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp chamomile tea
  • 10 drops peppermint essential oil

*This makes enough hair mask for one person with short to medium length hair. If you have long or very thick hair, you may want to increase the amounts & make more mask.

Directions:

First you’ll want to make the chamomile tea. To do so, put 2 teaspoons of chamomile flowers into a mug or heat-safe vessel and pour a cup of boiling hot water over it. Cover the mug with a lid (not plastic) and let steep til it has cooled to room temperature.

Set aside 1 Tbsp of the tea for your hair mask and save the rest to sip while the mask sets. You can add a bit of honey, to taste, if you like.

Chamomile is a gently soothing herb that’s great at calming frazzled nerves, and easing stress + anxiety. Enjoying a cup of this herbal tea is a great way to nourish your mental and emotional health, while boosting the health of your hair and scalp.

Next, mash one small banana or half a large banana (you want to have about 1/4 cup of banana mash) in a small bowl til smooth. Stir in the aloe vera gel, apple cider vinegar, and chamomile tea. Then mix in the bentonite clay, mixing til smooth. Finally, add the peppermint essential oil and stir to combine.

Apply the hair mask to your head, covering all of your hair liberally. Then put it up with a large hair clip or tuck it into a hair net. This process will be messy.

Let the mask set for 15 minutes or so while sipping your chamomile tea and reading a book, soaking in the bath, journaling, meditating, or whatever you like to do to unwind. Take advantage of this time to truly nourish yourself.

I like to apply the mask outdoors and sun bathe while the mask sets. Then, I usually rinse my hair outdoors with the garden hose. If this isn’t a feasible option for you, lay down a towel or apply the mask in a room with tile floors, so that clean up is easier. Covering your shower drain with a strainer while rinsing the mask out can also keep the chunks of mask from clogging your drain. You can then remove the strainer and dump it into the compost.

After rinsing out the mask, you can wash your hair with your favorite non-toxic shampoo, or simply let your hair dry and style as usual. You can use this mask once a week or so for healthy, shiny, voluminous hair.


References

Axe, Josh. “12 Bentonite Clay Benefits — for the Skin, Gut and More.” Dr.Axe.com. September 4, 2019.

Benefits of Aloe Vera for Your Hair.” Radiance by WebMD. Accessed July 6, 2021.

Cherney, Kristeen. “Using a Bentonite Clay Mask on Your Hair.” Healthline. March 28, 2018.

Justis, Angela. “A Family Herb: Chamomile Flower.” The Herbal Academy. September 17, 2015.

Ruggeri, Christine. “Chamomile Benefits: Antioxidant, Anti-Inflammatory and Anti-Cancer.” Dr.Axe.com. June 10, 2019.

Tarr, Noelle. “Apple Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse: Benefits, Instructions, and Tips.” Coconuts and Kettlebells.

Watson, Kathryn. “What Are the Benefits of Using Bananas for Hair?” Healthline. July 15, 2019.

White, Adrian. “Can Peppermint Oil Benefit Your Hair?” Healthline. November 14, 2018.

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