It’s 2022, and we’re going natural in all possible areas! This includes our hair care regimens, and you’ll be pleasantly surprised to learn just how many ingredients in your pantry can make for some truly transformative hair treatments. Stay with us for the inside scoop on natural ingredients for hair!
In this article we discuss the following:
- What Natural Ingredients are Good for Your Hair?
- Best Natural Ingredients for Hair
- Natural Ingredients for Hair Moisture
- Natural Hair Growth Ingredients
- Natural Ingredients for Dry Hair
- Natural Ingredients for Curly Hair
- Natural Ingredients on Hair Products
- Natural Hair Conditioner Ingredients
- Natural Ingredient Hair Lightening
- Natural Ingredients for Hair Loss
- Natural Ingredients for Hair and Scalp Treatment
- What is the Best Natural Oil for Your Hair?
- Shampoos with Only Natural Ingredients
- Natural Hair Moisturizer Recipe for Black Hair
- Natural Hair Ingredients to Avoid
What Natural Ingredients are Good for Your Hair?
We’d be lying if we said there aren’t many natural remedies for healthy hair; the opposite is true, and these days there are actually very few natural plants, herbs, oils and fruits/veggies that can’t bring some sort of benefit to your personal mane.
From eggs to honey to fenugreek, mother nature has more than provided for all who seek more sustainable hair care solutions. More than this, there are many vitamins and minerals that are also instrumental in the natural caring for hair. Beth Hawkes (MSN, RN-BC), owner of Nursecode, shared her personal favs with us in a comprehensive list:
- Biotin: To maintain and support healthy hair growth
- Vitamin C: A powerful antioxidant that nourishes the hair and helps the body absorb iron which is essential for hair growth
- Zinc and Folate: To provide essential hair nutrients and sustain healthy hair longer
- Vitamin A: Essential for cell growth. Also helps skin glands make sebum. Sebum moisturizes the scalp and helps keep hair healthy.
- B12: To promote healthy hair growth by assisting in the production of oxygen-rich red blood cells, which feed hair follicles
- Collagen: To build hair proteins and strengthen the skin that contains your hair roots.
Best Natural Ingredients for Hair
Our personal favorite natural ingredients healthy hair involve kitchen-friendly items that just about every household probably already has on tap! Before going any further, we chatted to Dr. Amber from Unified Pharma to get her top 4:
- Onions: They are a rich source of sulfur, promoting healthy, thick hair.
- Garlic and Ginger: Garlic has antifungal and antimicrobial properties that may help fight dandruff, and it also stimulates the hair follicles to grow strong through collagen production. While ginger, on the other hand, improves the flow of blood to the scalp, ensuring the scalp is well nourished for healthy hair.
- Olive or coconut oil: Due to its thickness, when applied immediately after your moisturizer, it helps seal the moisture into your hair strands, thus enhancing the hair’s shine and growth. Coconut oil reduces hair breakage and dryness and may help you maintain the length of your hair.
- Herbs (Rosemary, Basil, Mint): Rosemary stimulates the scalp, and it thickens the hair follicles from the roots, while basil reduces scalp itchiness and premature graying of the hair. Mint has a substance known as menthol, which revitalizes the scalp and triggers the production of new hair strands.
Natural Ingredients for Hair Moisture
When it comes to moisture, avocado seems to be the key ingredient. According to Kylie Wiser, a self care advocate and herbalist, “This little green fruit is packed full of nutrients that are great for the hair, including vitamins A, B, and E.”
Because this fruit contains natural oils and “good fats” (both polyunsaturated and monounsaturated) of its own, it works wonders on hair that could do with a little more moisture. But how exactly does one use avocado on hair anyway?
You’ll need to mash it up into a paste — from here, you can either lather it onto the hair directly, or you can combine it with some coconut oil to make it a little looser and more pliable. Put a shower cap over it once it is on your hair, and let it sit for at least 30 minutes.
Natural Hair Growth Ingredients
If hair growth is your area of interest, then there is one major ingredient that comes highly recommended: onion juice!
“Onion is one of the best kitchen ingredients which is good for the hair as it contains sulphur that promotes blood circulation in the scalp that leads to healthy growth and prevents loss of hair!” said Dr. Mya from Unified Pharma.
Michael Morris, from Rough and Tumble Gentleman, agrees with this wholeheartedly, and added: “Onion juice is a remedy for hair fall, and it contains sulphur that helps in hair growth. Blend an onion to get its juices and apply it into hair. You can do it 2 times a week.”.
Anyone who has suffered hair loss, or stunted hair growth, knows that there are few things one won’t try in order to bring things back into balance.
Natural Ingredients for Dry Hair
When suffering with dryness, the obvious solution is to add an oil. This is where both olive and coconut oil come in. Sarah Begley, from Eat Wag Play, explained how coconut oil makes hair stronger, shinier, and helps protect it from hygral fatigue – a side-effect of regular hair washing. “Each time we wash our hair, water is absorbed making it swell. As hair dries, it loses this water. This absorption and release of water makes hair weak and prone to breakage,” said Sarah.
She adds that coconut oil prevents hair from absorbing too much water which limits potential damage. “I use it as a pre-wash treatment applying at night to wash out the next morning (it can take 4-8 hours for coconut oil to penetrate fully).”
For the low down on olive oil and hair, we spoke with Ian Turner, a certified cosmetologist and hairstylist. “Olive oil is also rich in vitamins and minerals that help strengthen and nourish hair, as well as moisturize it. It is an excellent conditioner when used alone or mixed with other oils such as coconut or jojoba,” he tells us.
Natural Ingredients for Curly Hair
One thing that people with curly hair tend to suffer with is severe split ends. Preventing this is of the utmost importance, and so again we turn the spotlight back on coconut as a natural solution, be it in the form of oil or milk.
Michael May, Medical Director at Wimpole Clinic, shared a few words about his thoughts on this subject: “Coconut is abundant in fatty acids, which aid in moisturization and hydration. Coconut oil and milk can be used as hair masks, leave-in conditioners, and detanglers. Coconut is an excellent hair conditioning treatment since it restores shine to dry, coarse hair. Furthermore, it treats the hair and scalp, promoting hair growth and strengthening the hair, making it less prone to split ends”
Michael added that when using coconut to treat your hair, be mindful if you have oily scalp problems. “If your scalp produces much sebum, avoid applying coconut straight to your scalp and instead concentrate on your hair strands.” — good to know!
Natural Ingredients on Hair Products
Honey is an ingredient that came up a lot when we spoke with the hair care community. Dr. Enrizza P. Factor, a Clinical Dermatologist and researcher, shared much insight about nature’s gold in relation to hair treatments.
“Honey has both emollient and humectant properties, making it a great hair moisturizer. Emollients smooth the hair follicles, adding shine to dull hair. Humectants bond with water molecules, adding moisture to dry strands. By moisturizing and locking in shine, honey can help restore the natural luster of your hair.”, said Dr. Factor.
Kylie Wiser, who we heard from earlier, added to this notion, dubbing honey a natural humectant, meaning it helps to keep moisture in the hair.
Natural Hair Conditioner Ingredients
Nature’s conditioners come in different forms, but one of our absolute favorites has got to be mayonnaise! Packed with the nutritional benefits of eggs, this sandwich spread goes a long way when introduced to the strands of your head!
Jean Will, co-founder at NiaWigs Inc, had more to add on this: “Strengthen your hair strands with mayonnaise with this homemade deep moisturizing ingredient. Leave it on for about an hour and rinse it off with warm water.”
Interestingly, a natural conditioner is all good and well but works best in conjunction with a natural shampoo to match. Jean had a solution to this: baking soda. “Combine it with apple cider vinegar to use it as a shampoo replacer. It removes excess oil and dirt, restores shine to your hair, and keeps it odor-free,” said Jean.
To confirm this notion, we reverted back to Ian Turner who we heard from earlier, and he confirmed that baking soda has been used for centuries to treat dandruff because it helps remove excess oil from your scalp. “It also acts as an exfoliant by removing dead skin cells from the scalp that may be clogging pores around your follicles, preventing them from producing healthy hair growth.”
Natural Ingredient Hair Lightening
Changing the color of one’s hair naturally isn’t so simple with natural ingredients only; manipulating hair tone usually requires chemical interference. That said, one should never overlook the power of nature’s acid: lemons!
Celebrity hairstylist, Léa Journo, is a big fan of this lightening method. “Lemons are a common household item that can serve multiple purposes when it comes to one’s hair. Lemon juice can improve the shine of your hair, improve the strength of your hair follicle, and can also be used as a less harmful way to lighten the color of your hair under the sun – the leftover lemon juice can then be used to make a refreshing lemon drop on a hot summer day!”, said Léa.
Natural Ingredients for Hair Loss
When hair starts to fall, most of us start to panic. Nature always provides a solution, so for this we’re turning a spotlight on two household essentials: good old eggs and fenugreek!
Meaghan Thomas from Pinch Spice Market says that fenugreek seeds are high in protein and iron, which are essential nutrients for hair growth. “They also have a strong composition of anti-inflammatory and anti-fungal compounds, which are also thought to help with growth.”
According to Meaghan, there are a few ways to make fenugreek hair masks. “One way is by grinding 3 tablespoons into a fine powder, then mixing with 1-2 Tablespoons of coconut oil (or similar oil, some people opt for honey too). Another way is to soak them in water overnight, then grind them into a paste and whisk in a little oil. Massage it gently into your roots and let it dry for 20 minutes. Wash off with a mild shampoo and repeat this 1-2x a week (this is what our customers say they do for best results).”, she adds.
Jean Will from earlier in this piece added a note about egg whites: “Combine it with honey, bananas, or avocados to make a hair mask. Eggs are a great source of protein that can help prevent hair loss and damage.”
Natural Ingredients for Hair and Scalp Treatment
Jean also came forward with some helpful information on baking soda and how one can use it as a hair and scalp treatment. “Combine it with apple cider vinegar to use it as a shampoo replacer. It removes excess oil and dirt, restores shine to your hair, and keeps it odor-free.”
We then spoke with Max Person who had some interesting contributions to the topical versus oral debate when it comes to hair and scalp treatments. As a topical treatment, Max recommends olive oil or coconut oil. “Add a tablespoon to your scalp and massage it in for a few minutes. Let it sit for at least half an hour and rinse after. This is very good for dry scalp. You can also add a few drops of oregano if you have dandruff issues,” he says.
As for oral, one can’t go wrong with a hearty bone broth or bone marrow brew, or alternatively, some gelatin gummies. “All of these products are loaded with collagen. This is a must add if you are looking to grow your hair!”
What is the Best Natural Oil for Your Hair?
While many would argue that coconut comes in first place here, more studies are showing the benefit of olive oil when used directly on hair. Arrogant Smith, hair consultant at Kes Wigs, is a major advocate for this oil in particular.
“Olive oil is rich in vitamins and antioxidants, which can help to nourish and protect your hair,” says Arrogant. Kylie, who we spoke to earlier, shares this sentiment and added that olive oil is full of healthy fats, and it adds shine and moisture to your hair.
Kylie made a point of noting that just about any natural oils can be used as a hair mask either alone or combined with other ingredients. “Try blending them all together in a blender, then applying it to your hair starting at the ends. Cover with a towel or hairnet, wait 30 minutes, then rinse with cool water and wash your hair as you normally do,” she explains.
Shampoos with Only Natural Ingredients
Of course, you can still rely on consumerism to provide where necessary. There are many shampoos on the market that are made entirely from natural ingredients; you don’t have to DIY your formula from the products in your pantry!
Coconut-based shampoos are found in abundance, especially since there has been such widespread interest in this fruit as a haircare phenomenon. You’re also likely to find products containing banana or carrot, two hair-friendly ingredients that have proven beneficial for different reasons.
Dr. Factor shared some light on both, stating that the beta carotene in carrots will help keep your hair soft and shiny. “Vitamin A and E in carrots will also help stimulate hair growth
and make your roots much stronger. As for bananas, they contain silica, a mineral element that helps your body to synthesize collagen and may make your hair stronger and thicker. Bananas also have antimicrobial properties that can heal flaky and dry scalp, relieving dandruff symptoms,” said Dr. Factor.
Garlic also came up as an ingredient of benefit, and is being used in more and more natural shampoo formulations. “Some of garlic’s nutritional benefits may extend to your hair. Raw garlic is high in vitamins and minerals, such as vitamins B-6 and C, manganese, and selenium — all of which promote healthy hair.”, added Dr. Factor.
Similarly, Michael Morris added that ginger should not be overlooked either. “Ginger helps the circulation of blood in the scalp. It stimulates growth and makes the roots stronger. Crush a piece of ginger and soak it in olive oil. Massage into the scalp and rinse off,” he said.
Natural Hair Moisturizer Recipe for Black Hair
There is no shortage of homemade natural hair products for black hair, but ironically taking it back to the ultimate basics seems to offer the best results every time. Good old h2O is extremely moisturizing and hydrating on black hair.
Often we write off too frequent washing as the villain in our hair lacking moisture, but this is not actually the case. Usually it’s the sulfates in shampoos that cause this effect, and not the water itself. That said, one should never use hard water and expect hydrated hair — the mineral deposits left behind can do the opposite of moisturize. Alkaline water spritzing is recommended!
Natural Hair Ingredients to Avoid
Natural hair care doesn’t automatically mean ‘non-toxic’, and there are some ‘natural’ ingredients that one would do well to avoid at all costs. They are as follows:
- Benzene: According to the WHO, benzene is a strong carcinogen linked to multiple cancers and reproductive issues. It is a solution derived from coal tar and petroleum.
- Formaldehyde: This ingredient is used in products that seek to ‘relax’ textured hair. The FDA recently banned the use of it because too many studies have shown that it is a direct cause of hair loss. It is also said to trigger asthma in little ones.
- Dimethicone: Sadly most of the best natural hair care products still contain traces of dimethicone. It’s used to smooth over frizzy hair, and it is so good at it that it ends up totally suffocating and sealing off the scalp. The build up is nearly impossible to both see and get rid of, and eventual side effects include infertility and uterine cancer.
We came into this world through nature; it only makes sense to carry it through until the day we depart. Natural skin, hair and beauty is the way of the future, especially as the many, many lies and fabrications within the industry are brought to the surface.
All we really have in life is our health, so if making the switch to more natural hair care ingredients can contribute to that — we’re on board! We loved the myriad of ingredients shared throughout this piece by industry professionals, so much so that we’d recommend reading everything over until it really lands!
Happy hair, happy life? Sure, let’s go with that.