For some of us, going natural did not stop with our hair. It continued with a move towards mixing our own “natural” products. While numerous recipes exist on the internet, few are actually both simple AND effective in meeting the needs of our natural hair. If you are new to making your own products or are a current mixtress searching for an easy-to-make recipe that actually works, you can start with these homemade conditioners, which are my three favorites
For Manageability – Bananas, olive oil, glycerin, and honey
This homemade conditioner improves the manageability of my hair for post-rinse styling. The secret is in the banana, which has a way of minimizing shrinkage and softening the hair when mixed with the other ingredients. Meanwhile, glycerin and honey, which are both humectants, and olive oil, which is known to penetrate the hair, all contribute moisturizing benefits. Do not be alarmed if you notice a loosening of your coils or curls with this conditioner; the effect is temporary until your next wash day. This recipe is ideal for naturals who want to achieve easier blow-outs or better stretched styles.
1 large overripe banana (sliced) OR 7 oz banana baby food
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp pure vegetable glycerin
2 tbsp pure honey
Place the sliced banana, extra virgin olive oil, glycerin, and honey all in a blender. Blend the ingredients thoroughly making sure no lumps or banana bits remain. (Depending on your blender quality, you may or may not have to then sieve the mixture. Another option is to use banana baby food, though the conditioner may not be as effective.) Apply to hair and let sit for 30–45 minutes under a shower cap. Detangle, rinse thoroughly, and style as usual.
For Detangling – Avocados, olive oil, shea butter, and apple cider vinegar
This homemade conditioner is lubricating, thick, and heavy, all of which give my kinks slip, moisture, and hang for detangling. The avocado’s meatiness and fatty acid content contribute to the effectiveness of this mixture. Additionally, the fatty acids in the olive oil combined with the emollient properties of shea butter add even more lubrication and moisturizing benefits. Lastly, the acidic pH of the apple cider vinegar helps to flatten the cuticles for easier detangling. This conditioner is ideal for those with thick, dense hair and major shrinkage.
1 overripe avocado (sliced)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup unrefined shea butter
2–3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
Place the sliced avocado, unrefined shea butter, extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), and apple cider vinegar (ACV) into a blender. (There is no need to melt the shea butter ahead of time.) Blend all the ingredients thoroughly and add more EVOO, if necessary, until the mixture reaches your desired consistency. When done, apply to the hair and let sit for 30–45 minutes under a shower cap. Detangle, rinse thoroughly, and style as usual.
For Strengthening – Coconut oil and honey
This conditioner is ideal for naturals whose hair dislikes protein conditioners but needs a bit of strengthening. The key is the coconut oil, which binds to the hair thus reducing keratin loss. Honey, a humectant, is also added to the mix to impart moisture retention. I get the best of both worlds – moisture and strength – with this conditioner. I personally use two servings of the recipe because my hair is really thick, dense, and naturally dry.
4 tbs of extra virgin coconut oil
2 tbs of pure honey
(depending on hair density or length, you may use two servings of this recipe)
Place the coconut oil and honey in a small cup and place the cup in a large bowl of hot water. Allow the cup to sit in the water for a few minutes until the mixture is warm. Pour the mixture onto freshly washed but towel blotted hair. Put on a shower cap, and wrap with a towel to prevent mixture from dripping onto face. Let it sit for 20 minutes, then rinse out 80–90% of the conditioner, and style as usual.