Extreme dryness is one of the biggest struggles I’ve had with my hair in my 40s, especially with the hair that grows from the crown of my head. I’m always on the lookout for a solution that will moisturize and tame it. If this sounds familiar, or like me you like the idea of an effective dry hair DIY solution using items you probably have in your kitchen right now, read on.
Why is My Hair So Dry?
Lack of moisture is the biggest culprit of dry hair. Harsh hair products containing sulfates can strip hair of its natural moisture and over styling and heat damage can dry your strands out even more. Additionally, products intended to add moisture back into your hair can build up over time and make it feel even drier and coarse. Also, as we age our scalp produces less of its natural oil called sebum which moisturizes our hair.
Using hair care products free of sulfates and silicone, along with a good conditioner and less frequent washing, is typically all that is needed to keep hair moisturized and happy.
This makes a lot of sense to me. However, after using sulfate-free shampoo for years and air drying my long hair (no heat) my hair continued to get drier and drier and I continued to question – why is my hair still so dry? I decided to dig a little deeper and do some more research. After taking this hair test from the No Poo Method I discovered there could be another culprit for my dryness, hair porosity. Hair porosity determines how well your hair absorbs and retains moisture. Turns out I have low porosity hair which means my hair actually repels moisture. This doesn’t mean it can’t absorb moisture, it just means that more care is needed for getting the moisture into the hair cuticles and keeping it there.
Avocado Hair Mask Benefits
Not only are avocados extremely yummy (guacamole anyone?) they are also rich in antioxidants, essential fatty acids and vitamins A, B-5 and E. The essential fatty acid content in avocados is surprisingly higher than that of extra virgin olive oil. These nourishing vitamins and fats make avocados an excellent source for getting nutrients and moisture into your hair. Additionally, the minerals in avocados have been found to seal the cuticle and lock the moisture in – bonus points!
How to Make an Avocado Hair Mask
Ripe avocados are all that is needed to make a basic avocado hair mask. The number of avocados is dependent on the length of your hair and the size of the avocados. Make sure you use Hass (California) avocados for this recipe as they contain much more of the beneficial essential fatty acids than the larger Florida variety. You want enough mask to fully saturate your scalp and the full length of your hair. If you have shoulder length or longer hair you may need a couple avocados, for short hair a single avocado will do. Additional ingredients can be added to the mask to boost the benefits based on your hairs specific needs. I’ve included several options in the recipe below.
- 1-2 ripe Hass avocados
- 1-2 egg yolks (boost of B-vitamins & protein | strengthens & promotes growth)
- 2 tbsp olive oil (boost of moisture & antibacterial | treats dandruff)
- 1 tbsp raw honey (boost of humectant, antibacterial & antiseptic | calms eczema & psoriasis)
- 1-2 drops tea tree essential oil (boost of antimicrobial | treats dandruff)
- 2-5 drops rosemary essential oil (boost of antioxidants | strengthens & promotes growth)
- 2-5 drops ylang ylang essential oil (boost of antiseptic | stimulates sebum production & improves texture)
- Blend. Place all ingredients (minus the essential oils) in a food processor and pulse until smooth. Some recipes state you can manually mash the avocados in a bowl, but I highly suggest that you use a food processor or blender to attain a completely smooth consistency. This will make it much easier to wash the mask out of your hair.
- Transfer to bowl & add essential oils (optional). Transfer the pureed mixture into a small bowl and add in the essential oil. Stir and mix well to blend the oil into the pureed avocado.
- Rinse hair with warm water (optional). If you have low porosity hair like me, I recommend rinsing your hair with warm water prior to applying the mask. This will encourage your hair cuticles to lift up and allow the mask to do its job. Just make sure to squeeze excess water out with a towel until hair is damp. If you have normal to high porosity hair you can skip this step. Not sure what type hair you have? Check out this hair porosity article & test at the No Poo Method.
- Apply. Apply the mixture to your hair starting by massaging it into your scalp. Continue to work the mixture into your hair from root to tip. Tip: wrap a towel around your shoulders to keep from getting too messy.
- Leave the mask on for 15-20 minutes. Tip: cover your hair with a plastic bag to keep the mask in place.
- Rinse. Using lukewarm water, rinse your hair until you’ve completely removed all the mask.
- Shampoo & condition. Using lukewarm water, shampoo and condition your hair as usual. Follow with a cold water rinse to encourage hair cuticles to close back up and lock in the moisture.
Keeping Hair Moisturized
Using an avocado mask is great for giving your hair an intense dose of moisture, but what are the easiest ways to keep your hair healthy and moisturized on a daily basis? My 3 top tips are listed below.
My #1 tip for keeping hair moisturized is to skip the shampoo and conditioner a few times a week.
This doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t wet your hair in the shower. On the contrary, rinsing and massaging your scalp as if you’ve applied shampoo or conditioner is an effective way to distribute your scalps natural oils (sebum) from the roots to the tips of your hair. Just make sure to use warm water. Water that is too hot will strip the oils from your hair.
Secondly, brush your hair daily – preferably with a boars bristle brush.
Brushing your hair each day with a boars bristle brush is also an effective way to help distribute your scalps sebum to the tips of your hair and add moisture and shine. For a long time I skipped using a brush and instead “finger brushed” my hair in order to maintain my loose waves. What I didn’t know is that I was contributing to my hairs dryness. The texture of my hair has improved drastically by simply brushing my hair daily.
Lastly, use a clarifying shampoo once a week if you have low porosity hair or use a lot of styling products.
As mentioned earlier in this post, styling products build up on hair overtime and cause it to loose its texture and feel dry and dull. Did you know that sebum buildup on the scalp, a common issue for low porosity hair, can have the same effect? Worse yet, this sebum buildup is known to also cause dandruff.
The best way to remedy this is to wash your hair with a mild clarifying shampoo at least once a week followed up with your regular shampoo and conditioner. It will remove excess product buildup and also remove any excess sebum buildup you may have lurking on your scalp.
Avocado Oil Hair Treatment
Want the nourishing benefits of avocado without the hassle of making and applying a mask? You’ll be happy to know that much of the same benefits can be had from using avocado oil. Avocado oil can be massaged into the scalp and hair and left on for 15-20 minutes or even overnight as an intensive moisture treatment. Avocado oil can also be used as a replacement for conditioner when you need an additional moisture boost. Simply shampoo your hair as usual, remove excess water then apply the avocado oil to damp hair. Allow it to penetrate the hair for a few minutes before rinsing it out with warm water. Follow up with a cold water rinse to lock in the moisture.
Well there you have it. I hope you give this mask a try, or at the very least wash your hair less frequently and/or give clarifying shampoo a try. Your hair will certainly thank you.
Have you tried this mask? I’d love to hear your thoughts below.