Hi guys, this is part two of Tamera’s natural hair journey. This week she’ll be telling you about doing DIYs for natural hair. Read part one here.
Becoming an Expert at DIY’S
An advantage to the DIY natural hair care route is that you have total control about all the ingredients you use, you can add a specific ingredient for certain benefits and its fun. However, in my opinion there are some disadvantages, for instance DIY products emphasize that they must be as natural as possible and usually with naturally derived preservatives. However, this may significantly reduce the shelf life of the products made and if you are not careful about how you store them you may encounter mold growing in your products. Additionally, sourcing some ingredients in Jamaica maybe on the expensive side, for example certain oils and butters can run you some good dollars and finally, many natural DIY mixes do not impart the maximum benefit to hair as they are not synthesized on a molecular level that can be absorbed by the hair, hence are very temporary fixes.
When the natural hair movement began its rise on YouTube around 2009, many vloggers were very focused on making their own products. This was largely fueled by the lack of products available on the market at that time. A quick search of “DIY Natural Hair Care” on YouTube will present you with hundreds of videos on the products that can be made at home. I truly believe that You Tube is the greatest resource in learning about natural hair care as you are provided with views from hundreds of individuals with different hair types, lifestyles and approaches to haircare. Vloggers I think you should check out that are great for DIY’s include Naptural85, DuchessGabrielle and MyCrownofCurls. Also, I’ve linked a video by CurlMix elaborating on the various ingredients employed in DIY Natural Hair care products.
However, I’m going to save you some of the work and provide you with examples of some products you can make with ingredients you already have at home or with natural alternatives that can be easily sourced.
You can make every product in each step of your hair routine. Here are some DIY Recommendations:
- Shampoo– This is usually the first step in a hair care routine. Cleansing the hair is important as hair that is not cleansed will have a lot of build-up and will inhibit hair growth. A common DIY recipe is the Black Soap Shampoo. Black soap is naturally derived soap made in West Africa. The most natural form of the soap is not actually black, it has a brown, ashy look and has a very soft/crumbly appearance. This soap is widely available in Jamaica, most beauty supply stores stock it and even some wholesales. The most popular place this is bought at is Earth Elements in South Dale Plaza in Half Way Tree, that’s where I also prefer to get mine. So on to the recipe, due to the nature of the soap it is usually very difficult to wash the hair with so most people melt the soap. This is done by placing the bar of soap in some warm water until the soap dissolves. Some people add essential oils to it to, which usually aid in scalp care (must be used sparingly) and carrier oils such as coconut oil or olive oil to add to the moisturizing properties of the oil as it can be quite drying. Another natural soap shampoo is Castile Soap, this is a soap that is naturally derived and can be modified according to personal preference.
- Tea Mixes– These are sometimes used as strengthening treatments or treat issues such as shedding. A common tea mix is the green tea mix. If you have green tea bags at home, you can soak a tea bag in some warm water and allow it cool before adding it to the scalp. This is a great alternative to buying a store-bought product which may not be as concentrated as making it on your own.
- Conditioners– This is a big deal in natural hair care and in my opinion often the most expensive product in a hair care line. You can use cheap conditioners such as Treseme or VO5 and add oil to them to increase their potency. You can check out this video by My Natural Sistas for a great recipe:
If you want to go the total natural route you can check out this video by JustJenelle where she illustrates how to make your own DIY Mayonnaise, Honey, Banana, Avocado, Coconut Milk Conditioner.(Side Note: Be careful with banana if not blended smoothly you will be left with clumps of banana which are not fun to remove). The great thing with these DIY conditioners is that they use ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen!
- Leave In’s: After you shampoo and condition you may want to use a leave in conditioner and since we are trying to save money I’m going to tell you about the most affordable options I can think of. One such options is by using Aloe Vera Juice and guess what, we’re in Jamaica, Aloe Vera grows everywhere so you can make this on your own. Here’s a recipe. Also you can use rose water as a DIY Leave in Spray.
- Hair Butter– One of the most important components of the hair routine, this product may act as a styler, moisturizer or a sealant. It really depends on the ingredients and the proportions used. The most famous version of this is the DIY Whipped Shea Butter Mix, a quick Google search will yield thousands of methods, you can pick any one that you would like. You can add as many oils as you want or as little as you want, all depends on your preference. Shea Butter and many different types of butters are also available at Earth Elements. They come in variety of sizes and are priced quite well. Here’s a link to a demo by April Bee.
- Gels– To be honest, gels are typically one of the cheaper products in a natural hair regimen. However, since this section is about DIY’s, cheaper alternatives are Flaxseed Gel and Aloe Vera gel. I don’t want to bore you with reading so I’m going to link two really great recipes. This one is for flax seed gel and here’s a demo on how to use flax seed gel. Aloe Vera gel is a much lighter gel and is mostly used as a Pre-Poo (Pre-Shampoo). I’ve also seen someone make Okra Gel, here’s a link to the video.
- Oil Mixes – The name says it all, you’re basically mixing oil together, when you do it on your own you get a more natural version than a store-bought version which may have a lot of fillers added. Oil mixes are usually used to seal hair after the moisturizing process, as do hot oil treatments. Oil the scalp if you suffer from a dry scalp. You can combine carrier oils, such as coconut and olive oil. You can also combine carrier oils with essential oils as well. Basically, you can do whatever you want, here’s another video that goes more in-depth about oils.