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The hair is naturally coated with a layer of oil or sebum released by the sebaceous glands in the hair follicles. This layer of oil protects the hair from damage and dryness.
However, various factors can strip the oil of the hair, such as the use of styling tools, exposure chemicals, extreme weather conditions, and certain medical conditions.
Irrespective of the cause, it is important to improve your hair care routine to help manage dry hair in order to prevent hair damage and complications.
Home Remedies for Dry Hair
The following home remedies can help improve hair health by moisturizing the hair and preventing dryness.
Caution: Always conduct a patch test before trying any of the remedies to check for any allergies or sensitivity.
1. Oil your hair
Oiling your hair is essential to rehydrating your hair and improving hair health. (1)(2) Coconut oil, (3) olive oil, and Moroccan argan oil are the most commonly used hair oils as they have a high content of fatty acids that can penetrate the hair and moisturize it.
You can also use jojoba, castor, almond, and avocado oil.
How to use:
- Massage the scalp and hair with slightly warm oil and leave it overnight. You may also apply the oil 30 minutes before shampooing your hair.
- Mix any oil in your conditioner and use.
- Apply hair oil to slightly damp hair, especially before blow-drying.
2. Use egg or mayonnaise masks
Egg masks are a popular home remedy for dry hair. The peptides in egg yolks help improve hair health, (4) while the fatty acids help hydrate the hair and lock in moisture.
How to use:
- Beat one egg and add ½ cup of honey or yogurt, one scoop of avocado, and 1–2 tbsp of coconut, vitamin E, or olive oil to it. You can substitute mayonnaise for the egg. Mix well.
- Massage the mixture on slightly damp hair and scalp.
- Wash after 30 minutes and shampoo as regular.
Note: Avoid washing your hair with hot water as it can coagulate the egg, making it difficult to remove.
3. Apply avocado
While there is no scientific evidence to it, avocado has been used anecdotally as a home remedy for dry hair. It is thought that the vitamins and fatty acids in avocados can make the hair smooth and shiny.
How to use:
- Mash one avocado and add 2 tbsp of coconut or olive oil and 1 tbsp honey or yogurt to it. Mix well.
- Apply the mixture to washed hair.
- Leave it for 30 minutes and rinse.
4. Make a honey mask
Honey is another popular anecdotal home remedy that helps moisturize the hair. The high sugar concentration of honey acts as a natural humectant.
How to use:
- Mix 1–2 tsp of olive oil with 1–2 tbsp of raw, organic honey.
- Apply the mixture to the hair.
- Leave it for 15 minutes and rinse.
5. Use shea butter
Shea butter can help treat damaged hair. (5) It has a high vitamin and fat content that helps deeply moisturize and nourish the hair.
How to use:
- Massage some shea butter in your dry hair and shampoo after 20–25 minutes.
- Use hair products that contain shea butter.
6. Rinse with apple cider vinegar or beer
The use of apple cider vinegar (ACV) or beer for conditioning the hair is based on anecdotal evidence.
How to use ACV: Mix ¼ cup of ACV with ¾ cup water, and use the mixture as a hair rinse. Condition your hair after.
How to use beer: Shampoo your hair first, and rinse it with beer instead of using a conditioner.
7. Use aloe vera gel
Aloe vera gel is a natural moisturizing agent, owing to its content of mucopolysaccharides that bind to the hair easily.
How to use:
- Mix 4 tbsp of aloe vera gel with 3 tbsp of yogurt and 2 tbsp of coconut oil.
- Apply the paste to damp hair.
- Rinse with water after 30 minutes.
Self-Care and Preventive Measures
It is important to take proper care of your hair in order to manage and prevent dryness. The following lifestyle changes and self-care measures can also help improve the general health of your hair:
1. Improve your diet
Hair dryness is often a result of improper nourishment as minerals and vitamins are essential for maintaining hair health. (6) It is suggested to include the following in your diet:
- Omega-3 fatty acids, found in borage oil, flaxseed oil, evening primrose oil, freshwater fish, eggs, and yogurt
- Gamma linolenic acid
- Dark green vegetables for their vitamin A and C content
- Nuts for selenium
- Zinc and alpha linoleic acid
- Vitamin B12
- Pantothenic acid
- Folic acid
You can also take supplements for these nutrients upon consulting your doctor as an excess can have some side effects. (7)
2. Avoid excess washing
Frequently shampooing your hair can strip the oil layer from the hair. Moreover, it is necessary to condition your hair after shampooing to prevent friction between the hair strands and to keep them moisturized for long. Avoid washing the hair with hot water as it can be damaging.
3. Do not use chemicals on your hair
If your hair is prone to dryness, avoid using products that contain chemicals (such as alcohols, parabens, and sulfates) or are high in minerals.
Additionally, avoid treating your hair with dyes, bleaches, and perms frequently. If you want to get such hair treatments, always keep a gap of at least 2 weeks between both treatments.
Also, silicone-based hair products, while claimed to be moisturizing, can in fact make the hair harder.
4. Choose beneficial hair products
Try protein-based shampoos to help strengthen and repair your hair.
5. Protect your hair
Always wear a swim cap when swimming and avoid highly chlorinated pools. Rinse your hair immediately after swimming and use a swimmers’ shampoo. It is also necessary to protect your hair from sun rays to prevent photooxidation, as this can cause discoloration and protein loss. (8)
Always cover your hair with a hat or scarf before going out, and use zinc oxide-containing leave-in conditioners as they act as sunscreens.
6. Change your hair care methods
It is important to make small changes to how you treat your hair. This includes drying your hair gently instead of rubbing it with a towel. Also, use a conditioner to help detangle your hair, and use a wide-toothed comb. Opt for boar hair brushes instead of the metal ones.
7. Avoid using styling tools
Limit the use of heat styling tools such as perming tools, hair relaxers, blow dryers, straighteners, and curling irons. (9) Instead, use infrared radiation tools.
Use your hair dryers from a distance of 6 inches in the lowest heat setting whenever necessary, and avoid focusing the heat on one part of the hair for more than 30 seconds. (9) Use a heat protectant spray before using these styling tools to protect your hair from thermal damage.
8. Make hair-friendly lifestyle changes
It is recommended to use 100% silk pillowcases or bedsheets to lower friction. Use indoor humidifiers to prevent hair dryness due to hot weather. Also, limit the use of indoor heaters. It is also vital to quit smoking as it can be harmful to your hair. (10)
9. Exercise regularly
Since exercising regularly helps improve blood circulation in the body, it can also benefit your hair. As blood flow to the scalp increases, so does the supply of nutrients and oxygen, which help improve hair health.
Most-Asked Questions About Dry Hair
Can banana masks be useful in treating hair dryness?
The use of bananas in hair masks is a highly popular anecdotal remedy for dry hair. However, there is no scientific evidence for it. Since such a remedy is not harmful unless you are allergic to bananas, you can try it to see if it works for you.
Simply mash one banana and one avocado, and mix them well. Apply the paste to your dry hair. Rinse your hair with water after 15–20 minutes, and shampoo as usual.
Is a coffee rinse efficient in treating dry hair?
The use of coffee as a hair rinse may help boost hair growth and health. (11) You can do so by massaging cooled, freshly brewed coffee onto washed, damp hair. Wash your hair after 15 minutes. Alternatively, you can mix the coffee with your leave-in conditioner.
Hair dryness is a common problem faced by many, irrespective of gender and age. It is generally caused by environmental damage and improper hair care.
The home remedies and self-care mentioned in this article can be highly useful in improving hair health and preventing hair dryness in the future. If these remedies do not show results within 2 weeks, contact your doctor, as prolonged hair dryness can be indicative of an underlying condition.