Following a multistep, personalized beauty routine is a common habit people follow to maintain the health of their skin, nails, and hair.
Unfortunately, due to the number and quality of products needed, a skin care routine alone can cost quite a bit. Moreover, marketed beauty products are often laden with chemicals, which may harm the skin or hair in the long run, especially when not used correctly.
Yes, many over-the-counter products may be essential to your skin and hair health, but there are also several natural ingredients that can be used in place of chemical-based products.
These natural ingredients can maintain the health of your skin, nails, and hair without damaging the skin or burning a hole in your pocket.
The Best Natural Ingredients for Healthy Hair, Gorgeous Skin, and Strong Nails
It is highly suggested to try natural ingredients in your beauty routine as they are more affordable and less toxic. The following are the best natural ingredients that can be used to improve the health of your skin, hair, and nail:
1. Olive oil
Olive oil is a staple ingredient in most households. Widely used for cooking, olive oil also finds practical applications in the care of your skin, hair, and nails.
Using olive oil can make your hair smooth, soft, voluminous, and strong. It works by penetrating the inner layers of the hair and retaining hydration. In addition, olive oil is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, which help protect the skin from photodamage. (1)
For the nails, olive oil is an excellent hydrating agent, aiding in damage repair and softening the nails and cuticles.
While you can reap these benefits of olive oil through your daily diet, you can also use it topically in the following ways:
- For the hair: Massage your scalp using warmed-up olive oil for a few minutes. Wear a shower cap on the hair for 30–40 minutes. Then, wash your hair with shampoo.
- For the skin: Massage a few drops of olive oil on cleansed skin, allowing it to get absorbed.
- For the nails: Wash your hands thoroughly, ensuring that the nails are cleansed. Warm a few tablespoons of olive oil and dip your nails in it for 20 minutes. Wipe it off using a towel.
Tomatoes can work wonders for your hair by rebalancing the scalp pH and boosting hair growth. They are also a good source of biotin, which can strengthen and thicken your nails. Moreover, consuming tomato paste can help prevent skin rashes caused by sun exposure. (2)
Reap the cosmetic benefits of the tomatoes by doing the following:
- For the hair: Blend two tomatoes, 1 tbsp of extra-virgin coconut oil, and 1 tsp of honey to form a fine paste. Apply it to your scalp and use a shower cap. Wash the hair after half an hour.
- For the skin: Squash a tomato and apply an even layer of the pulp to your face and neck. Allow it to dry for 20 minutes. Then, wash your skin with lukewarm water.
- For the nails: Mix ½ cup of tomato juice and 3 tbsp of olive oil. Soak your fingers in it for 10 minutes.
Aside from being a highly nutritious food, avocados can also be an incredible beauty-enhancing ingredient. It is for this very reason that avocados are often found in marketed beauty products.
You can use avocado fruit, seed, or oil to improve your beauty routine. This widely used fruit is an excellent natural moisturizer and humectant, which can keep the hair and skin hydrated. In addition, the vitamin E and fat in avocados can strengthen the skin, improve hair health, and prevent hangnails.
There are various avocado-based home remedies that you can try, such as:
- For the hair: Mash one avocado, add in 2 tbsp each of yogurt, olive oil, honey, and melted shea butter, and mix them well. Apply the paste to damp hair and cover it with a shower cap. Rinse your hair after 1.5 hours.
- For the skin: Mix the pulp of one avocado with 1 tbsp of honey. Massage the mixture on your skin and leave it on for 20 minutes. Rinse it off after.
- For the nails: Add 2 tbsp of avocado pulp and 1 tsp of coconut oil to a bowl and mix them well. Apply the paste to the nails, and rinse it off using lukewarm water after half an hour.
4. Shea butter
Shea butter is an amazing natural moisturizing agent that also provides deep nourishment to the skin. It is rich in vitamins and fatty acids, including oleic, linoleic, arachidic, stearic, palmitic, and linolenic acids.
Its fatty acids help seal the cuticles and prevent hair breakage. These compounds also aid in healing damaged nail beds and cuticles, while improving the overall strength of the nails.
Using shea butter is easy; just follow these steps:
- For the hair: Microwave ½ cup of shea butter with around 6 tbsp of argan oil and mix them well. Allow the mixture to cool, and then add a few drops of lavender essential oil to it. Use a hand mixer to whip the mixture for 5 minutes. Apply it to your hair and comb it through to ensure even distribution. Wash your hair after half an hour of application.
- For the skin: Mix 4–5 drops of grapeseed oil with 2–3 tbsp of melted shea butter, and apply the mixture to your face. Wash the mask off after 10–15 minutes.
- For the nails: Melt 4–5 tbsp of shea butter in the microwave and use it to massage the nail bed and cuticles for a few minutes. Allow the butter to soak in for a few minutes before washing it off.
Oatmeal is another kitchen staple ingredient, often considered to be a breakfast grain. But did you know that its abundance of biotin, protein, starch, beta-glucan, and B vitamins is highly beneficial to your nails, skin, and hair?
Oatmeal can help hydrate your skin and nails as it aids in water retention. (3) It can also be used as a dry shampoo if you have oily hair.
Here’s how you can include oatmeal in your beauty care routine:
- For the hair: To make dry shampoo, grind oatmeal into a fine powder and transfer it into a small-mouthed container or an old, clean talcum powder bottle. Lift your hair to reveal your scalp, and apply the powder to the hair roots in small quantities. Comb your hair to ensure even distribution and to remove any excess.
- For the skin: Add 1/5 cups of colloidal oatmeal to warm bathwater and mix in 2–3 drops of moringa oil. Soak your body in the water for 15–20 minutes, and then take a quick, warm shower.
- For the nails: Mix 1½ tsp of oats with 12 tbsp of rose water, and allow the oats to soak for a few minutes. Use the resulting paste to massage your fingernails and cuticles, and wash your hands after 10 minutes.
Almonds have high levels of vitamin E, an antioxidant that protects your skin, nails, and hair from oxidative damage and free radical action. Moreover, the use of almonds can improve your skin’s appearance and make it look radiant from within.
You can use almonds in the following ways:
- For the hair: Massage your scalp with 5–6 tablespoons of warm almond oil. Leave it on overnight, and shampoo your hair the following morning.
- For the skin: Soak 8 almonds in water overnight, and in the morning, grind them to form a fine paste. To this, add 2 tablespoons of rice flour. Use the paste to gently massage and scrub your skin. Wash it off with cold water after.
- For the nails: Use a cotton ball to apply almond oil on your clean nails and massage it in for a few minutes.
7. Green tea
Loaded with antioxidants, green tea prevents premature skin aging caused by UV exposure and the action of free radicals. Thus, it helps delay age spots, skin sagging, and wrinkles.
In addition, green tea is rich in catechins that inhibit dihydrotestosterone, a hormone that contributes to hair loss. (4) The use of green tea can also improve your nail strength and health.
Here’s what you can do with green tea:
- For the hair: Boil 3 cups of water and steep 3 green tea bags in for a few minutes. Remove the tea bags, mix in 1 tbsp of honey, and let it cool down. Soak your damp hair in the mixture for about 15 minutes, and then use a gentle shampoo to wash it off.
- For the skin: Make a green tea compress by boiling 2 cups of water and steeping 2 green tea bags in it for 15 minutes. Remove the tea bags, squeezing out any excess water. Place the tea bags in the freezer for 20–25 minutes. Once cool, place the tea bags on your skin until they come down to room temperature.
- For the nails: Brew 1 cup of green tea, let it cool, and mix in 4–5 drops of vitamin E. Soak your nails in it for around 15 minutes.
8. Tea tree oil
Extracted from the leaves of the Melaleuca alternifolia tree, tea tree oil is a popular dermatological agent and an ingredient in a variety of beauty products.
The wide use of tea tree oil can be attributed to its antifungal and antiseptic properties that fight infections such as acne. (5) Additionally, tea tree oil boosts blood flow, leading to improved delivery of oxygen and nutrients to the hair and nails.
Exploit the goodness of tea tree oil in the following ways:
- For the hair: Melt 1 cup of shea butter and add 4–5 drops of tea tree oil to it. Massage your scalp with the mixture, and wash your hair after half an hour of application.
- For the skin: Dilute a few drops of tea tree essential oil in 1½ cups of distilled water. Transfer the mixture to a jar filled with cotton pads up to halfway. Allow the cotton pads to soak the solution; you can turn the jar upside down to ensure even distribution. Wipe your skin with the soaked cotton pads in circular motions every day to improve your skin complexion.
- For the nails: Mix 4–5 tbsp of tea tree oil with 10 tbsp of olive oil. Dip your nails in the mix for half an hour. Wash your hands with lukewarm water, pat them dry, and then apply a moisturizer.
Available throughout the year, papaya is an excellent source of many nutrients that contribute to good overall health. Papaya is also rich in antioxidants and enzymes that nourish and moisturize the skin, thus treating skin dryness and flakiness.
This tropical fruit contains vitamins C, A, and B9, which, along with the enzymes papain and chymopapain, promote hair growth, making your locks thick and silky. The topical use of papaya on the scalp also helps prevent dandruff, peeling, and hair loss.
Papaya enzymes also play a role in softening protein tissue and improving cuticle health.
The topical benefits of papaya can be acquired through these methods:
- For the hair: Mix 1 ripe papaya with 1½ cups of melted shea butter in a blender to form a smooth paste. Apply this hair conditioner to your hair, and wash it off using lukewarm water after an hour.
- For the skin: Mix 3–4 tbsp of mashed papaya with 2–3 tbsp of fresh milk cream. Apply the paste to your skin and massage it well. Wash your skin after 5–10 minutes.
- For the nails: Juice one whole papaya in a blender, and using a cotton ball, apply the juice to your nails. Massage it in for a few minutes and then wash it off.
Rice is a staple food in most households. However, not many people know the topical applications of rice that can improve cosmetic appearance.
Rich in biotin, rice can strengthen the hair and nails. It is also a good source of vitamins and minerals that are beneficial to your skin and hair.
Furthermore, the high amounts of amino acid in rice can strengthen the hair roots and can make the hair strands lustrous, smooth, and silky. Rice also contains inositol, which assists in hair repair and damage prevention.
You can add rice to your beauty regimen in the following ways:
- For the hair: Soak 1½ cups of rice in 3 cups of water for 3 hours. Strain the rice and use the rice water as a hair rinse on cleansed hair. Simply pour the rice water from the roots to the lengths of the hair. Wash it off after 15–20 minutes or leave it in.
- For the skin: Cook 1 cup of rice with 4 cups of water and allow it to cool. Blend the mixture and sieve it. Pour the obtained rice milk into an ice tray and freeze. Take a couple of the cubes and mix them with lye and 2–3 drops of essential oil. Blend the mixture to form a lump-free paste; strain if needed. Chill the paste for a few minutes and apply it to cleansed skin, massaging it in. Finally, wash your skin with plain water and pat it dry.
- For the nails: Rinse 2 cups of rice properly and soak it in 3 cups of distilled water for 30 minutes. Stir the rice occasionally. Strain the water, transfer it into a container, leave it overnight. Soak your nails in the fermented rice water the next morning for 15–20 minutes, and then wash your hands with regular water.
The health of your hair, skin, and nails has a great impact on your overall appearance. Their condition can be indicative of your internal and overall health as well. Therefore, strive to achieve smooth and supple skin, healthy and voluminous hair, and strong and thick nails.
A variety of natural ingredients can benefit the health and appearance of your skin, nails, and hair and can therefore be wonderful additions to your beauty routine.
Make sure to conduct a patch test to rule out allergies and sensitivity before using these natural ingredients, and consult your doctor if you notice any redness or inflammation after trying the remedy.