Many of the best home remedies for dry hair use common kitchen ingredients like olive oil, sesame oil, and egg whites to strengthen and moisturize individual follicles. Rubbing these ingredients into the hair and scalp regularly can help maintain balance and shine, and might also prevent future damage. Vinegar is another common treatment, though it usually must be used somewhat sparingly to avoid damage. People looking for a more intensive at-home therapy might try a mask, which is a combination of ingredients — avocado and coconut milk is a popular pairing, for instance — that is meant to sit on the hair for a long period of time in order to really soak in before rinsing off. Most at-home remedies are affordable and easy to prepare, and are often very effective.
Standard olive oil is one of the most common home remedies for dry hair. There are a lot of different varieties, from cold-pressed to extra virgin, but this isn’t usually important when it comes to hair. People looking for moisture are usually most concerned about the oil’s high concentrations of vitamin E and its abundant antioxidant content, which occurs no matter the precise variety or preparation method.
The oil works by helping to seal the cuticle, or outer layer, of each hair follicle. One of the easiest ways for people to get started is to apply the oil directly to damp, clean hair, after shampooing, for instance. Ideally it should be allowed to soak into the strands, but should be rinsed out to avoid a greasy, slick buildup on the hair. Some people will hop out of the shower and do something else while the oil rests; putting the oil on at night and waiting till the morning to rinse is another common strategy.
Sesame oil works in a very similar way, but tends to be lighter — that is, it isn’t usually as thick or rich — which means it can sometimes be left on for longer, or even worn as a leave-in conditioner in some cases. Some people add a few drops of sesame oil to their conditioner for daily use, or can use it for a weekly or bi-weekly scalp massage, which can provide more intensive moisture by targeting the roots of each strand. Sesame oil mixed with grated fresh ginger can also help prevent dandruff and provides some protection against sun damage. Jojoba and sweet almond oils aren't as common around the house, but often get the same results, often with the bonus of a light, pleasing fragrance.
Another simple remedy involves beating an egg white until it froths, then covering the hair and scalp with the bubbles that result. Egg whites are mostly water and are high in various proteins and minerals. These can not only soothe dry, damaged hair, but can also make it stronger by reinforcing the bonds and fibers that hold the strands together on a cellular level. People usually need to be sure to thoroughly wash egg out of their hair, though, since it, like olive oil, can leave a greasy, sticky residue.
Vinegar is another relatively simple way for people to increase moisture and shine. A mixture of apple cider vinegar and cool water will often remove dulling and damaging build-up while smoothing the outer surface. Vinegar makes hair easier to comb, too, reducing the likelihood of damage caused during styling. It is an acid, though, and repeated use can actually have a somewhat harmful effect — people who regularly apply vinegar to their hair often find that it is more prone to breakage and damage than it was before. As a result, these sorts of treatments should usually only be used a few times a year. This is enough to boost the hair’s natural defenses without causing lasting damage.
Masks and Combination Treatments
Many of the most effective home remedies for dry hair are actually combinations of multiple ingredients blended together to form what is known as a “mask.” Masks for the hair are usually pretty similar to masks for the face, in that they are thick, creamy, and designed to completely smother all surfaces. Most people apply them to dry hair and leave them on for anywhere from 15 minutes to an hour, thorough rinsing is really important to remove residues that can block pores. Clogged or blocked pores often lead to oil build-up that can make dry hair worse over time.
An easy mask is little more than olive oil, warm water, and a lightly beaten egg yolk. Mixing an egg with a small amount of plain, unflavored yogurt can also make a powerful moisturizing conditioner. An effective but more complicated home remedy calls for a combination of egg yolk, mashed avocado, and coconut milk. The ingredients are combined into a thick paste and massaged into clean, dry hair. Each of the oily ingredients smoothes and repairs the hair, while the plentiful antioxidant content can help prevent damage in the future.