This homemade hair conditioner recipe is actually a leave-in conditioner that uses all-natural ingredients to promote soft, shiny, healthy hair, and repair split ends.
One of the questions I was recently asked on my YouTube channel was if I could recommend any hair conditioner recipes, other than apple cider vinegar (which has been my go-to for years now), that would help to nourish hair.
Homemade conditioners can vary hugely from apple cider vinegar to coconut oil. I’ve even heard of smearing egg whites and/or avocado on hair to repair and restore damaged hair. While these DIY options may prove quite effective, they can be really messy to use.
Some even find that apple cider vinegar (ACV) can dry out their hair if used too much, so this homemade leave-in hair conditioner can be a really great alternative.
It’s really simple to make and moisturises dry hair naturally, leaving soft, silky, shiny hair as a result.
Why Conditioner is So Important for Hair
The reason why conditioner is so important when it comes to hair care is it helps replenish hair of its natural oils after the shampoo has stripped these oils away during the cleaning process. Our hair follicles make sebum (oil) which moisturises and repairs damaged hair and split ends. However, too much sebum gives hair that greasy look. Not what we want.
Typical store bought conditioners have a thick, lotion-y consistency to them but wash away and don’t result in build-up on hair. While some homemade hair conditioners can leave build-up on the scalp and hair cuticles, making hair feel greasy when it’s just been cleaned. Not what we’re after.
I wanted to create a recipe that didn’t need replacing every couple of days, and that didn’t leave build-up on hair.
As we all have different hair types, this recipe can be customised so it meets your specific hair needs. It may take some time (and a little trial and error) to find your perfect conditioner recipe, but the base is the same.
Ingredients Used in this Conditioner
The ingredients specifically chosen for their hair nourishing properties include:
- Castor oil: Great for the scalp and helps encourage hair growth while reducing breakage, and dandruff, along with many other benefits.
- Argan oil: Helps repair dry, damaged hair and reduce frizz (plus adds shine).
- Jojoba oil: Technically a wax, not an oil, jojoba closely mimics our own sebum (oil). It helps to moisturise without leaving an overly greasy look on hair, and may help reduce frizz.
- Glycerin: Helps capture moisture and incorporate it into hair. However, in extreme weather conditions such as extremely dry or humid climates, it can be problematic and either pull moisture from hair, leaving it even more dry and brittle, or leave hair feeling sticky. But, for those living in more stable environments, glycerin (in a small amount) should be okay.
- Emulsifying wax: Allows the oil and water to mix together properly, creating a thick, creamy consistency.
- Essential oils: Wonderful for giving a beautiful scent to the conditioner (and in turn, your locks), but also provide an array of benefits for hair, too. According to Our Oily House, the 10 best essential oils for hair include:
– Rosemary: Known for its ability to stimulate hair follicles which can help with hair growth, thickness, and strengthening locks.
– Lavender: Can aid in producing more hair follicles which will help with hair thickness and growth… It has cleansing and purifying properties that can help keep hair and scalp healthy.
– Peppermint: Has a cooling and soothing effect when applied topically to the skin or scalp. This oil can be especially helpful when dealing with a dry, itchy scalp. Peppermint may help with hair growth and strengthening the hair.
– Tea tree: It may help reduce dandruff, itchy scalp, and dry hair. In addition, it is anti-fungal, anti-bacterial, and purifying. Tea tree essential oil can help get rid of and prevent lice from spreading. If you think you have lice or have been exposed to lice, adding tea tree essential oil to your shampoo or making a spray with tea tree and witch hazel may help.
– Cedarwood: The go-to oil when dealing with thinning hair. The cedarwood oil stimulates hair follicles and increases circulation to the scalp making it a top oil for hair loss prevention.
– Lemon: The best essential oil to use if you have overly oily or greasy hair. Add a couple of drops to your shampoo for a natural degreaser. With its high amount of vitamin C, lemon essential oil can be used to naturally lighten the hair. Make a spray with lemon essential oil and water and generously spray the hair.
WARNING: Lemon essential oil is a photosensitive oil and should be used with caution in the sun.
– Lemongrass: Can enhance hair growth, reduce dandruff, and help with hair loss.
– Clary sage: Contains linalyl acetate which can improve hair strength and promote hair growth. Clary sage is one of the best essential oils to use for regulating hormones.
– Bergamot: Can help bring dull hair to life by adding shine and softness. Bergamot promotes healthy hair growth and can strengthen hair follicles.
– Basil: Can help with oily hair as it regulates sebum production… Basil oil may help with hair growth and reduce thinning hair.Our Oily House
Choice of Preservatives
If you’re wanting to use a preservative in this conditioner recipe to increase the shelf-life, Leucidal Complete is highly recommended as it contains all-natural ingredients. It needs to be used at 2-4% to be effective, so I’ve included it at 4% in the recipe below. Leucidal has also been approved by ECOcert (a certification for organic products). The shelf-life of this conditioner is hard to pin-point exactly as it’s not sent to a lab for testing, however, adding a preservative and minimising contact with water will help it to last up to several months. If excluding the preservative, I do not recommend keeping it for more than a week.
As this recipe calls for water, the water used needs to be clean and microbe-free. Distilled water is best, but boiled filtered water is also fine.
Mommypotamus also shares a wonderful natural leave-in hair conditioner using just coconut milk.
Before we get started in learning how to make this natural homemade hair conditioner – if you like what you’re seeing, subscribe to my email newsletter at the bottom of the page to keep up to date on the latest recipes, DIYs, gardening and health tips I share!!
Homemade Leave-in Hair Conditioner
By using a pump bottle or a squeeze bottle, it will help reduce unnecessary contact with the conditioner, increasing the shelf-life.
- 1/4 cup distilled or boiled filtered water or peppermint or tea tree hydrosol
- 1 tsp jojoba oil
- 1 tsp argan oil or castor oil
- 1 tsp glycerin (optional)
- 3 tsp emulsifying wax
- 1 tsp leucidal complete preservative (optional)
- 1/2 tsp vitamin E oil
- 20-40 drops essential oils (optional)
- In a heat-proof glass bowl placed on top of a saucepan filled with water (making a double boiler), add in the jojoba oil, argan oil, glycerin and wax, and bring the water to a boil.
- Stir the mixture occasionally until completely melted, then remove the bowl from heat and stir in the water or hydrosol. Once the mixture is warm (and no longer hot), stir in the preservative (if using), vitamin E oil and essential oils (if using).
- Stir together until the mixture has cooled to room temperature, then transfer the conditioner to a pump bottle and store in a cool, dry place out of sunlight and away from excess heat. To increase its shelf-life, keep it in the fridge. If not using a preservative, this conditioner will only keep for up to one week.
As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor before trying or using any new products. I am not a doctor. All opinions expressed are my own personal thoughts and feelings of the products mentioned. Check with your doctor or health practitioner if you are uncertain about trying out any of the products, recipes or tips mentioned in this post.
Have you made your own hair care products before? What did you make? Share in the comments below.
Lots of love,