Achieving soft and radiant hair is a common aspiration. However, factors such as aging, lifestyle choices, or improper hair care techniques can take a toll on your hair, causing harm to its fragile cuticles.
Over time, the natural oils in your hair may be depleted, resulting in dryness.
Nonetheless, resigning to having dehydrated and brittle hair is unnecessary.
You can address the issue of dry and coarse hair with the help of homemade solutions. All you need is a combination of moisturising ingredients and adopting healthy hair care practices. Consider the following remedies and steps you can easily incorporate into your daily routine.
17 Useful Hair Softening Treatments at Home
Consider the hair type
Discovering your hair type is a crucial step before attempting any home remedies. Dry and coarse hair requires extra care, whereas straight hair may demand less oil than curly hair. This distinction arises from natural scalp oils flowing more easily through the cuticle in straight hair.
It’s important to note that your hair type can change over time due to decreased natural oil production as you age, or it may vary depending on the climate you reside in and the current season.
Embrace Coconut Oil
Coconut oil is gaining popularity in the realm of beauty products. While research has demonstrated its benefits for dry skin, it may also offer advantages for your hair.
Coconut oil can deeply penetrate the skin; some of these effects can extend to your hair shaft.
You can opt for products infused with coconut oil or apply pure coconut oil to your hair after shampooing. If it feels too greasy, focus on the ends of your hair and use the oil every other day.
Harness the Power of Olive Oil
Olive oil is well-known for its positive impact on internal health, and recent research is shedding light on its role in hair care. It’s believed that olive oil can create a protective barrier against water, preventing water molecules from causing damage to the cuticle.
However, this protective barrier may also make your hair appear oily. For optimal results, apply a small amount of olive oil evenly to the ends of your hair once a week.
Explore the Benefits of Argan Oil
Derived from Moroccan argan fruit extracts, argan oil is renowned for its moisturising properties. While research on argan oil and hair care is limited, this remedy holds great promise.
Many cosmetic manufacturers have incorporated argan oil into shampoos, conditioners, and treatments. Nonetheless, extremely dry hair may benefit more from pure argan oil. (You can find it here.) Plus, you won’t have to contend with unwanted chemicals or additives.
Apply argan oil like olive oil – in a thin, even layer.
Incorporate a Weekly Hair Mask
Plant-based oils can effectively replenish moisture in dry hair. However, if you prefer to avoid using pure oils, you can opt for a pre-made hair mask.
A hair mask weekly can help your hair retain moisture more efficiently, leading to softer hair. Apply it to damp (not wet) hair after shampooing, then rinse it out after five minutes.
Bentonite clay, a natural substance formed through volcanic processes, has traditionally been employed to address digestive issues. Additionally, it occasionally addresses skin concerns such as dryness, eczema, and insect bites.
Ongoing research explores the potential benefits of bentonite clay for hair care, although most studies have focused on animals. Advocates suggest this clay effectively cleanses the hair while maintaining moisture balance and even addressing dandruff.
To utilise bentonite clay for your hair:
- Acquire bentonite clay.
- Mix equal clay parts with water or vinegar to create a thick paste.
- Apply it in the shower, similar to how you would use a store-bought hair mask.
Opt for Lukewarm Water Instead of Hot Water
Using hot water can be detrimental to dull and dry hair. Instead, opt for lukewarm water when washing your hair.
Moreover, consider rinsing your hair with cool water after conditioning to enhance softness and shine. This practice aids in removing any excess product without stripping away moisture.
Employ a Strategic Washing Technique
You must wash your hair regularly if you contend with dry ends and an oily scalp. However, a different approach may be necessary to address dryness and excess oil.
Try shampooing your scalp and conditioning only the ends of your hair. This can help manage excess oil at the scalp while nourishing the rest of your strands.
Exercise Caution with Heated Styling Tools
Blow dryers, curling irons, and flat irons are common tools for hairstyling. Nevertheless, prolonged exposure to high heat can create bubbles in the hair cuticle, resulting in damage and breakage. If you must use heated styling tools, consider these precautions:
- Apply a heat protectant before each use.
- Use the lowest heat setting possible.
- Avoid using heated tools on extremely wet hair; allow your hair to air dry partially first.
- Give your hair regular breaks to aid in recovery.
Adjust the Frequency of Washing
Contrary to the childhood practice of daily hair shampooing, your hair’s needs may change as you age. Those with extremely dry hair may find that weekly shampoos suffice. Conversely, individuals with an oilier scalp than their ends may need to shampoo every other day.
You can also use dry shampoo to remove oil and dirt without depleting moisture.
Avoid Certain Hairstyles
While hair accessories can be a fun way to change your look, some styles, like those involving tight elastic bands, can exert pulling and tightening forces on the hair. Over time, this can damage the hair cuticle, leading to dryness and even patchy hair loss.
Limit Frequent Hair Treatments
Although professional hair treatments like colouring, perming, or straightening can yield appealing results, they often rely on chemicals that can subsequently dry out and harm your hair. It’s advisable to space out these treatments, allowing a minimum of six weeks between each session to minimise potential damage.
Rice water, according to Ilda Plaka, a master stylist at Salon Ziba NYC, can significantly enhance the health and beauty of your hair due to its unique starchy composition left behind after rice grains are removed. This starchy water contains essential elements like vitamin E, amino acids, B vitamins, and minerals. These components are vital in strengthening, smoothing, and adding shine to your hair.
To apply this treatment, measure one cup of uncooked rice, ensuring a thorough rinse. Subsequently, add 3-4 cups of water and let it sit for 30 minutes. After this period, strain the infused water into a clean spray bottle. Proceed to wash your hair using your regular shampoo and rinse thoroughly.
As Lisa Belkin recommended, sour cream can help rejuvenate moisture and restore shine to your hair, countering the effects of harsh styling products and environmental pollutants. The lactic acid in sour cream effectively removes dirt, while the milk fat provides essential moisture. This mask is suitable for all hair types, with the added advantage of enhancing natural curls.
To utilise sour cream as a treatment, massage half a cup of it into damp hair and allow it to sit for 20 minutes. Rinse your hair first with warm water, then a final rinse with cool water, and then shampoo your hair as usual. This treatment can be repeated every other week for best results.
Consider using a unique blend of lemon juice and olive oil on your hair to combat the dryness that often accompanies winter. “The acidic properties of lemon juice work to eliminate loose, flaky skin on your scalp, while the olive oil provides moisture to the newly exposed skin,” explains Cox.
For application, combine 2 tablespoons of fresh lemon juice, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, and 2 tablespoons of water, then gently massage the mixture into your damp scalp. Allow it to sit for 20 minutes, then rinse and shampoo your hair. You can repeat this treatment every other week for the best results.
No matter what’s causing your hair to lose its lustre – hard water, excessive sun exposure, or frequent use of a flat iron – nature’s sweetener can come to the rescue. “Honey acts as a natural humectant, attracting and locking in moisture,” says Cox. While applying a honey mask may seem a little sticky, it’s suitable for all hair types.
To apply, massage approximately half a cup of honey into clean, damp hair, leaving it in for 20 minutes before rinsing with warm water.
After that, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil to make the application easier. For hair severely damaged by the sun, consider mixing honey with 1 to 2 tablespoons of a protein-rich ingredient like avocado or egg yolk, as this will help restore the keratin protein bonds that UV rays can damage. This treatment can be done once a month.
How often should I do a hair softening treatment at home?
The frequency of home hair softening treatments depends on your hair type and condition. For most people, doing a treatment once or every other week is sufficient. Adjust the frequency based on your specific needs.
Can I use store-bought products for home hair softening treatments?
Yes, many commercial hair masks, conditioners, and treatments are designed for home use. Look for products that are labelled as “hydrating,” “moisturising,” or “softening” to achieve the desired results.
How long should I leave a hair softening treatment on my hair?
The duration varies depending on the treatment and product you’re using. Generally, leave homemade treatments on for 20-30 minutes, while commercial products may have specific instructions on the packaging. Follow the recommended time for best results.
Can I apply a hair-softening treatment to dry or wet hair?
It’s generally recommended to apply these treatments to clean, damp hair. Damp hair allows better product absorption and distribution. However, follow the instructions on the specific treatment you’re using.
Are there any precautions when doing a hair softening treatment at home?
Perform a patch test if you have sensitive skin or allergies. Additionally, avoid using excessive heat, like hot water or heated styling tools, immediately after a treatment, as it can strip away the benefits.
In conclusion, performing a hair softening treatment at home can be a convenient and cost-effective way to achieve smoother, more manageable hair.
With various DIY methods and natural ingredients available, you can pamper your locks and enjoy the benefits of softer, healthier hair without needing salon visits or expensive products. Remember to choose a treatment that suits your hair type and needs, and enjoy the results of softer, silkier tresses from the comfort of your home.