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The Pros and Cons of the Most Commonly Used DIY Hair Mask Ingredients

We’ve all been there—standing in the bathroom, staring at the mirror, inspecting split ends. You run your hands through your lengths and realize how dry your hair has gotten. So you grab your phone and google “DIY hair mask”—the results are endless! How do you know which recipe to choose? Or which one will actually work? This is the hard part. 

The world of DIY beauty is vast. With so many ingredients, opinions, and recipes out there, it can be tough to sift through them all. Will guacamole really help with hair growth? Does honey truly heal split ends? Let’s go through the pros and cons of the most common DIY hair mask ingredients. 

washing hair after diy hair mask
(via Unsplash)


Avocados are a much-loved DIY hair mask ingredient. This creamy green fruit holds a lot of nutrients, antioxidants, and packs a protein-powered punch.

When applied to the hair, avocado will increase shine and hydration, as well as strengthen and repair. However, those with fine hair will find it to be a bit too heavy on the head. If you choose to try a “guacamole growth treatment,” you might need a few post-mask shampoos.

Avocados are great for hair health and homemade hair treatments
(via Unsplash)


How do you like yours? Scrambled, sunny-side up, or slathered on your scalp? Believe it or not, eggs can do wonders for hair. When used as a treatment, eggs can help strengthen your lengths and prevent split ends. Its natural conditioning effects will also combat unwanted frizz, add shine, and help to balance an oily scalp. 

The downside of this egg-cellent DIY hair mask ingredient? It can get a little gross. Beyond the messiness of egg masks, there is a risk of accidentally cooking the egg into your hair if your shower water gets too hot. Also, raw eggs can cause food-borne illnesses if not handled properly, so it is important to be as clean as possible when working with them. Finally, if you have a sensitive scalp, this one is not for you. Egg whites can be irritating as they have a drying effect and can cause a tight, itchy feeling.

Eggs will increase shine and reduce frizz in homemade hair masks
(via Unsplash)


Honey on hair sounds like a sticky situation. When used properly, it can be liquid gold. If hydration is your goal, then honey is your winner. Honey acts as a humectant, sealing in moisture and conditioning your hair. It will also prevent damage and reduce breakage.

The key to using honey properly? Never put straight honey on your strands. Instead, mix a tablespoon or two in with another ingredient, like banana or avocado. If the ratio of honey is too high, you’ll be left with a lot of residue and very hard-to-brush hair.

Honey is a moisturizing ingredient for DIY hair masks
(via Unsplash)

Essential Oils

Rosemary, peppermint, lavender, and tea tree—if you want to incorporate essential oils, reach for one of these. Rosemary, lavender, and peppermint are known for stimulating the scalp and promoting hair growth. Tea tree oil is a great balancer. It is known for harmonizing the hair and scalp, as well as preventing dandruff and overly oily roots. 

When using essential oils in any capacity, always remember: Dilute, dilute, dilute! Applying straight essential oil to your scalp or skin can cause irritations or allergic reactions. Add a few drops into a carrier oil then apply, or drip a few drops into your mask mix.

(via Unsplash)

Rice Water

Rice water hair treatments have been increasing in popularity. This ancient beauty secret is said to help hair grow longer and stronger, as well as make strands smoother and shinier. The cosmetic success of this starchy ingredient is due to its high concentration of amino acids, B vitamins, antioxidants, and vitamin E. The best part about this DIY hair mask ingredient? It’s easy to make, extremely affordable, and super low risk.

There are three methods of making rice water: soaking, fermenting, or boiling. With each method, you always want to thoroughly rinse your rice before starting the process. Take a ½ cup of uncooked rice (rinsed) and place it in a bowl with two to three cups of water. Simply soaking? Let the mixture stand for 30 minutes then strain the rice water into a clean bowl or jar. For those who prefer fermenting, leave the mixture at room temperature for two days, then strain. If boiling, add your uncooked rice to the pot with double the amount of water you would normally use when cooking, cook through, and strain. 

You can use rice water alongside other ingredients for a DIY hair mask, soak your lengths in it, or use it when you shampoo. The only recommendation we have is not to use this on a daily basis. Since rice holds so much protein, it could cause a protein overload if used every day. Think of this as a weekly or monthly treatment depending on your hair’s needs.

rice water DIY hair mask ingredient
(via Getty)


Yogurt on your scalp? Don’t say yuck just yet! Yogurt hair masks have many reported benefits. From strengthening to moisturizing, yogurt is a great option for a quick at-home hair treatment. Mix a ½ cup of plain yogurt with a few tablespoons of honey and watch your hair bounce back to life. The good fats and lactic acid in yogurt will also help balance the scalp and promote hair growth. 

Do keep in mind, yogurt masks are not recommended for daily use as they can weigh down your hair as well as leave a lingering smell.

Plain yogurt being used as an additive for diy hair masks
(via Unsplash)


This bright and tasty seasonal fruit is more than just porch decor or a pie ingredient. Pumpkins contain biotin (B7) which has been known to increase hair growth. B7 is also helpful in the production of keratin, which is what our hair is made up of. 

Good pairings for a pumpkin mask include honey, coconut oil, or even a dash of cinnamon for that toasty autumnal smell. Pro tip: If using canned pumpkins, go for the plain stuff. Oftentimes the pie filling version contains a lot of unnecessary sugars and extra ingredients.

Fresh pumpkin being used as a hair treatment to promote growth
(via Unsplash)


Ah yes, the classic mayo mask. This at-home treatment has been around for some time. Many people swear by it, while many people wouldn’t dare. Historically, mayonnaise has been used in hair treatments as a way to combat frizz and quench dry curls. The reason this works is that mayonnaise is made up of eggs. So really, the eggs are doing the “frizzy lifting” here. 

The downside to mayo masks? The smell and the possibility of a breakout. Since mayo is also made with oil, and some oils can be comedogenic, you could see a scalp and forehead flare-up. If you are a person who despises mayo, then this one is not for you.

Mayo being used as a DIY hair mask ingredient
(via Getty)

Coconut Oil

It’s good for cooking, good for skin and hair, good for everything! However, remember the phrase “too much of a good thing?” That applies here. 

Coconut oil is known for its ability to encourage hair growth and thickness, as well as moisturize thirsty locks. Now, all of this is true, but coconut oil can also cause protein overload and major buildup. The key here is to use the right amount and in the right frequency. Hair is unique, so it might take a little trial and error to find the right balance for your hair type. 

Try starting with a tablespoon or two mixed in with a little bit of honey and a few drops of lavender essential oil. Apply the mix from mid-shaft to ends and leave on for 20 to 30 minutes. If you have fine hair, you may need to shampoo and condition after rinsing the oil out. For those with thicker, coarser hair, a thorough rinse should suffice.

Coconut oil is a much loved ingredient for DIY hair masks
(via Unsplash)

Olive Oil

Olive oil is an ingredient that many people have in their homes. It’s still more common than coconut oil as it is usually cheaper and more accessible. But is it good for your hair? 

An olive oil-based mask can do wonders for super dry hair, curly manes, and those with thick and coarse strands. If you have fine or thin hair, then it isn’t recommended. 

Mixing olive oil with other ingredients, like avocado or yogurt, will help boost its moisture-retaining properties. Be sure to thoroughly rinse any olive oil-based mask as oil buildup can cause breakouts and greasy hair. Also, remember to spring for an organic, extra virgin olive oil if you can. The higher the grade of the oil you’re using, the better the results.

Olive oil as a hair treatment can moisturize and strengthen hair at home
(via Unsplash)

Looking for some DIY shampoos to go with your DIY masks? HERE are four natural cleaners for you to try at home!

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