My hair care trick while traveling for six weeks in India was quite simple—I went six weeks without washing it. I figured that with all the muck and grime in the air, I wouldn’t even bother trying to beat it—I’d just go with it. I watched while my head transitioned from a messed-up mop, to a bird’s nest, to a dread-like existence. By month’s end, I couldn’t put a brush through it, and I had to wash it three times and condition it five times before my follicles started to forgive me. I wish I’d known a thing or two about hair masks … maybe then I could have married an Indian prince instead of getting things stuck in my hair while I fended off the paupers.
A Caste of Flowers Mask
Okay, so they’re not as easy to find as marigolds are in India, but these flowers mixed with vinegar and water help with dandruff and sealing the hair cuticles.
One tablespoon each of chamomile flowers, comfrey root, elder flowers, and nettle
1/4 cup cider vinegar
Pour the herbs into the boiling water and let stand for thirty minutes. Mix in the vinegar and let stand while you shower. Shampoo your hair and then pour the flower mixture over your head.
Coconut Conditioning Cuticles Mask
I still dream of the coconut oil head massages I took from old men and women in Indonesia in trade for some rupiah and a smile. Coconut keeps the dandruff away and this mask helps the kiddies avoid the mid-year lice breakout.
Pressed coconut oil
Towel that is still hot, straight from the dryer
Take a large chunk of coconut cream and massage it into your hair. From the dryer, take out a warm towel and wrap it around your head, leaving it for an hour. Wash out the coconut with shampoo and a deep conditioner.
“Honey, Olive Loves You” Mask
This heavenly honey and olive oil mask is especially great for swimmers to keep chlorine damage at bay.
4 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons honey
1/3 of a peeled cucumber
Blend the olive oil, honey, egg, and cucumber and apply to your hair, wrapping your head in a shower cap. Massage into your hair to create some heat. Leave for thirty minutes, shampoo thoroughly, and rinse well to avoid greasiness the next day.
Avocado Treatment Mask
If like me, you buy avocados but can never eat them fast enough, you’ll like this mask.
One ripe avocado
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons honey
Mash the flesh of one ripe avocado. Add 1 tablespoon of honey and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Mix the flesh of the avocado with the honey and olive oil until you have a creamy texture and cover your hair. Add ingredients, depending on the length of your hair. Leave on for twenty minutes and rinse with a gentle shampoo.
A Bowl of Cereal on Your Head
For dry and damaged hair, bananas and almond oil will moisten your scalp and make your hair smell good enough to eat.
One ripe banana
A few drops of almond oil
1/2 cup whole milk
1 tablespoon honey
Mix banana, almond oil, milk, and honey, and massage into your scalp. Mix well and massage down into your hair. Leave in for fifteen to thirty minutes and then shampoo until clean.