At this point in the winter, our hair could use a bit of help to get it back to the luscious, shiny, and full-bodied state it's in during spring, summer, and fall. You see, just like with our skin, freezing temperatures, drying indoor heat, and other miserable elements wreak absolute havoc on our once-fabulous locks. Whether you’re suffering from an influx of split ends, an itchy scalp, or just a general blah-ness that’s caused your beanie to become permanently attached to your head, we get it—we’re feeling it too.
So, how do we bring our hair back to life without having to wait until April? We turned to the experts—our friends over at Plant Family, a collective of natural and plant-based beauty and wellness brands—for help. They shared six no-fail hair treatments you can whip up in your own kitchen, using all-natural herbs, essential oils, and more. Together, these treatments soothe, nourish, and solve a variety of winter hair woes.
Who doesn’t love a little DIY action on a cold winter’s day? It’s not like we’re going outside, anyway.
Rosemary Sage Hair Oil Treatment
by Ally Sands of Aquarian Soul
As we've mentioned already, our hair can take quite a beating when it comes to winter weather. That’s where oil treatments come to the rescue. Ally Sands of Aquarian Soul shared her rosemary sage version with us. “Oil treatments are a great way to help manage dry, frizzy winter hair. Rosemary is one of the top herbs for all hair types—whether you have dry or oily hair, it works well for both. For this recipe, you’ll be making an herbal-infused oil and adding essential oils to it for an extra boost. Infused oils allow the constituents of the herb to steep in the oil over a period of weeks, which make for a more powerful plant medicine,” she says.
Ingredients and tools:
- 2 oz. jojoba oil
- 2 oz. olive oil
- 2 oz. kukui nut oil
- 1/4 cup dried rosemary leaves
- 2 Tbsp dried sage leaves
- 6 drops rosemary essential oil
- 6 drops sage essential oil
- Pint-size glass jar with lid
- Fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth
- 6 oz. glass dropper bottle
Pour your oils and dried herbs into a glass jar. Shake the jar and set in a dark space, such as a cupboard, being sure to shake it a few times a day. Strain the herbs out of the oil using a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth after three to four weeks. Add the essential oils to the strained oils, and pour into your glass dropper bottle. When you are ready to use the oil, apply two to four dropperfuls from root to tip. You can even give your scalp a little bit of a massage as your rub it through. Allow the oil to soak in for a few hours and then wash your hair as usual. If you want a deeper treatment, you can leave it on all day or overnight!
Sea Salt Scalp Scrub
by Kat Davis of Wild Honey Apothecary
The drier your scalp is (just like the rest of our skin), the itchier it gets—which is what makes a scalp scrub a must. This recipe from Kat Davis of Wild Honey Apothecary is DIY at its simplest, as it contains ingredients you probably already have in your pantry. “Coconut is naturally cleansing and moisturizing while the sea salt sloughs away dry scalp skin and increases circulation. Just to send this treatment over the top, honey deeply hydrates and soothes the scalp and hair,” she says.
Ingredients (yields three treatments):
- 2 Tbsp coconut oil (virgin and organic, if possible)
- 1 Tbsp sea salt
- A generous drizzle of honey
Mix all ingredients together. While in the shower or bath, vigorously massage one tablespoon of the mixture into your wet scalp. Run your fingers through your hair to let it soak in some hydrating goodness. After a couple of minutes, rinse and shampoo as usual.
Pine Pitch End Mend
by Ash Sierra of Ritual Botanica
Dry, split ends not only burden us through winter but year-round. To help keep them in check, Ash Sierra of Ritual Botanica recommends pine pitch. “Pine pitch is the resin that oozes from a pine tree when it’s been damaged to seal, protect, and heal the wound. For ages, humans have turned to this wonderful smelling goo for wound care and splinter removal. It works great for split ends, too!” she says.
Ingredients and tools:
- 1 oz. pine resin in small pieces
- 3 oz. oil of choice (Sierra prefers argan or jojoba, but says olive oil will do)
- Wide-mouth jar
Combine the resin and oil in a wide-mouth jar. Place the jar in a saucepan, and then place this over a pot filled halfway with water. "Essentially, you're creating a double broiler, so you may do this in whatever way is familiar to you," says Sierra. Carefully, heat the pot with the jar inside on low to raise the jar's temperature and melt the resin into the oil. Use a chopstick to help mix the oil. When the resin appears mostly melted, turn the heat off, give the jar a good mix, and let the whole thing cool. Once cooled down, strain the mixture through a coffee filter or fine mesh and place your final oil into a bottle.
Note: Resin will be sticky, and Sierra recommends removing it with oil, rather than soap.
Botanical Hair Rinse
by Ashley Finney of Irish Roots Botanics
A hot mug of tea can be extremely calming, soothing, and comforting on a cold day. But what about a cup of tea for your hair? Ashley Finney of Irish Roots Botanics shares her recipe for an herbal infusion for your locks.
“A botanical hair rinse can provide scalp replenishment, shine, and hair moisturizing,” she says. “This homemade botanical hair tea features nutritive leaves and flowers that feed and enrich the scalp for healthy, strong hair during the dry months of winter—and it smells amazing! Marshmallow root provides deep cleansing and moisturizing to dry locks, while rosemary and peppermint stimulate circulation on the scalp and lavender and calendula flowers nourish and soothe to relieve dryness and irritation.”
- 2 parts marshmallow root
- 2 parts rosemary
- 1 part calendula flowers
- 1 part peppermint
- 1/2 part lavender buds
- 2 cups water
- 1 Tbsp organic raw apple cider vinegar (optional)
Steep plant material in two cups of warm water for 30 minutes, strain, and gently massage into scalp on wet hair. To achieve extra shine and softness, add one tablespoon of organic raw apple cider vinegar to the finished tea after straining.
Botanical Salt Spray
by Ashley Bessler of Wild Rose Herbs
We know what you’re thinking: A sea salt spray? In the winter? While you might normally reach for the salt spray to create tousled, beachy waves (not something we’re used to hiding under our beanies and giant scarves), this mineral-rich formula by Ashley Bessler of Wild Rose Herbs strengthens and nourishes locks, too. “We use pink Himalayan salt because it contains over 84 minerals and trace elements—plus it’s thought to be one of the purest salts available,” says Bessler.
Ingredients and tools:
- 4 oz. water
- 1 tsp pink Himalayan salt
- 30-40 drops of essential oils (see blends below)
- coffee filter
- spray bottle (fine mist sprayer, if possible)
Add salt to water and dissolve by stirring and shaking in a jar or mixing in a blender. Once dissolved, strain through a coffee filter to remove any chunks that will clog your spray bottle. After straining, fill your spray bottle and add the essential oils. Cap tightly and shake well. After washing your hair, close eyes and spray lightly onto damp or dry hair, being sure to shake well before each use. Scrunch hair a bit to disperse the spray and add a little volume.
Bessler also provided us with specific oil blends for the different hair types, below.
If you have light hair, this blend will clarify and enhance highlights, especially when exposed to sunlight:
- 15 drops lavender
- 10 drops lemon
- 5 drops German chamomile
For darker hair, rosemary promotes growth and will darken and strengthen the hair:
- 15 drops lavender
- 10 drops carrot
- 10 drops rosemary
This nourishing and strengthening blend will replenish dry hair, though you should use the spray lightly as the salt itself can be drying:
- 20 drops carrot
- 10 drops lavender
The citrus in this blend helps control oil production while adding a sweet, uplifting scent:
- 10 drops peppermint
- 10 drops lavender
- 10 drops pink grapefruit
Nettle Infusion Drink
by Lauren Haynes of Wooden Spoon Herbs
While there’s been quite a bit of debate on whether ingestible beauty products are the real deal, natural herbs have been tried and trusted for centuries, so this drink is worth a try, at least. That’s where Lauren Haynes of Wooden Spoon Herb’s nettle infusion comes in to play. “Nettle has been used for hair growth for centuries, due to its high concentration of a bevy of vitamins and minerals, including biotin, a water-soluble B vitamin,” she says. “Biotin is a celebrity phytonutrient that is in countless fancy creams and shampoos for its ability to increase the growth of nails and hair and regenerate skin cell growth. But here, we have it in its simplest, most whole form: nettles. Drink this infusion if you want thick, shiny hair, glowing skin, and lots of energy.”
- 2 cups organic or wildcrafted nettle leaf (urtica dioica)
- 1/2 gallon of hot (almost boiling) water
- A jar
Put your nettles into the jar, then fill with almost-boiling water. Cap immediately and let sit for at least eight hours, or overnight. Strain and enjoy hot or iced.