When we talk to haircare experts about maintaining healthy, hydrated strands, one thing they always tell us to do is deep condition. How often you should deep condition depends on your hair type, but no matter your texture, deep conditioning is a must to maintain soft, strong strands. While we have our favorite drugstore and high-end deep conditioners, there’s something special about taking the DIY route and mixing your own product in your kitchen. To help us get our hair in shape, we tapped clean beauty enthusiast Avery Cheatham-Banks to share her go-to DIY deep conditioner recipe. Cheatham-Banks loves using this DIY deep conditioner to refresh her tresses. “I make this mask a few times a month to quench my locks and soothe my scalp,” she says.
To create her signature DIY deep conditioner, Avery mixes a potent blend of natural, hair-loving ingredients. “The stars of the mask show are rosemary oil and tea tree oil. Rosemary essential oil not only stimulates hair growth, but it helps this mask to double as an aromatherapy session. I also add tea tree to give the scalp some love! It’s known to combat dandruff and always leaves my scalp feeling tingly fresh. Shea butter and coconut oil are ancient, holistic remedies for not only dry skin but also for thirsty hair. I also add in Jamaican castor oil for its hair growing properties. This is a lifesaver for my edges, but it’s very thick, so substitute argan oil if your hair is finer.” Ahead, find Avery’s signature DIY deep conditioner recipe and the steps she takes to whip it up at home. Plus, I test out the conditioning mask to see how it performs on my curls.
- 1/2 cup raw Shea butter (softened)
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons Jamaican castor oil (switch for argan oil for finer hair)
- 6-8 drops rosemary oil
- 4-6 drops tea tree oil
Soften Your Shea Butter
"First, make sure your shea butter is very soft before you get started. I would advise women with protective styles, like box braids, to melt the butter so it doesn’t clump into the braids. I usually put it in a Pyrex glass measuring cup (handle turned, so that it’s not over the heat!) in a pot of water on the stove on low heat," says Avery. "A double boiler works well also. Remove the butter in the Pyrex from the bowl as soon as it’s at the desired consistency so you don’t burn it and ruin some of its natural healthy hair properties!"
Blend in Your Oils
"Next, add in coconut and Jamaican castor oil and mix thoroughly together with a spoon or mixer," Avery explains. "Add in the rosemary oil and tea tree oil and mix thoroughly."
Apply The Conditioner To Your Hair
"Next, apply the desired amount to your hair, making sure to also work into your scalp and your edges. I leave mine on for 30 to 45 minutes and find something to do around the house (or not!) while it penetrates," says Avery. "Double points if you use a shower cap or recyclable plastic bag to keep in the moisture! When time is up, rinse your hair to reveal quenched locks. If there are leftovers from the mask, you can store it in a mason jar or a sealable tin."
- If you want to soothe your scalp and hydrate your hair, try adding aloe vera gel or juice to your treatment.
- Containing fatty acids, mashed avocados or avocado oil may increase the moisturizing properties of your mask.
- Adding an egg to your mask is claimed to nourish your hair, promote shine, and increase softness.
- If you need to use a super lightweight oil on your hair, opt for jojoba oil.
- Add olive oil to your treatment to lock in moisture and treat scalp issues like dryness, dandruff, and itchiness.
After reading through Avery’s recipe, I knew I had to give it a go on my curls. The rich blend of shea butter and oils included in Avery’s recipe sounded like they were going to envelop my curls with intense hydration, so I was excited to try. I typically don’t do a lot of DIY projects, so taking the time to mix my own conditioner was a fun change of pace. My curls tend to do better with lighter oils so when I was mixing the conditioner together I opted to use argan oil, as Avery suggested. Another note: I used a rosemary oil that was infused with mint as mint is often used to clarify the hair and scalp.
From my roots to my ends, I coated my hair in the deep conditioner and let it penetrate my parched strands for 45 minutes, per Avery’s recommendation. After rinsing it out of my hair and letting my hair dry, I could tell that this treatment made a difference. I immediately noticed how soft my curls felt and how shiny they looked. The moisturizing properties of the ingredients made my strands look refreshed and rejuvenated. I have a bit of conditioner leftover from the batch that I made, so I’ll definitely be treating my hair to this conditioner again soon.
Ezekwe N, King M, Hollinger JC. The use of natural ingredients in the treatment of alopecias with an emphasis on central centrifugal cicatricial alopecia: a systematic review. J Clin Aesthet Dermatol. 2020;13(8):23-27.