Since the beginning of time, black women all over the globe have been whipping up recipes using natural ingredients to promote healthy hair growth. Shea butter, which comes from Western Africa, has been used for centuries by African women to condition and protect their hair from the sun. In ancient Egypt, where women frequently wore wigs and hair extensions, citrus juice and sweet almond oil were commonly used to cleanse the scalp and give the hair a fresh scent. To our sub-Saharan ancestors, the avocado was not only a tasty delicacy but also an ingredient rich in nutrients great for treating scalp ailments and used as a deep conditioner. Although African beauty secrets have been a wonderful source of inspiration for manufacturers of modern day cosmetics, very few commercial products capture the pure essence of these ancient health remedies.

While we have come a long way thanks to advancements in technology, there are still many benefits to making your own hair care products. Plus, it’s much easier than you think. Not only is it cheaper to make your own hair care treatments, but many of these recipes work just as well as, if not better than, expensive store brought brands. So here are just a few of my favorites, if you’re looking to dabble and try something new.

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Honey Hair Shine
Not only does honey taste delicious — but it can also restore body and shine to your hair.

  • 1 tsp honey
  • 4 cups warm water

Pour the honey into warm water. If you warm the honey a little, it’s easier to pour and mix. Remember, this treatment is for use after shampooing. Douse your hair with your Honey Hair Shine and don’t rinse it out! Then just dry your hair however you normally would and go out with a new glow!

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Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse
Vinegar rinses can do wonders for the hair! They are great at removing the residue and build-up left on the hair that come with regular use of styling products, which cause the hair to look and feel dull and lifeless. Vinegar also cuts through excess oils, which sometimes give the hair a waxy feeling. The result is soft and shiny hair that is manageable and has tons of body.

  • ½ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 cup water

Mix ingredients together and use as a final rinse after shampooing. Be sure to distribute this mixture throughout your hair evenly for complete coverage. Leave on for two to three minutes and then rinse with cold water. What a cinch! Use bi-weekly as a hair clarifying treatment. Take care to avoid getting this treatment in your eyes. It does sting.

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Brown Sugar Scalp Scrub
• 1 tbs brown sugar
• 3 tbs Natural Hair Conditioner

Mix ingredients together. Apply to damp scalp and gently massage in a circular motion. Rinse well, then shampoo.

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You can check out my book Thank God I’m Natural: The Ultimate Guide to Caring for and Maintaining Natural Hair for over 50 natural hair care recipes.