Homemade Hair Conditioner

Is a homemade hair conditioner healing food for your hair or just another fad? While ingredients such as avocados, eggs and honey, and oils like olive, almond or coconut oil have a long anecdotal history of being good for the skin, are they also hair repair powerhouses?


As it turns out, there are some confirmed, some anecdotal reports of the benefits of using food based ingredients to make your own hair conditioner. Are you wondering why you should make your own? What better way is there to reduce or eliminate your exposure to toxic chemicals such as parabens or sulfates? Here’s what you need to know.

Homemade Hair Conditioner Recipes

Start with the oil of your choice. Note: These recipes were tested using olive oil and coconut oil. It was much easier to mix the honey in the olive oil than in the coconut oil; the coconut oil had to be heated slightly before it would blend.

Olive Oil Conditioner

To make an olive oil hair conditioner that smooths out tangles and makes the hair shiny and soft, combine:

  • 1-tablespoon olive oil
  • 1-tablespoon hot (not boiling) water
  • 1/4-teaspoon honey

Olive oil homemade hair conditioner

Whisk ingredients together vigorously to create a smooth emulsion. Apply with fingertips to the hair in small sections, working into the scalp and down to the ends. Put on a shower cap and warm a towel in the dryer. Cover the shower cap with the warm towel.

Let the treatment stay on the hair for about 10 minutes, and then wash hair with a gentle shampoo of your choice. Style as usual and get ready for mega compliments on your shiny mane! This hair conditioner replace oils that shampooing strips out.

Coconut Oil Conditioner

Coconut oil hair conditionerA coconut oil hair conditioner protects the hair from breaking, prevents split ends and seals the cuticle, and repairs damage to the hair from harsh chemicals, pollution, and so forth.

You will need to change the coconut oil into a liquid by placing the jar into a pan of hot (not boiling) water for about 20 seconds. Take off the lid and pour the oil into a measuring spoon.

You need:

  • 1-tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1/2-tablespoon hot water
  • 1/2-teaspoon honey

Mix with whisk until well blended. The reason for the hot water is to melt the honey so it will blend better. Use as directed above.

Use this treatment immediately after making it or the coconut oil will solidify. If that happens, place the container of hair conditioner in a bowl of hot water for a few seconds. Coconut oil has a low melting point (approximately 77 degrees Fahrenheit) and quickly becomes liquid again.

A Word to the Wise

These recipes make enough for one treatment, which saves time and money because you do not have to worry about storing the unused products or whether it would go bad before you use it up. If your hair is extremely short, you may want to cut the recipes in half to avoid over soaking the hair with oil, which would be difficult to remove by shampooing.

What Ingredients Should I Use

If you do a little research on the ingredients used in recipes for do-it-yourself hair conditioners, you will notice a pattern emerging: oil, water, humectants. While there may be some peripheral additions such as fruits or eggs, the base ingredients are the same. This makes perfect sense because the base ingredients for commercially prepared hair conditioners are oil, water, surfactants, preservatives and fragrances.

By making your own, you avoid any potentially hazardous or toxic additives and chemicals. Some of the best ingredients to use to make a homemade hair conditioner are:

Best Hair Conditioning Oils

Coconut Oil: Virgin coconut oil (cold pressed) contains approximately 50 percent lauric acids. In addition to being a good moisturizer, lauric acid has antimicrobial properties and may reduce hair loss. Lauric acid is a commonly used ingredient in soaps because its chemical makeup enables it to interact with water to dissolve fats.

Extra Virgin Olive Oil: Throughout history, extra virgin olive oil has been used as a folk remedy to treat both skin and hair. It imparts a healthy sheen to hair as well as strengthens it due to the high level of antioxidants in the oil.

Other oils to consider using for homemade conditioners are palm kernel oil, palm oil, almond oil and avocado oil.


Humectants draw moisture and seal it in. Honey is one of the best natural humectants and adding it to your conditioners is a great way to keep the hair cuticle moisturized and healthy.

While you can add other ingredients to your hair conditioner, they really are not necessary if you use high quality oils and a good humectant such as honey.

What Is the Purpose of Using Hair Conditioners

In addition to making the hair soft, shiny and more manageable, hair conditioners offer the following benefits:

  • Straighten curly hair
  • Makes hair look thicker
  • Makes it easier to comb when wet
  • Protects the hair from breaking
  • Prevents split ends and seals the cuticle
  • Repair damage to hair from harsh chemicals, pollution, etc

How Do Hair Conditioners Work

Conditioners stick to the hair and leave a waxy residue that makes the hair look shinier and thicker. This protective layer over the cuticle (outer layer of hair) can help reduce or prevent tangling and split ends. Most conditioners contain a humectant as an ingredient, which means that the conditioner seals in the moisture on the hair shaft.

What Is the Bottom Line

Is making a homemade hair conditioner worth the time and expense? That is a personal decision that each must make, but if you are careful about what chemicals you will or will not use for cosmetic purposes, it might be the best choice. If toxic chemicals and other health hazards are an issue for you, you might enjoying reading “Are Tanning Beds Safe?”


  1. Undisclosed author, “Health Benefits – Olive Oil,” UC Davis Olive Oil
  2. Oils – Melting Point, The Engineering ToolBox

Donna Cosmato is a Certified Image Consultant and former Mary Kay Sales Director who draws on the expertise gained from working in the health and beauty industry to write educational articles for her readers’ enjoyment.

Images of homemade hair conditioners copyright 2012 by Donna Cosmato, all rights reserved

Image courtesy of marin / FreeDigitalPhotos.net”