I’ve found the perfect DIY hair mask. Quite the claim, I know. As a lifetime blonde, I’m always on the lookout for any good hair product that can help with dry and brittle ends. A combination of color-treated hair, spending a lot of time in the sun and water, and working as a model getting my hair curled every single day makes all of these factors the triple crown of hair damage. But fear not, I’ve found the fix: Castor oil.
But first, there are several reasons one may be experiencing dryness with their hair.
According to Luxyhair.com, Blondes specifically are prone to drier hair because any bleaching or lifting a dark shade from hair strands strips our hair of the many oils and nutrients our cuticle has sealed within it. Thus, leaving us with dry, brittle hair.
“Any processing or manipulation of the hair shaft repeatedly-blow drying, heat styling, chemical relaxers, bleaching-can lead to hair shaft damage,” explains Shani Francis, M.D., an assistant professor of dermatology at the University of Chicago’s Pritzker School of Medicine. This means that highlights, lowlights, glazes, blow outs, curling irons and straighteners all damage your hair shaft, creating split ends, breakage, and that crunchy feeling when you run your hands through your hair.
As a model in Los Angeles, I was working anywhere from 2-4 times per week. Usually with a photoshoot booking, the model arrives at least two hours prior to the shoot starting in order to complete hair and makeup preparation with the hired Makeup Artist. An hour typically is allotted for doing face makeup, and an hour is allotted for prepping the hair. Clients are very particular on what they want the model to look like for the shoot, with mood boards and inspiration photos available so that the makeup artist knows what look the client wants.
Right now, wavy hair is the craze. I have stick-straight hair, so at virtually every booking, I had to have my hair curled to create the California beach-wave look that everyone wants. Most makeup artists are in a hurry, so they turn on the gold curling iron to high heat, and hastily curl and spray my hair with ten pounds of hairspray to keep it holding up for 8 hours. Then they would brush it out, hairspray some more, and style it between every outfit I was shooting. At the end of a workday, I felt like I would have a whole can of hairspray on my head, and only a few poor blonde hairs left on my scalp.
Repeat this process for every booking for five years, and the result is a choppy mismatched mullet from all of the breakage and frying from heat every day. There was one job I booked for Shwartzkopf, where I flew to Germany and endured 6 chemical processings of my hair to create the “honey gold” color they wanted for the shoot. You can image the quality of my hair after that.
Moral of the story: years of heat damage and breakage, and I needed a way to strengthen my hair, pronto!
It wasn’t until February of 2017 at a photoshoot for Stitchfix in San Fransisco that a very talented makeup artist, Dominique Lerma, recommended trying castor oil on my tired hair. I had searched Pinterest for DIY hair masks before, and castor oil had come up several times, so after Dominique told me to try a castor oil hair mask I knew I would have to try it.
Let’s talk castor oil. Many of you may have heard of its uses in aiding with constipation. Yes, castor oil can help with that, but it also has so many other uses! Castor beans have been found in Egyptian tombs dating back to 4000 B.C. and has been used as a remedy for several ailments. Castor oil is high in fat and is rich in omega 9 fatty acids, making it an amazing treatment for a number of hair issues, including hair loss, dandruff, breakage, increasing strength and shine, and making hair feel thicker. You can find Castor Oil on Amazon, as well as at Whole Foods and New Seasons, just make sure it is raw and unprocessed castor oil.
How to create castor oil mask:
- Mix equal parts coconut oil (hello hydration) and castor oil into a bowl, and microwave for 30 seconds to reduce to viscosity of the mask, because castor oil is pretty thick!
- Apply the mixture to hair follicles and massage into scalp
- Wrap hair and let sit for 3 hours before washing it
Years later, I still stand behind this hair mask. Every time I use it, my hair is stronger, shinier, and feels thicker. My hair is finally the same length, with the breakage and brittleness virtually gone. I’ve stopped blow-drying my hair every day and my favorite heat protecting spray before using my straightener, if I even decide to style my hair. Hair damage is a long process to undo, so combining this hair mask with other ways to reduce heat damage if the best bet to get your hair strong and healthy again.
Watch my how-to video below!