Natural Hair Tips, As Learned When I was 12

Reflecting back on my 12-year-old self there is a lot to cringe about, appearance-wise. I had a unibrow and, to balance that out, I had a massive gap between my teeth. I was a tomboy who spent my days making up music videos to the Jock Jams soundtrack while wearing stuff like oversized t-shirts emblazoned with sea bass (my older brother liked to fish, so I thought that was cool), satin-y Umbro shorts, and Tevas.

Yeah, somebody should’ve helped me out.

Yet, as misguided as my “look” was, I have got to admit: I had killer hair. It was naturally golden hued, perfectly wavy, effortlessly glossy. It was so good, in fact, that I have spent the entirety of my 20s (and significant amounts of money) attempting to recreate the elusive mop of my sea bass t-shirted youth.

Imagine my joy, then, when I realized that my middle school hair care routine is entirely re-creatable because… IT WAS ENTIRELY NATURAL. No exotic ingredients necessary. No expensive products. No lengthy treatments. So, there I sat, mentally retracing all the stuff I did to my hair I got really, really excited. And then I decided to write a blog post about it. Here are my 12-year-old inspired all-natural hair tips:

For natural, sun-kissed highlights…

Then: Squeezing whole lemons on my head, pulp and seeds included, eyes burning as the juice ran down my face.
Now: Pretty much the same deal, minus the slop and plus some ingenuity. Lemons definitely work, but take the time to prep accordingly so you’re not burning your hands / face or winding up with seeds in your hair. Mix the below in a spray bottle:

  • 1 tablespoon of our Makeup Remover or a thin oil (olive, avocado, sesame, almond)
  • 1 cup cooled chamomile tea (1 teabag is fine)
  • Juice of 2 lemons

Along with the lemon, the chamomile tea is a natural lightener. The oil will help nourish your hair, because the lemon’s acidity can be drying. Apply liberally and back away from the Sun-In.

For soft, shiny hair…

Then: Flashbacks of screeching downstairs, “Moooooom, where do we keep the mayo?” Cue: epic mayo mask …and an epic clean up for poor mom.
Now: While I never really liked mayo – sorry everyone – my parents always had it on hand. Now that I am an AH-DULT and can make my own purchasing decisions that don’t involve mayo – but do involve beer – I prefer this genius hair mask from Adina’s book, Skin Cleanse. Here it is:

  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup beer!

Beer is full of B vitamins, assisting to repair damaged hair while adding volume. Like in mayo, the eggs’ fatty acids content help to moisturize and condition your hair; apple cider vinegar assists in clearing scalp buildup, resulting in shinier hair. I’ll chug the beer when I’m done to celebrate the fact that I am now of legal drinking age. Just kidding.

Beer Egg Mask, image: Liz Andrien

For effortless, beachy waves…

Then: Swimming all day in the ocean (and a tendency to skip showering because “I don’t need to” after a day at the beach).
Now: The above is actually what I still would love to do every single damn day of my life. But I can’t because who would write blog posts like these? Instead, I’ll opt for this recipe from our friend Julia Wills of Herbivore Botanicals (and also featured in Skin Cleanse). Here it is – combine all the ingredients below in a spray bottle:

  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt of choice (they use pacific)
  • 15 to 20 drops of essential oil(s) of choice
  • ¼ cup aloe juice (optional)

The sea salt will give your hair this nice, naturally wavy texture while the nourishing properties of aloe juice will keep it from being a total fried mess (salt is drying). The essential oils will give it a lovely fragrance – one that’s perhaps a bit more appealing than the scent of “I spent all day at the beach and I’m not showering because I wish I was 12 again.” Right?

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