Natural Hair Recipes for Beginners

Going natural brings out the inner “mixtress” inside us all.   Suddenly store bought items are not good enough and need to be replaced with homemade mixes or tweaked with some “good” ingredients.  Naturalistas can be found in their kitchens whipping shea butter in their mixer or boiling flax seed to make gel.  As a new natural, all of the recipes can seem very complicated.  So I’m providing  easy recipes for beginners (and seasoned veterans as well).  You’ll notice that there are few measurements required, because you can experiment to your liking.  It is kind of like Soul Food cooking. No measurements required. You mix with your soul.
Each recipe only requires about two ingredients and can be completed in as little as three easy steps. So whether you want to tweak your shampoo or make your own moisturizer, you will have the knowledge to make some basic mixes.

Hair Cleansers (Shampoo Alternatives)

Did you ever think you could make  a product at home to clean your hair?  And with only two ingredients? Bentonite Clay Treatments and Apple Cider Vinegar rinses are great ways to not only clean your hair, but to also impart shine.

Bentonite Clay Treatment

A Bentonite Clay Treatment is a great way to clarify the hair.  It is also known to make detangling easier, because it slightly loosens the curl pattern.  It also results in shiny, luscious hair.  Tip: Do a bentonite clay treatment prior to doing a twistout.
Ingredients: Bentonite Clay, Apple Cider Vinegar, Aloe Vera Juice (optional)
Instructions:  Mix the bentontite clay and apple cider vinegar until it reaches a yogurt consistency.  Using aloe vera juice will make it more moisturizing,  but make sure you  add the apple cider vinegar first.  Other optional/substitute ingredients include: water, essential oils (i.e. lavender, peppermint), carrier oils (avocado, olive, jojoba). Adding additional ingredients can transform this into a great conditioning treatment.

Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse

An apple cider vinegar rinse is a great way to cleanse the hair. You can rinse as the last step of your shampoo process. Because it closes the cuticle of the hair shaft, it imparts shine and promotes moisture retention. It also kills bacteria on the scalp. Tip: If your scalp feels itchy, place your rinse in a dye applicator bottle and use it on your scalp.
Ingredients: Apple Cider Vinegar, Water
Instructions:  Mix one part apple cider vinegar with three parts water.


Shea Butter and Coconut Oil Mix

Technically butters and oils are not moisturizers, but they seal in moisture.  Some naturals mix their own shea butter and coconut oil mix to twist/braid their hair for twistout and braidouts.
Ingredients: Shea Butter, Coconut Oil
Instructions:  Melt down one container of shea butter and add a cup of melted coconut oil. Mix well and let stand until it hardens. To speed up the process, you can place in the fridge.  You can use more or less coconut oil, depending on the consistency you would like for your mix. You can add or substitute your choice of carrier and essential oils.

Water and Aloe Vera Juice Spritz

The best moisturizer for hair is water. Instead of just spritzing your hair with water, add aloe vera juice to pump up the moisturizing capabilities.
Ingredients: Aloe Vera Juice, Water
Instructions: Mix one part Aloe Vera Juice to one part water, shake, and spritz.
Tip: Only mix enough for a few uses or keep in the fridge.

Leave-in Conditioner Spritz

Another option for a daily spritzer is to use a conditioner that you already have under your sink.
Ingredients: Conditioner, Water
Instructions: Add 2-3 tablespoons (more if you’d like) to your spritz bottle, add water, shake, and spritz.


A simple conditioning recipe is to simply tweak your cheapie conditioner by adding some of your favorite essential oils or carrier oils.  Tip: If your conditioner does not have enough slip, don”t throw it out. You can add one of your favorite oils to your desired consistency.

Author: Latoya

Latoya is an academic advisor by day, natural hair enthusiast//writer by night, and wife and mom 24/7. Her last relaxer was in April 2010 and she big chopped in October 2010. Join her as she shares tips and techniques for your natural hair.

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  1. I have had my hair in a natural state for 2yr. I just can not make it grow my scalp is very sensitive and if I try different oils it gets very irritated, and to top it off my hair only grown in certain areas of my head. It’s till short I really need help.

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  2. Hi, I want to wear braids as a protective style for one month before I take them down and I want to incorporate African Thread over my braids during the month. While my hair is in this state, is it okay to co-wash weekly and moisturize my hair while still leaving the African Braided Braids in my hair? I do not want to take my braids down weekly, I want to leave them in. I also plan to shampoo monthly when I take my braids down. When I was transitioning, I wore cornrow braids and only spritz and massaged my scalp using the GHE method. I found that my hair didn’t grow as fast with only 1 washing every 4-5 weeks. I was not co-washing them. I transitioned for 24 months. And I noticed some breakage in three areas. My hair would get matted and tangled so much. I also remember that when I washed my hair 2 times a week, my hair grew a lot faster. I want to long term protective style for 3-4 weeks and I want to be successful.

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  3. where do you buy apple cider from?

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  4. Hello, my name is Danyell I have been natural for about 2 years. I rocked a short cut for a long time and about 7 months ago I decided to grow my hair out, but there is one problem about a month ago I started flat ironing my hair I stopped because I did not want to damage my hair so now I am having a problem keeping my twist from unraveling, I have tried loc and twist gel, beeswax, and shea butter and it will not stay. please help me

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    • Hi Danyell,
      It sounds as though you may have heat damage at the tip/ends of your hair. If you wash your hair and your ends remain straight while your roots are more kinky/curly/coily then heat damage could be your problem. Try a protein pack. Preferably Aphogee 2 step protein treatment. About $5 at sally’s or your Local beauty supply. Another option would be to strip your hair. Your hair may be experiencing some build up. An ACV or AVG rinse may help. Last resort is using a sulfate shampoo. It will strip some of the cones out that tend to build up if your used a heat protectant. Good luck and I hope it works out.

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  5. Hi Latoya,
    I would like to transition from perm to natural. Have long hair, but perm damages, and want to change. How do I go about beginning the process. Do I cut off all my hair, then what after? I also need to know what products to use.

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  6. I’ve been natural for about 12 years. I use to get my hair straightened, but decided to just go completely natural and just wear my hair in its curl state. My hair gets curly when I wet it, but I’m clueless when it comes to keeping the curl and what products to use. Some of the products I’ve used make my hair hard and dry when my hair drys..I want to keep the curls all day and I want my hair to be soft once my hair drys…Please Help…..

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    • What products have you tried? The key is to moisturize your hair well and seal in the moisture. It is important to deep condition, use a good leave-in, and seal in the moisture with an oil.

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      • I’ve tried some of everything, but nothing really concrete that I really like…Could you please recommend some products or some natural products that I could possibly use. I have 3c4a.

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        • I heard mixed chicks was a good product

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  7. Thank you very much. This was very helpful.

    Best Regards from Germany.

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  8. I havnt had a perm in about 13yrs. I dont have a bad grade of hair nor a great grade of hair but it really curls up alot when I wet it, even more when I add soap on it. How can I keep that intense curl after it dries.

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    • Hi Roxanne! You should consider trying the bentonite clay recipe. Bentonite clay does a great job of defining curl patterns. Also, another key is moisture. A great leave-in and moisturizing regimen does wonders for curls.

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