I discovered that I have very curly hair just a year or two ago. Ever since I was 12, I’ve been straightening my hair any way I could think of, just because I didn’t know what to do with it. But since I let my curls be, I’ve been learning how to take care of them, as if they are a new type of exotic pet that I’ve brought into my home without knowing what to feed it. With lots of trial and error, and even more reading, I finally figured out a combination of 3 kitchen ingredients that do wonders for my curly hair. They keep my locks healthy and bouncy, cost next to nothing, and don’t pollute the environment.
Since I decided to give my naturally curly hair a chance, I’ve been following The Curly Girl Method, with some adjustments. The method’s main idea is to keep your hair as healthy as possible, rather than just well-styled. So you avoid treating your hair with heat, products containing alcohol, and other drying ingredients. You can use the Curlsbot to check.
Lots of people who use The Curly Girl Method have a complex routine with dozens of products. While this probably has a great effect, it doesn’t work for my way of life. I prefer simpler, natural things. Besides, for years now I’ve been purchasing only cruelty-free cosmetics that haven’t been tested on animals. And when I am staying in nature I prefer to use herbal products so I don’t harm the environment.
So, with experiments and research, I found these 3 kitchen ingredients that work great for my curly hair, keep it healthy, don’t harm nature, and don’t take much time or money. Since people keep asking me about it, I thought it might be helpful to publish an article on the topic of curly hair. I hope you’ll find it useful and I am excited to hear your feedback.
Here are my 3 easy kitchen ingredients for healthy and pretty curly hair.
I Wash My Curly Hair With Chickpea Flour
When I lived in Malaga, one of my flatmates showed me this trick once when I was out of shampoo. At first, it seems like a really weird idea, but I fell in love with the results immediately after trying the chickpea wash. As far as I understand, chickpea/garbanzo beans, have an enzyme that breaks down oils naturally, without drying your hair. Since I haven’t been able to find any specific research on that, if you know something please do drop me a line 🙂
This method washes curly hair well, as well as other types of thick hair, and it is a traditional Indian/eastern practice. Apart from cleaning properties, chickpea flour also has a soothing effect. Great if your scalp is sensitive like mine.
The steps to washing your curly hair with chickpea flour:
1. Stir 2 tablespoons in with water (I prefer warm), until you get a homogenous mixture with the consistency of pancake batter or even runnier. It’s important that there are no lumps of flour in the mixture, otherwise it will be difficult to apply and wash out.
2. Brush hair and wet it well, in the shower.
3. Spread the mixture on your scalp, massaging gently.
4. Let it sit for a few minutes.
5. Wash out with water.
At this point, I usually brush my hair under the shower, as this helps get all of the chickpea flour out. It has happened that some of it is left in my hair after getting out of the shower but that’s no big deal either because it’s gone by the next day.
Rice Water Protein Mask
The Chinese village of Huangluo Yao is in the “Guinness World Records” as the place where people with the longest hair live. The secret? It’s probably a mix of genes, culture, tradition, and cair. However, the most popular answer is rice water. The women from this village wash their hair with rice water. A similar technique, called Yu-Su-Ru was used in Ancient Japan.
I use the mask whenever my curly hair feels dry and tired. The water from overboiled rice contains amino acids, which restore hair, make it soft, and add a natural shine. However, it’s important not to use rice water too often, or it might lead to protein overload that renders your hair dry and brittle. What works for me, is to apply rice water to my curls no more than once every two weeks.
How to Use a Rice Water Protein Mask on Curly Hair:
1. Place white rice and water in a pot, using a 1 to 10 ratio (1 part rice, 10 parts water.)
2. Boil the rice until the water turns into a runny, white paste. I am guessing it reminds you of the same thing it does me 🙂
3. Separate the rice from the water, using a strainer. I usually stir the rice around in the strainer, so I don’t waste a single drop of protein goodness.
4. Let the rice water cool down and apply to washed, wet hair, starting at the roots. At this point, I brush my curly hair to get the gooey rice water all over my locks but some girls with thicker curls or coils might find that brushing at this stage unpleasant.
5. Cover with a towel and let it sit for 30 minutes.
6. Wash out, apply conditioner, and brush again.
I bake bread with the leftover rice, so it won’t go to waste. I’ll upload the recipe next week but I promise you that it’s super delicious and easy to make.
I Style My Curls with Flaxseed Hair Gel
Flaxseed is not just a healthy addition to your breakfast mix but also a wonderful ingredient for healthy, well-styled curly hair. It nourishes, protects, and keeps my curls bouncy, without causing any buildup. As a natural product, its footprint for the environment is very small, and washing it off my hair, even in nature, doesn’t cause any pollution.
The Steps to Making Flaxseed Curly Hair Gel:
1. Mix 1 tablespoon of whole flaxseed in a pot with about 700 ml of water.
2. Place on the stove and wait for it to start boiling. Be careful because it rises quickly and can make a mess in your kitchen if it overboils. Then, lower the temperature. Stir frequently, so that the flaxseed won’t stick to the pot. Boil until you get a sticky, gooey mixture. To measure if the thickness is right, I dip a spoon in the pot. If the mixture pours out of the spoon like water, then it still needs some time. It has to be stretchy.
I try to be careful not to make the mixture too thick because it will become even denser when it’s cooled down and will be too strong for my curls. However, every curly hair is different, so I suggest you experiment with thickness until you find what you like best.
3. Let the mixture cool down for 40-60 minutes
4. Strain through cheesecloth, a small cotton bag, or clean stockings. Place your strainer over a container, then pour the mixture inside and squeeze until every last bit of curly hair goodness is in your container. The flaxseed that’s left in the strainer can be reused.
5. Pour your curly hair flaxseed gel in a jar and store in the fridge for up to 2-3 weeks. I also add a few drops of essential oil, for a gentle scent.
6. I use the gel on washed, wet hair, by pouring a bit in my palm, then spreading on my curls and scrunching. Whenever I want to add extra definition to my curls, I apply the gel after wetting my hair a bit. It’s important to scrunch several times, as your curly hair is drying so that the curls won’t be crunchy and fake looking.
I’ve been using these 3 ingredients for over a year now and they are doing great stuff for my curly hair. From what I’ve been hearing and reading, it seems that a lot of curly people can’t get their curls to shine, because of overheating, overdrying, and over-styling. My curly hair and I were struggling with the same until I finally let my curls be natural. Of course, there is always room for improvement – both in terms of myself and my curls 🙂 My curly hair is not perfect but it’s much happier and healthier than it was a year ago. Besides, everything I’ve described here is natural and sustainable. It can even be zero-waste if you reuse the flaxseeds and make bread out of the leftover rice.
I am curious to hear what you think about my curly hair recipe. Is there something that’s not clear? Would you try? And if you have tried – what was the result. Write to me in the comments below or send a message and tell me all about it 🙂
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