How to Make DIY Leave-In Conditioner

By Amber Rambharose in Natural Products

One of the easiest ways to transition your hair care routine from store-bought to natural is by switching to a DIY leave-in conditioner. Unlike other personal care products that you can make from scratch, such as natural soap, whipping up a batch of leave-in conditioner can be done relatively quickly and easily with natural ingredients you probably already have in your kitchen. The right leave-in conditioner will deliver moisturizing benefits similar to those found in a DIY hair mask with slightly lighter hydration, meaning that it won't weigh your hair down.

You can easily customize this DIY natural leave-in conditioner recipe based on your hair type. Plus, you'll be taking a step toward a more sustainable lifestyle. By eliminating the plastic waste you would create by buying and trying a leave-in conditioner, you can make a positive difference in the planet's health. Follow these simple steps to create a leave-in DIY conditioner for curly hair, straight hair, and all textures in between.

Benefits of Leave-In Conditioner

The benefits of a leave-in conditioner are similar in almost every way to the benefits you get from using your favorite rinse-out conditioner. According to a study in the International Journal of Trichology, the scientific goal of conditioner is to detangle hair, seal moisture into each strand, and decrease frizz. Leave-in conditioners do the exact same thing, but with slightly less heavy oils and moisturizers than you would find in rinse-out conditioners. In order to not weigh down your hair or leave you with a greasy scalp, leave-in conditioners typically come in a spray bottle, so you can finely disperse the product throughout your hair and style it as usual.

shea butter and essential oils

DIY vs. Buying Leave-In Conditioner

According to a study conducted by Polaris Market Research, the leave-in conditioner market is steadily growing in the United States as people latch onto the idea of smoothing and hydrating their hair with minimal hassle. However, this growth—projected to reach nearly $3 billion by 2027—isn't all great news, especially if people are gravitating to leave-in conditioners in plastic bottles. By creating your own DIY leave-in conditioner, you can skip the hassle of testing expensive products that aren't right for your hair and potentially eliminate waste from your hair care routine. The following recipe could transform both your hair and your carbon footprint.

DIY Leave-In Conditioner Recipe

Here's what you'll need to make your own leave-in conditioner:

  • Metal bowl, small pot, or double boiler
  • 3 tsp. shea butter
  • 2 tsp. jojoba oil
  • 5 drops peppermint or rosemary essential oil
  • Mixing bowl
  • ½ cup coconut milk
  • ½ cup of aloe vera juice
  • Whisk
  • Funnel
  • Glass spray bottle

In its purest form, shea butter is hard and waxy, so you'll want to melt it down in order to mix it with your other ingredients. You can heat it in a metal bowl placed over a pot of simmering water or in a double boiler. Once your shea butter is heated, add the jojoba oil and essential oil of your choice. While we love peppermint and rosemary for hair care, you can experiment with this step! Mix the oils well and remove from heat. Next, combine the coconut milk and aloe vera juice in a separate bowl. Then, slowly whisk your shea and oil mixture into the coconut and aloe vera. Finally, using your funnel, pour your leave-in conditioner into a glass bottle.

It's important to note that coconut milk is perishable and should be kept refrigerated, so keep your leave-in conditioner in the fridge when you're not using it. (Don't worry, it's incredibly refreshing!) If you notice your shea butter starts to solidify, shake your leave-in conditioner bottle well in order to break it up.

DIY Leave In Conditioner

Inspired to start transitioning to more DIY natural hair care products? Explore more ways to keep your hair healthy while working toward a zero-waste personal care routine on the DIY Naturally board from @tomsofmaine on Pinterest!

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Why It's Good

Making your own DIY leave-in conditioner allows you to boost your shine all without sacrificing your commitment to a natural, sustainable lifestyle.