As much as I love my natural hair, the one thing I don’t love is how dry it tends to be. Oils, by themselves, sit on top of my hair rather than soaking in, and nothing has really worked to give me a lasting shine. So when I discovered a recipe for a caramel hair treatment over at the Curly Nikki forum, I knew I had to try it. I also plan to try using tea to increase hair growth. I also like to read Magic In Motion Hair website as they usually post a lot of hair product reviews.
The best thing about this treatment is that it is easy to make with ingredients you probably already have on hand.
Caramel treatment recipe
- Honey, 6 tablespoons
- Olive Oil, 6 tablespoons
- Overripe bananas, 2-3 (some people suggest using banana baby food to avoid having leftover bits of banana in the hair. I didn’t have this problem)
- Molasses, 3 tablespoons
- Apple Cider Vinegar, 1 tablespoon
- Cornstarch, 1-2 tablespoons (amount depends on how thick you want the mixture to be)
- Wheat germ oil, 1 teaspoon (Feel free to substitute any other natural oil. I used flax oil.)
- Water, 4-6 tablespoons
Place all the ingredients except for the water into a blender and process until smooth. Add water bit by bit if it looks too dry, or if you still have big chunks of banana. Pour the blended mixture into a saucepan through a fine sieve to ensure there are no bits of banana in the mixture.
Put the saucepan on medium heat while stirring constantly. You don’t the mixture to “cook,” but rather allow the cornstarch to thicken it. This should take just a few moments, particularly if you have preheated the stove. You want to end up with a caramel-colored mixture with the consistency of a thick batter. Add more water as needed to thin the mixture, or more cornstarch if it is too runny. If the mixture is too thin, it will drip from your hair as soon as you apply it.
NOTE: I added more cornstarch to the mixture while it was cooking, and the cornstarch clumped pretty bad. So after heating the mixture for a minute or two, I ran it back through the blender to eliminate the cornstarch clumps.
Pour the mixture into a container with a cover. Depending on the length of your hair and how thick you apply it, you may have enough for two applications. You can freeze the remainder until you are ready to use it. Allow the mixture to cool, and keep in mind that it will thicken further as it cools.
To apply, divide the hair into 3-4 sections and clip. Starting with one section, part the hair and apply on the roots generously rubbing in with your fingers. For reference sake, the application process is very similar to the way you would apply a relaxer. Once applied on the roots of the section, apply the mixture all the way to the ends. Complete all sections in this manner. Once done, cover your hair with a plastic cap. Let the mixture sit in your hair for 1-2 hours, or overnight for very dry hair.
Rinse hair thoroughly and co-wash (wash with just conditioner) or wash with a sulfate-free shampoo. Deep condition and style as usual.
The treatment is suitable for both natural and relaxed hair.
I made a mistake right away, but not a major one. My bananas were overripe, but not very soft. So I added 3 tablespoons of water in the blender right away in hopes that I could get the banana to whip smooth without clumps. This meant the initial blended mixture was pretty runny. Because of this, I wound up adding more cornstarch as I heated it. I still wound up with a nice, thick mixture that felt really good going in.
I applied it while it was still slightly warm, and the process took me about an hour. My hair was really dry and tangled thanks to a lazy 2-week stretch when I didn’t wash or detangle it. A word to the wise: If your hair is severely tangled like mine was (see the “before application” image above), you will have to move slowly to avoid pulling and breaking your hair. This stuff will start to get heavy really quickly, so it will likely stretch your curls at least a bit.
The application process can get sticky and messy, although cleanup was easier than I expected.
I left the treatment in my hair overnight, since, as I mentioned, my hair was really dry. The mixture smells very much like overripe banana (or like a banana fritter for my fellow Caribbean folks). If you are sensitive to the smell, this probably isn’t a good idea. First thing the next morning, I washed it out of my hair with conditioner.
After the initial wash, my hair was a little stretched (though it’s hard to tell in this photo), and very soft and shiny.
However, I decided to do a deep condition with Deva Curl One Condition. It’s not my favorite conditioner, but I was out of Oyin Honey Hemp Conditioner, so I had to make do with what I had. In my opinion, Deva Curl doesn’t have enough slip. I let the conditioner sit for about 2 hours (actually, I fell asleep on it), and then rinsed my hair with cold water. After the deep condition, my shrinkage was back.
Normally, I detangle in the shower. This time, I detangled as I twisted my hair. Bad idea. There wasn’t enough conditioner in my hair, so I had to keep adding some to avoid pulling at my tangles. Overall, I think the whole process would’ve gone a lot better if my hair had been detangled before the treatment.
I twisted with eco custard (see simple bonus recipe below) and kept the twists for 2 days. The very first photo in the post is my second-day twist out. I always like it better on the second day when it’s bigger and looser 🙂
My hair was really soft after the treatment, but it is still drier than I would like, it was as if I just came out of the BestÂ hairÂ salonÂ Manhattan. I think I’ll try it again on pre-detangled hair and do a wash and go the next day just to see the final results without any added product from a styling session. Still, I’m happy with the overall result of something I made in my own kitchen.
Bonus Recipe: Eco Custard
- 1 cup EcoStyler gel (I used the Olive Oil version)
- 1 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 1 tablespoon Coconut Oil (I used flax oil)
- 1 tablespoon Aloe Vera Gel
Mix thoroughly or whip with a fork. The resulting mixture will have the consistency of pudding or custard. Use to twist, braid or otherwise style hair for extra definition and light hold. You can also check outÂ Hair Insights website to find the best products for your hair.