You can learn how to make leave-in conditioner easily and cheaply at home. Because you control the mix, what you make may even be better for you than what’s available at the stores.
How to make leave-in conditioner
This is a great way not only to save money, but to create a “custom” product that really meets your hair’s needs. You can use any conditioner you want, and make it just as thick or thin as you want.
Basically, a leave-in conditioner is just a watered down version of a regular conditioner. It’s thin enough to flow through a spray or pump bottle, and also light enough to give some conditioning to your hair without weighing it down.
I recommend starting out with this very simple recipe:
- Put a small amount of regular conditioner in a spray or pump bottle – just a teaspoon or so at first. (Use a spray bottle if you’re going to make it very thin and watery.
- Use a pump bottle – these are the pump bottles I use and love – if you want it a thicker.
- Add a small amount of distilled water. Even if your tap water doesn’t seem hard, it can have a lot of minerals that may rough up your cuticles or do bad things to dyed hair.
- Shake it or stir it – just get it mixed thoroughly.
- If it’s still thick or goopy, add more water.
It’s a great idea to add an ounce of water at a time when you’re first starting out. That way you can get a sense of just how much water to how much conditioner works for you.
The reason this is such a great money saver is that it takes so little conditoner. You can make quite a few bottles of leave-in out of any conditioner you buy.
If your hair isn’t fussy, you can buy an affordable conditioner and really save. If you have color, highlights, or damage, you may need a more expensive product.
But either way, you’ll save money. And sometimes a leave-in can be more powerful than any conditioner you rinse out.
With some conditioners, this method gives you a bottle of conditioner with floating bits of goop that refuse to break down in the water. If this happens, there are a couple of possibilities.
The obvious one is to use a different conditioner, so if that’s acceptable to you, it’s probably the quickest and simplest solution.
But if not, there are some things you can add to your homemade leave-in conditioner that might break down the goopy bits and make the mixture smooth.
The trick with each of these is to use a very small amount, because all you really want them to do is break down the goop, and it shouldn’t take much to make that happen.
- Jojoba oil. Not every head of hair likes oils, but jojoba oil is lightweight and similar to the oil our body produces naturally, so it can work for a lot of people.
- Other oils. Various people have preferences for lots of different oils, depending on their hair types and what they’re looking for: extra virgin olive oil, almond oil, etc. You may need to do some research or trial and error to find what works for you.
- Glycerin. Vegetable glycerin can also break the goop down, and again, it takes very little.
- Aloe Vera [from a commenter]. You can also add aloe vera gel, which is a great hair conditioner, to your mixture.
Another option is to add a few drops of essential oils. This is a great way to fragrance the product – and note that lavender oil is great for making slightly dirty hair smell clean again.
That dirty hair smell is not an unclean or unhealthy thing at all, and since hair stylists now recommend washing your hair as infrequently as you can, lavender can help you extend the time between washings, which can make your hair more healthy.