3 Toxin-Free DIY Hair Recipes

When holistic health and wellness coach Heidi Hackler resolved to overhaul her personal beauty regimen, she hit the books: researching toxin-free beauty brands in an effort to find one that really “walked the walk.” Not surprisingly, she fell in love with Neal’s Yard Remedies (NYR), the 35-year-old U.K.-based organic beauty pioneer.

“I didn’t find a lot of companies that really put their money where their mouth is, but NYR is so transparent and honorable with everything they do,” she says. “For example, they’re so passionate about making sure everyone is using good-for-you products, they published a book with 100 of their recipes so people can make their own.”

We couldn’t agree more: The Beauty Book, released in May, is a goldmine of natural beauty information and inspiration. And lucky for those of us looking to dial back the amounts of chemicals we put on our hair, Hackler—who now consults for NYR while coaching and blogging—shared three recipes she loves from the book, below.

1. Dry Shampoo

A styling aid that separates curls, avoids oily roots and adds subtle hold.
(Makes 10 oz.)


1 Tbsp. cornflour
1 Tbsp. arrowroot
10 drops either grapefruit, peppermint, or eucalyptus globulus essential oils (optional)
4 tsp. cocoa powder (for dark hair only)

How to Make:

Add the cornflour
Add 10 drops of any of the essential oils, if desired, and mix well.
Place in a sterilized airtight container and shake well before use. Store in a cool dry place. Keeps for up to 3 months.


How to Apply:

Use on dry hair. Use an old make-up brush and brush the powder into the roots or oily parts of your hair. Comb through the hair and style as usual.


2. Banana Hair Mask

A deeply moisturizing mask for all hair types.
(Makes enough for one application)


1 medium-sized ripe banana
1 ripe avocado
3 Tbsp. coconut milk

How to make:

1. Using a fork, mash the soft banana and avocado in a bowl.
2. Add the coconut milk and mix well to make a paste. If you have very dry or damaged hair, you could leave out the avocado and replace the coconut milk with 1 tablespoon almond, coconut, or olive oil.
3. Use immediately as the mask contains fresh ingredients.

How to Apply:

Massage into dry hair and leave for 15 minutes. For optimal effect, wrap the hair in a towel, preferably warm, and leave for 15 minutes. Rinse the paste from the hair with warm water and wash as usual.


3. Cider Vinegar Hair Rinse

A cuticle-smoothing, Ph-balancing rinse for all hair types.
(Makes 4 fl. oz.)



2 Tbsp. apple cider vinegar
8 Tbsp. water
8 drops rosemary essential oil
4 drops lemon essential oil
4 drops grapefruit essential oil


How to make:


Mix the vinegar and water together in a bowl. Use less vinegar for dry hair and more for oily hair.
Add the essential oils and mix thoroughly.
Pour into a sterilized, squeezable bottle or a bottle topped with an atomizer. Store in a cool place. Keeps for up to 3 months.

How to apply:

Shake well before use. Use on wet hair in the shower or bath. Apply the product to your hair and leave for 1-2 minutes. Avoid getting it in your eyes. Rinse the hair with water until the vinegar smell is faint. Dry and style as usual. Use 3-4 times a week.

Illustration by Arianne Krekeler; Image courtesy Neal’s Yard Remedies