A few weeks ago, I noticed that my hair was looking like a dirty rag. Whether Seasonal Affective Disorder was taking its toll or the cause was lack of sunlight, I needed a boost. I’d always heard that avocado, beer, olive oil, and yogurt gave hair great shine or body, so I decided to put all of them in my hair (one at a time) to see if any of those claims had a basis in reality.
DISCLAIMER: It won’t behoove you to use these products instead of store-bought shampoo and conditioner, but it could save at least $10 from buying a hair-treatment masque.
(The really good ones, like Kérastase, will run you about $45 or more for a 6.8 oz jar.) For those who have no idea what a hair masque is, just think of it as a marinade for hair. Just like no one wants dry, flavorless meat, no one wants parched, dull hair.
For each treatment, I rinsed my hair with water and then applied liberal amounts of the product being used as a masque, then let it marinate on my head, however uncomfortably, for about three to five minutes. Then I washed it out, sometimes several times, and when my hair dried, I inspected it for ad-worthy shine.
1) Pabst Blue Ribbon tallboy ($4, N7 Market, Williamsburg) Your experience need not be as uncomfortable as mine was — just think ahead and take the beer out of the fridge first. That annoyance aside, the smell of cold PBR at 9 am on a Friday proved extremely nostalgic. I used 3/4 of the tallboy can, and nothing was noticeable right away, but once my hair dried naturally for a night on the town, it shimmered subtly. I happen to know from experience that the longer you let beer sit on your hair and the more often you do it (thank you, college tailgate weekends), the shinier and smoother your hair gets. Just make sure to rinse it all out, or you’ll be that girl who smells like PBR.
2) Regular Olive Oil ($4, N7 Market, Williamsburg) I had terrifying visions of this particular experiment because I thought the olive oil might never come out, leaving me with hair like a 13-year-old skater boy who hasn’t figured out that it is indeed best to shower every day. Using three handfuls, I smelled like a fantastic Italian meal about to be cooked. Upon drying, my hair was still lightly coated in olive oil fat, nourishing my roots and giving me great sheen and smoothness all around.
3) Fage 2% Plain Yogurt ($2.50, N7 Market, Williamsburg) This smelled so delicious going on that I snuck a taste, but sadly it smells a lot better than it tastes, which makes it perfect for a hair masque. I ended up only needing to use half the large container, and in the end, there was no visible change but the feel of my hair was silky smooth, which I apparently appreciated because I ran my hands through it all night long.
4) Hass Avocado ($1, veggie stand at Greenpoint Avenue and Manhattan Avenue, Greenpoint) By far the most awkward application, and most disgusting clean up. I did not enjoy putting crushed avocado on my head. All I kept thinking about was how I wanted to enjoy Product No. 4 drizzled with some Product No. 2 for a snack. However, after a late-night avocado hair masque, I awoke with buttery smooth, shiny, awesome-feeling hair. To avoid the hurdles I ran into, blend your avocado beforehand and use as a liquid or paste, or mash by hand. I figured crushing it with my hands would be enough, but it wasn’t. I’m pretty sure there is still avocado in my drain, another reason for the roomies to love me.
The Bottom Line: These were all fairly and surprisingly effective, but the best deal and the best result is avocado. However, since that can be messy, your second best bet is olive oil since only a few handfuls of oil are used per treatment with good results (Those who just wanted to drink the PBR can breathe a sigh of relief).
So while you might not be able to cure your SAD, you can step out with hair-commercial tresses for only a dollar per treatment or less. And that’s something to get happy about.