Care for Your Hair With Pumpkin, Sweet Potatoes, Champagne and More

From pumpkin-flavored desserts and warm apple cider to sweet potatoes and cranberries, seasonal snacks are everywhere during the holidays. But did you know these tempting treats also have great hair benefits?

Take advantage of their abundance with these tips from Kyle White, lead colorist at Oscar Blandi Salon.

1. Pumpkin

Skip the pie and indulge your locks. Vitamin A is extremely good for the scalp, and when used directly, you get the natural goodness straight from the source. Similar to bananas and avocado, pumpkin is a rich source of potassium — a nutrient that is especially useful in promoting the re-growth of hair.  Pumpkin is also especially good for moisturizing dry or damaged hair. Try this “recipe” for a pumpkin conditioner. It’s a delicious indulgence for your hair:

  • 2 cups pumpkin (chopped and cooked)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1 tablespoon yogurt

Directions:  In a food processor or blender, puree the pumpkin and yogurt. Next, add the coconut oil and honey ensuring that the mixture is smooth. Apply the mixture to damp hair. Cover hair with a plastic cap, and let it sit for fifteen minutes. Wash out thoroughly using your everyday shampoo and conditioner, and style as usual.

2. Apple Cider (Vinegar)

Many women struggle with dull, lifeless hair. Shampoos, conditioners and styling products high in alkaline can build up on hair over time, coating strands and preventing shine. Fortunately, this inexpensive solution is as close as your kitchen cabinet. An apple cider vinegar rinse removes residue and restores hair's pH balance back to its natural state. It also closes the hair's cuticle so that hair lies flat, making it glossy, healthy and more manageable. This natural remedy also adds highlights to brunette hair, and removes excess sebum from the scalp.

3. Cranberry cocktail — red hair color rinse

Whether you are allergic to chemicals commonly found in hair dyes or simply want to create a subtle change with an all-natural product, cranberry juice can be used to add a temporary red tint to your hair. If you are a natural redhead, it can also be used to enhance your natural hair color. Cranberry juice will temporarily tint your hair without damaging your strands, and can easily be done at home. Here’s how:

  • Wash and condition hair to remove any oil or residue buildup on the strands.
  • Thoroughly dry hair and brush out knots.
  • Tilt your head upside down over the sink and carefully pour 1/2 cup of all-natural cranberry juice onto your locks.  Work the juice in using your fingers.
  • Twist all of your hair up on top of your head and secure it in place using a hair clip.
  • Blow dry your hair on the lowest heat setting until all of the cranberry juice is dry.
  • Rinse the cranberry juice out of your hair using warm water.

Repeat the above six steps daily to keep the red tint to your hair for as long as you desire.

4. Carrots for a golden tone (red hair)

Carrots are rich in beta-carotene which gives them their orange coloring. In concentrated form, beta-carotene is an intense blood red shade. To make carrots really work as a hair color rinse, you have to apply a mixture of pureed carrots with a tablespoon of lemon juice to the hair. The lemon juice adds an acidic penetration enhancer, which is why it’s important for this rinse. Cranberries have a built-in acidic penetration enhancer, but they tend to give your hair a vibrant red hue while carrots give a true golden tint.

5. Sweet Potatoes

Battle hair loss. Beta-carotene in foods is converted to vitamin A in the body, and vitamin A is necessary for all cell growth including hair growth. A deficiency can lead to dry, dull, lifeless hair and dry skin, which can flake off into dandruff. If you love sweet potatoes with those little marshmallows as much as I do, now you can indulge with less guilt by thinking of how rich in beta-carotene sweet potatoes are. Butternut squash and pumpkin are also high in beta-carotene. If you stick with it, hopefully you'll see a more gorgeous head of hair by New Year’s.

6. Champagne

Enhance golden tones and boost shine by combing a glass of champagne through damp hair. The champagne color will bring out any golden highlights, while the carbonation adds volume and shine.  Cheers to that!

7. Caramel

Using all natural ingredients, a caramel hair treatment softens and hydrates the texture of hair, which promotes easier manageability for those who would like to naturally relax hair slightly.  This offers women the ability to extend the time between salon visits if they frequent for a relaxer treatment. It can also reduce the amount of time a woman uses with a hot straightening iron. The homemade caramel treatment can leave hair soft and easier to manage for up to four weeks.

  • Mix 1/4 cup of honey, 1/4 cup of blackstrap molasses, 1/4 cup of olive oil, one splash of apple cider vinegar and one container of baby food bananas together in a bowl.
  • Divide hair into four sections so it's easier to work with.  Secure each section with large hair clips to keep unwanted hair away from hair you are applying the treatment to.  Keep the hair near the nape of your neck unpinned, as this is the area you'll start with.
  • Apply the caramel hair treatment using an application brush or a small paint brush, starting at the roots near the nape of your neck.  Apply the treatment to the remaining length of hair in that section.  Continue the process in each section, until your hair is covered with the treatment.
  • Cover your hair with a shower cap, and let it set for one or two hours.
  • Rinse out the caramel treatment and wash your hair.  Apply a conditioner.  Finish with a cold water rinse for added shine.

How these ingredients work to make this treatment effective:

  • Honey is a natural humectant to help hold in moisture.  It also has vitamins such as iron, magnesium and folate.
  • Molasses is an excellent source of potassium, calcium, iron and magnesium.  It's said to strengthen hair and leave it soft and full of sheen.
  • Apple cider vinegar gives the hair shine and is said to promote blood circulation.
  • Bananas contain potassium, vitamins A, B, C, E and natural oils.  They leave hair soft and moisturized.  It also contains tryptophan which is beneficial to the hair and scalp.