Kitchen Beauticians

Eight enriching hair products that are already in your kitchen cabinet.

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Last month, the world was all a Twitter when Oprah started to tweet.

Folks, seeing their first line into her personal world, asked about her weave.

Oprah set the record straight: She does not have a weave; she has a press and curl.

How, in all these years on television and movie sets, has no one has ever clipped, sewed or glued some hair on her head?

Few, if any of us, have got it like Oprah and have our own personal stylist. But for those of us sporting anything from a teeny-weeny Afro to hair so long it would make a horse jealous have to figure out how to make do without the hair cavalry.

To try to help out, we’ve called on hair specialists to provide some tips for caring for natural hair on a budget. These eight ingredients are probably already in your kitchen, and they can promote a healthy scalp and hair:

1. Baking Soda—Cleanses the scalp with a natural base. Put a pinch of powder in the palm of your hand, and mix with a dollop of luscious shampoo. Place a tablespoon in a cup of water and use it as a rinse. “It helps open the cuticle and clean it out,” said Shelley Davis, chief executive officer of the Los Angeles-based Kinky-Curly Hair Products, LLC.

2. Apple Cider Vinegar—Clarifies the scalp with a natural acid. Be sure to do this after a baking soda rinse to close down the cuticle. Pour a capful to a cup of water for a delightful rinse. The scent washes away in the shower. “It gets rid of scalp buildup,” said Anita Grant, who mixes and sells her own potions at her London-based Web site. “The skin regenerates itself, and the sebum, the natural oil, needs to slough off.”

3. Aloe Vera Gel, Juice or Plant Leaves—Nourishes the scalp. Smooth onto scalp with your index finger, or add it to water in a small bottle and spritz on the hair. “The more natural, the better,” said Michelle Breyer, co-founder of Naturally Curly. “You can get it in a number of different forms at pretty much any price point, including the plant itself.”

4. Butter, Shea Nut—Seals in moisture. Emulsify between fingers, lock in moisture and pamper ends. “It’s a very rich butter that will protect your hair from weather damage, dryness and brittleness,” said Nikki Walton, creator and editor of Curly Nikki. “Naturals and relaxed heads can apply it to hair ends to prevent splits.”

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