DIY Moisturising Spray

Since starting my box braids/twists experiment, I have had to ensure that my hair is adequately moisturised. I have been reminded why we love braiding and weaving out hair so much. It helps us to forget. For many, this is the goal. But, if healthy and strong hair is your goal, beware of neglecting your hair. In itself, this style will cause you to forget about your hair. If it remains dry it will become brittle and more prone to breakage, especially when taking down the braids and detangling.

The reason I have never been a fan of weaves, is that it must still be maintained and styled. But, with braids, all you need is to moisturise it. I opted for a spray because I prefer to mix my own products where possible. This enables me to exercise more control over my hair. The spray is good because it is just water, natural oils and juice. This makes it light and not too heavy or greasy.

The day after coming from the salon, I got my phone and Googled ‘DIY moisturising spray’. Based on the results that came up, I selected those recipes that called for ingredients that I knew were available at the healthfood store in Lusaka.

The Recipe
You will need a spray bottle (if cosmetics stores/pharmacies near you don’t sell the nice and small spray bottle, go to the gardening section in your local supermarket). You will also need some measuring spoons.

The ingredients
  • 8 oz Spring water — (I use bottled spring water because I live in an area with lots of build-up in the water. i.e. the one where people attack their kettles with a knife to remove calcium
  • 2 tsp MSM powder (don’t use too much as it can make hair stiff) 
  • 4oz of Aloe Vera juice/drinking gel 
  • 4oz Glycerine
  • 1 tsp Olive Oil 
  • 1 tsp Castor oil 
  • 2 tsb Coconut oil 
  • 10-20 drops of peppermint oil — (I substituted this with tea tree oil as I found that I had run out or peppermint/eucalyptus)
  • 10-20 drops of  any essential oil — (I used germanium and smell was far too strong for me and made me, so I had to dump in about 20 more drops of tea tree oil just to mask the scent). 

NB: This is a risk as not all oils go together or complement each other. You can create a proper stink bomb
Plus, some people really like geranium oil. The shop had run out of rosemary and lavender which are my preferred fragrance oils and also for their soothing properties. I also always have some tea tree oil on hand as I add it to a carrier oil such as glycerin or castor oil if I have an especially dry scalp or feel some dandruff coming on.

The Method
Measure, pour in the bottle and shake

NB: If you don’t have MSM powder, you can buy tablets and bring them to a powder in a mortar and pestle (akabende). I only found the tablets in the health food store, so I opted for akabende. However, you don’t need MSM for this recipe to work, so you can just as well do without it.

This is the spray as it looked in the morning 
As can be seen in the picture above, the water-based part and the oil has separated. Before spraying, make sure you shake the bottle vigorously. If the coconut oil has solidified slightly, just run the bottle under some hot water or place the bottle in the sink and run the hot water tap for a minute or so.

After shaking the bottle
I spray this on my scalp every other day and on my hair twice a week. When I first mixed this up, I did not use coconut oil as the recipe I found online, didn’t call for it. However, my experience was that I kept on having to add coconut oil for my hair to shine everyday and feel moisturised throughout the day. So, once I added the coconut oil to mixture, I found that I was able to reduce spraying onto my hair from every two days to twice or at most three times a week. I was also able to reduce spraying my scalp from daily to every two days. 

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