I'm no stranger to putting food in my hair. Avocados, coconuts, bananas, honey? My tresses have seen it all, so I can't say I was scared to wash my hair with cranberry juice especially with a recent bout of dryness from humidity. You don't need shampoo to get your hair clean, and some formulas might even be stressing out your strands. My trusty rinse keeps my mane cleansed, nourished, and all natural to ensure that the only thing damaging my hair is the occasional blow out. Though, the search for the perfect hair rinse is quite similar to buying shampoo in stores, you still always want your shampoo to be BETTER, even if it's doing its job.
Instead of perusing the hair care aisle for someone else's idea of clean hair, I find it much more beneficial to turn my kitchen into a lab of weird science. Cranberries are famous for their antioxidants, but they contain other nutrients that all hair types need and want on the regular. Plus, these little red fruits are also rich in vitamins B, C, E, and K. This goes especially for kinky, afro-textured hair because our curls tend to suffer from dryness and using acidic products can actually benefit the health of your curls.
Obviously, with all that (and my own recent dryness) in mind, I was dying to get some cranberry juice in my hair. Here's what happened when I tried cranberry juice to wash my hair.
1. Getting The Right Juice
The first time I used cranberry juice in my hair routine, I had it all wrong. I used it as a spray and it was a very sticky experience. I was definitely trying to make sure that I had the right juice without all the pulp from making fresh juice from cranberries. This time, I chose to buy a pure form of cranberry juice (not from concentrate) and cut it with filtered water. For my tight curls, the thinner a hair rinse is the easier it is for each single strand to drink up the nutrients.
2. Getting My Hair Juice Ready
I rinsed my hair with warm water for about 10 minutes, since my hair was very dry going into this experiment. As it turns out, we all benefit from rinsing our hair with water for several minutes before reaching for a bottle of 'poo or any natural rinse.
3. Applying Cranberry Juice To Wet Hair
I do my best washing at the kitchen sink, since I can start from the back of my hair and easily section my hair to make sure that all my strands are getting the same amount of treatment. Next, I used my fingers to work my way through my hair. I definitely noticed my hair was dripping red... as were my kitchen floors and countertop.
4. Waiting For My Hair to Experience the Cranberry Juice Effect
Like most hair treatments, cranberry juice shouldn't be immediately rinsed out. I considered the similarities between cranberry and apple cider vinegar and decided to leave my treatment in for about 10 minutes. It wasn't itchy or unpleasant, but my face became sticky from the dripping juice. Also, my shirt was drenched.
5. Rinsing the Cranberry Juice Out of My Hair
I'm used to devoting several hours on my hair, but fortunately getting the cranberry juice completely out of my strands wasn't nearly as time consuming as my first attempt at a cran hair spritz. Unfortunately, I didn't feel like my hair was any softer or moisturized than it usually is after cleansing. This wasn't a total bummer, because I know my scalp got to drink some antioxidants that it was in dire need of.
6. Conditioning And More Conditioning
After I conditioned my hair and put it in a protective style to dry, my hair felt back to the soft state that it thrives best in. If I were to adapt this method for good (hey, those antioxidants are no joke) I would use cranberry juice only as a co-wash or I would add another yummy natural ingredient like rose water or apple cider vinegar.
Image: Kristin Collins Jackson