The inspiration for this Ginger Oak Moss Hair Masque came from a rather persistent Facebook advert for a similar product. It stalked me all over, pelting me with montages of women with stunning, shiny, voluminous hair and positively chiseled eyebrows. I did end up on their website, but needless to say I don’t think the ad worked quite as planned. I went straight to the ingredients list to see what was up with their product, and then set off to make my own hair masque. This is what I came up with, and it’s awesome.
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The hair masque in the advertisement was mostly water and BTMS, with some coconut oil, shea butter, and a whackload of obscure botanical extracts that couldn’t have been included at more than 1%. So, basically hair conditioner with lots of fancy add-ins and some nice oils—that’s a thing I can do!
I’ve included some lovely-for-hair things in our water phase. We’ve got two humectants—both sodium lactate and vegetable glycerin. Cetrimonium chloride is both conditioning and detangling, meaning your hair will be all kinds of easy-to-manage when you’re done with this mask. A touch of plant-sourced keratin helps add shine, reduce frizz, strengthen hair, and make our hair easier to style. I’ve rounded off the water phase with some powdered shavegrass (also known as horsetail) extract. I was on the fence about adding it initially as it does have a bit of a smell to it, but that didn’t end up coming through at all in the final product (to my nose, at least!). Shavegrass is rich in silica and I’ve always found it makes my hair sparkle!
Our oil phase is mostly coconut oil—a rare oil that can actually penetrate the hair shaft! I’ve also included some silky cetyl alcohol, vitamin-rich argan oil, and glossy castor oil. BTMS-50 is both our emulsifier and an additional cationic ingredient for added conditioning goodness.
My ginger oak moss essential oil blend makes another appearance here, and I love it. As I sat with the masque in my hair the wonderful scent of spiced oak moss was floating around my head and I was just in heaven. Yum! You can use something else if you prefer, but if you love warm, deep, mysterious scents, do yourself a favour and get some oak moss absolute!
The final mask is thick and creamy. When applied dry you’ll need quite a lot of it—I probably used a full third of the recipe for my hair from the ears down. After I let it sit for about twenty five minutes I washed it out and was left with silky, shiny, tangle-free hair that I just couldn’t stop touching. Swoon! If you have afro-textured hair you may not need to shampoo if out, but I’m not sure—let me know if you give it a try. Now, without further ado, let’s hair masque it up!
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Ginger Oak Moss Hair Masque
72.71g | 66.1% (+10%) distilled water
2g | 2% sodium lactate (USA / Canada)
2g | 2% vegetable glycerine (USA / Canada)
4g | 4% cetrimonium chloride (USA / Canada)
2g | 2% plant-derived keratin (USA / Canada) (look for products with names like phytokeratin or vegekeratin)
2g | 2% shavegrass extract
Cool down phase
0.5g | 0.5% Liquid Germall Plus™ (USA / Canada) (or other broad spectrum preservative of choice at recommended usage rate [why?])
0.1g | 0.1% oak moss absolute
0.2g | 0.2% CO2 extracted ginger essential oil
0.1g | 0.1% michelia alba (white champaca) essential oil
Prepare a water bath by bringing about 3cm/1″ of water to a bare simmer over low to medium-low heat in a wide, flat-bottomed sauté pan.
Weigh the water phase into a small heat-resistant glass measuring cup. Weigh the oil phase into a second heat-resistant glass measuring cup. Place both measuring cups in your prepared water bath to melt everything through.
After about 20–30 minutes the oil part should be completely melted and the water part should be thoroughly dissolved. Remove the water bath from the heat, and pour the water part into the oil part. Stir with a flexible silicone spatula to incorporate.
Grab your immersion blender and begin blending the hair masque, starting with short bursts so the still-very-liquid concoction doesn’t whirl up and spray everywhere. Blend for about a minute, leave to cool for ten, blend for another minute or two, and repeat this blend-cool-blend cycle until the outside of the glass measuring cup is barely warm to the touch and the hair masque is thick and creamy.
Transfer a few tablespoons of the lotion to a smaller container, and weigh the cool down ingredients into that container. Stir to combine, and then transfer the lot of it back into the rest of the lotion. Stir to combine.
When the lotion has cooled, stir in the cool down ingredients and transfer the lotion to a 120mL/4oz jar. I used a 100mL amber glass jar from Voyageur—this hair masque is too thick to put in a pump-top bottle. Enjoy!
Shelf Life & Storage
Because this hair masque contains water, you must include a broad-spectrum preservative to ward off microbial growth. This is non-optional. Even with a preservative this project is likely to eventually spoil as our kitchens are not sterile laboratories, so in the event you notice any change in colour, scent, or texture, chuck it out and make a fresh batch.
As always, be aware that making substitutions will change the final product. While these swaps won’t break the recipe, you will get a different final product than I did.
- As I’ve provided this recipe in percentages as well as grams you can easily calculate it to any size using a simple spreadsheet as I’ve explained in this post. As written in grams this recipe will make 100g.
- If you don’t have either glycerin or sodium lactate you can use 4% of whichever one you do have
- You can replace the cetrimonium chloride with polyquaternarium 7 or honeyquat, but I would use those at 2% and add another 2% water
- You can use a different hydrolyzed protein, like silk or oat, in place of the plant-derived keratin
- You can use a different botanical extract in place of the shavegrass extract, or replace it with more water
- You can replace the cetyl alcohol with stearic acid or more coconut oil
- You can use different liquid oils in place of the ones I’ve used
- You can use babassu oil in place of the virgin coconut oil
- You can use a different essential oil blend if you wish