With drier days on the way, and a few months of sun exposure behind us, this rich and hydrating Marula Overnight Hair Mask couldn’t be more timely. I learned about overnight hair masks from a YouTube video of “beauty hacks that work” (or something to that effect), and the overnight hair mask bit really popped out at me. The lady in the video (which I am now totally unable to find) had amazing, long hair that she admitted to bleaching, curling, and straightening, but it still looked so healthy! She attributed it to overnight hair masks—masks that were supposed to be used for just an hour or so, but she’d wear them overnight with a shower cap. So I ordered myself a rather hilarious floral print shower cap and set to work.

How to make a Marula Overnight Hair Mask

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I looked at a few shop-bought hair masks and they’re very different from clay face masks; all about hydrating and nothing about pore vacuuming. They’re mostly water with some rich oils, botanical extracts, keratin, and vitamins—awesome-for-hair things. They also usually have a healthy dose of silicones, fragrance, and things like propylene glycol—things we can do without. (A shop-bought hair mask is also usually at least $40, despite being mostly water.) In the end, a hair mask is basically extra-awesome hair conditioner that we give loads of time for our hair to soak up. Awww yeah.


How to make a Marula Overnight Hair Mask

I chose marula oil as the star oil of this hair mask. Marula oil is a new one to me, and I love it. It’s pressed from the seeds of the Marula tree (Sclerocarya birrea), which is endemic to southern and western Africa. It’s a pale yellow liquid oil with a very slight sort-of nutty scent. It absorbs into the skin quickly, leaving your skin feeling silky smooth and hydrated. Similar to olive oil (pomace) (USA / Canada), marula oil is rich in oleic acid, though I find it to be much lighter than olive oil (pomace) (USA / Canada). Marula oil is rich in antioxidants and is resistant to oxidization, giving it a relatively long shelf life of about two years. Thanks to its light consistency and high Vitamin E MT-50 (USA / Canada) & C content, it’s a fantastic oil for both hair and skin.

How to make a Marula Overnight Hair Mask

And, something even better about marula oil—I’ve teamed up with the folks at Swanson Health Products so you can win some, plus other goodies and a gift certificate! The contest kicks off today and runs for the entire month (the contest closed September 30, 2016), and you should definitely check it out and enter 😉 I designed the prize pack myself and I think you’ll be super stoked about it!

How to make a Marula Overnight Hair Mask

The water part of this hair mask is mostly water, with silica-rich shavegrass root, hydrating glycerin and vitamin b5, strength and shine boosting phytokeratin, and all-around-awesome silk, which helps strengthen, hydrate, and protect our hair. The fancier ingredients are optional, but there’s no denying they take this hair mask to the next level.

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Marula Overnight Hair Mask

79g | 2.79oz just-boiled water
1 tsp powdered shavegrass (horsetail) root
10g | 0.35oz vegetable glycerine (USA / Canada)
1g | 0.03oz phytokeratin (optional)
1/8 tsp powdered vitamin B5 (panthenol) or 1/4 tsp liquid vitamin B5 (optional)
1/2 tsp silk powder, peptide, or amino acid (need a substitute?) (optional)

6g | 0.21oz marula oil
4g | 0.14oz BTMS-50 emulsifying wax (see note below on alternatives)
1g | 0.03oz Vitamin E MT-50 (USA / Canada)

20 drops lavender essential oil
7 drops cedarwood essential oil
10 drops lemongrass essential oil

0.5g | 0.017oz liquid germall plus (or other broad spectrum preservative of choice at its recommended usage rate [why?])

Weigh the water, shavegrass root, glycerin, phytokeratin, vitamin B5, and silk into a small heat resistant glass measuring cup, and then weigh the marula oil, BTMS-50, and Vitamin E MT-50 (USA / Canada) into a second heat resistant glass measuring cup. Place both of them in a sauté pan or other shallow, wide pan that has about 3cm/1″ of water in it, and put that pan on the stove top over medium heat.

Bring the water to a bare simmer to create a hot water bath to melt the oil part together and heat and hold the water part for twenty minutes.

Once twenty minutes has passed, pour the oil part into the water part (or the other way around—it really doesn’t matter), and leave the measuring cup of both parts in the water bath for another five minutes to ensure everything has melted through.

Remove the measuring cup from the water bath and give the mixture a few quick blasts with an immersion blender. Continue to intermittently blend the mixture as it cools, leaving it for a few minutes at a time to cool before blending it a bit more.

Once the mask has cooled to room temperature, stir in the essential oils and your preservative, and then transfer the mask to a jar (I used this great 100mL jar from YellowBee) or 120mL/4oz pump-top bottle.

To use, spread a relatively small amount of the mask through your hair from about the ears down—check out the video to see how I did it. I used about 30mL/2 tbsp of mask. Pull your hair back, pop on a shower cap, and go to bed.

When you wake up in the morning, shower and wash your hair. If you’ve got very dry hair you might be able to get away with just rinsing your hair (the emulsifying wax will help it rinse out), but I needed to do a full wash (I used my Mermaid Silk Shampoo Bar + Silk Apple Cider Vinegar Rinse). And that’s it! Let your hair dry and enjoy your lovely, soft hair.

Unless your hair is very dry, I don’t recommend doing this mask more than two or three times in a month; it’s fairly rich, and you can end up with build-up in your hair, especially if you’re using natural shampoo bars.

BTMS-50 emulsifying wax has extra awesome conditioning and de-tangling properties, making it the best choice for hair conditioners of all kinds. You can use Ritamulse/Emulsimulse, Polawax, or Emulsifying Wax NF instead, but they aren’t as conditioning as BTMS-50.