Whaaat?! Bhindi? Why would anyone put that in their hair…
In fact, it’s used by Rastafarians to make their dreadlocks and keep them healthy. Okra is one of numerous natural items that contain mucilage, which is the slimy stuff you must be familiar with when it’s cooked. Mucilage is good for the skin and hair, and even for your gut health. The reason I was even looking this into was because I’ve been trying to find a way to put less chemicals into my system. And I definitely see an improvement in the quality of my skin and hair since.
Okra’s also high in Vitamins A & C, folic acid, calcium, zinc, including biotin, all of which make it incredibly nourishing for the hair. That’s probably why it’s been used as an ingredient in various high end products including a conditioner by Lush. All this means it can be used in different ways to treat and condition hair – as a rinse-out conditioner, leave-in, de-tangler or even as a hair gel as it gives excellent curl definition. The best part is that it doesn’t have a weird smell, like many natural things you may be using in your hair already. It actually doesn’t have any noticeable smell.
So in case you’re in a really experimental mood, or just fed up with the same old stuff, take a look! I’m going to show you how to make a general conditioner using bhindi, with tweaks to adapt it to your needs.
INGREDIENTS (BASIC RECIPE)
- 6-8 okras, chopped or sliced length-wise
- 1 ½ cups water
- 1-2 tsp oil (I used sesame this time, you can also use grape seed oil, almond oil, coconut oil etc)
- Aloe vera gel
Boil the okra in water and then simmer for anywhere between 15-30 minutes depending on whether you want a thick or thin mixture. Bear in mind it will thicken a bit more when you cool it. As a rinse out conditioner, you may want it thicker, as a leave-in thinner is better.
When it reaches the desired consistency, set aside to cool just enough to be strained through a mesh strainer. If you wait for it to cool too much it may get too thick and be difficult to strain. Pour into a blender and add the oil, then blend on low setting for a few minutes.
Your conditioner is now ready to use! If you want you can add a table spoon each of honey and aloevera gel when blending for extra nourishment.
Or you can divide it into 2 portions and add more aloevera gel to bring it to a creamy consistency. It will look just like a hair styling cream and can be used as one. As I said earlier it gives great curl-definition. Here’s the finished product, using the basic recipe. Looks like a real conditioner, eh! Shake well before every use.
The humble bhindi worked great for giving my hair volume and bounce. And definitely softer, shinier hair! It was looking quite thin since some major shedding last year, but just one application of this actually made it look thicker. The first picture was about a month ago. The second is taken just after the treatment. I think there’s a huge difference. Sorry about the difference in lighting. Both are taken without a flash though.
Since this is a natural concoction with no preservatives, it should be refrigerated and used within 7-10 days. Do throw it out if it starts to smell funky. And of course, don’t use it if you happen to be allergic to okra.
Editor’s Note: So, have you ever tried to use okra for hair? I sure never did! Never even thought it would be possible. Thanks a lot for sharing this with us, Nayantara!