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Photo by Neha Deshmukh on Unsplash

Did you know curlies and naturals are using okra to condition, define, and even detangle their hair? When you stop and think about it, okra is a little slimy, and curly girls love their slip.

Out of all of the veggies that are out here, I’m not sure if there’s one that gets more extreme responses and reactions than okra. Either people truly love it or they absolutely hate it. Then, if they do like it, there’s the debate about whether it's better boiled, fried or merely something that should be added to dishes like gumbo and Mediterranean-style meals.

Personally, I can go my entire life without having anymore okra (my great-grandmother used to make me eat it when I would visit her during the summer when I was a child); however, I can’t knock the fact that it’s beneficial when it comes to being full of fiber, antioxidants, protein, vitamins C and K. Plus, okra is also great because it contains anti-cancer properties, helps to lower heart disease risks and, thanks to the folate that is also in it, okra can help pregnant women to remain in healthy until they give birth too.

For all of these reasons and more, I thought it would be a good idea to share that, even if you’re like me and you aren’t exactly thrilled about the thought of eating okra, you should at least consider using it for your hair. Because anything that could be that valuable to your insides, it has got to be beneficial to your outer beauty too. Right? Exactly.

5 Reasons Why Okra Is Great for Curly Hair

When you think about the fact that okra is readily accessible (and affordable) in grocery stores and — as you’re about to see in a bit — it’s pretty easy to create your own DIY hair-related recipes, how could you not want to give it a shot?

1. Okra is loaded with nutrients

If okra isn't a part of your diet, here are a few reasons to try it. As far as your hair goes, antioxidants are good for it because they help to fight off free radicals. Vitamin C is good for your hair because it helps it to produce more collagen which increases elasticity and reduces hair loss. Two other nutrients in okra are magnesium and iron. Magnesium works to dissolve calcium deposits that can occur from hard water. Iron helps to increase blood circulation, so that your hair follicles are able to receive the vitamins and minerals that they need. 

2. Okra is a profound moisturizer

It can never be said enough that something hair needs in order to thrive is moisture. Since okra is made up of close to 93 percent water, that along with the protein that’s in it, can serve as a great addition to any conditioner or hair mask that you decide to make at home. No doubt about it.

3. Okra helps to keep your scalp healthy

Your scalp is the foundation of your hair so, of course, it needs to be well taken care of; this is just one more way that okra is super useful. Because it is indeed so nutrient-rich, applying this vegetable to your scalp can help to reduce itchiness and irritation which is always a good thing.

4. Okra provides more “slip”

Something that I really like is when my hair has “slip” to it which basically means that it feels really smooth and sleek after applying a particular product. That said, it shouldn’t be surprising at all that okra is able to give your hair slip since its texture is kind of on the slimy side. Hey, that might not seem super appealing to your palate but when it comes to giving your hair manageability and sheen, trust me when I say that your tresses will be all for you introducing some okra to it!

5. Okra defines curls naturally

Between the conditioning properties and slip that okra provides, it’s definitely something that can help to give your curls a good amount of definition. And honestly, how awesome is that when you stop to think about the fact that there are things in Mother Nature that can give you what commercial brands do, only without all of the harsh chemicals and high price tag?

Easy DIY Okra Hair Recipes to Try ASAP

OK, so now that you know some of the ways that okra can help your hair to flourish, here are some really easy-to-make recipes that I definitely recommend that you try on your next wash day.

DIY Okra Hair Conditioner

Healthy hair needs deep conditioning and, as you’ve already read, okra can give your tresses just that. Add some grapeseed oil to it to add loads of antioxidants and rosemary oil to increase blood circulation, slow down premature greying and soothe dry scalp — and you’ll be all set.

Ingredients

  • 5 Pieces of Okra
  • ¼ Cup of Grapeseed Oil
  • 10 Drops of Rosemary Essential Oil

Directions

Slice open the okra and try to remove as many seeds as possible. Then cut it into small pieces and put them into a pot of water that has 1 ½ cups of water in it. Bring everything to a boil and let the okra cool. Once it turns into a gel-like consistency, add the other ingredients and store them in a glass jar. Use immediately and keep the rest in a cool dark place. Also, feel free to add lavender or some other essential oil if you want to create a delightful scent.

By the way, YouTuber Adedè also has a video - and recipe - if you’ve got thin hair and you’re looking for a homemade okra hair conditioner that can give your locks more volume. Feel free to check it out here.

DIY Okra Hair Mask

If there’s ever a time when your hair feels like it needs some extra moisture added to it, you can never go wrong with a hair mask. This one is awesome because not only are you able to get the properties of okra but the benefit of bananas (it adds shine and improves hair elasticity), coconut milk (it’s loaded with protein, lauric acid which is a fatty acid and B vitamins) and manuka honey (it seals in moisture).

Ingredients

  • 3 Pieces of Okra
  • Half a Banana
  • 1/8 Cup of Coconut Milk
  • 1 Tablespoon of Manuka Honey

Directions

Cut the okra into pieces and put them into 1 ½ cup of water. Bring them to a boil. Strain the okra with a cheesecloth and allow the gel to cool before adding the other ingredients. Put everything into a mason jar and use immediately. If there is anything remaining, store it in the refrigerator. You should be able to get one more use out of it.

DIY Okra Hair Gel

When it comes to achieving the slip and definition that I was talking about, you can’t go wrong with okra hair gel; especially if you add some Aloe vera gel to it. The recipe is super easy too.

Ingredients

  • 5-7 Pieces of Okra
  • ¼ Cup of 100 Pure Aloe Vera Gel
  • Your Favorite Essential Oil Scent

Directions

Slice your okra into horizontal pieces. Put the pieces into a pot that contains 8-10 ounces of water and boil the okra until it turns into a gel-like consistency. Allow the gel to cool and add the Aloe vera (it helps to condition your hair, prevent UV damage and relieve scalp irritation, plus it also has a gel consistency to it). Then put in 7-10 drops of your favorite essential oil in order to mask the scent of the okra. Some of the best ones are lavender (it de-stresses you), jasmine (it moisturizes your hair and scalp) and citrus (it has antiseptic properties in it that keeps your scalp healthy). Then store it in a glass jar. Then use it like you would any other kind of hair gel and watch how amazing okra gel looks and feels on your curls!

Have you ever tried using okra