Determining Your Hair Type
The level of care you need to give your locks can largely depend on the condition it’s already in and the type of hair you have. Washing oily hair too often can exacerbate the problem, while loading up dry hair with too many oils and masks can leave it looking heavy and dull.
Looks generally dull, damages and breaks easily and has visible split ends—usually caused by chemical colours and treatments or lack of oil production.
Becomes greasy quickly. If it’s not washed regularly, it can lose its shine and body.
Can be oily at the roots, but dry and damaged towards the ends. The likely culprit? Overstyling.
Is the most easy to manage, with its healthy gloss and few split ends.
Kitchen Remedies by Hair Type
Using food and drink as hair cleansers, conditioners and masks has long been a tradition, but greatly lost thanks to their commercial counterparts that come packaged with promises of supermodel strands. Yet, it’s the foods direct from nature that most benefit the hair, making healthy hair a lot more achievable.
Depending on your hair type, there are at-home remedies that can smooth cuticles and bring otherwise dull hair back to life and even give lifeless hair some body.
Banana: Used on its own or with a combination of honey and olive oil, bananas are great for treating dandruff, while preventing breakage and split ends. Boasting hair-loving oils and vitamins, bananas are also known to improve hair’s elasticity.
Avocado: Used topically or eaten, avocados are well-known for their moisturising properties for the skin and hair. Applied directly to the hair, the E and B vitamins go to work, infusing dry hair with much-needed moisture.
Honey: Likely used by your grandmother as a great hair conditioner, honey is excellent as a hair mask, especially when added to other ingredients such as bananas and avocados. Be sure to wet your hair before applying.
Olive oil: A favourite in the Mediterranean thanks to its multiple uses, olive oil is as good for the hair as it is for the skin. The extra virgin variety is the best, used for its strengthening and nourishing properties. For the ultimate moisture fix, try mixing the oil with mashed avocado and leave on the hair for 20 minutes to half an hour.
Eggs: Applying whisked eggs to your hair is a good idea thanks to the protein, however, it’s extremely important to source eggs from happy hens, who have been treated humanely and fed healthily. Eggs smooth hair follicles and add extra strength to otherwise weary strands.
Beer: This is one beverage not just made for drinking. Beer adds incredible shine to dull, lifeless and dry hair, thanks to its B vitamins and the proteins found in malt and hops. The sucrose sugars and maltrose as also said to enhance overall shine due to their ability to tighten the hair’s cuticles.
Quick Beer Hair Care Recipes
Mix one cup of natural, organic shampoo with approximately one quarter of a cup of boiled beer, letting it cool to room temperature.
Adding one teaspoon of jojoba oil to a warm cup of beer will add body and shine. Simply apply as a rinse after shampooing.
Apple Cider Vinegar and Beer Rinse
Add two teaspoons of apple cider vinegar to approximately 40mls of water and 40mls of flat beer. Combining this with four to five drops of rosemary essential oil will remove buildup from chemical shampoos, conditioner and styling products.
Apple cider vinegar: This beauty elixir regulates the scalp’s pH level, when mixed with water (never use apple cider vinegar without diluting first), helping to reduce the amount of oil produced. The vinegar adds shine, makes hair stronger and removes any product build up.
Baking soda: As with apple cider vinegar, baking soda is brilliant at gently stripping away build up that chemical products leave on the hair, as well as dirt and grease. Mix it with a small amount of water until it’s a paste and use it instead of your shampoo.
Lemon juice: Known to lighten hair, lemons also work as an astringent, tightening the scalp’s pores and reducing oil production. Dilute with water or use the full strength juice.
Strawberries: Vitamin C-rich, strawberries regulate the scalp’s oil production. Mash and mix with honey as a quick hair mask, leaving on for just 15 minutes.
Strawberry Hair Conditioner Recipe
Pick eight to 10 fresh, organic strawberries and thoroughly mash together with one tablespoon of organic mayonnaise. Apply to damp hair from roots to tips, cover with a plastic bag and warm town. Leave for 10 to 20 minutes and shampoo.
Yoghurt: Hair relies on protein, its building blocks, for optimal health. Natural, organic yoghurt does wonders to repair tired combination hair, while encouraging new hair growth and cleansing the hair of grease and build up.
Bananas and strawberries: Mashed together these provide essential moisture and nutrients—the banana is a natural moisturiser and the strawberry balances out oil production.
Apple cider vinegar and eggs: Apple cider vinegar works to rid hair of buildup, which creates dullness. Add a tablespoon to two whisked organic, free range eggs for a protein boost.
Baking soda and honey: Removes grease and dirt as well as product buildup. Honey adds in much-needed moisture.
Natural Hot Oil Treatments
Organic vegetable oils make beneficial hair treatments, adding infused moisture to dry ends. Add these to your healthy hair arsenal:
Coconut oil: Anti-bacterial and anti-fungal, coconut oil is as good for your scalp as it is your hair. Warm to room temperature and apply throughout, from roots to tips. Leave for 20 minutes before rinsing and following up with a natural shampoo and conditioner.
Flax oil: A low heat oil, it’s important to never heat flax oil, as it will quickly turn rancid. Deeply conditioning, it’s slightly on the smelly side, but produces silky locks that will turn heads.
Olive oil: As with flax, olive oil should never be heated, whether you’re using it in food or on your hair. Apply a generous amount with your hands or a hairbrush. Leave for 20 minutes to half and hour, covering with a plastic shower cap and warm towel.
Expert Tips for Optimal Condition
Beauty nutritionist and author of The Holistic Beauty Book, Star Kechara, says there are many other natural steps you can take to achieving healthy hair that’s free of dryness and split ends. These include:
- Take a horsetail supplement. This herb is called Equisetum Arvense and is super-rich in the mineral silica, which is responsible for strong hair and nails. Clients who take it report faster hair growth.
- Give your hair a Moroccan mud treatment once a week; mix 50 grams (more if your hair is really long) of powdered Rhassoul clay with warm nettle tea—nettle is also rich in silica and promotes hair growth. Apply to moist hair thoroughly and leave on for at least 15 minutes. A shower cap is handy at this point. Rinse out with tepid water. No need for shampoo.
- Ditch the harsh detergent shampoos! Look out for Sodium Lauryl (or Laureth) Sulphate on the label. These are strong de-greasers, which means your hair gets stripped of its natural oils. Switch to organic brands such as Aubrey Organics or Green People as these use gentler detergents.
- Once a month give your hair a deep conditioning tropical treatment with Monoi oil and coconut milk. Monoi is now popular as a massage carrier oil and is made by infusing Tahitian gardenia petals in coconut oil. It smells truly divine. Grab a tin of organic high-quality coconut milk and shake it up. Next pour about half the tin into a jug and add a tablespoon of Monoi oil, blend well. Apply the mixture to the hair, working it thoroughly in so that every strand is coated. Now wrap your head with saran wrap and a warm towel and allow the Monoi and coconut to work their magic for at least 20 minutes. Wash out with an organic shampoo.
- Drink plenty of water. Hydration is key to keep your hair soft and supple, and cutting down on those pesky split ends. Aim for two litres of plain water daily.
- Drink nettle tea. Nettle is rich in silica and other hair-glowing minerals, three cups a day will transform your locks.
- Avoid using heated implements as much as possible as these dry out the hair, making it more prone to splitting, breaking and generally looking dull.
- Cut down on how often you wash the hair. If you wash daily, switch to every other day then to every three days. Hair does not need washing that often and even using organic shampoo you will still be removing a lot of the natural oils. In order to stay glossy, your hair produces sebum from tiny glands in the scalp and when you wash this sebum away with shampoo, these glands just produce more oil to compensate. This can result in hair that becomes greasy quickly and traps you in the cycle of having to wash it daily. Wean yourself off slowly and your hair will natural balance itself out.
- Use a tablespoon of cider vinegar in your final rinse water to add shine to your hair. You hair won’t stink of vinegar and it helps to close up the cuticle of the hair, leaving it flat and reflecting light.
- Eat your greens and fruit. Colourful plant foods are the richest source of vitamins, minerals and beauty nutrients on the planet. Aim to make each meal at least 50 percent raw plant foods to benefit your hair. Change your diet slowly by starting with breakfast, convert to fruit smoothies—delicious and healthy for your hair. Blend banana with mango and berries for a super-nutritious drink that will feed your skin and hair, creating gorgeous glowing locks to be proud of.
Your hair length can also determine the type of care and time you need to invest in keeping your locks in top condition, with long and curly hair types requiring the most attention.
- Sleep with hair down or loosely pulled back with a scrunchie. This ensures hair doesn’t break.
- Most hair stylists agree that ends should be trimmed every three months to keep hair in top condition. If your goal, however, is to grow your hair leave trimming for as long as possible.
- Use a wide toothcomb to detangle your hair before brushing it. Using a brush when hair is knotted can lead to breakage and split ends.
- Work from the hair tips to the roots when detangling, as well as from one section at a time.
- Pat wet hair dry with a towel instead of rubbing, which causes hair to tangle.
- Sleeping on a silk pillowcase or wearing a satin scarf over your hair is a good way to prevent hair breakage.
- Curly hair tends to be drier than other types. Shampoo no more than twice a week to keep as much natural oil as possible.
- Concentrate conditioners and treatments on the hair ends.
- Use an organic hair treatment, such as a coconut oil mask, once a week and leave conditioner on after shampooing for as long as possible.
- Use only wide toothcombs, as narrow brushes break hair and create frizz.
- Detangle your hair before you wash it. Apply a small amount of conditioner or vegetable oil mid-length to ends before you step in the shower and comb through. Then continue with your usual shampoo and conditioner routine.
- Let hair dry naturally when possible. Harsh towel scrubbing can lead to breakage, as can the hot air from a blow dryer.
- Use a small amount of extra virgin coconut oil to tame frizz.
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