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How-Tos

How to Grow Truly Healthy Hair (Part III)

celebrity hair

To read part one of How to Grow Truly Healthy Hair, click here. To read part two, click here.

Celebrity Hair Stylist Goes Natural

Celebrity hair stylist and cruelty-free advocate Nicole Groch has developed a “no chemical” zone whenever she works, after falling ill from chemical styling products and heated styling tools—a combination she also says that fast tracks hair to becoming damaged.

“As a freelance professional hair and makeup artist when the GHD first came out I was using it constantly all day long on all the models hair and of course was using hairsprays and other such chemical styling products,” she says. “The high heat from the GHD caused these products to basically cook and steam—the vapour they released was what I was breathing in constantly.

Groch, who has tamed the tresses of stars such as Tina Arena and Kylie Minogue, says she developed a “shocking chronic cough and tight, painful chest.”

“I had ECGs and X-rays and lung capacity tests done. It turned out that is was irritation from breathing in the melted hair products. I tried spraying and using styling products after styling with the GHD and this was the best solution, along with a cortisone inhaler for a period.”

Groch, who suggests using Organic Formulations and Alchemy products, has now become known in the industry for using only natural styling products that are not tested on animals. So strong is her conviction, that she has turned away high profile, lucrative jobs, and also set up a website, www.livingsafe.com.au to spread her message.

I had ECGs and X-rays and lung capacity tests done. It turned out that is was irritation from breathing in the melted hair products.

She says her top tips for achieving healthy hair include using only organic, cruelty-free, chemical-free products that don’t coat the hair and irritate the scalp, a healthy organic vegetarian diet, and letting hair dry naturally when possible. She adds that the main culprits for causing damage include harsh chemical straightening and curling procedures, chemical colouring and bleaching, and burning the hair on heated styling tools.

“Personally I don’t agree with the six-week model of getting hair cut to keep it healthy,” she says. “I think people need to look and feel the ends of their own hair and if splitting, dry or coarse then this is the time to get it cut, unless of course you have a style that looks bad if it grows out.”

Colour by Nature

Susan Lockie, owner of Organic Hair Care Supplies and a hairdresser for 30 years who developed an early interest in natural hair products, suggests steering clear of mainstream colours and products, and applying only henna, a natural dye from the henna tree. This, she says, is a great way to get hair back into fabulous condition.

“Applying henna will give a natural, beautiful look,” she says. “(But) it has to be without added chemicals—one must be vigilant as to what henna one purchases.”

Lockie suggests any henna colour you consider buying must be certified for “accuracy of ingredients”, as most hennas in Australia have chemicals added, including sodium picramate, phenylenendiamine (PPD), HC Red, Solvent Black 5, Disperse Blue 1, Basic Violet 14 and Basic Yellow.

“Remember it is not what is not in hair dye, it is what is actually in hair dye that counts,” she says. “No ammonia and no peroxide means nothing—sadly a great marketing tool for the unsuspecting customer. Always check the ingredients listing on the packaging.”

Susan says a great way to healthy hair is to do daily brushing to stimulate the scalp, while removing dead skin.

“Dead skin on the scalp is called dandruff and must be removed as we shed skin,” she says. “The scalp is a hot part of the body, and bacteria, along with dead skin needs to be removed daily, otherwise psoriasis can develop—a healthy scalp also needs a little sun daily.”

Remember it is not what is not in hair dye, it is what is actually in hair dye that counts.

Regular brushing is a hair-must also recommended by Jill Saunders of natural Tasmanian beauty company Bee Beauty, who has been singing the praises of natural hair care for more than two decades.

“It is imperative that you use a high quality brush that’s rubber cushioned, so as to shape your scalp and gently stimulate rather than scratch, as cheap synthetic and plastic brushes do,” she advises. “Also, always brush dry hair, as wet hair is too fragile—brushing the old fashioned way, 100 strokes a day, briskly from root to tip with your head bent forward to maximize healthy blood flow to the roots, promoting healthy growth and creating thicker and faster growing hair.”

Saunders says this simple habit will result in hair that’s soft, manageable, healthy and shiny. However, she says it’s important to “take it easy” if your hair is already in poor condition, as strands may break until the hair’s condition improves.

“My grandmother also used to make horsetail and nettle tea for me to drink, and as a rinse for my hair as a child,” Saunders says. In honour of her grandmother she created a “Wild Weeds” hair bar available from her www.beebeauty.com website.

Next week: Part 4, Determining Your Hair Type

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