Okay NOW STEP AWAY FROM THAT BAKING SODA!
Have you deisred beautiful tresses whether long or short? Have you been searching for alternative ways to wash your hair without using harmful ingredients like Sodium Lauryl Sulfate/Sodium Laureth Sulfate, Sodium Chloride, Cocamidopropyl Betaine, Polysorbates? (Read all about the harmful effects of these type of ingredients)
I read a lot about people who are using products like vinegar and baking soda in their hair as alternative shampoos, but I could never understand why. Vinegar and baking soda have very different pHs as one is a acid and the other is a base. Do not use baking soda to soften or clean hair. It is too abrasive and alkali and will strip the cuticle of necessary oils. Vinegar can be used to bring down the pH of oily hair, but there are much more effective ways of doing this. My suggestion is to go and get some litmus paper or pH testing strips to find out what the pH of your hair and scalp is. If that is still too cumbersome for you then just try my suggestions below.
Since living in India, I have noticed women have beautiful hair. What do these ladies do to have such sought after lochs? Well, it may take a few extra minutes everyday but the results are worth it!
See DEFINITIONS at BOTTOM of PAGE
FIRST!! Stop using products that you buy in the grocery store, drug store or your nearby Wal-Mart. These products are not going to do anything with your hair. All the tree huggers will like my first suggestion for long lochs would be:::
1. Use natural saponins. Don’t know what they are? Plant products that basically have soaping properties like the soapnuts and shikakai, listed at end of article. I prefer using a mixture of powders that all have this quality and are all natural.
HEALTHY SCALP & SHINY HAIR PASTE
Shikakai is my most favorite and will be my most talked about topic as for a few other ingredients which I have recently come to love. As stated before, below is a list of products and definitions you may want to understand more. Also, I have included a few sources on where to get these products in both the Western and Indo-Asian markets.
Why do I love Shikakai?
When I first used shikakai I thought, “I’m putting mud in my hair.” But that was far from the truth! I started using VCare’s Shikakai Paste and then decided I wanted to know everything I was using on my hair. To test anything adequately, I needed to use the actual plant like they do here in India. So, I went to a wonderful international store called Khadi Naturals for all my supplies (I will recommend all their products always)
You can use Shikakai for:
- Cradle Cap on children/Subhorric Dermatitis in Adults
- Scalp Diseases
- It is a natural detangler
- It is a much better alternative shampoo than baking soda.
- The pH balance of the powder is perfect for our hair.
- You can use the powder as a base for many types of shampoos for your hair.
- It is very inexpensive.
- You don’t need any conditioner, just wash, leave in for 10 minutes, rinse and your done!
All you need is some Shikakai powder and a drip of water and start scrubbing it into your scalp. The natural saponins in the herb is what will not only stop us from an expensive and depressing search for the perfect hair products, but it will make your scalp heal from any damage incurred from stubborn dandruff to oily hair. Before using Shikakai, I suggest westerners and people with severe scalp damage to oil with virgin coconut oil, tea tree oil, lavender oil and/or rosemary oil and let sit for 1-3 hours maximum (Overnight for Indians) Comb hair with a very fine tooth comb or lice comb, be gentle not to scrape or scar your scalp. Once combed, use the following paste recipe to wash hair. When finished washing hair comb out and let dry. If you have long hair and ends seem dry then at night apply oil sparsely to tips after you comb it, then put into a braid. Oil should only be applied prior to showering onto scalp, dryness with hair can be resolved by oiling ends in between washings which should only happen every other day, or so. Don’t over-wash your hair!
Thick N Healthy:
Use always powders, they have more saponin action.
2 Tbs Shikakai powder
1 Tbs of Amla powder
1 Tbs of Reetha powder
Put powders into a dry container with a lid and shake to make more even.
1/4 cup of warm water
This recipe can be used as a base and you can add many things to it to strengthen hair, prevent grey hair and to rid yourself of problematic hair and scalp. I HAVE INCLUDED MORE RECIPES FOR HAIR SHAMPOOS ON MY INDIAN RECIPES
Dr. Bronner’s also makes a Shikakai and Tea Tree Soap. I have NOT tried this. I love Dr. Bronner’s products for many things, but I still prefer using the herb straight on my hair knowing there are no hidden additives or processes removing the goodness of the herb.
You can add the following in powders, unless otherwise stated:
Henna- make sure you remember it stains your hair a reddish color for light folk and brown in dark folk. If you are looking for something similar for light hair, but don’t want the red effect try Senna, it has a golden hue to it.
Fenugreek- another powder to help your stubborn scalp issues. If your not having luck with the base try adding some of this to remove dandruff.
Turmeric- It will stain your hair and skin for a few days but does wonder for the scalp. If you are not planing on going out for 24 hours try a paste of turmeric on your skin and shikakai and turmeric in your scalp for a deep cleanse removing the bacterias, fungi and viruses that can make skin and scalp problems worse.
- Embilica Officinalis, commonly known to the Indian people as Amla and otherwise called Indian gooseberry. Makes hair soft and strong giving essential Vitamin C to the cuticles.
- Terminalia Bellirica, commonly referred to as Bibhitaki in many languages, called Vibhidaka in Sanskrit and many people also called it the bedda or “Baheda” in day to day language. This is used to prevent HAIRFALL & Reduce GREYING!
- Terminalia chebula, called haritaki in Sanskrit is a nut like fruit picked when it is still yellow and ripening, mostly known as “harad” to common people. This is used to help cure the scalp and skin of problems by balancing out the pH and healing properties.
Mixed all together in a powder and you have a super packed hair strengthener.
Tulsi- A very popular ingredient in India used for MANY things. In the skin and hair areas, Tulsi is used to grow and prevent hairfall. You can eat Tulsi daily to give yourself a healthy glow. It purifies your blood and rejuvenates the body! Mix the powder in coconut oil and apply regularly to the scalp to prevent hair fall. Eating tulsi leaves, drinking the juice, or adding its paste to a face pack can help cure skin and hair conditions.
Eggs- Yes EGGS!! Protein is what your hair requires most. Use eggs directly on scalp or in the powders, let sit for at least 10-15 minutes. Makes hair soft and manageable! Protein packed meaning strong lochs!
2. Choosing your hair oils. Your hair needs pure oils, so be aware of the labels. Make sure there is absolutely no mineral oil, castor oil or vegetable oils mixed with the essential oils.
Mix your own oil combinations using a base oil like virgin coconut oil. I prefer edible oils over no-edible grades as I feel the quality is better. Adding 3-4 drops of essential oils can make your hair oils have bacterial fighting power to dandruff control. Some oils like jojoba are good for acne prone people and can also be used on skin. More astringent oils like tea tree oil, lemon oil and neem oils can be used sparingly and not directly on skin or scalp.
Tea Tree Oil- This is my favorite oil because it works on my body very well. I can use from cuts to curing fungal infections with it. It is a great anti-bacteria, anti-viral, anti-fungal. Tea tree oil unblocks the sebaceous glands and encourage the flow of the scalp’s own moisturizing oils while clearing away dead skin. You can make creams with shea butter and you can use coconut oil infused with Tea Tree. Helps heal the scalp and dandruff type problems.
Neem Oil- This is my second favorite oil because just like Tea Tree Oil, Neem Oil has great healing properties. The leaves have been used to get rid of insects and mosquitoes. Neem also helps with scalp issues and heals damage done to scalp.
Lemon Oil- I have oily hair and use this oil because it is especially beneficial for oily hair, it is recommended that persons with dry hair not use lemon oil, it is a good treatment for dry scalp, dandruff, lice, and under-active sebaceous glands
Lavender Oil-It is a good treatment for dandruff and itching, helpful in controlling hair breakage and improving hair growth. Most widely known to treat alopecia areata, a condition where you lose excessive hair, especially in patches. Daily massage with lavender oil has proven to help significant re-growth and gives you the results in a few months. Lavender oil blends well with many other essential oils including jojoba, rosemary and tea tree oils.
Amla Oil- is usually applied directly to the scalp after your shampoo and conditioning is complete. Some people also create their own hair treatments by combining amla powder with warm water so that the blend achieves a paste-like consistency. Now, amla oil is featured as an ingredient in many shampoos.
- Featuring a number of essential fatty acids, amla oil is thought to strengthen the hair follicles and condition the hair.
- Besides essential fatty acids, amla fruit are high in vitamin C, flavonoids, polyphenols, and also contain water, protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.
- Amla oil penetrates the scalp and can help treat dry, itchy scalp.
- Helps prevent grey hair.
- Ablity to bind iron and cooper.
Peppermint Oil- helps to stimulate blood flow to the root of the hair. This is very important for hair as it helps the hair to receive proper nourishment. This in turn will lead to hair growth. That tingly feeling when peppermint oil is felt on the scalp is actually the stimulation of blood flow to hair.
Rosemary Oil – Is another oil which doubles as a fragrant oil and an essential oil. The oil is derived from the rosemary plant and is very useful for dandruff problems and flaky itchy scalp. Rosemary oil stimulates the hair follicles; as a result hair, can grow longer and stronger.
Almond oil, Grapeseed oil, Olive oil, Mustard oil and Shea Butter can be bases for any astringent oil to deliver where it needs to go without damaging the essential oil properties. NEVER heat these oils except mustard oil.
Almond Oil- Makes hair shine, strengthen and repairs split ends and treats dandruff.
Grapeseed oil- Moistureizes and conditions hair along with treating dandruff and other scalp issues. It also reduces hairfall and strengthens hair.
Mustard Oil-According to the World’s Healthiest Foods website, mustard seeds are high in omega-3 fatty acids, selenium, phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, zinc, calcium, iron, protein, niacin and fiber. Helps environmental damage and helps grow hair faster!
Shea Butter-You can use shea butter on your scalp, your hair or both to improve the length, health and appearance of your hair. Gently warm shea butter to liquefy and work through your hair. Leave the emollient butter in place for 30 minutes or longer, wrapping your head in a hot towel for additional warmth. Wash out with shampoo and follow with conditioner. You can also use shea butter as a styling cream, particularly if you have damaged or curly hair. Rub a very small amount of shea butter between your hands, then apply to the hair. Keep the shea butter away from the roots of the hair to avoid making your hair look greasy or unwashed.
Jojoba Oil – The debate is whether jojoba is the king of the carrier oils. Many scalp related problems are caused by a hardened build-up of sebum that clogs the hair follicles and may cause some types of scaling. If this hardened build-up is not removed, it can eventually obstruct the hair follicle’s ability to function properly, jojoba rapidly penetrates down to the scalp and hair shaft, and readily loosens and dissolves this hardened build-up. The scalp and hair follicles are left clean and free to continue their normal function. Jojoba is great for all hair types and has an ability to inhibit excess activity of the sebaceous glands making it the perfect choice for people with oily scalps that still need conditioning. Likewise it can be used for dry hair as it helps to moisturize your hair properly.
Olive Oil – Only olive oil that is labelled “extra virgin” guarantees that the oil has been cold pressed from freshly harvested olives and does not contain chemicals. Extra virgin olive oil that is green in color is of higher quality than golden-yellow oil. Olive oil helps in preventing as well as curing hair loss as it prevents the production of the hormone DTH which causes the hair follicle shaft to decrease. Regular application of olive oil to hair prevents the production of DTH hormones on the scalp, thus getting rid of the problem of hair loss. For relaxed/permed hair ladies excessive chemical use can cause hair damage, olive oil contains antioxidants that promotes a healthy hair and scalp. Olive oil strengthens and smooths hair cuticles.
Coconut Oil – Coconut oil consists of more than ninety percent of saturated fats Vitamin-E and Vitamin K and minerals such as Iron. Coconut oil is considered one of the best natural nutrition for hair and is in contention with olive and jojoba oils as the king of the carrier oils. It is an excellent conditioner and helps in the re-growth of damaged hair. It also provides the essential proteins required for nourishing damaged hair and it softens the hair and conditions the scalp.
Castor Oil – is a vegetable oil obtained from the castor bean. Castor oil is a colorless to very pale yellow liquid with mild or no odor or taste. It is rich in ricinoleic acid and can be used to treat skin conditions such as fungal infections. It nourishes hair and prevents the scalp from drying by retaining moisture. Castor oil added to hair care products helps to seal moisture, softens, and visibly thickens hair. Castor oil can also be used by itself on the hair to seal in moisture.
Vitamin E Oil – Proper circulation leads to thriving hair follicles which leads to hair growth. Vitamin E contains valuable antioxidants that help to keep the immune system up and improves circulation to all parts of the body, including the scalp. When added to homemade products, Vitamin E extends their shelf life. This oil rejuvenates and offers protection for the scalp and skin.
Avocado Oil- is extracted from the king of the ‘hair’ fruits avocado. It is full of vitamins that your hair needs like vitamins A, E, D and potassium. If you want a super deep conditioner treatment without having to buy a commercial preparation, you can add avocado oil to the other carrier oils and you will definitely feel and see the difference.
3. Finally, brush hair at least 3 times a day to de-tangle and put in tight braids at night for protection. If leaving oils on hair use a shower cap to keep from getting oils on pillow in the night.
If you follow these tips and use the right products for you, your hair will be beautiful in no time. If you suffer from severe scalp issues make sure you wash hair daily and do not skip oiling with tea tree, tulasi-basil oil or triphala oil (best for severe scalp issues). If you have dandruff from extreme dry scalp and itching, apply pure aloe vera to scalp and hair after you shower and brush. This will help immensely!
Amla/ Indian Gooseberry
I am not endorsed by anyone to make these claims. They come from first hand experience and oral traditions passed down from mother to daughter in India.
I buy all my oils and powders from Khadi Naturals due to their quality and they ship internationally.