Hair, just like skin, reflects the health of the whole body. Dry hair can indicate sub-clinical dehydration or lack of essential fats (which help keep the hair shaft nicely lubricated). Lack of essential proteins can create brittle, weak hair that snaps and looks straw-like. Too much sun, chlorinated pool water, artificial heat, chemicals and rough handling can all create a mane which is more ‘hedge backwards’ than crowning glory. Each hair is strong yet fragile too, especially when wet as water weakens the hydrogen bonds of the hair, which is why we can style hair into curls by shaping it when wet and leaving to dry.
Making or buying natural skincare is fairly simple but hair care is still a bit of a wild card; most natural shampoos are made from the same detergent base as chemical versions, with a few more herbs thrown in. It’s almost impossible to find a natural conditioner as they are usually based on plastic (sounds healthy doesn’t it). But there are lots you can do to create beautiful healthy hair starting from now.
Top tips for gorgeous hair, naturally:
• Eat a diet that contains enough essential fatty acids and quality proteins (hempseeds cover both of these bases nicely).
• Drink enough water — 2 litres a day is the accepted amount
• Don’t wash hair too often — hair should never need daily washing unless you work in coal mine. I wash mine about one every 5 days.
• Try to find the mildest ‘natural’ shampoo you can, or use an alternative to shampoo such as the herb Shikakai or Soapwort.
• Don’t use commercial conditioners as they coat your hair in plastic — make your own pre-conditioner from mashed avocado or warmed coconut oil or runny honey (not for vegans though).
• Try to avoid using heat on your hair — if you must blow dry use the cool setting and if you’re a hair straightener addict, try not to use daily and use the lower settings. Never use tongs or irons on wet hair it will cook it to a crisp!
• Each week treat your hair to a masque or hot oil treatment
• Brush and comb your hair gently as you would a soft animal like a chinchilla.
• If your hair is weak or brittle take a horsetail supplement; horsetail is a plant very rich in the mineral silica which helps to strengthen hair and nails.
• Remember: Wash the roots, condition the ends. There is no need to slather on vast quantities of these products over your entire hair.
• If towel-drying your hair, always pat and press — never rub ferociously.
Home hot oil treatment
Mix 2 teaspoons each of raw coconut oil, jojoba oil and hemp oil. Warm up in small bowl which is sitting in a larger bowl with boiling water in. The oil should be warm not hot. Massage well into the ends of your hair and further up the hair length but not all over the scalp. Wrap hair up in cling film (or similar) and leave in overnight if possible, or as long as you are able. Wash out thoroughly with your usual shampoo.
Star is the author of The Holistic Beauty Book and a Beauty Naturopath specialising in Rejuvenation and Raw Organic skincare. Her website www.starkhechara.com features free recipes for healthy beautiful skin and offers training course in skincare formulation.