Our hair can say a lot about us. For some people it’s a daily chore to manage, whereas for others it’s their crowning glory. Knowing your hair and how to nourish and protect it will set you up for good hair-health for many years to come. Just like our skin and nails; hair needs vital nutrients, vitamins and minerals in order to flourish. It’s easy to just accept the condition of your hair; be it dry, broken, greasy, thinning, weak or with dandruff – overlooking the underlying cause of it.
We need to think more about the possible culprits which may be causing our hair condition, considering all factors including diet, stress, hormones, circulation, sleep, genetics, medication, sun, water quality and the many synthetic or chemical compounds which make up our everyday hair products.
With the varying array of products in today’s market – it’s understandable why many people get confused when it comes to choosing the correct one for their hair type. With brands that promise to thicken and volumise your fine lifeless hair, de-tangle and smooth your unruly wiry frizz or to nourish and revitalise your dry damage locks – there’s a minefield of brand-boosting slogans to confuse us all the more.
Many of the best selling hair products contain chemicals and synthetic additives which can often be the lead cause of many common hair, scalp and skin problems. They can cause irritation, follicle corrosion, clog the sebaceous glands, inflame the scalp, inhibit the growth of hair and new cells and breakdown the natural oils. Once again, Mother Nature provides a botanical solution to help minimise these complaints, reduce thinning and hair loss, promote new growth and improve the overall condition of the hair and scalp.
Today, we see a handful of hair products on the high street which contain Essential Oils – sadly this is usually just for their wonderful aroma. There is still little understanding in the mainstream market as to the depth of benefits these pure plant essences can offer the hair and scalp.
Making your own shampoo, conditioner, deep treatment, tonic rinse or root spray is simple, cost effective and will enable you to directly tackle your hair dilemma. Our Shampoo Base is suitable for all skin and hair types, containing no parabens, colours or preservatives, Sodium Lauryl Sulphate or Ammonium Laureth Sulphate and is ph balanced with Apple Cider Vinegar. Some of the more distressing hair and scalp complaints such as Alopecia Areata, Dandruff and Psoriasis can also be greatly improved with use of Essential and Carrier Oils.
There are a handful of Essential Oils which are ideal for use in treating the hair and scalp.
- Lavender – for its calming effect helping to ease itching and flaking and reduce inflammation of the scalp.
- Rosemary – helps to increase circulation, thus stimulating the follicle and promoting new growth.
- Peppermint – offers a tingly, fresh feeling whilst increasing blood flow to the follicles. Also providing relief for a tense scalp or headache.
- Tea Tree – removes dead skins cells from the scalp whilst unblocking the sebaceous glands; helping the natural moisturising oils to flow. Also anti-bacterial and anti-fungal oil so helpful for nits or other parasites. Can penetrate greasy, oily hair.
- Lemon – similar to Tea Tree, Lemon stimulates the sebaceous glands promoting new oils coming through. Great for treating dry hair and dandruff. Also provides a fresh, pungent fragrance.
- Chamomile – ideal for stressed hair to help calm the nerves around the scalp, and soothes skin cells affected by chemical treatments and environmental factors. Good for dry, itchy scalp.
Carrier Oils known for their hair and scalp treating benefits…
- Jojoba Oil – a versatile oil which is ideal for both oily and dry hair. It penetrates the hair shaft to remove any product build up which may be obstructing the sebaceous gland to regulate the natural oils, it also deeply moisturises.
- Coconut – one of the most nutritional oils for the hair due to its high saturated fats, protein and iron. Helps repair damage and encourage growth, whilst softening and adding shine.
- Olive – an anti-oxidant oil which helps prevent chemical build up, whilst smoothing the cuticle to help prevent damage. Cold pressed is best.
- Avocado – high in vitamins and potassium this super fruit oil will provide a deep conditioning treatment.
- Argan – grown in the driest conditions this self-moisturising tree produces oil which is high in nutritional properties. Often referred to as the “miracle oil” for dry, brittle hair this oil deeply penetrates the roots, smoothing the hair shaft to reduce further breakage, adds vital moisture and promotes new growth.
Alopecia Areata and Hair Loss
Normal hair loss can be up to 100 strands per day – which sounds like a lot. And with age this amount is likely to increase. For someone not flourishing with new hair growth at the optimum rate, this “normal” loss can lead to thinning hair in just a short space of time. Hair loss can be affected by lots of factors – genetics, hormonal changes, stress, diet or damage through treatments and products. Alopecia Areata is a condition whereby the immune system will attack the follicles, causing the hair to fall out and not re-produce. The hair can fall in clumps or just an overall thinning. It’s a condition most common in younger people but can affect people of any age. Alopecia cannot be cured but can be treated and managed. The best way to tackle hair loss is by strengthening the hair you have but also to encourage new growth by increasing circulation. Add 2 drops of each oil of Lavender, Rosemary and Clary Sage into a palm of base shampoo, applying every other day to start with. A treatment of warm Jojoba, Borage or Evening Primrose Oil once or twice a week will also help to restore the strength and fullness. If the hair loss is caused by stress then it’s ideal to choose oils which can help encourage the hair to grow but also help reduce stress – oils like Lavender and Clary Sage will calm and soothe the nerves.
Dry, Sensitive Scalp and Dandruff
Dandruff is a form of Dermatitis of the scalp which is common in both men and women. It’s still unknown exactly what causes it but it can be controlled. Excessive shampooing can irritate the condition as a flaking scalp becomes more sensitive than normal – it can be a viscous cycle. Many of the medicated shampoos on the market which claim to help with dandruff and dry scalp will disguise the issue somewhat; but never solve the problem entirely – otherwise they’d have a declining market. Chamomile Roman will help to soothe and calm an itchy, dry scalp whilst Tea Tree will help to unblock the sebaceous gland by removing product build up and dead skin cells which may be inhibiting the glands normal function. Lavender will help to reduce inflammation and bring shine back to the hair. Two drops of each of these oils in a base Shampoo used regularly. For a treatment you could try adding these oils to Jojoba oil and massage gently through the scalp, which will help to regulate the hairs natural oils.
The common mistake with greasy hair is to wash it more frequently than required which may exacerbate the condition. If the sebaceous glands are over-active then an Essential Oil to help regulate their function would be the best course of action. Two drops of Lavender will have a calming effect on the scalp whilst regulating the oil production, 1 drop of Lemon or Tea Tree will clarify the hair by cutting through the grease and help to keep the hair feeling more clean and fresh. 1 drop of Cypress will act as a decongestant – all blended into a small amount of base Shampoo. Vigorous scalp massage whilst shampooing will stimulate the sebum glands so gentle massage is recommended. Two consecutive washes should be enough to get a good lather on your hair. If you need to use a conditioning treatment then 2 drops of Lavender into our base conditioner applied to the ends will keep the hair well balanced. As a tonic spray for greasy hair you could add 5 drops of Lemon and 5 drops of Lavender into 2ml of vodka and then blend into 100ml of distilled water. Spray onto the roots and leave overnight to help work through the oil on the scalp.
There are lots of factors that could cause hair to become fragile or damaged, but the general culprit is poor treatment. Daily rituals of heat treatments like blow drying and straightening will deplete the hairs natural oils, whilst bleaching and tinting will strip the hairs acid mantle; its natural defence from the elements. The solution to which seems easy – STOP IT! But for people who have opted for the same hair process over many years, cannot understand why its condition may have suddenly deteriorated. The hair, like the skin, can expose how we may be feeling inside – be it under the weather, on medication or even pregnant. If our body is working extra hard to cope with something, our hair may also be bearing some extra stress and may react differently to a treatment. It could be time to re-assess your regular routine and think more about long term hair health than the short term hair disguise. 3 drops of Peppermint oil in your base Shampoo will help increase the blood flow to the scalp which will bring vital nourishment. Argan oil is one of the most hydrating oils for the hair. It will restore moisture and help to prevent future breakage. Nut oils like Coconut or Sweet Almond offer the hair the fatty nutrients, vitamins and iron needed to strengthen from root to tip. A warm treatment of any of these base oils wrapped in a towel and left for 20-30 minutes twice a week will start to get the hair back to a healthy, manageable condition. For an extra boost add some Avocado Oil too for a super deep conditioning treatment.
If your hair looks and feels dull, dry or lifeless – it’s possible that the sebaceous glands are not functioning properly to supply natural oils to the hair, thus resulting in more splitting, tangling and breakage. As well bleaching or harsh heat treatments; others factors which can lead the hair to dry out immensely is swimming or if your water at home is highly chlorinated. Myrrh Essential Oil will help to stimulate under-active sebum glands, whilst Rosemary accelerates the oil production and growth. A touch of Geranium will also help strengthen and balance the hair. Add 2 drops of each oil into your base shampoo and use regularly. A weekly treatment of warm Olive Oil will also penetrate down to the roots, smooth the cuticle and keep the hair looking and feeling silkier. If you are worried about a build up of Chlorine or product on the hair then use a base clarifying Shampoo with just 4 drops of Lemon or Tea Tree prior to further treatment – this will clean the hair thoroughly.
Parasites and Lice
Those pesky little nits which will catch up with all of us at some point in our lives – there’s just no way of avoiding them. Usually by the time we feel the itch on our scalp, they’re already well established. Generally the back of neck will be the first indication of tiny lice bites, but they also like to lie in and around the hairline and forehead. The females lay up to 10 eggs per day which are opaque in colour, and once hatched they will quickly manifest, and can live up to 4 weeks if untreated. It’s harder to kill the eggs than the lice themselves which is why repeat treatments are recommended. They prefer clean hair and contrary to the myth that they can be carried on clothes, furniture and carpets – they can only be passed on from head-to-head. It’s recommended that treatment should be in a conditioner base rather than a shampoo, as once the necessary water is added to enable a shampoo then the treatment is too diluted. Add two drops of Tea Tree Essential Oil, to 1 drop of each Lemon, Eucalyptus Globulus and Thyme and blend into a palm of base Conditioner. Massage gently through the scalp, leave on the hair for 20 minutes, comb through to remove the lice and their eggs, then rinse. Repeat every 2 days until clear.