Healthy Hair: Your Crowning Glory

Soft, shiny and manageable-hair that begs to be touched! It seems that everybody wants trend-setting hair like Jennifer Anniston or Brad Pitt. But before investing in a haircut with a hefty price tag, start by examining the hair products you use, your hair care routine and the foods you eat.

Soft, shiny and manageable hair that begs to be touched! It seems that everybody wants trend-setting hair like Jennifer Anniston or Brad Pitt. But before investing in a haircut with a hefty price tag, start by examining the hair products you use, your hair care routine and the foods you eat. All of these play a part in keeping your hair healthy and glorious.

These days, shampoos and other hair care products containing high percentages of chemical ingredients are used on a regular basis. The majority of shampoos on the market are created with synthetic lathering agents also used in industrial cleaners. These lathering agents can help to remove excess dirt and oil in the hair; however, they can strip away the necessary oil needed to keep the hair healthy. Long-term use of these lathering agents makes the scalp and hair dry and also produces buildup on the scalp, causing the pores to become blocked. When the pores become blocked, the hair can fall out or become dry and brittle.

What’s in Your Shampoo?

Sodium laurel sulphate (SLS) is one of the more common chemical lathering agents used in products. It is usually listed second on the ingredient list after water, which indicates that a high percentage has been added. Some companies claim that sodium laurel sulphate is derived from coconut and so is natural. Not true. While one of the original components used to create SLS could be coconut, the finished product undergoes many chemical processes and other synthetic ingredients are added. The end result is a chemical that has no nutritional value.

Other chemical lathering and foaming agents found in shampoos and conditioners are sodium laureth sulphate, sodium cetyl sulphate and ammonium laurel sulphate. All of these should be avoided. Shampoos and conditioners may also contain artificial colours and fragrances that can cause irritation to the scalp.

When shopping for shampoos, try to avoid those that contain the above-mentioned chemical lathering agents. Natural lathering agents made from corn and sugars are available in some health food stores.

Natural Solutions

More and more men and women are suffering from premature hair thinning, hair loss, dry/damaged hair and scalp eruptions, but there are natural alternatives that can help.

To remove chemical buildup and restore pH balance to the hair and scalp, try this home recipe:

1 cup (250 ml) purified or distilled water
3 Tbsp (45 ml) apple cider vinegar.

Optional:

  • For dry hair add: five drops pure rosemary essential oil.
  • For dandruff add: four to five drops of tea tree oil.
  • For thinning hair add: three drops of rosemary, two drops cedarwood and two drops sage.
  • For oily hair add: three drops lemon, two drops cedarwood. Or add five drops of lavender oil.

Dampen the hair. Apply the above mixture to the hair and scalp. Massage through for even distribution. Leave on for five to seven minutes and rinse. This treatment can be done once or twice a week.

Condition Your Mane

Chemicals can strip away the protective oil from the hair and scalp, as well as create dry, split ends. Regular conditioning of the hair is important to re-nourish and rehydrate the hair follicles. For this remedy, you’ll need:

4 Tbsp (60 ml) yogurt
1 tsp (5 ml) olive oil
2 Tbsp (30 g) soy protein powder.

Blend well until smooth. Apply all over the hair and massage into the scalp. Cover the hair in a shower cap or towel and leave on for 10 to 15 minutes. Wash twice.

Massage Your Scalp

An excellent way to help prevent premature hair loss and to improve overall texture and condition of the hair is to massage the scalp with natural oils. Look for a hair massage oil that is made with pure oils such as olive, sunflower, almond, jojoba and vitamin E, along with pure essential oils such as ylang ylang, cedarwood, peppermint and sage. These oils promote circulation and provide nourishment to the hair and scalp.

Apply the oil to the scalp at room temperature or slightly warmed. Using the fingertips gently massage the scalp from the front to the back and back to the front. Be sure not to rub the hair follicles. After massaging the scalp, the hair can be wrapped in a shower cap or warm towel for up to an hour to let the oils penetrate. Follow by washing the hair twice to remove all the oil. Scalp massage using oil can be done two to three times per week.

Hair-Friendly Foods

Dry hair, falling hair, graying hair and scalp conditions occur not only from chemicals, but also from a lack of nutrients in the diet. Incorporating the right foods and supplements is just as important for healthy skin and hair as external care.

Essential fatty acids derived from sources such as flax seed and cold-water fish oils are very effective in providing nutrients and moisture. Fresh, unrefined flax seed oil can be added to salads or steamed vegetables.

The B vitamins found in wheat germ, white and green beans and whole grains help promote suppleness and prevent graying. Silica, found in millet and rolled oats, and vitamins E and D also help to maintain a healthy head of hair. In supplement form, use as directed.

Ensure that your diet contains good sources of protein such as eggs, soy, legumes and fish, as well as dark, leafy greens and at least eight glasses of water a day. Drinking fresh vegetable juices is also an excellent way to remove excess internal toxins and provide the body with vitamins.

By paying attention to what natural products you use, incorporating self-help treatments and boosting essential nutrient levels, you can remove chemical buildup in the hair roots, restore moisture, strengthen the hair, replenish lost nutrients and prevent premature hair loss.

Chop Bad Brush Habits

  • Brush hair with a natural bristle brush to reduce breakage and to enhance circulation to the scalp.
  • Excessive use of a hairdryer may overdry hair. Instead, dry hair at room temperature or outdoors in the sun.
  • Avoid chlorinated swimming pools, which can damage your hair and scalp. If you go swimming, rinse off immediately afterward.

Some hair problems (dry hair, hair loss) are the result of a medical condition. Seek out a health-care practitioner if you feel there is a cause for concern.

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