Hair Care au Natural

by Kim Erickson

I s your hair dull? Lifeless? It’s no wonder. Exposure to the elements, blow-dryers and harsh chemicals can leave you with a drab mop, an itchy scalp and a chronic case of the frizzies.

When hair needs some serious Rx, it’s time to drag out some heavy- hitting hair treatments. But before you reach for drug or department store miracles, be aware that the products you choose can make or break your hair. Synthetic chemicals and petroleum-based products, touted to make hair shinier, more manageable and even thicker, can also damage hair, worsening the problems they are suppose to solve. Unlike many natural hair care products that actually nourish hair, most big-name hair products – even deep conditioning and hot oil treatments meant to repair dry, damaged hair – can strip hair of its natural oils. Used regularly, these products build up on the hair shaft, making hair dull, dry and prone to split ends.

Simply washing your hair can also wreak havoc. Full of harsh detergents and synthetic fragrances, many well-known shampoos not only remove natural oils, they can irritate your scalp. Worse yet, many shampoos contain diethanolamine, a potential carcinogen which is readily absorbed into the scalp.

Reclaiming Healthy Hair

Returning your hair to its naturally beautiful state won’t happen overnight. Daily maintenance and the development of healthy hair habits are a must. A hit-or-miss strategy can’t make up for the daily practice of gentle care.

Shampooing is the first step toward healthy hair. Look for a chemical-free shampoo containing hair-building herbs such as calendula, horsetail, rosemary or nettles. To combat dryness, select a shampoo with aloe vera, lavender or birch.

How you wash your hair can also affect its health. After lathering up, gently massage your scalp in a circular pattern for a minute or two. This simple act stimulates the scalp’s rich blood supply and helps flush away metabolic waste.

If your hair is dry or badly damaged, or if it tangles easily, use a good conditioner after every shampoo. But instead of reaching for a synthetic conditioner, treat your hair with a natural oil conditioner. Warm olive oil or a specially prepared oil infused with herbs are excellent for restoring moisture.

To give hair extra shine, finish with a rinse of diluted lemon juice (if you’re blond) or apple cider vinegar (if you’re brunette). This acidic rinse eliminates any shampoo residue and helps to stabilize your scalp’s acid to alkaline balance.

Treating your hair with tender loving care – and natural products – each and every day can turn that haystack into the crowning glory it was meant to be.

More tips on natural hair care – and formulas for making your own non-toxic treatments – can be found in Drop Dead Gorgeous: Protecting Yourself from the Hidden Dangers of Cosmetics.

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Kim Erickson.
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