Eat Your Way to Healthy, Radiant Hair
These days, there's a broad range of natural hair products readily available, including shampoo, conditioner, gels, mousse and coloring products. But you don't need to go to the store to get these things—look no further than your own kitchen!
- One of my favorite hair conditioning treatments is coconut oil. Warm the oil and massage it into the scalp and hair, then wrap the head in a warmed towel and leave for at least an hour before washing out. I find it leaves my hair soft and silky. You could also cover your pillow with a towel and leave the oil in overnight. Jojoba or olive oil also works very well to condition the hair and scalp.
- Another wonderful nourishing treatment is simple mayonnaise—which contains oil to nourish the hair—and egg, which is a natural conditioner. For an extra-deep conditioning treatment for dry or damaged hair, add half an avocado to about 1/3 cup mayonnaise and mash until creamy. Apply to the hair and cover with a shower cap. Leave for about 30 minutes, then wash out. You can wrap in a warm towel to allow the conditioner to penetrate more deeply.
- A little dollop of aloe vera gel does wonders to control frizz, enhance curls and generally condition the hair.
- You can make a nourishing hair rinse by simmering one cup nettle leaf in three cups water for about 10 minutes. Strain and apply to the hair and scalp daily for a period of time to condition the hair. Keep refrigerated.
- Rosemary hair rinse is excellent for oily hair and helps dark hair retain its color. Simply simmer 1/4 cup fresh or dried rosemary in two cups water for about 10 minutes. Strain and apply to hair; leave in overnight.
- To restore the color in graying hair, simmer equal parts rosemary and sage in water, and strain. Apply to the hair daily until you are satisfied with the results.
- To clarify hair and remove product buildup, you can make a rinse from apple cider vinegar mixed with water, poured on the hair after you wash and condition. You don't need to rinse it out. You can vary the ratio depending on the condition of your hair, but generally about 1/2 cup cider vinegar to 1 1/2 cups cold water will effectively remove product buildup.
- You can also use natural food products to enhance the color of your hair. A mixture of equal parts carrot and beet juice will bring out the tones in red hair. For brunettes, soak in very strong black coffee, and for blondes, mix lemon juice with a little olive oil, slather on your hair and sit in the sun for about half an hour to bring out your natural highlights. Strong chamomile tea used as a final rinse will also enhance blond hair.
- Ginger is an excellent dandruff remedy. Grate a knob of fresh ginger and squeeze out about 1 tablespoon juice (you can do this using a small strainer or squeeze between two spoons). Mix with one tsp. lemon juice and one tsp. sesame oil, and massage into the scalp. Leave on for about 30 minutes before washing out. Repeat three times a week until the condition improves.
- One of my all-time favorite conditioners I enjoyed when I lived by a river in the beautiful Hanalei valley on Kauai was awapuhi ginger. It grew in abundance along the river, and I would get in the water and drench my hair in the awapuhi juice. After an hour or so lying in the sun, I jumped back in the water to rinse my hair—sheer bliss for body, soul and hair! Many natural hair products use awapuhi for its conditioning properties.
Exercises for Healthy Hair
Outside of the kitchen, yoga is an excellent form of exercise for overall health and for the health of the hair. Yoga relieves stress and increases circulation of energy and blood throughout the body. Exercises such as head and shoulder stands are particularly beneficial, as they increase circulation of blood and energy to the head, which encourages healthy hair growth.
Massaging the scalp is also a great thing to do. There are pressure points in the head that correspond to all the internal organs, so a good head massage can relieve tension and stress throughout the entire body. I don't tend to brush my hair on a regular basis, as it messes with my curls, but I always give my hair a good brushing before I shower, making sure to stimulate my scalp as I brush. This stimulates hair growth and activates the natural oils in the scalp that condition the hair.