Posts Tagged ‘Natural Hair Care’

Naturally Simple Solutions: Hair Care

The more I study natural alternatives to commonly used household products, the more I am amazed that almost everything I need for my every day life can be found outside someone’s front door in God’s creation! As I learned more about the harmful components in personal care products, I determined to find natural options for hair and skin care.  My reaction to trading out my old products for these natural ingredients was, “How did I never know about this stuff before?!”  They work far better than any of the dozens of expensive hair salon products I have tried!

Here are the three naturally occurring elements I use in my hair care:


1.   Rhassoul Clay

Rhassoul clay is a mineral mined in Morocco that has been used for over a thousand years for hair and skin care.  It is lauded for its detoxification properties, as well as its ability to bind with oil and dirt and wash them away.  It leaves the skin and hair remarkably soft.  It also does wonders for dandruff and eczema.  When mixed with water, it forms a paste that can be applied to skin and hair.  It can be purchased by the pound at Mountain Rose Herbs for $9/lb plus shipping.  At first, this seemed like a lot, but when I realized how much I spend on “quality” shampoo and conditioner and how quickly I use it up, I calculated how immensely this would save me money. Read more about the benefits of rhassoul clay here. Read more about using it as a personal care product here.


2.  Raw Apple Cider Vinegar

Apple Cider Vinegar has been used for hundreds of years, largely for its medicinal purposes, but also for toning, smoothing and hydrating the skin and hair.  It is important for it to be organic and raw, as this means it has not been pasteurized and has left the healthful nutrients and enzymes intact. It acts as a good rinse after washing the hair with a mineral like rhassoul clay, as its acidity restores the pH balance of your hair. You can purchase this at your local health food store.

3. Jojoba Oil

Jojoba oil is extremely hydrating  and repairing to the skin and hair.  It is especially useful for frizzy, dry hair (like mine) and works wonders as a leave-in-conditioner.  I have never had my hair so soft and sleek with anything else! Jojoba oil can also be found at Mountain Rose Herbs or your local health food store. I purchased my  2 oz. ounce bottle for $9. Since it is used extremely sparingly, it lasts for a very long time.

It is helpful to begin experimenting with natural alternatives when you begin to get low on the products you already commonly use.  That way you have a fall-back for if things aren’t working well, or if it takes a couple of days to get into the swing of using the new options. It can be easy to get overwhelmed or intimidated and need to go back to what we are used to for a bit while we get the hang of the new options!

What you will need:

Rhassoul clay

Raw Apple Cider Vinegar

Jojoba oil (optional)

Small plastic spray bottle (Wal-mart, 99cents!)

Small plastic shampoo bottle (Wal-mart, 99cents!)

My regimen:

1.     Place 1/2 Tbs rhassoul clay and 1/2 Tbs water into small plastic bottle and allow to sit for 5 minutes.  I find this helpful to do while I brush my teeth, grab my clothes and towels, etc.  Wet hair and squeeze appropriate amount of clay liquid/paste into handfuls of hair or over the top of your head.  If you have shorter hair, use less, if longer hair, use more.  I have waist length hair and find using the entire mixture to be sufficient.  For dandruff, massage gently into scalp. Allow to sit on hair for 5 minutes. (Due to the length of my hair, I do not enjoy the feeling of cold, wet hair on my back while I wait the five minutes, so I bring an alligator clip in and clip it on top of my head.)  Wash, shave, etc. while you wait the five minutes. If you are also using the clay as a face wash or mask, you can apply at this time as well.  Rinse clay out of hair and comb through.

2.     Spray raw apple cider vinegar into hair, rinse and comb through. I use about 4 sprays.

3.     If your hair needs a conditioner and tends to be dry, upon exiting the shower, spray a couple of sprays (depending on length and thickness of hair, again I have really long hair and use only 3-4 sprays) of jojoba oil onto wet hair and comb/finger/scrunch through.

Allow to dry naturally and style as usual.

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Toxic Talk Tuesday: Personal Care

We use products on our bodies and hair every day without giving it a second thought.  We figure if it’s on a shelf at the store, it must be okay to use. Why would it be harmful?  Chris and Andrea Fabry welcome us into their studio again for the third installment of Toxic Talk Tuesdays.  This time the topic is Personal Care.  Andrea, with her wealth of knowledge and experience, challenges many of the assumptions we have about personal care products and their safety, explains certain components that are particularly harmful, and gives us natural, safe (and frugal!) alternatives. Again, this post will be a conglomeration of direct quotes, paraphrases, and my own input.  For the complete broadcast, find the link below.

Andrea states that our personal care products are an unseen danger.  “The packaging is very attractive, the scents are great, it just looks and smells so smooth, and yet it’s not what it seems. It’s not what we want to believe that it is.  And the reason is, there is so much we don’t know. It’s not that we know something and then are ignoring it, we really don’t know and the more you study what is in these products the more you understand it’s probably not a good risk for us because most chemicals are made up of petroleum. Would you put gasoline on your hair knowingly? Or on your skin? Why does this matter? 60% of any chemical will go through 5 layers of skin into the bloodstream.

90% of the chemicals we have on the labels of shampoos, lotions, toothpaste, etc. have never been tested for health. This is because cosmetics are not claiming to cure any disease or make a health impact, so they do not fall under the same legislation as drugs do.

Toxicant of the Day: Phthalates. A derivative of petroleum. Endocrine disruptors, even in small amounts.  Wikipedia states “Endocrine disruptors are chemicals that interfere with endocrine (or hormone system) in animals, including humans. These disruptions can cause cancerous tumors, birth defects, and other developmental disorders. Specifically, they are known to cause learning disabilities, severeattention deficit disordercognitive and brain development problems.”

Phthalates are a chemical prevalent in plastics. But it is also used in shampoos, lotions, and skin care products to preserve the fragrance. This is not listed on labels, it is simply under “fragrance.” The ingredient “fragrance” can include all sorts of neurotoxins, but it is not subject to the same health and safety testing as are drugs to prove its safety.  95% of fragrances are derived from petroleum, a known neurotoxin.  If nothing else, look for products that say “fragrance free.”

Our bodies can become conditioned to the chemicals on the market so that we do not immediately feel their negative effects.  However, this does not mean they are not having a negative effect.  These chemicals whittle down the receptors in our nose, which is directly connected to the brain.  As we breathe these substances in, we are burning down and disrupting our ability to smell, and this is also affecting brain development.  This is why our ability to smell decreases with age.  If you remove the chemicals, our receptors can restore themselves.

Closing thought: All of this information can be overwhelming, but simply do the best you can with what you know. Anything is better than nothing!

Recipe of the Day:

Queen of Hungary Water

  • 6 small handfuls lemon balm
  • 5 small handfuls calendula flowers
  • 4 small handfuls rose petals
  • 3 small handfuls comfrey
  • 1 small handful rosemary, lemon peel, and sage

(Don’t worry if you don’t have all of these herbs; feel free to use what you have.)

Place herbs in a gallon glass jar. (You can halve this recipe for a 1/2 gallon jar.) Cover the herbs completely in raw organic apple cider vinegar. Screw on lid tightly. Let sit for 4-6 weeks. Shake the jar several times a week.

Strain the mixture. Combine remaining liquid with equal parts witch hazel extract. Rose water may also be used.

Dab on face and massage into skin. Queen of Hungary water also makes an excellent rinse for hair. Can be stored indefinitely.

This makes an excellent gift!  Many of these ingredients can be found at Mountain Rose Herbs

Practical Tips:

  • As a shampoo or to relieve dandruff, massage baking soda/washing soda/rhassoul clay into your scalp. Rinse with raw apple cider vinegar/coffee grounds/lemon juice. Rhassoul clay is a mineral and has been used for centuries and has wonderful antioxidant qualities. When adding a mineral to your hair, it needs to be balanced back out with an acid. For more information on its many uses, read here.
  • Baking soda or bentonite clay in combination with an essential oil can be used to brush your teeth. Recipes here and here.
  • Natural dandruff control: Dandruff is an external result of an internal condition, so make sure you’re getting proper nurients.  To treat the irritation, tea tree oil is antifungal. Combine with what you’re using and massage into skin.  You can also use grape fruit seed extract. Dead sea salt baths are great for excema.
  • Soap is overrated.  Suds are overrated. Babies don’t actually even need soap, and many days we don’t need it either, but if you want to use something, use pure castile soap or rhassoul clay.
  • Baking Soda neutralizes acid.  Use baking soda as a deodorant. Mix baking soda, water, and a drop of tea tree oil in a spray bottle and spray under arms.  Another recipe using zinc oxide and witch hazel can be found here.
  • Use raw apple cider vinegar as a skin toner! Then moisurize with kefir. (Health Benefits of Kefir or How to Make Kefir.
  • After chlorine swimming, get a pure vitamin C spray and spray your skin and it will neutralize the chlorine. Or bathe in a vitamin C powder. This can be found at your local health food store or here.

For further information 

Toxic Talk Tuesdays: Laundry Care

Toxic Talk Tuesdays: Naturally Clean Kitchens

momsAWARE

 

Minimalist Beauty

Chris Fabry Live! September 20 broadcast