Natural Hair Care Routine
All women spend a lot of time and money on hair treatments for perfect hair. Many of those treatments like the popular and expensive keratin treatment are proven today to be dangerous in a long run. However there are a good number of amazing natural procedures that can strengthen our hair. If you are about to start your natural journey see some of good and simple hair procedures.
Scalp skin contrary to the general perceptions needs regular cleaning to remove the dirt and bacteria that can cause different problems. Sebaceous glands produce natural oils sebum which is composed primarily of fatty acids, and its role is to moisturize and protect the hair shaft.Cleaning the scalp
The scalp’s natural pH is around the neutral, or slightly acidic so many people prefer to use shampoos with lower pH. Washing the hair and the scalp removes excess sweat and oil, as well as unwanted products from the hair and scalp such as dirt, chemicals, cosmetic products as hair sprays and gel. Normally shampoos have neutral pH, do not contain soap, and are generally considered better than soap as they do not swell the hair shaft. On the other side, the majority of the shampoos contain SLS as main cleaning ingredient and parabens for preservatives that today are considered worse than the soap.
Sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) is used as a surfactant and foaming agent instead of the traditional lye soap. Sodium laurel sulfate is a strong skin irritant and produces nitrosamine, a substance linked to cancer formation. Other harmful ingredients added to the shampoos are the parabens used as preservatives. They have been found in low concentrations in tumors and are believed to disrupt hormone function.
The options are to use natural shampoos that do not contain SLS and parabens. They are usually more expensive and do not produce as much lather as SLS shampoos. I personally prefer to make my own shampoo bars by using the standard soap making process. Those shampoo bars are with higher pH (8-9) but they contain at least 5% superfat, and so they have natural conditioning effect. Many unwanted bacteria living on the scalp are adapted to lower pH, and the higher pH lye soap will remove them easier. As an example, such a shampoo bar can be made of coconut oil, virgin olive oil, and castor oil. All are known for their excellent conditioning and protecting effects on the hair and skin. Due to the superfat content, my homemade shampoo bars will not strip the oils from you scalp and hair and will not dry the hair as much as the SLS shampoos.
How often should you wash your hair? – I would say that it depends. If you live in a more polluted area with more dust, you probably should wash your hair every other day. Otherwise twice per week should be a good routine. Don’t forget to use conditioner after shampooing every time you wash your hair.After shampoo conditioning
Always use conditioner after washing your hair with shampoo. Conditioners are used after shampooing to smooth down the cuticle layer of the hair. They should lock the moisture in the hair and protect from drying during the day. To work a conditioner must stay on the hair for 5 mins before washing it out with water. Again look for conditioners that will be SLS and parabens free. The good conditioners are an emulsion of natural oils and hydrosols. To keep the hydrosols and the oils in emulsion and emulsifier is used. Very often in cheaper conditioners, this emulsifier is SLS as part of synthetic emulsifying waxes. A better, natural, and safer emulsifier used in some high-quality products is the BTMS. Behentrimonium Methosulfate or BTMS is a vegetable based conditioning emulsifier. It is used in making hair conditioners with superior emulsifying properties. It is a cationic emulsifier and aloes the natural oils to “stick” to the hair and protect it from drying for longer. Always look at the ingredients list of the hair conditions for BTMS or Behentrimonium. BTMS is also sold separately by some stores for cosmetic ingredients, and you can use it in making your own homemade, natural hair conditioners.
How often to use a conditioner? – Simply after every shampooing. You can keep it on your hair for 5 mins until you wash your body then wash it out only with water. Using natural conditioner will strengthen and moisturize the hair shaft.Deep conditioning and nourishing of the scalp and hair
This technique is mainly beneficial for the scalp. The natural oils used for deep conditioning also penetrate the hair shaft, strengthening and protecting it. Deep hair and scalp condition is achieved by applying hair masks that are left on the hair for at least one hour before bathing. Using a hair mask once per week is ideal.
Many women prefer to use masks from food products such as avocado, Greek yogurt, honey and so on. Different combinations of those products are considered beneficial for the hair though there is no real proof. An alternative method with significantly better results is to prepare a mixture of unrefined organic natural oils and add few drops of essential oils. The effect is immediate and awesome. I would suggest using the following combinations:
For normal hair – one tbsp of jojoba oil, one tbsp sweet almond oil and one tbsp of†grapeseed oil slightly warmed and mixed together. Add 15-20 drops of lavender essential oil. The listed natural oils have excellent conditioning and beneficial effect on the hair and skin, and the lavender essential oil is known for its properties to strengthen the hair and improve hair growth.
For oily hair – use the same combination of natural oils but instead, of lavender essential oil, you can add rosemary and lemongrass essential oils each 10 drops. Lemongrass essential oil slows down the scalp oil production.
For dry hair – one tbsp of jojoba oil, one tbsp sweet almond oil and one tbsp of virgin olive oil. Olive oil has slower absorption into the skin and will treat better the dry scalp. Also, add 10 drops lavender and 10 drops peppermint essential oils. Both stimulate the circulation and promote hair growth.
This hair mask should be left on the hair for at least one hour and then washed off with shampoo (free of SLS and Parabens). Use conditioner after the shampoo. The deep conditioning hair mask also nourishes the scalp and promotes hair growth of strong and healthy hair.
How often to use deep conditioning mask? – Once per week is perfect. Be prepared that it takes time (at least one hour) for maximum benefits.
To summarize – For perfect and healthy hair you will need to:
Wash it with natural shampoo as often as you find suitable.
User conditioner after each shampooing to moisturize and strengthen the hair
Use deep conditioning (hair mask with natural oils) once per week improving the health of the scalp and hair roots. For more recipes for natural beauty products you can check Natural Beauty TipsThings you may want to avoid:
Using baking soda as a dry shampoo. Many natural beauty blogs often recommend it as a dry shampoo but this is wrong. Sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) is an irritant and will drastically increase the pH of the scalp. The homemade lye soap with at least 5% superfat also has high pH similar to the baking soda but after washing it off your hair, the normal pH will be reestablished immediately. Also, don’t forget that you will use a conditioner.
Using apple cider vinegar more than once per month. Yes, that’s right. You may hear very often how good the vinegar for the hair is, but that is not absolutely correct. In a long run, you will create more problems. Some people recommend almost daily use of apple cider vinegar as a conditioner. The acid in the vinegar will damage the hair shaft by misfolding the hair proteins. It can be used once per month at most or even less. The only benefit you will get is to suppress some bacteria and fungi growth that are responsible for dandruff.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
I am a professional aesthetician and during many years I specialized in natural cosmetics and natural beauty products. I use different essential oils combinations in the beauty products I make for my customers and I learned how to properly combine different essential and carrier oils to achieve maximum effect. I learned a lot about the healing properties of the essential oils not only about their skin and hair use but also about their emotional and healing properties. For many years now I sue essential oils to treat and prevent different conditions. I am also the founder of www.naturalkosmetics.com where I write about natural beauty and give advises how to make your own natural cosmetics at home.