Posts from the ‘Health’ Category

Feed Your Face! Foods That Are Not Only Good For Your Skin, But On It.

I focus quite a bit on hair care, but today I want  to talk about skin.  Skin care is a beauty essential!  We so often focus on makeup products to make our skin appear fabulous and neglect the skin underneath.  If you want beautiful glowing skin forget the expensive cosmetics ( although I have them myself) and try some of these natural treasures for a beautiful face.  Of course diet is the most essential factor to gorgeous skin, but if your not quite up to par with your diet – here are some easy chemical free options to help revitalize your skin and get back your glow!

Natural Essentials For Your Beauty Regimen

1.  Oatmeal soothes dry, irritated skin

2. Cucumber, yogurt, avocado and honey moisturize

3.  Aloe vera, is a great moisturizer, and According to Shalini Vadhera, author of “Passport to Beauty,” aloe vera gel reflects as much as            20 percent of the sun’s harmful UV rays.

4.  Jojoba, also a moisturizer, is an antioxidant

5.  Tea tree helps treat acne and oily skin

6. Clay help cleanse pores and detoxify skin

7. Sugar works as an exfoliant

These are just a few natural wonders to keep on hand, but there are many more.  I will be posting more of my favorite mixtures, but here a few to get you started.

Honey-Cocoa Butter Lip Balm

2 tbls. olive oil
1/2 tsp. honey (I have not tried this recipe with agave nectar yet)
3/4 tsp. beeswax — grated
1/2 tsp. pure cocoa butter
Flavored oil of your choice (like peppermint or vanilla)
1/4 tsp of vitamin E oil

  •  In a small saucepan, heat oil, honey, wax and butter over a low heat until just melted.
  •  Remove from heat and allow to cool for 2-3 minutes.
  •  Stir in flavoring and contents of vitamin E capsule.
  •  Pour into containers of your choice.

Mayonnaise-Coconut Oil Dry Skin Treatment

Makes 1 application

2 tablespoons real mayonnaise ( you can use Vegenaise as a vegan option)

1 teaspoon coconut oil

 Blend both ingredients.

  •  Smooth onto face, neck, rough elbows and knees or anywhere else you feel might benefit from it.
  •  Leave for 20 minutes.
  •  Rinse off thoroughly with tepid water.  If you like you follow with jojoba or coconut oil.

Tightening/Toning Lemon Egg White Mask (Vegetarian)

Makes 1 application

Juice from a lemon 1 1/2 Tbsp
1 egg white

  •  Beat together the egg white and lemon juice for 3 minutes.
  •  Apply directly to your face, avoiding the eyes.
  •  Leave on for 30 minutes.
  •  Rinse off with warm water.

Confessions of a Vegan

Due to some recent life stressors I have become reacquainted with an old friend (or foe) – milk chocolate.  I have “broken vegan hedge” for the first time in a year.  It was more than once or twice, the vegany police would have surely revoked my vegan powers and hauled me away. (Just for the record in spite of what my friend J thinks I did not become a vegan for the super powers)  I digress, the reason for this confession is the lovely glowing skin I’ve had since becoming a vegan is less bright and less clear.  I have been riddled with acne break outs over the past 2 1/2 weeks.  Now sure hormones and stress play a role, but I would get occasionally stressed and monthly hormonal before the milk chocolate and my face bore no ill effects…so I’m back off the chocolate and working to repair the damage.  I’ll be posting some of the natural acne remedies I found as well as some great natural ways to lighten hyperpigmentation secondary to inflammation (dark marks from the old zits).  So stay posted!

XOXO HippieChicChick

Hippies Shower Too… 5 Things A Hippie Can Teach You

When I talk about hippies I always do so tongue in cheek.  I know there is actually a political/religious/counter culture of  people who call themselves modern day hippies…this is NOT me.  I am simply an informed consumer/ avid label reader/ ethically conscientiousness individual, who believes the more we live off the earth( as opposed to the chemical laden cosmetics industry, pharmaceutical companies and FDA and USDA championed bio-engineered Frankenfoods)  the better off we all are!  I’ve read books, and watched documentaries, and done loads of research sure- but more than that over the years I’ve progressively incorporated  lifestyle changes that have greatly benefited me.  I feel better and even look better, and the more closely I adhere to a “living clean” lifestyle- the more convinced I am that it’s the best thing for me.  There are loads of great things you can do for yourselves and your family, but I figured if I only give you 5…you may actually give it a try.

1. FOOD

You actually are what you eat, so if what you eat is fast, cheap, and easy…you may want to reevaluate.  Without exaggeration what you eat can cure you or kill you.  “It’s not that serious.” you say, well actually it is.  There are numerous studies that have conclusively linked our diet to heart disease, obesity, diabetes, autoimmune disease, bone/kidney/eye/brain diseases, and common cancers.  As well as conclusive evidence showing that a plant based diet can not only prevent disease but actually reverse it!

2. CHEMICALS ARE BAD

It is getting increasingly difficult to avoid hazardous chemicals, but you should seriously try.  I figure avoiding all the stuff I know about will give my body a fighting chance to deal with all the stuff I don’t know about.  I have a strict ON the body is IN the body rule.  If it’s not safe to eat…it doesn’t go on my skin.  That includes chemical laden personal hygiene products like shampoos and conditioners, perfumed soaps, body lotions, petroleum filled lip glosses, etc.  The cosmetics industry is the worst since it is largely unregulated.  What that means is all those labels that say “all natural”  “organic”  “safe” are meaningless!   The Federal Drug Administration doesn’t test the safety of personal care products. It doesn’t even require that all of the ingredients be listed on the label.  I don’t trust the stuff they do test, not even going to think about what’s in the stuff they don’t. Watch this… 

Now stop scrunching your nose at me (I see you).  I don’t smell, I do shower, and am actually a bit of a Germaphobe clean freak.  There are just healthier ways to clean your body and your environment.  For body I use raw African black soap, lemon juice & baking soda scrubs, and for hair and scalp I use ACV and a cleansing clay like bentonite clay or rhassoul clay.  Tea tree oil has excellent antifungal, antiviral, antiseptic properties.  I even massage a bit under my arms in place of deodorant, works great, even in summer.

Did you know you can also  Make your own cleaners.  Does the job without the damage of household cleansers and is cheaper than buying the natural ones.  Even if you wear gloves to clean…if you can smell the chemical, it’s entered your body.

3. ARTIFICIAL SWEETENERS BIG NO! NO!

If you were Indiana Jones, then artificial sweeteners would be the Temple Of Doom, evil Nazis, and the Soviets all rolled into one…their aim is to KILL YOU!  I’m being melodramatic you say, hardly.  Splenda, Equal, and any other random chemical that is supposed to sweeten your food should be avoided like the plague, literally…when you see a diet coke think bubonic plague.  Not only do artificial sweeteners pose a serious health risk, but anyone whose eaten them knows they are actually sweeter in taste than sugar.  This means increased sugar cravings for you that become harder to satisfy, causing you eat more sugar  or have to work extra hard to try not to.  If you have to have something sweetened,  just use sugar (vegetable glycerin is also an excellent alternative).

4. ORGANICS

If you follow the Dirty Dozen list you’ll do great.  If you can’t buy 100% of your food USDA certified organic, that’s ok, you don’t have to.  There are foods that are at higher risk for pesticide residue than others, these are the main ones you want to purchase organically.  I eat about 95% organic, but that has more to do with my fear of Frankenfoods (aka GMOs) than worry over pesticides.

5. HOMEOPATHICS

Now please believe me when I say, homeopathic medicine (especially after working in the medical field for 12 years) sounded like the biggest bunch of hooey ever.  I had no use for it and it seemed so completely ridiculous that I wouldn’t even justify it’s existence by actually trying it.  That is until 3 years ago when my chronic abdominal pain and digestive issues had gotten so bad I would go days without eating.  I have always had a temperamental digestive system…some of my earliest childhood memories involved prune juice and milk of magnesia…YUCK!  My abdominal discomfort and inability to…well…poo, became so normal that I didn’t give it much thought it was just apart of life.  Over the years I had seen countless doctors and specialist, had numerous test and procedures and was finally diagnosed with IBS, was told there was not much they could do, and sent on my way.  This was fine until 3 yrs ago when I grew to be in so much pain I became desperate…enter the Homeopath.  A friend of mine recommended I see hers’ and I was suffering so I was willing to try anything and figured what did I have to loose.  She looked at me held my wrist for a second and said ” you have a gluten allergy you need to  stop eating gluten immediately” me- How do you know???? (insert skeptical side eye here).  She gave me lots of other things to do and I left my appointment skeptical at best, feeling like I had completely wasted my time at worst, but I figured I wasn’t going to hurt to try it, I couldn’t possibly feel worse than I was already feeling.  Anywho long story short…guess what I have a gluten allergy.  Within a few weeks, my stomach pain COMPLETELY disappeared.  30 years of pain, now no pain at all… after a month I accidentally ate some gluten (in the beginning your still learning what you need to avoid, and some are not obvious) and guess what horrible stomach pain…I could go on but you get the point.  Now don’t get me wrong if I’m ever diagnosed with cancer I’m not going to rub crystals on my body and chant in a field at sunrise, I’ll see a physician- but what I’m saying is western medicine is not always right, and sometimes does more harm than good…so keep an open mind.

 

A Love  Note To The Naturals

There are so many natural and healthy ways to nurture your tresses, there is no need to sacrifice your health for your hair.  In fact a healthy diet will dramatically improve your ability to grow strong, healthy, and beautiful hair…to match that strong, healthy, and beautiful body you’ll have.  So make sure you read the labels of the products your applying to hair and body to make sure they don’t do more harm than good…not only for your hair, but YOURSELF.

Love, Peace, And NO Hair Grease,   XOXO Hippiechicchick

Bentonite Clay, Why Wash Your Hair With Mud?

BENTONITE CLAY..WHAT EXACTLY IS IT?
Bentonite, also referred to as Montmorillonite, is one of the most effective and powerful healing clays used to treat both internal and external maladies. Bentonite can be used externally as a  mud pack,  in skin care recipes, and to cleanse your hair.  Bentonite clay carries a strong ionic negative charge, the negative charge seeks something positive to attach to.  There are a few types of bentonite clay, but the two most commonly used for hair and skin are sodium and calcium.
How Does It Work?
Can clay really properly cleanse the hair? You bet, and better than your chemical laden shampoo!  The reason cleansing with bentonite clay is so effective is because of the uniquely strong ionic negative charge which essentially act as a “magnet” attracting to itself any substance with a positive ionic charge.  Substances that carry a positive ionic charge include toxins, bacteria, viruses, parasites and other impurities.  The clay attracts these impurities, drawing it out of the hair.  These substances are both attach themselves to the outside of the clay molecules (sticking to it like Velcro) and are absorbed into the clay molecules; as you rinse away the clay it carries all of the impurities with it while leaving the much needed natural oils in tact.  Giving you clean hair without stripping it like shampoo. With the added benefit of containing no parabens, mineral oils, silicones, ect. like most shampoos.Both clays,( Sodium and Calcium) swell and react when combined with water but the calcium swells less making it possible to pass through the colon for internal detoxification freely. Whereas the Sodium Bentonite, when mixed with water, creates a swelling of 7 times the amount making it extremely absorbing, so this type is suitable and beneficial for external use (like on the hair and skin).
Sodium Bentonite, Why Beneficial For Hair?

Sodium Bentonite Clay has a high negative charge, and therefore a strong “attraction” to heavy metals and toxins that it comes in contact with. With this stronger charge, it is able to pull in more unwanted  toxins from the hair, thoroughly cleansing the hair by removing product buildup allowing for better moisture. Better moisture means healthier, stronger, more beautiful hair! Not to mention easier styling. This type of cleansing I found left my hair feeling incredibly soft and shinny, added shine is due to the combination of  acidic fluids like ACV or AloeVera Juice (I use Aloe Juice).  There have been claims that cleansing with the bentonite clay can enhance your curl pattern and makes hair more manageable, now while I could find no scientifically documented proof to back this up, I have personally found this to be true.   When I was still using shampoo and conditioner I used to DREAD wash day.  I have very, very thick hair and lots of it! So the task of detangling was always one of exasperation for me.  I used to use, without exaggeration, close to half a bottle of conditioner and wide tooth comb designed especially for detangling to get through this head.  And it would still take loads of time, and patience – both of which I tend to run short on.  Since I started cleansing with the bentonite clay, wash day is a breeze! My hair does not really get tangled anymore!  I’ve noticed a significant decrease in single strand knots, I am now able to easily finger detangle my hair (which means less breakage from combs and brushes), and time, WOW, maybe 4-6 min max to detangle my whole head!  As far as enhanced curl pattern I have notice more defined slightly looser curls since using.  If you can’t tell I LOVE CLEANSING WITH THE CLAY!

BENTONITE CLAY…HOW TO MIX
  1. Combine Bentonite Clay and equal parts Apple Cider Vinegar( and/ or ) Aloe Vera Juice, and a few drops of essential oils of your choice ( I like to add lavender, sweet orange, and rosemary).  Mix to the consistency of batter.  Be sure to only use plastic or wooden utensils when mixing, as the metal will lessen the effect of the clay.  Each batch will vary from person to person, mix enough ingredients to cover the thickness and length for your hair.
  2. I prefer to section hair in 4-6 sections( this helps to ensure all of my strands get attention) and apply mixture to damp unclean hair.
  3.  You can use the clay as a mask, allowing the mixture to sit on the hair for 15-20 minutes (apply a plastic conditioning cap so mixture does not dry).  I recommend the mask for those who use lots of styling products and heavy butters, as you may have more build up).  For myself and those who use little to no products and natural oils and gel, I recommend massaging mixture into hair (one section at a time) gently pulling downward on strands smoothing the cuticle for about 2 min.
  4. Rinse mixture with lukewarm water until all clay is rinsed from the hair.  It is important to rinse thoroughly! If clay is left on the hair it will continue to work and cause hair to become dry.
  5. You can stop the cleansing process here or follow up with a deep conditioner, I use my recipe for my all natural deep conditioning treatment. If you want the recipe click the link :) https://hippiechicchick.wordpress.com/2012/07/23/all-natural-deep-conditioning-treatment-2/
  6. Seal in moisture and style hair as usual.

For those of you who are not mixologist or just don’t have the time to be,  Terressential Pure Earth Hair Wash is amazing, and what I use when I’m to lazy to mix my own!  I included a link to their website in the reference section at the bottom of the article.

So You Know…

This is info taken directly from the terressentials  website, I don’t work for them or anything, I just found it extreamly helpful when I first started using the bentonite clay to cleanse with so wanted to include it here.

“Chemical hair treatments permanently alter the outer layer of the hair shaft creating a porous cuticle – under a microscope chemically treated hair looks like Swiss cheese. Once hair is damaged by chemical colorings, perms or straightening chemicals, people are sold a myriad of synthetic products that artificially coat the hair with plastic or protein polymers to make it look and feel undamaged. The more damaged the hair, the more porous it becomes; the more porous the hair, the more it absorbs these synthetic “protein” polymers (e.g. soy, wheat or oat proteins – that are NOT edible foods), plastic polymers such as PVP (petrochemical polyvinyl pyrrolidone) and gum coating agents. These are the substances the “mud” removes in the detox protocol, but the detox process takes time.

Sometimes when people begin using the Hair Wash, their hair may feel stiff, sticky, oily, heavy or dry. This feeling may persist until the residues of protein and plastic polymers have been completely removed, but if you’re patient, the end result is worth the wait! After using our “mud” for one to three weeks, most people love it and find it a joy to use. As new hair grows in to replace old damaged hair, you’ll probably be amazed at the difference. For some folks with very chemically damaged hair, they may not like the way their hair feels after the detox, because our Pure Earth Hair Wash contains none of the vinyl or protein plastic polymers to coat their hair to make it feel or look undamaged.

If you intend to continue using chemical treatments for your hair, you will probably not be happy with the look of your hair when it is cleaned with the clay cleanser and finally free from the synthetic plastic coating agents. Chemically damaged hair without plastic coating agents may appear to look darker because the hair is roughened and will not be shiny and reflect light. Damaged hair can also look straw-like and feel rough to the touch. Damaged hair tends to tangle much more easily and is weakened because of the chemical’s erosion to the cuticle leaving it more susceptible to breakage.”

Bottom line is if you have severely damaged unhealthy hair, you may not want to use the clay, as it will call you OUT! 

I get asked about why I use the bentonite clay instead of shampoo and condition often, I tried to cover it all, but if I left you with questions still feel free to post them in the comments section! Happy hair cleansing!

XOXO Hippiechicchick

P.S. There are other cleansing and conditioning clays, I will post about theses in the future!

Refrences:

http://www.terressentials.com/

http://www.mountainroseherbs.com/learn/bentonite.php

It’s Not A Bad Dream….It’s The Braid Shop!

  Talk of  the braid shop simultaneously strikes joy and fear into the heart of many, especially naturals. We excitedly relish the thought of our new funky- fresh ultra fly hairstyle, combined with the added benefit of “protective styling” for our beloved tresses, and then the glorious fact that we don’t have to do much to maintain this beautiful all be it temporary look.  All of the pros of hair braiding seem to dreamily dance around our minds overshadowing the potentially hair and health hazardous cons.  One of the main cons being the braid shop itself.   I have personally had nothing but negative experiences every time I have gone to a braid shop.  Now once or twice sure, everyone has an off day and things don’t always run smoothly that is just a part of life; but every time?   Repeated and consistent negative experiences means there is a problem!

Now don’t get me wrong African Hair Braiding is a beautiful art form that takes skill (even talent) and has a impressive and long standing history.  I’m not talking about decades, but centuries.  The oldest known images of hair braiding are found in artifacts found in 2630 B.C.

815 B.C. Artifact housed at the Birmingham Museum of Art

Hair braiding has been one of the most enduring and long-standing  traditions in the African  and now the African-American culture.   “Cornrows or Canerows” for example have their roots (pun intended) in the early agricultural responsibilities of African slaves.    African slaves were forced to work the fields as farmers, and the Africans took the techniques they applied to the fields of their owners and applied these to their hair. They used “tools” or combs to make parts in the hair symbolic of the soil, and then fertilized their crop by oiling the scalp, and then trimmed and shaped the crop they had worked to cultivate.   This beautiful practice has been reduced, at least in my personal experiences, to “The Braid Shop”.  A place where dirty surroundings, unprofessional attitudes, and shady fluctuating  prices (literal by the minute) seem to be the norm.  And if you have “natural” hair you are often met with complaints, told your hair is too thick to deal with, charged more money, given an attitude of exasperation by your hair braider, or even told straight out ” to get a relaxer”.

Why Braid

Well style preference aside, hair braiding can help in retaining the length or the growth achieved during the period of having the braided  in the hair.  This protective style means less manipulation like brushing, combing, or heat styling and since less stress is put on our strands they have less chance to breaking.  Minimizing damage to the hair means maximizing length retention!  When hair is added to braid styles, the extra hair can act as a protectant for the hair shielding it, and when the hair is gathered together, grouping the strands, this gives them added strength and resilience.

A common misconception is that braided hair requires no care, untrue!  Hair and scalp should be kept clean and moisturized.  This will optimize the benefits of this brief vacation for your hair and from your hair.

Dangers For You and Your Hair

A common side effect of tight braids is traction alopecia,  a hair loss condition caused by damage to the dermal papilla and hair follicle by constant pulling or tension over a long period. It often occurs in persons who wears tight braids, especially “cornrows” that lead to high tension, pulling and breakage of hair.  Traction alopecia at the nape or hairline aka “edges” is usually reversible, however when this condition occurs in the center area of the scalp it is usually not.

Hair that has been damaged, newly chemically processed, or weak and brittle is not  recommended for braiding. We often braid hair to hide damage strands, but the added tension and stress on hair that is already in a weakened condition can do more harm than good.

If unclean hair combs, clips, etc. are used on your scalp there is risk of infection.  This risk is even greater if the skin on the scalp becomes compromised or damaged during the braiding process. Infection occurring in the skin could lead scarring of the scalp and permanent hair loss!  We opt for tighter braids to longer preserve our hairstyle and stretch our dollar, but the discomfort and damage tight braids can cause is not worth the extra week or two you get to keep your style.

Back To The Braid Shop

My latest trip to the braid shop was unfortunately no different from the ones before.  I called ahead and was very specific as to the style I wanted, and asked the time frame which it would take.  When I asked her how much it would cost to have my hair braided her response was, ” How much do you usually pay?”.  I kid you not, and this should have been my red flag to call a different shop.  I told her I had not had this style done before, to which she said  “ok” and then quoted me their price, I scheduled my appointment.  I showed up the next morning, 15 hours after I made the appointment, and as I walked in the shop and sat down I was told it was going to cost more money.  When I asked why I was told that she misunderstood what I wanted when we spoke over the phone, and the price she quoted me was for a style that would take 20 min, the style I wanted was going to take an hour.  I then reminded her that when I asked her for the time frame to braid the style I inquired about over the phone she told me it would take an hour, but if the price was now going  up I was not longer interested in getting my hair braided.  I was then told that she would make an exception because I was a new customer and I could pay the price originally quoted to me over the phone.  As the hair braider began to work she asked me to change the style I asked for ( I asked for 5 fat cornrows, one in the center and two on each side), she asked me to do 6 rows 3 on each side.  I politely declined, and she said, “no problem” and began braiding.  After my hair was half completed I was informed that she would have to do 6 rows instead of 5 because my hair was thick.  I said no, and asked her if what I asked for was impossible to do, her reply ” no, but it’s more work, and it’s the same thing”, I said it is not the same thing it changes the style I want and the placement of my part- not a fan of center parts- the hair braider then begrudgingly took down a portion of my hair to re-braid my hair in the style I originally asked her for.  After she was done my braids were uneven in size, not uniform in direction, and did not look like the work of a professional African hair braider.  I realize I could have had her take it all down and redo it, but 1) if she did such a poor job the first time, why would the second time be any better and 2) my “tender-head” could not have taken another session.  So in short me making her repeat her work would have hurt me more than it would have hurt her…and therefore was not an option.

My “professional” braids

As you can see, my braids are not done very well, I could have done this myself…and I can’t braid.  In expressing my frustrations to others I have learned, and sadly so, that my string of bad experiences with braid shops is common.  I have not been to every braid shop on the planet so I cannot say they are  all bad, not only is that unfair but I’m sure untrue.  A braid shop with consistent prices,   clean environment, professional attitude, and cares about the health of your hair as much as their bottom dollar- MUST exist! At the very least,  I can dream…

xoxo hippiechicchick

References:

Me:)

History of Hair Braiding

Traction Alopecia, Emedicine.com, Basil M Hantash, MD, PhD, Robert A Schwartz, MD, MPH, Updated February 2005

Is Your Diet Limiting Your Hair Growth?

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When many of us natural think about hair care we often obsess over products, regimens, protective styling, as well as many other external factors- but we often over look a very basic, but very important component…our diet.  Now you may say ” I hate drinking water, live on Cheetos and Taco Bell and consume 3 litters of soda a day, and I have GORGEOUS hair long strong and down to my ankles!” Well great for you! But the fact of the matter is that this is the exception, not the rule.  The majority of us are subject to the principle of  what we put into our bodies being just as important as what we put on it.

Here’s why…

“Hair is a barometer of your overall health,” says David H. Kingsley, Ph.D., a hair and scalp expert of the British Science Corporation in New York City.  Hair growth is stimulated mainly by nutrients supplied through the blood stream.  Now although we feel our hair is crucial….your body begs to differ. In fact to your body your hair is nonessential tissue; which means when your body is dolling out the nutrients it’s given, first in line are the key organs like your heart and brain.  Your hungry hair follicles will be last in line, if they get a place in the line at all!

Healthy Scalp

Now we know that the hair on our heads is dead lifeless protein, but  the follicles on our scalp are very much alive!

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The follicles are what is growing the hair under the scalp, and they are nourished (or NOT), by the protein, essential fatty acids (help to hydrate the follicles), vitamins like biotin and B vitamins 6 and 12 (help to strengthen the cuticle), and whole grains that we consume.  “Iron is also essential because it stimulates hair turnover and replenishment,” says Neil Sadick, M.D., a New Yorkbased dermatologist. Now understand that if you were born with fine, thin hair, you’ll never have rope-thick tresses — no matter what you eat, and be wary of those who claim differently. But a well-balanced diet that includes plenty of growth-promoting protein and iron can make a difference.

The Pantry

  • Eat foods loaded with loaded with omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3 fats can be found flax seeds(one of the greatest natural wonders on earth in my humble opinion).  You can add flax oil to smoothies, or ground flax seeds to many of the foods you eat.  This plant-based omega-3 fat is ideal for vegetarians or vegans (like myself). For you carnivores, salmon is your friend! Full of omega-3 fatty acids,this high-quality protein source is also filled with vitamin B-12 and iron.
  •  Dark green vegetables like spinach, broccoli and Swiss chard, are excellent sources of vitamins A and C, which your body needs to produce sebum. The oily substance, secreted by your hair follicles, is the body’s natural hair conditioner. Broccoli actually packs more vitamin C than oranges! Dark green vegetables also provide iron and calcium.
  • Beans are indeed the magical fruit!  The more you eat, the more your hair grows!  Not only do they provide plentiful protein to promote hair growth, but ample iron, zinc, and biotin. While rare, biotin deficiencies can result in brittle hair.
  • Your scalp will go nuts for nuts!  Brazil nuts are one of nature’s best sources of selenium, an important mineral for the health of your scalp.  Walnuts contain alpha-linolenic acid, an omega-3 fatty acid that may help condition your hair. They are also a terrific source of zinc, as are cashews, pecans, and almonds. A zinc deficiency can lead to hair shedding, so make sure nuts are a regular on your healthy hair menu.
  • Sink your teeth into hearty whole grains, including whole-wheat bread and fortified whole-grain cereals, for a hair-healthy dose of zinc, iron, and B vitamins ( many cereals for vegans are fortified with B6 and B 12 which is essential to the health of your hair and body).

Lost Pounds Could Equal Lost Hair

If you’re tempted to drop pounds fast it could leave you with less-than-healthy hair. Low-calorie diets are often low in some of the most important nutrients for healthy hair, including omega-3 fatty acids, zinc, and vitamin A. In addition to stunting hair growth and leading to dullness, super-low calorie plans may even cause hair loss.

“Crash diets can affect the hair cycle. Losing a significant amount of weight in a short amount of time can affect that normal hair rhythm. Two to three months later, you might notice a significant increase in shedding. This is a temporary problem that you recover from with a well-rounded diet.” Paradi Mirmirani, M.D

Treat your body well and your hair will definitely flourish! Oh and the rest of you will feel and look great too!

Petroleum and Mineral Oil…Are Your Hair Products Increasing Your Risk For Cancer?

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Loads of the cosmetic and hair products on the market contain mineral oil, as do many creams and lotions. Mineral oil may sound harmless, but… it’s not. This concept is especially hard to grasp for those of us who have used it for so long. From baby oil to hair grease to lip gloss- this product has surrounded us daily for most of our lives…so how can it be bad?

Mineral oil is actually a derivative of petroleum, that’s right, the same stuff you put in your car’s engine! Because it’s very viscous (slippery), and very inexpensive many products use mineral oil as the main ingredient. This despite the fact that it’s a known carcinogen!

It acts as a sealant which means it blocks your pores and does not allow your skin to breath, a natural respiration process your skin very much needs. Blocked pores can lead to acne. And, because mineral oil can create an impenetrable film on your skin, and hair it may also block the absorption of any beneficial ingredients you may apply. It can also cause the hair to become dry and brittle and prone to breakage if it is not thoroughly cleansed to ensure the chemical barrier is completely removed.

“A study, published in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology, found that commonly used moisturizing creams containing mineral oil are tumorigenic when applied topically to UVB-pretreated high-risk mice. What this means is that these creams and lotions can increase the rate at which skin tumors form. The study tested four common skin lotions:

  • Dermabase
  • Dermovan
  • Eucerin Original Moisturizing Cream
  • Vanicream

What these creams have in common is that they all contain mineral oil. Mice that were at high risk of developing skin cancer received a topical application of 100 mg of one of the creams once a day, five days a week for 17 weeks. The researchers concluded that the rate of tumor formation significantly increased, as did the tumor size per mouse. In fact, the number of histologically characterized tumors increased by a whopping 69 percent!” Dr. Joseph Mercola.

If 100mg per day sounds like a lot, it’s not, 100 mg is equivalent to 20 tsp. When we add up the total sum of all the products we use daily (makeup, lip stick, lip balm, lotion (most of us re apply), shampoo, conditioner, leave in, hair gel, curl cream, hair polisher, makeup remover, sun screen, soap, shower gel…the list can go on; with all of that if -we only use 20 tsp we’re fortunate.

Mineral oil has countless different names, but the same effect.

Alternate names include:

  • Adepsine oil
  • Albolene
  • Baby oil
  • Drakeol
  • Lignite oil
  • Liquid paraffin / paraffin oil
  • Mineral seal oil
  • Petrolatum
  • White oil

Safer Choices

One of the easiest ways to ensure that you’re not being exposed to potentially hazardous agents is to simply make your own personal care products, when possible, and if not read labels CAREFULLY. Some great natural moisturizers are EVOO and EVCO, these can be used for face and body. ( I personally LOVE my coconut oil) Coconut oil also is also a potent source of the beneficial fat lauric acid.

You can also find many organic skin oils and lotions these days. Just be sure to read labels and check products out before buying them to make sure you’re not being fooled by less-than-honest claims ( This not an area you want to be trusting about). A fantastic web site by the Environmental Working Group can aid you- http://www.ewg.org/skindeep/ it is an excellent resource for finding and evaluating healthful personal care products, and weeding out the bad ones.

Resources:

Dr. Joseph Mercola

http://www.mercola.com/

The Journal Of Investigative Dermatology
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2630214/?tool=pubmed
Green Med Info
http://www.greenmedinfo.com/article/commonly-used-moisturizing-creams-containing-mineral-oil-are-tumorigenic-when-applied

Lavender Oil and Hair Growth


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Lavender oil has many wonderful benefits both for mind and body.  Many naturals mix their own hair tonics and various concoctions, present company included, and often include lavender oil.  Lavender oil is so popular not only because of it’s amazing sent, but because of its regenerative properties; one of which is aiding in hair growth, or even in some cases stopping hair loss.

Research

The Department of Dermatology at the Aberdeen Royal Infirmary studied the effect of essential oils on  patients who suffered from hair loss caused by alopecia areata. This study was conducted in 1999 by  Scottish dermatologist Dr. Isabelle C. Hay and a team of researchers from the department of dermatology at Aberdeen.

Researchers divided the patient participants into two groups, one group was the active group the other the control group.  The study was controlled and double-blind taking place over a seven month active period and included follow ups at three months and seven months post treatment.  The treatment was broken down as follows:

  • Active Group:  massage the essential oil recipe they were given onto their scalps daily for two minutes.
  • Control Group: massage the carrier oils jojoba and grapeseed onto their scalps daily for two minutes.

Findings

At the completion of the study 19 of the 43 patient participants in the active group showed significant improvement in hair growth, with one gentleman reportedly growing a full head of hair after being bald.  In the control group 6 of the 41 patient participants showed a little improvement, but nothing significant. This study reveals that 44% of the group using the essential oils significantly improved.  The average area of hair regrowth with the essential oils was 104 square centimeters, compared with nearly zero for those using the placebo.

The Aberdeen Royal Infirmary Study Recipe

  • atlas cedarwood essential oil – 2 drops
  • thyme essential oil – 2 drops
  • rosemary essential oil – 3 drops
  • lavender essential oil – 3 drops
  • jojoba carrier oil – ½ teaspoon
  • grapeseed carrier oil – 4 teaspoons

**At the beginning of the study, and again after three and seven months, professional photographs were taken of each patient’s scalp. Changes as seen in the photographs served as the primary outcome measure.  Mapping and measuring of the bald patches was also done to determine results.

Reference:

Hay, Isabelle C., et al. Randomized Trial of Aromatherapy – Successful Treatment for Alopecia Areata.  Archives of Dermatology 1998;134:1349-135

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