Posts tagged ‘remedies for hair loss’

How To Keep Natural Hair Moisturized

I think the single biggest misconception among those with kinky hair texture is that oil is a  moisturizer. But many feel the need to add excessive amounts of oils to the hair and scalp because black skin produces less sebum (aka oil) right? Wrong! Consider this myth busted.  The reason afro-textured hair tends to be dry is because the sebum has to travel the length of the hair to coat the strands. The kinkier the hair, the more difficulty the sebum has traveling down the hair, therefore the more dry or dull the hair looks.  There are of course exceptions to every rule and there are some who produce more or less oil than average, but this is in reference to healthy scalp function.

Hair needs moisture to maintain good health and elasticity. What is the ultimate moisturizer?  WATER!  This makes  water-based products and of course water itself the best things to use to achieve the greatest moisture benefit!  The hair optimally should be nourished and treated daily with water, even if it’s just a refreshing spritz.  The molecular structure  of water allows it to penetrate the hair shaft, moisturizing the hair. Oil molecules are too large to penetrate the hair shaft and therefore sit on the strands acting as a barrier.  This serves an extreamly useful and beneficial purpose for the hair, but moisturizing is not one of them.  With that being said, here is an exception…

Moisturizing Oil?

Coconut oil is It is also one of the few oils that penetrates the hair shaft. Studies have confirmed that the ability of coconut oil to penetrate the hair shaft is likely due to its low molecular weight and straight linear chains. These characteristics coupled with its high affinity (or attraction) to hair proteins cause the coconut oil to penetrate the hair shaft.

It is easy to see how the ability to penetrate the hair shaft and the high affinity to proteins makes coconut oil so beneficial for the hair. Not only does the high affinity to proteins help it penetrate the hair shaft, but it also discourages protein loss and reduces the occurrence of hygral fatigue. Studies conducted in India confirm that when compared to mineral oil and sunflower oil, “coconut oil was the only oil found to reduce the protein loss remarkably for both undamaged and damaged hair when used as a pre-wash and post-wash grooming product.” Another study suggests that coconut oil reduces the ability of the hair shaft to swell and thereby reduces the likelihood of hygral fatigue. Hygral fatigue is caused when the hair swells and constricts due to the absorption and loss of water. This makes coconut oil a most excellent oil to pre-poo with.  (Pre-pooing- A treatment applied prior to cleansing. It usually consists of oils and applied a few hours before cleansing or the night before the cleansing. This is usually performed to help the hair maintain necessary moisture during a cleansing  process.)  

Determine Hair Porosity

Our hair is naturally porous ( Having minute holes through which liquid or air may pass).  This means just as quickly as we fill our tresses with moisture it can escape.  The cuticle is the outer layer of the hair, it’s made up of scale like cells that look similar to shingles on a roof.  These “shingles” can be raised or tightly compact which determines the level of the hairs porosity.  Determining your hair’s porosity is very important, because it will largely effect how you moisturize and retain moisture for your hair.

  • Low Porosity

Low Porosity

Low– po is when the cuticle of the hair shaft is tightly compact.  This type of hair is more difficult to moisturize, as the compact nature of the cuticle does not allow moisture to easily enter or leave the hair shaft.  You will notice your hair takes longer to get thoroughly wet, and both water and product tends to just sit on top of the hair as opposed to entering it.  To moisturize this type of hair heat is actually a good thing.  Now hold up! Put down the blow dryer and back away from the flat iron!  I mean we are usually taught to use cool to cold water when washing and conditioning hair to seal the cuticle and add shine, but for low-po hair you should cleanse and condition with warm water. The warm water will help to temporarily lift the cuticle allowing moisture to enter the hair shaft more easily.  After cleansing and conditioning you can rinse with cool water or acv to close cuticle.  You will also benefit from using a hooded dryer or heat cap when deep conditioning.

  • Normal Porosity

Normal Porosity

No- po hair is when the cuticle is compact and permits moisture to pass through the hair shaft into the cortex as necessary, but does not allow too much moisture to penetrate the cortex. This hair type is pretty easy to moisturize and keep moisturized, and should stay moisturized with regular cleansing and conditioning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • High Porosity

High Porosity

Hi-po hair has a cuticle with wide spaces in between the cuticle and the shaft.  High porosity hair is a sign of damage secondary to chemicals (including color),  heat, or rough manipulation.  Although your hair may feel dry it is capable of absorbing A LOT of water, due to the large openings in the cuticle.  Generally the more porous the hair the more moisture it tends to absorbs.  Since our aim is to moisturize, this seems good, but more is not always better- sometimes it’s just more; and too much moisture creates a whole new set of problems.  Like over drying, high porosity hair absorbs more water when wet – but also looses more as it dries.  Hi-po hair can also stretch beyond a healthy limit due to the increased weight of  hair when full of water, this constant stretching of the hair causes it to become weaker and more prone to breakage.  For hi-po hair minimizing if not eliminating heat is a good idea and consider dry finger detangling with oil as opposed to detangling with a brush or comb while hair is wet and more fragile.

 

 

 

 

Porosity Test

After hair is cleansed and free from any and all products, place a strand in a glass of room temp water.  Normal to low porosity strands will float. High porosity hair will sink to the bottom of the glass from absorbing loads of water and becoming too heavy to float.

 

Why Oil Is Also Important

Since our hair is naturally porous, after we get the moisture in there- how do we keep it?  Here’s where oil is the the most important. It sits on the hair shaft since the molecules are too large to enter it, coating the hair and sealing in moisture.  Oils also lubricate our strands making the hairs slide over each other more easily reducing tangles and friction.  It is important to use the oil to seal already moisturized hair. If you use oils without  moisturizing before , the oil will seal the moisture out of the hair strand and lead to a coated feel and eventual dryness. Build up from heavy oils is one of the main culprits in a scenario where we feel like no matter what we do, our hair is still dry!  You may have to remove current build up first, and then the moisture can get in.

Keeping your hair properly moisturized will minimize breakage keeping hair strong and healthy for maximum length retention. Even if long and strong is not your goal, I’m sure beautiful hair is.

References:

http://journal.scconline.org/pdf/cc2005/cc056n05/p00283-p00295.pdf

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/15224783

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What’s In My Spray Bottle

Image   I think almost all naturals have a spray bottle, some even carry a mini one for their bags, and fill it with all sorts a nurturing goodies to be sprayed on their lovey locks at will. I am no exception, I have many of them, I’ve learned to love and appreciate this useful tool in my natural hair arsenal! I often get asked what I use in my spray bottle, so here it goes…

My Spray Bottle

Distilled Water –  Distilled water is pure with no additives or trace minerals, distilled water should be used as opposed to regular old tap water due to the high mineral content of hard water. This results in deposits on your hair. Buildup of calcium and magnesium on the hair shaft can cause hair to feel rough, dry and damaged; the opposite of what we want for our hair.

 

Aloe Juice–  Aloe vera juice, with its excellent moisturizing properties can serve as a natural conditioner to deeply moisturize the hair strands. So, if you are struggling with dry, damaged and unmanageably frizzy hair, then aloe vera juice is your friend!   The enzymes found in aloe vera gel and juice act as a hair growth stimulator. So, you can use aloe vera to promote hair growth. It can also help to control dandruff.

 

Agave Nectar for vegans or Honey for those who are not – I add a bit of agave nectar if I feel my hair is dryer than normal or especially frizzy, not only helps with dryness and frizz, but add shine.  I add this only if I feel I need it.

 

Lavender Essential Oil –  It is a good treatment for dandruff and itching, helpful in controlling hair breakage and improving hair growth.  Daily massage with lavender oil has proven to help significant re-growth (click link for recipe for lavender oil hair growth solution) https://hippiechicchick.wordpress.com/2012/07/24/lavender-oil-and-hair-growth/.  Oh and it smells fantastic!

 

Rosemary Essential Oil –  Rosemary oil stimulates the hair follicles, and healthy scalp means hair can grow longer and stronger.

 

Sweet Orange Oil – This essential oil has a wonderful light fragrance, and like lavender has calming and anti-stress qualities. It stimulates the scalp increasing micro-circulation, great for dehydrated scalp. Also acts as an antiseptic.

 

Jojoba Oil – According to the Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine, jojoba oil is an ideal cosmetic ingredient for products designed to moisturize and protect, due to its chemical composition and stable nature.  Jojoba is structurally similar to the sebum our skin produces naturally. The Encyclopedia of Alternative Medicine explains that if your scalp is dry, jojoba oil acts as a substitute, moisturizing the hair follicle and preventing tangles and coarseness. If there is excess sebum, jojoba oil breaks down the buildup, cleaning hair, scalp and hair shaft. Jojoba oil dissolves residue buildup from hair products, as well as environmental pollutants.

 

How To Use

Give your bottle a good shake before each use ( as the oil and water will separate) and spritz hair daily or as needed to add moisture.  I use this same spray bottle mixture for twist outs along with my tried and true flax seed gel (click link for the recipe) https://hippiechicchick.wordpress.com/2012/07/23/flax-seed-oil-and-gel/ . Its is also great for those who use the LOC method.  This mixture is also great for caring for hair while in a protective style.  Contrary to popular belief (or wishful thinking) our hair still needs care while in a protective style.  My hair is currently in a braided style and I lightly spray hair twice daily with this mixture (a.m and p.m.)  When spraying in the evening before bed I apply very little of my oil mixture ( jojoba, lavender, orange, rosemary, tea tree) to scalp and braids.  I use a bottle with a long pointed tip so that oil can easily be applied to scalp and hair without over doing it.

This formula works really well for my hair, I hope it works just as well for yours!

xoxo hippiechicchick

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!

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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