Great hair days

No matter what the time of year, the elements can play havoc with your hair but with summer here, frizzy weather, party invites and more pressure to be at your most radiant, its perhaps timely to look at how to whip up some beauty salon treatments at home – ones that not only boost the health and vitality of your treasured locks but won’t dint your finances.

Black hair naturally reflects more light, so it appears to shine more. The drawback is that you are expected to shine – it’s a given – but environmental stress and harsh products can cause dullness. Hot-oil treatments and herbal conditioners will keep that lustre vibrant. You can make your own by infusing in hot water for rinses or in olive oil for pampering deep conditioning any of the following herbs – rosemary, sage, lilac, hyacinth, passionflower, lavender, veronica. Any non-toxic purple or near-black flowers can be used

Try a Raven oil for dark hair – simply add to some olive oil or sesame oil a handful of sage and rosemary foliage, along with whatever purple petals your garden grows (lilac flowers, cornflowers, hyacinths or violets – depending on the season and availability) – let the mix sit in a sunny window for two weeks to extract all the beneficial chemicals from the plants. Then use as a conditioning oil to intensify natural tones and shine.

Brunette/brown hair suggests that you naturally produce more skin-protecting eumelanin, and in general that indicates that you will have a more even skin tone. But as brown-haired people tend to have thicker hair than fair-haired people and less shine than black-haired people, it’s all about the conditioning for you. The phytochemicals that have an affinity with brunette hair include rosemary, raspberry leaves, catnip, sage, parsley, elderberries, nettle and beech leaves.

Try a Brunette booster
– For delicious chocolate tones try a cocoa conditioner. Simply mix ¼ cup of cocoa powder and ½ cup of buttermilk (or kefir/natural yoghurt for a thicker consistency) with 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar and 1 tablespoon of glycerine or honey. Don’t skip the vinegar, as it helps the pigment in the cocoa enter the hair shaft.

Blonde hair is a result of evolutionally changes (depigmentation) during the last Ice Age to allow more effective absorption of ultraviolet B (UVB), which is essential to synthesising the previtamin D3 and therefore to maintaining healthy functioning of the body. So blondes were ‘fitter’ back then in at least one sense of the word! To keep those tresses supper fit, the phytochemicals in the following plants have an affinity with blonde hair: chamomile, evening primrose, yellow primrose, mullein, purple loosestrife, horsetail and nettle.

Try a Blonde brightening blitz mask – There are enzymes in raw potato that naturally lighten blonde hair and if mixed with the lightening chemicals in chamomile and the soft bleaching acids in lemon juice can brighten your locks a few extra shades. Simply blitz together and use as a 20-minute treatment mask.

Red hair is all down to the pigment called pheomelanin, which also imparts colour to the lips. Pheomelanin also increases the likelihood of freckles and sunburn – it degrades in sunlight and so to keep your fire on fire avoid the midday sun and consider adding a few hats and headscarves to your wardrobe. Natural red tends to be slightly dry, and hair that is dyed red is essentially stripped of its oils, so regular hot-oil treatments will keep it tip top. Infuse oil with orange or red petals to strengthen colour tone.
While the vitamin A in a few munched carrot juice rinse will enrich lustre .

Try a Ginger, hibiscus and calendula shampoo
– The inclusion of ginger in a shampoo for red hair is only slightly tongue in cheek. Ginger is good, and real ginger is great. It will stimulate circulation in the scalp; that tingle it imparts is caused by the oxygenation of follicles. Calendula is a good pigment for red hair and is also nutritious for dry and UV-sensitive hair.
• 2 tablespoons grated ginger root
• ½ cup calendula petals
• 1 cup hibiscus tea
• 1 cup liquid castile soap
Method – Boil the ginger and petals in the hibiscus tea for 20 minutes and then allow to cool completely. Strain to remove the solids. Add the liquid soap and stir. Decant into a clean storage bottle. Shake well before each use. Use as a pour-over shampoo. Refrigerates for up to two weeks, but you will use it all long before that.

It is that simple to boost the health an vitality of your hair and while the garden is looking great – you can look even better… and be paraben free.

About The Holistic Gardener

author of wellness books, columnist, keynote speaker.
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