Sharing all about easy natural-ish hair care today!
I’ve been asked for a long time to write a post on my top tips for naturally healthy hair. Now that my blog is finally coming to life I’ve got this one ready for you! Don’t get it tangled, I’m not a professional hairstylist nor do I have any professional experience on this subject, I just have a lot of very fine straight hair and I like to treat it as naturally as possible.
I’ve put my hair through the wringer. As a Teenager I had highlights, both the drug store box with a cap (cringe), and the professional foil job. I haven’t always been so focused on the products I use and growing up I used some pretty harsh and nasty products. As I became more focused on natural health and herbalism I explored different natural hair treatments, most notably I was No-Poo for about 15 months a few years ago. If you’re not familiar with the No-Poo Method it’s worth a web search… It means No Shampoo. I used only baking soda and apple cider vinegar rinse for about a year and a half.
I started using shampoo again but now use trustworthy brands that don’t use synthetic fragrances or harsh chemicals. While the No Poo method works for many people, My hair is a lot happier with poo back in its life.
While there are a number of things we can do on the outside to help our hair be the healthiest it can, you also need to look at the inside of your body and make sure you’re properly nourishing your entire system. This will assure healthy hair from the inside out and outside in.
Here are 8 of my tried and true methods for healthy hair, naturally:
1. Castor Oil Treatment- (What inspired me to write this post!)
Castor oil has many benefits and is to keep in your house as a go-to for a number of reasons. It has an especially nice effect on our hair! It encourages growth, replenishes moisture, and adds shine. It acts as a protective barrier between your hair and environmental toxins and free radicals.
To do a castor oil hair treatment, you have a few options:
A. You can get real fancy by using a comb and dropper to apply the oil directly to your scalp in segments.
If you’re like me, if something is too complicated you just won’t do it at all. We don’t want that! Try option B my low maintenance queens (and kings?):
B. Pour a tablespoonish sized amount of castor oil into your palm, using the tips of your fingers apply it to your scalp in a massaging motion. Repeat until you feel you’ve sufficiently covered your scalp. Any excess can be applied to the ends or run through the hair.
You could also go all in, I used to do this but found it extra messy to sleep in, harder to wash out, and didn’t notice too big a difference from just applying it to my scalp and ends.
C. Start with Option A, but don’t stop at the scalp, Using a comb or your fingers run the castor oil all the way through your hair strands until you feel it is sufficiently coated. You can let it sit for a few hours or overnight.
- You can infuse fresh Rosemary springs into your castor oil. Rosemary is excellent for hair growth and strength. And you’ll smell like a pork roast all night! (Not a bad thing if you ask me, Haha). I’m not a fan of essential oils so I don’t recommend rosemary oil.
- You could even warm the castor oil slightly by placing a dropper bottle of Castor Oil in a mug of warm water. It becomes slightly more viscous or liquidy and easier to run through your hair when warm. It feels very nice too, like an at home spa treatment
- If you’re concerned with your pillowcase or sheets I’d keep a special pillow case or a towel handy for overnights.
2. Use a Natural Fiber Brush such as Boar Bristle
Not only are natural fibers better for the environment (less plastic) but better for your hair too! Boar bristles gently pull the natural oils from your scalp through the rest of your hair and the ends, making it evenly distributed throughout your hair. This naturally decreases the oily build up on your scalp and increases the shine and moisture throughout your hair.
3. Don’t Fear Healthy Fats
Alright, being that I’m a Nutritional Therapy Practitioner you know I’ve got to get into to the good foods and nutrients for optimal hair health! Let’s kick that off with healthy fats! Not only are healthy fats required to absorb (and contain) fat soluble vitamins, They contain our essential fatty acids Omega 3 and Omega 6. You are probably heard something about omega fatty acids?! So most Americans are consuming A LOT of the pro-inflammatory omega 6’s found in refined vegetable oils and seed oils.
I encourage you to increase your consumption of Omega 3’s which are primarily found in wild caught fatty fish. Salmon, Sardines, Mackerel, Anchovies, Cod Liver, Egg yolks, avocado, olives, walnuts, hemp hearts. Seafood sources are ideal as they are the DHA and EPA forms of omega 3’s rather than the less efficiently converted ALA form.
Omega 3’s are anti-inflammatory and can help with managing inflammation all over the body including in the hair follicles. Saturated fats are ideal for cooking; inflammatory vegetable and hydrogenated oils should be avoided whenever possible.
4. Get More Collagen & Quality Protein
Collagen is kinda having a moment lately and for good reason- it is a super important nutrient for healthy hair, a healthy digestive tract, skin, nails, joints, and more. If you don’t care to drink bone broth or braise tough cuts of meat regularly I recommend taking a powdered collagen. I do both! I love this collagen from Perfect Supplements! Its is 3rd party tested free of heavy metals and glyphosate. (use code Linds10 for a 10% savings on top of any other ongoing discounts!).
Natural sources of collagen are found in the tendon, joints, skin, of ruminant animals, poultry, and fish. Protein in general is super important for hair health!
5. Reduce Refined Sugar
In the least scientific explanation possible- Sugar works the opposite of Collagen. It actually gums up our collagen receptors preventing your body from utilizing the precious collagen in the foods and supplements we’re consuming and it actually breaks down collagen. That is why it is known that heavy intake of sweets contributes to aging as well. Your skin loses elasticity and becomes frail as does your hair and other tissues. Lowering our refined sugar intake is overall good for our stress levels, mood, digestion and more.
I’m ALL for treating yourself and indulging in sweets but less is more if you’re working towards optimal health, including the health of your hair!
6. Consume Vitamin and Mineral Rich Foods Regularly
Vitamins, specifically B-vitamins and fat soluble vitamin A, E, D, and K, are key cofactors for our hair and other soft tissues (skin, nails, gut lining). Without adequate amounts of these vitamins (and minerals) your body struggles to regrow new cells and complete other essential functions. Minerals are the spark plugs for many of the processes in the body and provide structural and functional support to our cells. Electrolytes and trace minerals need to be replenished through food and drinks because our body doesn’t naturally produce them (like it does some vitamins)
Vitamin and Mineral rich foods that are bio available, meaning your body can easily digest them and absorb the nutrients, should be consumed regularly are: organ meats such as beef liver, grassfed butter or ghee, bone broth, raw organic dairy if tolerated, small cold water fish species, shellfish of all kinds, eggs, fermented foods like yogurt, kefir, kimchi, soaked and sprouted legumes.
7. Get hair Trims Regularly
Admittedly, This is the tip that I am the worst at implementing. I actually got my hair cut this week and the stylist gave me numerous compliments on the health, texture, and color of my hair. That actually made me really proud and what finally encouraged me to get this blog post written! Trimming your hair not only makes your hair LOOK healthier and fuller all around, but it encourages healthy growth and overall health. Your hair is less likely to become tangled at the ends and cause stress at the follicles!
8. Avoid Harsh Products & Chemicals
Okay, I’m not here to tell you to stop using your favorite styling products and getting your highlights done. But I’m sure if you’ve been in the cycle of continuous dying or treatments you have seen their effect on your hair. I have avoided mainstream products since I first transitioned to a healthy lifestyle over 10 years ago so I definitely believe that healthy products have contributed to my healthier hair. As I mentioned above, I’ve run the gamut of different healthy hair trends. The main things I avoid in hair products are: phthalates, parabens, fragrances, formaldehyde, sodium lauryl/lauryth sulfate, DEA (diethanolamine). A few brands I like are Giovanni, Avalon Organics,and more recently Aveda even though it isn’t totally perfect. These three are pretty widely available these days. You can go to www.EWG.org or download the Environmental Working Group app which will actually give you a rating on your product and tell you what ingredients you might want to avoid. You can even submit products to make their database even more robust.
That wraps it up!
Lots of people have asked what makes my hair so shiny and healthy looking and I truly believe it isn’t just one thing, but a combination of several of the above tips for naturally healthy hair (and maybe a little genetics too). I hope you give some of these ideas a shot (especially the nutrition tips because those are applicable to health far beyond your hair!). Remember that you shouldn’t expect results overnight. Improvements happen gradually with time and consistency and often go unnoticed at first.
Maybe start with your castor oil hair treatment and healthy foods, then when you’re up to buy shampoo again try a new, cleaner, option (if you don’t already use one!). And go from there. I always say a healthy life shouldn’t be all or nothing. Do what works for you and make changes as they fit in.
To learn more about Lindsay and find out how she may be able to help you reach your health goals click Here.