I like to use natural products as much as I possibly can, for both my skin and hair care. Sometimes, it can be easier to reach for a store-bought gel because it is convenient and works. But all those chemicals can’t be good for you! Just Google “chemicals + hair care products” and you will see how many articles come up – I found this one, this one, and this one in a quick search. Besides, using natural products is better for you, better for the environment, and usually lighter on your wallet.
The following are the hair care products I use on a regular basis – not only are they effective, but they are also easily available.
Aloe vera gel
I use the Aubrey Organics Pure Aloe Vera, which includes a natural preservative. I can’t live without this product! My hair is wavy/curly, which means that it can get very frizzy. Aloe vera gel tames the frizzies immediately, and doesn’t leave the hair feeling sticky or stiff. On wet hair, I use a few drops of gel plus a few drops of almond oil and scrunch it through my hair (this helps define the curls as well). On dry hair, if the frizz hasn’t been properly tamed, I run a few drops through and the frizz disappears.
This oil has a multitude of great uses for both skin and hair. It works really well as a light leave-in (which means you can eliminate store-bought leave-in conditioner) – a couple of drops applied to the ends of your hair while it is still wet leaves your hair feeling soft and moisturized. Be careful with any oil, though – start with very little and add more as necessary, because you don’t want to end up with too much.
You can also use almond oil as a deep conditioning treatment, too – use it in the same way as I have described below for olive oil.
I use olive oil (the extra virgin variety works best) as a deep conditioning treatment if my hair is feeling very dry. To try this yourself, massage it into your scalp as well as run it through your hair. Your length shouldn’t look wet – it should just have a slight shine to it. Leave the oil in for 20 minutes or more (overnight works well, too – just cover with a showercap and put a towel on your pillow) and wash with shampoo. You might need to shampoo twice, as olive oil is quite heavy and you don’t want to end up with an excess of oil on your hair after washing! I usually don’t need conditioner after an oiling treatment. For a deeper treatment, for very dry or very long hair, you can put on a heating cap before washing the oil out, as heat helps the oil penetrate deep into the hair shaft.
Here are some products that require slightly more time and planning. I don’t use these on a regular basis, but definitely would if I had the time!
I love adding a bit of honey to my conditioner. Mix one part honey to two parts conditioner and leave it in for as long as you can. Rinse and shampoo as usual. It will leave your hair looking shiny and feeling soft! Check out this article on honey and beauty.
Although this can be a smelly ordeal (!) eggs are very good for the hair and give it protein. An old remedy that helps if you feel you are losing a lot of hair is to mix a couple of eggs with some natural, plain yogurt and leave it on your hair for 20 minutes before washing it out.
In Bangladesh, we make yogurt at home. I use this with a bit of honey and some lavender or rosemary essential oil as a conditioner for my hair. You can use store-bought yogurt, as well, just make sure it’s plain yogurt and doesn’t have any sugar or fruit juice in it! Check out this article for more info on how to use yogurt as a conditioner.
Henna can be used to dye lighter hair. If your hair is dark, like mine, henna makes your hair feel thicker and stronger, as it adds protein. If you are applying it by yourself at home, remember it can be very difficult to wash out and you must use lots of conditioner! You can also use one of these Lush henna bars, which I love.
I used to regularly use herbs such as shikakai, amla, aritha, and sandalwood to cleanse my hair. If you would like more info on this, let me know and I will e-mail you more details. I used to use Indian herbs, but you can use herbs such as chamomile, rosemary, etc. on your hair as well – you can find a mine of information online if you want to try it out.
This is not as easily available as some of the other ingredients – I buy mine online. Make sure you get 100% pure shea butter. It is extremely moisturising, so use very little at a time! Can be used as a leave-in for your hair or as a deep conditioner. I use it on my face as well at night before I sleep – it’s amazing for dry skin!
Apple Cider Vinegar
You can use some Apple Cider Vinegar mixed with water as a rinse on your hair to make it shiny, or try out this recipe that I used to love –
Bring about 3/4 cup of ACV to boil. Add cinnamon/cloves/chili (I can’t tell you what the chili does, but cinnamon and cloves help condition and bring out dark hair. They can be omitted if your hair is light). Add some ketchup/coffee/lemon juice, depending on your hair color. Stir until the mixture begins to thicken. Take it off the heat and put it in some cool water. When it has completely cooled, add an egg to the mixture. Work it into the scalp and hair and leave for at least half an hour. Then you can wash it out as usual.
I hope I inspired you to use some of mother nature’s bounty in order to care for your hair. If you have any questions about any of these ingredients or would like to know more, please leave it in the comments below and I will get back to you asap!