A Good Hair Day, Every Day
The Free Dictionary defines a good hair day as "a good day in general," and I think most of us would agree. We all want shiny, smooth, and manageable hair and good hair sure makes getting ready in the morning more fun.
If your hair has a mind of its own and you urgently need some hair-repair, resist the urge to stock up with synthetic shampoo, conditioner, masks, and sprays touting miraculous hair-repair technology. The prescription for A Good Hair Day, Every Day, is simple: undress your tresses from chemical duress and bless them with bioactive botanicals and a healthy-hair diet.
Cosmetic store and salon products, including those that tout "natural and organic" on the label, usually contain thirty or more synthetic ingredients. Some of these substances strip natural oils from hair and scalp leaving both seriously dry, while others leave behind a heavy-waxy build up guaranteeing bad hair. The more damaged the hair is, the higher its negative atomic charge, and softening, smoothing, and shining synthetics are drawn to that negative charge. If there is a lot of damage you might see a lot of buildup on the hair. More seriously, many of the ingredients are detrimental to health.
You can have a good hair day every day, and the first step is improving the products that you put on your hair. So, let's play a little game called "Use This, Not That." We will compare the botanical oils and extracts that safely and beautifully care for hair with the corresponding synthetic active ingredients that may harm your hair, your health, or the environment.
Coco proteins and Yucca roots will give you all the luxurious lather you want and leave your hair fresh and clean. Coco-protein is a saponifier derived from the sugars, proteins, and fatty acids of organic, virgin coconut oil. The roots of Yucca elata, also called Soaptree, are rich in a soap-making ingredient used by Native Americans.
Sulfates, frequently labeled as sodium laureth sulfate (SLS), ammonium laureth sulfate (ALES), sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS) and ammonium lauryl sulfate (ALS), are surfactants used in shampoos to clean and make lather. They are in 90% of foaming and lathering products even though sulfates are known skin irritants, hormone and endocrine disruptors, and suspected carcinogens and gene mutagens.
Many essential oils and super critical extracts smell amazing. Pick your favorite scent or combine two or three. Essential oils and extracts are the purest aromatic molecules distilled from the named plant matter; the oils are the concentrated scent. A single drop in your palm and rubbed through your hair will make your hair smell heavenly for hours.
Fragrance and parfum: This synthetic substance is in everything. Of course, it is there to make the product and your hair smell good. The catch is that FDA regulations don't require manufacturers to state what is in a substance labeled “fragrance”. Even botanical-sounding fragrances, like limonene and geranial, are actually made in a laboratory. According to the FDA, synthetic fragrances may cause headaches, dizziness, allergic rashes, skin discoloration, violent coughing, vomiting, and skin irritation. Clinical observation shows fragrances can affect the endocrine and central nervous system causing depression, hyperactivity, and irritability.
Strength and Body
Oatstraw, Avena sativa, is the soft, grassy part of the oat plant harvested before the grain has formed. Oatstraw is full of nutrients and proteins that add body and fullness to tresses.
Horsetail, Equisetum arvense, is rich in silica which strengthens the hair, adds resiliency to each strand, and protects against breakage and split ends.
Retinyl Acetate is a form of vitamin A added to shampoos and conditioners to boost to strengthen the hair and thicken the strands. Dietary vitamin A found in dark leafy greens and pasture raised meats is great for strong hair. As a hair conditioner, though, it may result in exposure that exceeds the recommended daily allowance for vitamin A, which may contribute to reproductive issues, birth defects, and biochemical changes that lead to mutations or cell death
Wheat and soy proteins are frequently added to shampoos and conditioners to rebuild broken hair shafts. These are highly processed ingredients and tainted with toxic pesticides. Also, many people are sensitive to grain proteins resulting in itchy scalps and dry, brittle hair.
Rosemary and lime essential oils can be added to DIY shampoos and washes for shiny hair. Rosemary oil will give you smoother, stronger hair strands, which makes hair look reflective and shiny. Lime oil, as well as all pure citrus oils, dissolve and release trapped dirt and oils and renew the luster to clean locks. An antioxidant in rosemary was shown to protect a protein found in hair that protects from the damage from stress and other toxins.
Jojoba oil, Simmondsia chinensis, is naturally rich in lipids and peptides and easily absorbs into the hair. When combined with herbs or essential oils it is a potent cleanser. Just a dab on dry hair or hair ends will give your hair a healthy glow.
Apple Cider Vinegar helps close the hair cuticles so that each strand is smoother, and smoother hair is shinier. As a rinse, it will remove build-up from other hair products.
Cetrimonium chloride is a water soluble ammonium compound that deposits onto the hair cuticle to make a smoother surface. There is strong evidence that it is an allergen, and it is suspected to be an environmental toxin, as well.
Dimethicone is silicone oil that coats each strand of hair to make it smoother and shiny. Silicone oils have a low toxicity risk, though using it is sort of like coating every hair strand with rubber, which is not a pretty thought. Over time, silicone oils may dry out the hair, too. Silicone is non-biodegradable, so when it goes down the shower drain it may be coating our lakes, streams, and aquatic life, too.
Moisturize and Detangle
Aloe Vera, Aloe barbadensis, is a familiar botanical gem from the desert that ensures the proper balance of moisture and promotes healthy hair growth. Skip the bottled aloe on the shelves at the store. Aloe is an easy plant to grow, just put a plant on your bathroom counter. To use it, break open leaf, squeeze out the juice, and rub in through your hair.
Marshmallow, Althea officinilais, has a lovely, slippery texture and is full of proteins that help soften and detangle the hair.
Yucca elata has emollient properties which have a soothing effect on the hair shaft.
Glycerin is widely used as an inexpensive filler and humectant, which means it draws water from the atmosphere and binds it. Glycerin is made from a mélange of dried vegetables that are repeatedly processed, bleached, and deodorized. The result is a viscous fluid similar in texture to molasses. It coats the hair to pull in moisture, and over time it can leave heavy and goopy build up.
Tame Fly-Aways and Frizz
Slippery Elm comes from the bark of the Ulmus rubra tree. It is a mucilaginous herb with slippery, soothing properties that soften the hair and reduce static electricity that leads to flyaways and frizz.
Chickweed, Stellaria pubera, grows abundantly and thus is frequently given the epithet "weed." It bursts with vitamins, including vitamin C. As an herbal infusion, it lowers the pH of the hair to smooth and soften it. This is important because a pH between 5- 8 will close the hair cuticles, smoothing out each hair strand. If the hair pH is too high, or if the cuticle is damaged, the hair strands will be rough and feel rough. As adjacent hairs rub against each other, an electrical charge will build up resulting in frizz and flyaways.
Citric Acid is an acidifier used in hair products to pH balance the product. It sounds deceptively like "citrus." At its advent, it was an isolate of citrus fruit. These days, its production is more science than citrus; a mold called Aspergillusniger is fed with some sort of inexpensive sugar: corn starch, corn syrup, molasses, etc. The byproduct solution is mixed with lime and treated with sulfuric acid to produce citric acid.
Emulsify Your Ingredients
Orange Wax, Citrus aurantium dulcis, is a semi-solid wax that is extracted from the pressed peels of oranges. This sweet smelling wax creates a natural emulsifier, keeping all of your selected oils and extracts well mixed with a great texture.
PEG, polyethylene glycol, is commonly used in hair products as an emulsifier. It is contaminated during processing with a known carcinogen called 1,4-dioxane. Some studies have linked it to leukemia as well as uterine, breast, and brain cancers. PEG also contains high amounts of heavy metals, and metal contamination is known to cause neurological, autoimmune, and kidney issues.
If you love to mix up your own potions, you now have a good foundation to mix your own bioactive, botanical Good Hair Day hair care. If you prefer for someone else to do the mixing, try our hair care Libations: Seabuckthorn Shampoo and Shine on! Conditioner.
Seabuckthorn Shampoo is full of tried and true herbal infusions in jojoba oil that benefit all hair types. Each batch takes over a month to create! The organic and/or wild crafted ingredients of herbal infusions swirled together with aromatic plant essences create a functional work of art that smells amazing. This shampoo is so pure that it may be diluted to use as a body wash.
Shine On! Conditioner will awaken the lusciousness in your locks and bring out the shine, smoothness, and softness without weighing down your hair. It is a versatile Libation to inspire the best condition of your hair. Apply it to wet hair as a conditioner. Apply it to dry hair before washing for deeper moisture. It can be used on dry hair and in between washings to sooth frizz and tame ends. A dab applied to the tips of the hair will hold curls together for a smoother look.
Style Your Do
Try Living Libations Love Butter. The cacao butter and virgin coconut oil combine to make a luscious hair pomade that will enhance moisture and softness, and hold a hair-do in place, and smooth fuzzy curls and frizzy broken ends. Radiant, Lucky, and Languid Love Butters are scented with inspiring blends of essential oils that will scent your hair and nourish your spirit.
For an ocean-breeze tousled look, dissolve a teaspoon or two of salt in 8 oz. of warm water, and add a teaspoon or two of Shine On! Conditioner. Using your fingers, work a little bit of this mixture through dry hair and let it air dry.
Ditch the styling hairsprays, gels, and mousses. They are chock full of undesirable ingredients, and the alcohols in them will make your hair dry and brittle. While you are at it, toss the hairdryer, too. Let the sun and wind nourish and dry your hair and scalp.
Our scalp is a busy little world; it has over 200 blood vessels, 650 sweat glands, and 1000 nerve endings. It, of course, is also the mother to our hair. Depending on our hair color, we have between 90,000 and 200,000 hair follicles nurtured by the scalp, and beautiful hair grows from happy scalps. It certainly does not need a daily dose of chlorine from tap water or SLS and nitrates from hair products seeping into the bloodstream and follicles.
The cause of many scalp issues arises from hormone imbalances, dietary zinc deficiency, fungal infections (candida), and even digestive and constipation issues. The following suggestions will help solve those issues.
Dry, Itchy Scalp
The essential oils of rosemary, peppermint, eucalyptus, geranium, and pine are super soothers for the scalp. Eucalyptus and peppermint cool and provides itch relief. Pine, geranium, and rosemary are scalp cleansers and botanicalbiotics as well as excellent toners.
The bright yellow flowers of Calendula, Calendula officinalis, are cheery helpers for skin and scalp. An herbal infusion of calendula flowers relieves dryness and redness.
Chlorhexidine is a chemical antiseptic found in many dandruff and oily hair formulas. Several published studies have demonstrated that exposure to low levels can cause burns and skin disruptions, and severe sensitivity that may lead to anaphylactic shock.
We created a deeply invigorating and reviving tonic to aid with scalp care. Seabuckthorn Scalp Tonic is a deeply nourishing livener of the scalp and hair. Extra emollient seabuckthorn and jojoba condition the hair and moisturize the scalp. Mustard seed and rosemary warm things up with bountiful botanicalbiotics and captivating cleansing compounds. Peppermint and eucalyptus spell relief for dry scalps and bring the chill to hot heads. Pine and geranium monoterpenes supply fortification for strong, shiny hair. Massage 3-9 drops into the scalp before washing hair, or apply it and leave it on overnight.
Hormones play a major role in both male and female hair loss. DHT (Dihydrotestosterone) is an androgen hormone synthesized in the adrenal glands, hair follicles, testes, and prostate. Changes and imbalances in DHT may lead to hair loss by slowing the hair growing cycle or shrinking and clogging hair follicles. The dermal papilla is the cells in the hair follicle responsible for hair growth. The papilla receives essential nutrients for follicle growth from the capillaries in the skin. Also, the papilla has a lot of DHT receptors. Too much DHT in the bloodstream undermines nutrient absorption which slows, and sometimes stops, hair growth. DHT also shrinks the hair follicle by stimulating the deposit a wax-like substance around the hair roots.
Have your DHT levels tested.
Increase your dietary zinc to recalibrate your androgen-to-DHT conversion.
Try taking the oral supplements of Evening Primrose Oil and He Shou Wu.
Prescription medications are available to slow or reverse hair loss. The medications inhibit the enzyme, 5-reductase, that synthesizes DHT, thus lowering the levels of DHT in the bloodstream. These potent pills can have serious and permanent side effects including: sexual dysfunction, breast cancer, and depression.
Eat Today for Beautiful Hair Tomorrow
Your hair is only as healthy as your body, and what you eat today will show up in your hair.
Eat healthy fats. A diet rich in olive oil, flaxseeds, wild-caught cold water fish, and walnuts will give your hair a super softness and high gloss sheen.
Eat enough protein. Hair is made of protein, and if the diet is deficient in the full spectrum of amino acids that comprise complete proteins then your hair will suffer for it.
Gluten is not a beauty food. It blocks nutrients from absorbing through the gut and into the bloodstream to nourish you. First inside the gut and then in the scalp, gluten causes a celiac disease-like inflammation in the hair follicles, which causes shedding. Removing wheat and gluten ceases this type of hair loss right away.
Dietary soy (as well as radiation, mercury fillings, and other things), can put your thyroid in a tailspin. An underactive thyroid is often the cause of dryness, thinning, or loss of hair. Please see author Anthony Williams book on Thyroid Health for more information.
Wave good-bye to waxy buildup. Drive out dandruff. Tame wild tresses. Love your locks. Ordain your mane. Consecrate your curls. Bless your hair with bioactive botanical wisdom, and you will enjoy A Good Hair Day, Every Day.
Nadine Artemis, the founder of Living Libations, is the author of Holistic Dental Care: The Complete Guide to Healthy Teeth and Gums, and Renegade Beauty: Reveal and Revive Your Natural Radiance, which was named one of “The Top 10 Books on Skin Care” by The Strategist of New York Magazine. She is a respected media guest and contributor, and her products have received rave reviews in the New York Times, LA Times, Elle, People, Vogue, and Hollywood Reporter. Described by Alanis Morissette as “a true-sense visionary,” Nadine crafts elegant formulations and healing creations from rare botanicals that have skin glowing around the world. Her concept of Renegade Beauty encourages effortlessness and inspires people to rethink conventional notions of beauty and wellness.