The word ‘shampoo’ comes from the Hindu word ‘champo’ which means to massage. Unfortunately today most commercial shampoos strip the hair of natural oils and damage the outer layer of the hair shaft. That is why conditioners are needed to rectify the damage caused by chemically made shampoo.
Shampoo made from olive oil and sold in health food stores is the best shampoo for all types of hair. Add a decoction of your favourite herb such as lavender, chamomile or rosemary to give the hair lustre and fragrance. This also dilutes the shampoo solution which does not create the familiar, satisfying foam but still cleans the hair. Look for shampoos with high oil content and made from natural ingredient such as aloe vera which soothes an itching scalp, lemon oil for greasy hair, tea tree oil for dandruff or even chocolate which is beneficial for dark hair.
The best conditioner for hair is ripe avocado pear. Rich in natural oils avocado is a powerful restorer and moisturiser for dry hair. Finely mash up the avocado with a tablespoon of warm ghee (clarified butter), if hair is very dry, then apply the luscious green mixture to damp hair massaging well into the hair and scalp. Wrap in a warm towel or cling wrap and leave for twenty minutes. Wash hair with a weak shampoo solution to remove the avocado flesh and add a few drops of your favourite essential oil to the final rinse for fragrance. Towel dry the hair and put a few drops of almond or coconut oil onto the palms of the hands and rub together and then wipe through the damp hair. Comb and leave to dry then brush well for glossy, soft and delicious smelling hair.
Enhancing Hair Colour
There are many natural ingredients that can be used to enhance the natural colour of your hair. Herbs are the perfect way to experiment because they temporarily revitalize and brighten the hair colour without damage or risk to health. The effects will not be as dramatic as with chemical colorants but your hair will look healthy and shinier and herbs can even be used to tone down grey hair.
• Chamomile flowers will brighten blonde hair. A strong infusion dabbed into the hair or used as the final rinse will add golden highlights. Sit in the sun and allow it to dry before rinsing for extra depth. Steep a cup full of chamomile flowers in enough water to make a strong brew, strain through a muslin cloth or very fine sieve and then either dab it onto the hair with cotton wool or pour it repeatedly over the hair and head and then leave on for twenty minutes, followed by a final rinse. Allow to dry naturally.
• Sage leaves will darken hair and enrich brown or black tones. Steep half a cup of chopped sage leaves in boiling water for half an hour, strain and leave to cool. Towel dry the hair and rinse it over and over in the sage tea, leave on the hair for fifteen minutes and then rinse. Dab a strong sage infusion onto grey hair to tone it down.
• Henna will bring out the red tones in hair and now comes in a range from deep dark reds to delicate, warm rose tones for blonde hair. For a less drastic look use a henna rinse by steeping one tablespoon each of henna powder, chamomile flowers and vinegar into a quart of boiling water for fifteen minutes. Strain and when cool pour the rinse through after shampooing and leave on for twenty minutes before rinsing thoroughly. Use rubber gloves to avoid staining the hands.
When hair is over coloured, over dried and frizzy a hot oil mask is the only solution. Warm some olive, almond or coconut oil by putting the container into hot water and then apply warm oil liberally to the hair. Wrap the hair in cling wrap or a warm towel and leave for as long as possible, overnight is best. Wash the hair with a mild shampoo solution, rinse and towel dry. Apply a few drops of oil to the hands and smooth through the hair with a wide tooth comb. Leave to dry naturally and brush well. Hair will be soft, vibrant and smooth.
The use of hot appliances like hair driers, straighteners and rollers can damage the hair by burning the outer cuticle causing split ends. Nothing works better on split ends than a good hair-cut. To keep hair in tip-top condition avoid the over use of heated hair appliances and chemical hair products.
Trust in yourself. Your perceptions are often more accurate than you are willing to believe. ~ Claudia Black