We know our lifestyles and environments have a huge impact on our physical health. Our hair and skin are the first to show chemical damage. Eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly help, of course, yet they aren’t enough when you’re using commercially produced, chemical laden products on your hair. So here are some natural options for strengthening and lengthening hair.
Proper Nutrition for Healthy Hair
A nutritious diet that contains healthful fats, protein, and a range of vitamins can help with thinning or thin hair. In fact, thin hair can be a sign that a person is not getting enough nutrients. To help remedy this, people with thin hair should include some of the following nutrient-rich foods in their diets:
- salmon, which is high in protein and fatty acids
- eggs, which contain protein, omega 3, and iron
- walnuts, almonds, and other nuts, which are sources of fatty acids
- greek yogurt, which is a source of protein
- green, black, pinto, and other beans, which contain protein
A person should look to add 1 or 2 servings of any of the above foods to their daily diet. Even adding just 3 or 4 servings a week can contribute to improved hair health.
Regular Combing & Trimming
Comb your hair three times a day and trim it in every three months. Regular combing and trimming is extremely important for expediting the growth of new hair. Combing is essential as it provides good blood circulation, and stimulates hair follicles, helping them produce new hair naturally.
Proper Washing Technique
- Wash with warm water and rinse with cold.
- Use finger tips, not nails, to massage scalp and stimulate follicles.
- Always massage conditioners and oils into the scalp with circular motions.
Shampoo is Important
The type of shampoo you are using can have drastic effects on the health of your hair. It’s best to use a natural soap or a petroleum and sulfate free blend. These only remove dirt and do not strip the hair of its natural oils like commercial surfactants.
Coconut Oil Soap: easy to make or purchase (https://www.mothergaias.com/shop) Full of fatty acids essential for nourishing the scalp and hair follicles and gently removes dirt and grease without over drying (stripping) the hair.
Natural Conditioning Can Help
Much like shampoo, conditioner contents can have drastic effects on the health of your hair. So instead of a petroleum wax and oil laden blend, try something that actually nourishes your hair. Here are some natural ways to moisturize and strengthen hair.
Apple Cider Vinegar: gently cleanses the scalp and maintains the PH balance of the hair accelerating hair growth. How To Use:
- Wash your hair
- Use apple cider vinegar as a final rinse after washing your hair to get healthy and shiny hair.
- For 1 liter of solution – mix 75ml of apple cider vinegar to one liter of water
- You may store this entirely or make it smaller batches.
- For smaller quantities, take 15 ml of apple cider vinegar and add it to a cup of warm filtered water
- After washing your hair, using this cup of water as the final rinse.
Aloe Gel: Applying aloe oil directly to the hair and scalp may help strengthen the hair and thicken it over time. For a homemade solution, a person can try rubbing some pure aloe gel into the scalp and letting it sit for 30 minutes before rinsing. This can be done once or twice a week.
Avocado: Avocado is rich in vitamin E, and many people believe it to be a good moisturizer. Make a simple avocado rub and apply it twice a week. Do remember it can be an ugly, squishy avocado, not a green healthy one. To make an avocado rub:
- combine the fruit of 1 avocado with 1 tbsp olive/sunflower/coconut oil
- apply the mixture to hair and scalp
- let it sit for about 30 minutes
- rinse thoroughly with natural shampoo
Cayenne Pepper: stimulates hair growth and prevents thinning of hair. It has a chemical in it known as Capsaicin. This ingredient when applied on the scalp causes the nerves to activate and increase the blood flow to the scalp. This results in increased absorption of nutrients and better hair growth. How To Use:
- Mix 1 teaspoon of pepper powder with 2 teaspoons of olive oil
- Apply it on the scalp where thinning is more prominent
- Wash off with cool water
Coconut Milk: rich in iron, potassium and essential fats. It reduces hair fall and breakage. How To Use:
- Extract the milk of a coconut
- Apply it on the targeted areas
- Keep it overnight
- Rinse off with cool water the next day
Coconut Oil: Rich in potassium, coconut oil keeps your scalp healthy; promotes the growth of new hair and repairs damaged hair. It also reduces dandruff, hair breakage and hair loss. Coconut oil is also used as a pre-conditioning hair treatment for damaged hair. It acts as a moisturizer and strengthens the hair shaft from the root, thus preventing breakage. It keeps the scalp well-nourished and moisturized. Use coconut hot oil treatment for effective results.
Cumin Seeds: packed with 100′s of nutrients and vitamins that are great for replenishing your hair. How To Use:
- Soak cumin seeds in olive oil or castor oil
- Let it soak overnight
- The next morning, apply it to the targeted areas
- Wash after 15 minutes with a mild shampoo
Eggs: high in protein, which is essential for the body to build strong, thick hair. When used regularly, an egg treatment may help thicken and strengthen a person’s hair. To use an egg treatment:
- beat 1 or 2 eggs together
- apply the eggs to the scalp and damp hair
- leave the eggs on the scalp for about 30 minutes
- wash hair thoroughly with warm water and mild shampoo
Alternately, combine the eggs with oil and water. To use this method:
- mix egg yolks, 1 tablespoon (tbsp) olive oil, and 2 tbsp of water
- apply the mixture to the scalp and dry hair
- leave for 15 minutes
- rinse out with warm water and a mild shampoo
Fenugreek: accelerates hair growth and protects the natural color of your hair. How To Use:
- Take 1 teaspoon of the fenugreek paste
- Add 2 teaspoons of coconut milk to it
- Apply it all over your hair and scalp
- Leave it on for 30 minutes
- Wash off with a mild shampoo
Flaxseed Oil: rich source of essential fatty acids which helps to transform dry, damaged and brittle hair to healthy and shiny hair. The omega 3 fatty acids in the oil promote healthy hair growth. How To Use:
- Include flaxseed oil supplements in your daily diet
- Use it with the combination of other essential oils.
Garlic: home remedy for reducing the shedding of hair. Why? It boosts the regeneration of new hair and promotes the scalp circulation. How To Use:
- Boil a few cloves of crushed garlic in olive oil or coconut oil
- Apply it to the roots of your hair follicles.
- Wash off properly
Green Tea: antioxidants prevent hair loss and boost hair growth. How To Use:
- Apply warm green tea all over your scalp
- Leave it for an hour
- Rinse off with cool water
Henna Pack: very well known as a natural conditioner. It is also good for hair growth. Why? It transforms dull and dry hair to smooth and shiny hair and adds colour too. It promotes hair growth by strengthening the roots of your hair. How To Use:
- Make a pack by mixing 1 cup of dry henna powder with ½ cup of yoghurt
- Apply it all over your hair from root to tip.
- Leave the pack until it dries off completely
- Wash off with a mild shampoo
Hibiscus Flower: the “flower of hair care.” This flower is used for curing dandruff and enhancing hair growth. It also thickens the hair and prevents pre-mature ageing. How To Use:
- Make a paste of the hibiscus flower with coconut oil or sesame oil
- Apply it on your hair evenly.
- Rinse with a mild shampoo.
Indian Gooseberry (Amla): powerhouse of antioxidants and vitamin C. Amla promotes healthy hair growth and also improves the pigmentation of the hair. How To Use:
- Mix 2 teaspoons of amla powder or juice with 2 teaspoons of lime juice
- Apply this on your scalp properly and let it dry
- Now rinse it well with warm water
Olive Oil: rich in omega 3 acids and other nutrients that are essential for overall health, including hair health. When applied directly to the scalp and hair, olive oil helps promote thicker hair. Olive oil also has the added benefit of softening the hair and relieving dry scalp. Some people add honey to the olive oil and others suggest leaving the olive oil on overnight using a shower cap to cover the hair. To use olive oil:
- heat the oil to body temperature
- massage the warm oil into the scalp and hair
- leave in hair for about 30 to 45 minutes
- rinse out the olive oil with mild shampoo
Onion Juice: rich in sulphur that boosts collagen production in the tissues and helps in re-growth of hair. How To Use:
- Use red onions or shallots
- Chop it into small pieces
- Squeeze out its juice.
- Now apply it on your scalp carefully and keep for 15 minutes.
- Finally rinse off with a mild shampoo.
Orange Puree: The vitamin C, pectin, and acid in oranges can help a person’s hair in a few different ways. The vitamins and nutrients may improve hair’s natural luster, which makes the hair appear thicker. The acid in oranges helps break apart residue left from hair products. These residues may interfere with hair growth. Unlike some of the other treatments, orange puree has a pleasant scent that makes the treatment more enjoyable. A person can use orange puree as a hair treatment by blending fresh oranges then massaging the puree into the hair and scalp. Leave the puree on the hair for about 1 hour before rinsing it out. Some people like to use a light conditioner to rehydrate their hair following an orange puree treatment.
Peppercorns: The use of black peppercorns is prevalent in the ayurvedic medicine. It leaves your hair soft and lustrous while improving the texture. Why? Black peppercorns have essential oils which keep your scalp well-hydrated. How To Use:
- Blend 2 teaspoons of peppercorns with half a cup of lime juice
- Form a smooth paste
- Apply this paste on the roots
- Cover your head with a warm towel for deep penetration.
- Rinse off after half an hour.
Potato Juice: rich in Vitamin A, B and C. These are essential for healthy hair. This can be used even if you are suffering from alopecia i.e. thinning of hair. How To Use:
- Place potato in an extractor for juicing
- Apply the potato juice on the scalp
- Leave it on for 15 minutes
- Wash off using mild shampoo
- Potato is good for use as face packs too.
Essential Oils to Improve Hair Health
Cedarwood: used to help stimulate the hair follicles by increasing circulation to the scalp. It can promote hair growth and slow hair loss; it can also treat thinning hair and various types of alopecia. Cedarwood can be applied topically to the scalp and hair. It mixes well with gentle oils like lavender and carrier oils like coconut oil. You can also add 2–3 drops of cedarwood oil to your homemade conditioner.
Chamomile: it adds shine and softness to your hair while soothing your scalp.
Did you know that chamomile essential oil can be used to lighten your hair naturally? Combine 5 drops of chamomile essential oil with a tablespoon of sea salt and one-third cup of baking soda. Use warm water to create a paste and apply the mixture to your hair. Massage it into your scalp and at the base of your hair, then allow it to sit for about half an hour before rinsing it out. If you want a bolder affect, keep the paste on as you sit in the sun.
Clary Sage: works as a natural remedy for rashes, and it works as an antibacterial agent. But maybe most importantly, clary sage can be used to help you relieve stress and balance hormones. Three types of hair loss can be associated with high stress levels: telogen effluvium, trichotillomania (hair pulling) and alopecia areata. Because clary sage can be used to help relieve stress and reduce cortisol levels in the body, it works as a natural remedy for stress-induced hair loss.
Clary sage works well with jojoba oil; the two can help to regulate oil production on the skin, helping you to avoid scaly or flaky patches that lead to dandruff. To ease stress, which is associated with hair loss, you can diffuse clary sage oil at home or apply a few drops to your wrists, temples and bottoms of your feet.
Lavender: has antimicrobial properties, and it can be used to combat bacterial and fungal disorders. Some other lavender oil benefits are its ability to soothe the scalp and heal dry skin and hair. Plus, because emotional stress is a factor that can contribute to thinning hair, lavender oil can be used to create a tranquil and stress-free environment.
Lemongrass: has healing properties, and it works as an effective cleanser and deodorizer. It can strengthen your hair follicles and soothe an itchy and irritated scalp. Some bonus benefits of lemongrass oil include its ability to work as a natural bug repellent, relieve stress (which is associated with hair loss) and treat headaches.
You can add 10 drops of lemongrass oil to your bottle of shampoo or conditioner, or you can massage 2–3 drops into your scalp along with your conditioner daily. Lemongrass oil can also be diffused at home to reduce stress and detoxify the space.
Peppermint: helps to stimulate the scalp, and it can treat dandruff and even lice due to its powerful antiseptic properties. Research shows that peppermint oil promotes hair growth, too. In a 2014 animal study, topical application of peppermint oil for four weeks showed prominent hair growth effects, increasing dermal thickness, follicle number and follicle depth. Add 2–3 drops of peppermint to your shampoo or conditioner for a quick wake-me-up during your morning shower.
Rosemary: used to increase cellular metabolism, which stimulates hair growth and promotes healing. Research even shows that rosemary oil appears to work as well as minoxidil, a conventional topical hair loss treatment. When it comes to boosting your hair health, the benefits of rosemary oil also include preventing baldness, slowing the graying process and treating dandruff and dry scalp.
To use rosemary oil for your hair, take 3–5 drops and mix it with equal parts olive oil, and then massage the mixture into your scalp for about two minutes. Leave it in your hair for 3 to 4 hours, and then wash your hair as usual.
Tea Tree: has powerful cleansing, antibacterial, and antimicrobial properties. When used topically, it can help unplug hair follicles and increase hair growth. You can mix 10 drops of tea tree oil into your shampoo or conditioner and use it daily, or mix 3 drops with 2 tablespoons of a carrier oil and leave it on for 15 minutes before rinsing it out.
Thyme: help promote hair growth by both stimulating the scalp and actively preventing hair loss. Like cedarwood oil, thyme oil was also found to be helpful in treating alopecia areata. Thyme is particularly strong, even among essential oils. Put only 2 small drops in 2 tablespoons of a carrier oil before applying it to your scalp. Leave it on for about 10 minutes and wash it out.
Ylang Ylang: While those with oily hair and skin would want to skip this one, ylang-ylang oil is ideal for those with dry scalps, as it can stimulate sebum production. As lack of enough oil and sebum causes hair to become dry and brittle, ylang-ylang can improve hair texture and reduce hair breakage. Mix 5 drops of ylang-ylang oil with 2 tablespoons of warm oil. Massage it into your scalp and wrap your head with a warm towel. Leave it in for 30 minutes before washing it out.
DIY recipes that will also help to boost the health of your hair:
Thicken your hair: To help thicken your hair naturally, use this natural hair thickener that’s made with a combination of rosemary, cedarwood and sage essential oils. These oils will stimulate your hair follicles by increasing circulation to the scalp and helping to balance your hormones.
Style your hair: You want to avoid using conventional hair sprays because many conventional products on the market today include toxins that you don’t want anywhere near your head and face. To help set your hair and prevent fly aways, use this homemade hair spray that’s made with lavender and rosemary, plus vodka and cane sugar, which will give you the hold you’re looking for.
Prevent oily/greasy hair: Add 2–3 drops of peppermint oil to your conditioner to get rid of greasy hair.
Add shine: Giving your hair and scalp a good hair mask treatment on a weekly basis can help take care of unruly strands, moisturize your hair and add shine.
Lighten your hair: Add 2–3 drops of chamomile oil to your hair before going out in the sun.