Hair is a serious issue! It can make you very happy or very unhappy depending on many different things such as the style, but most importantly the condition! As your yoga teacher I would say don’t let it be your criteria for happiness! But as your friend I would say, I totally know what you mean!
However, I am one of the lucky ones – I have been blessed with lots and lots of well mannered hair! I did suffer some hair loss after births of my sons, but I am happy to say I still have enough left to get lots of compliments… (blush..blush!).
However, thinking back, I actually did quite a lot to keep my hair as healthy as possible. So I have decided to share some of my hair care routines and secrets with you.
How do I take care of my hair?
I don’t wash my hair everyday
I know some of you will hate to hear this but it really is better if you don’t wash it as often as wash your hands! Your head needs the natural oil it produces and if you keep washing it off you will lose the natural base of the nutrients on your scalp. I wash my hair on the average every 3 days, or every other day in summer!
I am about to try the no shampoo method as my friend Minai has been doing (you can ask her about her experience). However for many, many years my shampoo of choice has been Pantene. It is not a fancy one that the hair salons use – yet I have always been very happy with my choice, and most importantly the result! I have have used Patene for the past 17 years or so coupled with a conditioner and Kerastese Elixir, an oil for dry ends. Only in this past year have I switched to organic shampoos and stopped using Kerastase.
Instead of kerastase I sometimes use coconut or argan oil on the ends. However, I tend to do this before I wash my hair otherwise the ends stay oily – I gently massage into the ends a couple of hours before I wash my hair – so my ends are well oiled but my hair is clean!
My shampoos of choice are now of the natural variety, free from toxins and chemicals and preferably environment friendly. I am just about to try out this new brand, Hair Borist, it seems to fit all the criteria- I will keep you updated and let you know how I get on!
I don’t dye my hair but I know for some of you this is not an option. So I am hoping that most of you are using natural products. I don’t go to the hairdressers often and usually leave my hair to dry naturally , even for important occasions. However, if you live in a country like my beautiful one (Turkey) and have access to the many low cost hairdressers you might visit them quite often. A visit to the hairdressers is also like a therapy session for many women and self care is VERY important. However, just try to limit your visits and let you hair ‘be’ when you can!
Simple and natural products
I also almost never use gels, foams or straighteners…whatever there is on the market, I am not interested! I am also down to using just one or 2 body lotions and creams from my old habit of having “one or more cream/product” for each and every different part of my body!
This whole transformation started with the simple decision to detox my digestive system!! During this time, I have learned that not only ‘we are what we eat’, but also what we put on the outside plays a huge role and is just as important, and given the fact that the skin is the biggest organ and absorbs much, much more than the mouth!
So I have slowly started to quit my old chemical filled products for hair-nail-skin-perfumes-creams etc….and moved to more “simple” solutions like coconut or argan oil for all! And for the face I use Pure Essential oils like frankincense and melaluaca instead of expensive creams. You can learn more about my essential oil favorites in this post.
Monthly Henna Mask
So, I do dye my hair – however, I’ve been doing it naturally with henna for the last 17 years! It was my mother-in-law who told me about her story about how her mom did henna mask to her for years, keeping her hair healthy and shiny and giving it a nice, rich dark red-black color for years! We followed on the tradition, she put henna on my hair every 4 to 6 months or so…before my grey hairs started to show – and now I must do it once a month to cover them up!
Henna is a small flowering shrub and the leaves are dried and then turned into fine powder that is used for dying clothes, making tattoos and is also used to treat some skin conditions. It has been used for in Far East for more then 5000 years for special occasions or for healing ailments like headache, stomach pains, athlete’s f00t and even for the prevention of hair loss.
“The henna plant contains lawsone which is a reddish-orange dye that binds to the keratin (a protein) in our skin and safely stains the skin. The stain can be from pale orange to nearly black depending on the quality of the henna and how well it takes to ones skin. A good henna, fresh from hot & dry climates, will stain the darkest” (Source: SilknStone) .
Henna not only makes the hair shine it also strengthens it!
I buy my henna from spice shops in Turkey but you can find it in most Middle Eastern or Indian shops, and if all that fails you can find it online (e.g.Amazon). I buy the natural one, without color, I then mix it with brewed black tea (for darker color), I add an egg yolk, olive oil, coconut oil and vinegar. I apply at night before I go to bed, a hair mask of sorts, then next morning I wash thoroughly and enjoy a shiny, silky stronger head of hair.
As my natural hair color is dark brown it fits very well with my coloring and my grey hair goes bright red which I find nice like vibrant highlights. Be warned – henna might not be for everyone – if you are blonde or lighter brown, henna will have a completely different effect and your hair will be more of an orange-ish color!!
If that is the case you make this mask without henna and still benefit from the goodness of egg, vinegar and healthy oils.
Here is short film on how I make it and the recipe is listed below!
Henna Mask Recipe
Henna, 50g (I use no color, natural Indian henna that I bought from Istanbul, India and Middle Eastern Shops in Geneva)
3 spoons of Black tea, loose or 4-5 black tea bags
Vinegar, organic, 2 table spoons
Olive Oil, Extra Virgin and organic, 2 table spoons (or coconut oil)
1 Egg Yolk
Stretch film- plastic wrap for wrapping your hair at the end
A tsp of Henna stone powder (which gives darker color)
1 mashed avocado
Argan or coconut oil for the hair ends
Before you start:
Apply with plastic gloves in order to protect your hands from henna color.
Apply it to dry, preferably not too clean hair!
Thoroughly comb your hair before you apply
Henna may get everywhere so it is better to wear an old t-shirt and have an old towel over your shoulders. Also the floor may get messy so either cover with a cloth or old newspaper or just do it on an easily cleaned surface.
To brew black tea, boil 1/2 cup of water. Put the loose back tea (or tea bags) to a heat proof pot and pour the boiling water on it. Let it sit (or simmer if you have Turkish style tea brewer) for about 15 minutes. Drain the tea and set aside the dark coloured tea until it is luke warm.
2. Put the henna into a pot/pan. Add a few spoons of black tea and mix with a whisker. Add more of tea spoon by spoon until you have a consistency like mashed potatoes. You will probably use 1/4 cup of tea for 50g henna powder.
3. Add the olive oil, egg yolk and vinegar and keep mixing. Add henna stone powder if you want darker color. You can use a hand blender/whisker to have a better consistency.
4. Set aside the mixture for about 2-3hours up to 1 day (in the fridge).
5. Start applying the mask like dying your hair, with a comb, large tint brush or with your hands, starting form the front roots to ends and backwards (check the video or this website for more details). I sometimes do only the front and not apply on the ends as they keep it longer. You can also start from the top of you head and twist and wrap it into a small bun at the top.
6. When all henna is finished, you can apply some coconut or argan oil to hair ends as sometimes henna can dry the hair ends and these oils nourish hair so well.
7. I cover my head with stretch foil and clean the ears and excess parts and go to sleep early before I am seen like an alien around:) You can also leave it for about 2-4 hours especially if this is your first time and you are not used to it.
8. Wash your hair, first with water – it takes about 10 minutes for henna to completely drain from hair yet don’t worry, in the end it washes all! Shampoo as usual and use conditioner if you are used to it.
9. Use a dark coloured towel for the first wash and maybe for the next few hair washes as henna comes out slightly after the application.
I just found a great website that explains with illustrations in detail!! It is almost exactly how I do it!