Hair and its care have been a topic of discussion since the beginning of time from Great Grandmother’s mantra to brush hair 100 strokes each night before bed (which actually causes split ends) to the modern-day philosophy of washing hair daily (which removes hair’s natural oil and proteins).
So how, in this era of hair extensions, highlights, low lights and pink tips do we achieve and maintain shiny, healthy, gorgeous hair? Several factors from eating well and reducing stress to changing up hairstyles and choosing gentle hair products come into play.
For healthy growth and shine, our hair needs nourishment. For hair-growth, look to foods rich in zinc and protein. For shine and overall healthy hair, consume foods high in biotin (vitamin B such as lentils and walnuts) and high content of omega-3 fatty acids (wild-caught salmon). One of my favorite Chinese herbal tonics for hair is He Shou Wu, possibly one of the most widely used tonics in Asia to maintain the youthful condition and color of hair, and one of the greatest energy tonics known to man. It is the prepared tuberous root of Plygonum Multiflorum. I drink it in a tea from Dragon Herbs (www.dragonherbs.com) and put it into smoothies. Warmed with honey and salt, the tea is delicious and very nourishing.
We recently introduced our Intensive Hair Repair which deeply moisturizes, smoothes and protects the hair from thermal damage with ingredients like Keratin Amino Acids (nourishing), Panthenol (adds thickness and body), Aloe Leaf, Meadowfoam Seed Oil (moisture, shine), and Rosemary. It’s a staple in our family and works for both thin and thick hair. Use it all over or just on the ends, 3-5 times per week. To fortify the conditioner, add a drop of essential oil. I recommend our Lavender Bath & Body Oil, which is healing and smells great for summer. It is perfect to apply to clean, wet hair before heading out to the pool or beach. The warmth of the sun will help deeply condition as the product protects your strands.
Change Up Ponytails
Wearing a high ponytail or braids too frequently can cause hair to break and fall out. These styles as well as popular hair extensions pull on the hair, causing tension that leads to breakage. When possible, let your hair down, falling loosely around your face.
This is one of my indulgences – I admit. While it’s tempting to highlight, lowlight and change up hair color completely, it is of course better not to chemically process hair and rejoice in our natural-born beauty…to an extent. Beauty lies in balance.
Although gray hair is linked also to genetics and illness, there is growing evidence that stress hormones contribute to graying hair. Be aware of your stress levels, take time out to breathe, walk, ground your feet to the earth, be still in nature, meditate or practice yoga. Supported Headstand (Salamba Sirsasana) helps to stimulate circulation in the head. Start slowly with proper instruction. Head massage is also an indulgence that has great benefits to maintaining healthy hair and a healthy scalp. Most spas offer some kind of head massage if you ask for it.
When possible, avoid blow-drying hair altogether and allow hair to air dry. When using a blow-dryer, use cool, or at most, a warm settings and hold the appliance a minimum of six inches from your hair.
Avoid split ends with regular trims. Even with long hair, trims are needed every six to eight weeks.
Avoid Washing Daily
It really is better for our hair to avoid washing it daily. During summer, hair is exposed to many harsh elements. Cover hair with a hat or scarf to protect from environmental damage.
Use Gentle Shampoo
Select a gentle shampoo and conditioner free of sulfates and color. Our Reviving Shampoo is enriched with essential nutrients and vitamins to strengthen and rejuvenate the hair, especially for thin hair with ingredients like hydrolyzed whole wheat protein, calendula, aloe, golden seal and jojoba seed oil. Our Reviving Conditioner is a light, daily conditioner that restores moisture and adds immediate tensile strength.
Water quality can vary from country to country and has a big impact on our hair and skin. Chlorine and chlorine by-products negatively impact hair health. A simple shower filter can make a big difference.